Every Christmas I watch It’s a Wonderful Life with my family. It’s become a holiday tradition. Ninety-four percent of critics liked it on Rotten Tomatoes. The other 6 percent are miserable bastards.
Mass media outlets spend all their time talking to people like that instead of being open to the viewpoints of the vast majority of Scientologists who could write a book about how they’ve used it to improve their lives in ways they never thought possible. It’s frustrating beyond belief.
As an exercise, I just logged onto abcnews.com and what I found there is true of all major media news sites. Some key words based on a quick scan of the mobile homepage: enemies, suicide bombings, killed, cop-killing, death, struggles, murder, injured, shooting. That’s just in the “Top Stories” section.
A quick scan of keywords of the mobile homepage for ScientologyNews.org: celebrates, volunteers, hope, happiness, success, magic, ability, understand.
When I was a kid, the nightly news was 30 minutes and filled with the extraordinary things that had happened around the world that day, good and bad. The fact that they were so out of the ordinary is what made them newsworthy. But in the age of the 24-hour news cycle, what once was considered extraordinary is now presented so relentlessly that it starts to seem like “normal” life. And what these for-profit corporations present is an exceptionally dangerous, unhappy place. “If it bleeds it leads” may sell advertising space and keep the lights on, but at what human cost?
Christmas week I was driving with my 10-year-old son in Hollywood when we came upon a billboard advertising Leah Remini’s latest show. It insinuated lies about our Church that made my son cry. He asked me why people would say things like that. I explained to him that I had met Leah Remini several times and worked with her on one occasion and that from what I personally observed, she was someone who would do or say almost anything for personal profit. Trying to explain to your 10-year-old that some people are willing to hurt other people, including him, for money makes you want to do whatever you can to change things for the better.
The type of tabloid journalism so rampant these days personally affects the lives of people like my son, who is the kindest, most sincere and empathetic person I know. It contributes to a culture of bigotry and misunderstanding that makes his life harder, and that’s so far from my experience and the experience of thousands of other Scientologists that it bears no resemblance to reality.
There’s an extraordinary amount of helpful, life-changing information to be found in Scientology. I’m not asking members of the media to advocate for it. I’m just hoping that at some point they’ll be brave enough to let people judge for themselves, in an environment not poisoned by the bitter justifications of a tiny minority of people who are fundamentally unhappy no matter what group they find themselves in.