“Too much venom put out stains one with venom.”
— L. Ron Hubbard
In a feat of journalistic sleight of hand, NBC 12 News in Phoenix, Arizona managed to turn a page 3 story about criminal-on-criminal crime in a correctional facility into page 1 clickbait with a screaming headline as sensational as it was false.
The item and its banner contained such blatant and bigoted calumny of my religion, Scientology, that even its editors acknowledged it by correcting the story to conform with the facts of the case.
12 News prides itself on its slogan, It’s A Matter of Facts.
12 News preens, “we listen, we seek, we solve for all Arizonans.”
12 News claims to “affect positive change and connect our broader community to solutions.”
12 News proved, this Thursday, those slogans are pure PR.
Opening the door to religious hatred, marginalizing minorities and fomenting, propagating and perpetuating stereotypes and falsehoods is not responsible journalism—it is reprehensible journalism, unworthy of the term “journalism.”
It’s time to put an end to antireligious bigotry in reportage. It’s time to put an end to the merchandising of fear and hate at the expense of truth.
It’s time for the staff of 12 News—and all other platforms still purveying discrimination—to step up as journalists or step out as the bigots they are.