Why don’t you do a story that has some originality and feature actual currently practicing Scientologists and find out why people practice the religion to begin with?
January 1, 2017
President ABC 20/20
New York, N.Y. 10023
Dear Mr. Goldston,
I’m writing the three of you with some important information to consider before airing the upcoming 20/20 episode about children that have grown up in Scientology (of which I am one). While I don’t know exactly what information your show will be featuring, from what I’ve heard it’s grossly inaccurate, bigoted and more likely than not, completely false. So before you continue with this show please read my side of the story and consider its information.
I am 34 years old. I was born and raised in Scientology. Both my parents worked for the Church of Scientology until very recently. I know hundreds of other kids and adults in all age ranges and many sub-religious categories, and I can tell you that the vast majority of them would probably disagree with the show you are about to air as well. “How can I possibly know that,” you might ask?
Well, if you have read this far, please take another two minutes and consider why so many people choose to practice Scientology and why the only story you see coming out of major news networks like your own make Scientology out to be some kind of wild controversial cult. The reality is far from that. Why don’t you do a story that has some originality and feature actual currently practicing Scientologists and find out why people practice the religion to begin with?
Imagine for a second growing up as a Jew in the 30s and 40s and seeing nothing but anti-Semitic information from the media. Or growing up as a gay man in the 70s and 80s and always being made out to be some kind of weirdo or flawed second rate person. Or being any kind of other minority that is singled out and stripped down to some kind of distorted stereotype and demonized by a media that has failed to do their due diligence.
The sad truth is that THAT IS WHAT GROWING UP AS A SCIENTOLOGIST IS LIKE, and with programs like yours, continues to be like throughout our lives. You are using my religion and the religion of many of the people I know—honest, hardworking, patriotic Americans and generally good-hearted people that by and large seek only wisdom and spiritual betterment for themselves and the rest of mankind—to spin a story that may captivate your viewers for 20 minutes, but is so morally corrupt in journalistic integrity I fail to see how you can call it “news.”
Now you may read this and say “blah, blah, blah, we are making an important story.” But what if you’re making a story that does nothing but distort the truth and even worse, blasts that distorted information to the public, and in the process victimizes thousands of innocent people by creating a bigoted mindset in Americans that rely on your network and programs for accurate information?! What if you are actually HURTING INNOCENT FELLOW AMERICANS?
Conversely, I also know many of the people that have come out in the media denouncing Scientology and I can tell you that there is no difference between you airing an interview with (or information from) many of these people than it would be to air the same from a bitter former lover. The fact that you are taking one side and failing to equally cover the other is exactly why you’re losing the American people’s trust and why it has an increasingly abhorrent view of the news media.
You are entrusted with a very powerful medium and an equally important responsibility, one which I have seen and felt the abuse of all my life.
Los Angeles, Calif.