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September 10, 2012

ABC News yanks 20/20 investigation of Tom Cruise and Scientology

ABC News yanks 20/20 investigation of Tom Cruise and Scientology

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Monday, September 10, 2012

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An investigation into Scientology and Tom Cruise which was set to air this past Friday on the American television program 20/20 was removed from broadcast by ABC News. This is not the first time that ABC News has pulled an investigation into Scientology from airing on 20/20.

ABC News headquarters in New York City, New York. (2008)
Image: Jim.henderson.

A press release published by ABC on Thursday announced the scheduled airing of the investigation. It described the program as “an in-depth look” by Elizabeth Vargas into the recent report on Tom Cruise and Scientology by journalist Maureen Orth for Vanity Fair in its October 2012 publication.

An analysis of the situation by Editor-in-Chief Tony Ortega of The Village Voice pointed out that in 2008, actor and former Scientologist Jason Beghe was interviewed by Elizabeth Vargas after he had flown to New York. Beghe recounted to Vargas his experiences within Scientology and his decision to cease activity in the organization.

However, this interview by Vargas was never shown on ABC.

Cquote1.svg ABC caved again, and this time much more publicly. Cquote2.svg

Editor-in-Chief Tony Ortega, The Village Voice

Ortega noted, “Then, Friday night, ABC caved again, and this time much more publicly.” He highlighted a television screenshot which displays clearly the description given by ABC for the 20/20 program scheduled for Friday: “20/20. New. ‘Lovestyles of the Rich and Famous; The Camera Never Lies’ Journalist Maureen Orth discusses her recent article in Vanity Fair on Scientology and actor Tom Cruise; celebrity”.

According to Ortega, this was to be a significant investigation into Scientology. It was going to cover topics including the recent divorce of actress Katie Holmes from Tom Cruise, the role of minors within the Scientology organization, material on Scientology’s chief David Miscavige, and controversy regarding the elite Scientology group known as the Sea Org. Ortega was himself interviewed as part of the investigation, which he was told would comprise an hour-long broadcast.

Cquote1.svg We just got word that both ABC 20/20 & Nightline have pulled the TV shows that were going to air tonight. Cquote2.svg

—Marc Headley

In addition to Ortega, former Scientologists Marc Headley and his wife Claire were interviewed by ABC News for the 20/20 piece which they were informed would be complemented by a news segment on Nightline. Claire told the camera of her two mandatory abortions she experienced while a member of the Sea Org in Scientology; Ortega reported that this interview moved the ABC television crew to tears.

Marc Headley confirmed that he had learned of the ABC News decision. In a post Friday to a legal fund webpage he set up to support his family with litigation costs from Scientology, he commented: “We just got word that both ABC 20/20 & Nightline have pulled the TV shows that were going to air tonight. It appears that someone at OSA is trying to sandbag the downstats over the next few weeks.” OSA is an abbreviation for the Office of Special Affairs — a department within Scientology which has been compared to an intelligence agency that handles legal affairs and public relations. Downstat refers to a negative impact on statistics gathered by Scientology members of the Sea Org due to critical investigations of the organization by the media.



Related news

  • “Women reveal accounts of forced abortion in Scientology” — Wikinews, June 15, 2010
  • “Blown for Good author discusses life inside international headquarters of Scientology” — Wikinews, November 13, 2009
  • “YouTube accounts of Scientology critics suspended” — Wikinews, April 18, 2008

Sister links

  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Office of Special Affairs
  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg List of Guardian’s Office operations
  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Operation Freakout

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March 6, 2006

BBC global poll finds majority feel the US led Iraq invasion increased likelihood of terrorist attacks

BBC global poll finds majority feel the US led Iraq invasion increased likelihood of terrorist attacks

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Sixty percent of respondents in an international survey conducted for the BBC World Service felt that the likelihood of terrorist attacks around the world has been increased by the war in Iraq.

The international polling firm GlobeScan conducted the survey, which polled 41,856 residents of 35 countries between October 2005 and February 2006. Participants were asked, “Has the war in Iraq increased, decreased or had no effect on the likelihood of terrorist attacks around the world?”

Fifteen percent felt that the likelihood or terrorism had decreased; 12 percent felt there had been no effect; and 13 percent did not answer.

Out of the 35 countries polled, only Mexico and Nigeria thought the invasion lessened the likelihood of terrorist attacks. By contrast, 85 percent of Chinese respondents said they felt the invasion increased the likelihood of terrorist attacks.

Other questions asked in the poll found that 45 percent of respondents felt removing Saddam Hussein from power was a mistake, compared to 36 percent who felt the removal was the right decision. The poll also found that results were split on whether the foreign troops should remain in Iraq until the country is stable: 35 percent said they believed the troops should stay, 32 percent felt the troops should pull out within a few months, and 13 percent thought that a pull-out should occur within a few months unless the government of Iraq requested them to stay.

“It’s official. Citizens worldwide think Western leaders have made a fundamental mistake in their war on terror by invading Iraq,” Doug Miller, president of GlobeScan, said. “Short of the Iraqi government asking them to stay longer, people think the troops should leave,” he said.

In the United States, the GlobeScan poll found that 55 percent thought chances of terror attacks were increased. In an unrelated poll conducted in the U.S. by CBS News, only 36 percent of U.S. respondents thought “the war is going well,” and that 30 percent felt “Bush was doing a good job of handling the conflict.” This U.S. poll also found that only 18 percent held a favorable view of Vice-President Dick Cheney.

In a televised interview with Elizabeth Vargas of ABC’s World News Tonight which aired last Tuesday, President Bush said, “If I worried about polls, I wouldn’t be doing my job,” on the topic of his low U.S. approval ratings. “I think the American people — I know the American people want somebody to stand on principle, make decisions and stand by them and lead this world toward a more peaceful tomorrow, and I strongly believe we’re doing that,” he said.

“I’ve got ample [political] capital and I’m using it to spread freedom and to protect the American people, plus we’ve got a strong agenda to keep this economy growing.” President Bush also said that Iraqis must choose between “chaos or unity.”

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January 29, 2006

Bob Woodruff injured by improvised explosive device in Iraq

Bob Woodruff injured by improvised explosive device in Iraq

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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Bob Woodruff with fellow World News Tonight co-anchor Elizabeth Vargas

ABC News anchorman Bob Woodruff and his camera operator Doug Vogt have been seriously injured in an explosion. Early reports indicate that both men sustained head injuries in the blast.

Woodruff was evacuated to the Balad Airbase, 68 kilometers north of Baghdad and is currently undergoing surgery. “Bob and Doug are in serious condition and are being treated at a U.S. military hospital in Iraq,” ABC said in a statement.

Reports say Woodruff was taping a report inside an Iraqi mechanized military vehicle near Taji, Iraq when the vehicle ran over and detonated an improvised explosive device. ABC also reports that exchanges of small arms fire took place shortly after the explosion. MSNBC reports that Woodruff and Vogt were wearing body armor and helmets when the explosion occurred, measures that may turn out to have saved their lives. The Associated Press is reporting that the two men were standing in the hatch of the vehicle at the time of the explosion, and that no other people were injured.

Woodruff and Vogt had been embedded with the 4th Infantry Division that was accompanying an Iraqi Army unit.

ABC also said that both Woodruff and Vogt were wearing body armor and helmets.

The U.S. military headquarters in Baghdad has confirmed the attack took place. However, no further information has been made available.

Vogt, a 46-year-old Canadian based in France, is an Emmy-award winning cameraman for ABC News with 25 years of experience.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 61 journalists have been killed in the line of duty in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

Woodruff became the permanent co-anchor of ABC’s World News Tonight, with Elizabeth Vargas on January 3, 2006, replacing the late Peter Jennings.

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