Hidden Links and Loyalties Abound in the News Behind the News

foxYou probably know that John Travolta, one of my favorite actors, is a Scientologist. So is Tom Cruise, who is not one of my favorite actors. But you probably don’t know that Greta Van Susteren of Fox News also belongs to the cult. Her wealthy trial-lawyer husband, John Coale, who is famous for his multi-billion-dollar anti-tobacco lawsuits, is among its most prominent members.

According to the St. Petersburg Times, “Van Susteren and Coale (below, right) straddle two worlds: the capital’s high-powered media and political milieu, and the close-knit Scientology community around the church’s spiritual headquarters in Clearwater, where they own a home.”

coalesarahAnd guess who is receiving political advice from Coale these days? None other than Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (with Van Susteren at right), a likely candidate for the U.S. Presidency in 2012. So Palin, who fequently accused Barack Obama of “palling around with terrorists” on the campaign trail last year, is palling around with Scientologists.

Scientology is creepy. Not just because it embraces a lot of ritual mumbo-jumbo. And not just because it teaches that Xenu, evil head of the Galactic Confederation, flew aliens to Earth 75-million years ago in space ships, chained them to volcanoes and blew them up with hydrogen bombs, releasing exploded “thetans” that are now the source of most human suffering. A lot of mainstream religions expect members to believe weird stuff.

Scientology is creepy because it is an underground movement with myriad disguises, and it does not hesitate to undermine society, abuse dissenters (mentally and physically) and wage vendettas against opponents. Scientology’s founder, the late L. Ron Hubbard, wrote that the church should use the legal system to “destroy and harass” its opponents and “ruin them utterly.”

As the former editor of the Clearwater Sun, I can vouch for the relentlessness with which Scientologists seek the destruction of anyone who speaks out against their abuses. And some of those abuses are rather lurid. The Sun published any number of reports indicating the cult was responsible for kidnapping, illegal imprisonment and even suicides. That may be one reason The Sun no longer exists.

For a list of organizations behind which Scientology seeks to hide, click:


And for a list of celebrities who belong to the cult, click:


This is just one more instance of the hidden links and loyalties that exist in politics and the media. Many of the supposedly objective political commentators have spouses, friends and allies affected by the news they comment on. And many of the newsmakers themselves have hidden ties to organizations, companies and individuals who stand to gain or lose from their decisions. The world of politics (and political commentary) really is a tangled web!