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NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES - PRIVATE EYE – CULT CORNER – 

 

Now sadly discontinued, but a semi regular feature throughout the late 1980’s in Private Eye, the satirical magazine, carried a regular watchdog column about the exploits of religious cults like the Moonies and the Scientologists, emphasizing the embarrassing problems they could cause. When Scientologists found out for example that Professional cult watcher, Professor Margaret Singer was a guest at the annual Family Action, Information and Resources (FAIR, - the R used to stand for Rescue when FAIR were willing to support Deprogramming). Conference, they had her targeted as a potential terrorist by US security officials. When she got up to speak, hecklers planted in the audience tried to interrupt her speech. Then a man presented her with flowers sent by an alleged same sex over of hers. In fact, the flower presenter was an innocent actor hired and paid off by the cultists to create such mischief. Private Eye was one of the few magazines to dare to write about the incident. The articles, usually a short snippet, were always penned anonymously, for the safety of their reporters, but letters were sent to P E asking for the identity of the journalists. Eileen Barker, the government sponsored cult apologist, who ran INFORM, and regularly got accused of being a closet Moonie herself, was also regularly criticized in Cult Corner. You can see my own reviews of Barker’s work at my Shvoong pages, BARKER, EILEEN - THE MAKING OF A MOONIE http://www.shvoong.com/books/new-age/203145-MAKING-MOONIE/

 and BARKER, EILEEN - NEW RELIGIOUS MOVEMENTS http://www.shvoong.com/books/new-age/203147-NEW-RELIGIOUS-MOVEMENTS/

 

 With cults largely out of fashion now that there is no Waco type suicide cult tragedy looming, it is sad that the Private Eye column is no longer in use. Few other journals took the problem of cults seriously so frequently. As an ex cultist myself, I found the Private Eye Cult Corner feature an invaluable resource for keeping an eye on a number of sects.

 

Arthur Chappell

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