KESQ Reporter Exposes Scientology

I often criticize journalists for lack of skepticism, so I like to balance it a bit with kudos for those who deserve it. A helpful tipster sent me word that Nathan Baca of KESQ in Palm Springs is doing a 5-part series looking into a prison-like center where Scientologist security guards tackled an Anonymous protester, ground his face into the dirt, and then had him arrested for trespassing and for allegedly biting one of them (the case is ongoing).

The videos are available on KESQ’s web site, and they’re also going on YouTube through this profile. After the jump, I’ve embedded the four videos that have been posted thus far. Look for the next one tonight.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky

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  1. Oh man, thanks for alerting me to this. Can’t wait to watch these later. I need more rage-fuel and I think these will do the trick!

  2. I like how the county supervisor is essentially mocking Choquette during session in part 3. That’s really professional.

    Did the COS provide any details of the sources for their booklet about Anonymous? To me it looks like they just pulled a bunch of really disturbing (out of context) images off 4chan boards. I’m not sure how they could claim that is a valid characterization of Anonymous.

  3. I agree with you, containscaffeine, though Nathan (the reporter) did seem a little to polite and defferential for my liking. But at least the questions are being asked. Be interesting to see the full interview.

    LOL @ Tommy Davis’s (aka Propaganda Man) answer to the question about the spikes on the Fence around the compound.

  4. Guh… all this stuff just renews my fear of Scientology… it’s just… I mean, I get buying into what are otherwise the ridiculous myths of Christianity. It’s been around so long, and people grew up with this huge social inertia… but Scientology? How does it spread absent of this kind of pressure? Is it just the wide spread social support for otherwise ridiculous superstitions that encourages people to latch onto whatever superstition strokes their miserable egos the most? (see: Calvinism)

    I don’t know… In spite of my past Christian piety, I fail to understand…

  5. I really liked the fourth video. Nice to see a reporter actually ask questions of Scientology. Maybe I just haven’t seen enough, but when I think of Scientology and TV reporting, I think of Entertainment Tonight’s programs. :P

    @Cola: “Is it just the wide spread social support for otherwise ridiculous superstitions that encourages people to latch onto whatever superstition strokes their miserable egos the most?”

    I agree with that statement, but I also think Scientology has it’s unique draw. When I was in college (6 years ago), there’s an org in the city my college is located at and Scientology was one of the many other churches that would hand out out pamphlets and other free stuff on campus to lure college students to come check them out. The people I knew that did go said that they did like the fact that it’s a very active experience (taking classes, talking and just generally doing stuff with others instead of sitting in a pew until the sermon’s over) but none of them stayed for long because those “courses” were too expensive. Got to remember that they don’t feed you the crazy stuff until you get deeper into the courses.
    There are also the feeder groups like Narconon and Criminon, and I remember reading some newspaper articles about city agencies sending juveniles to Narconon for rehab not knowing it’s a Scientology feeder group with some dangerous health consequences.
    But now, in the age of more exposure of the crazy stuff on the Internet, I don’t know. Even though the church still says they are “growing”, critics like Operation Clambake would disagree and give you some numbers.

  6. I’m going to put my conspiracy theorist hat on for a minute….

    wouldn’t it be neat if scientology was created as a “low hanging fruit?” It’s the religion that’s incredibly easy to criticize for it’s wacky practices, tax evasion, crimes against humanity, and absolute insanity. When there is legislature passed against scientology, it would set precedent for legislature against other religions.

    probably not though.

    There was a flyer posted to my door last week inviting me to a scientology church in Boston on Sunday. I think I’ll go next week.

  7. @Stephen: I think that this reporter is toeing the line with how confrontational he is in the interview because of how badly the church of scientology can wreck your life if they feel like you’re a threat.

  8. One of my psych professors wound up moving to a small rural community college after the took part in an investigation on Scientology. According to him, they firebombed his car.

  9. There is a new proposed Scientology Center in Chicago. It’s next door to the building I work in.
    For some reason, the thought of encountering Scientologists on a daily basis makes me sad for humanity.
    Then I remember that Christian people are in the same boat of crazy.

  10. @weatherwax: Can you really believe anything that James Randi has said? He called Eldon Byrd a “convicted child molester” and it actually caused Byrd to be defamed. He was sued for it and was found guilty. Eldon Byrd is not a convicted child molester. Anything Randi has or will say can’t be believed.

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