Media manipulation has real life effects

by Anne McRitchie, Chilcotts Grass, NSW Australia

On Friday 12th October, the monthly Universal Medicine lecture on Esoteric Medicine at Lennox Head Community Centre commenced with Serge Benhayon introducing a guest speaker, David Millikan, who had turned up unexpectedly and had asked if he could chat with the audience. Serge allowed the intrusion as in previous discussions David had accurately described the media’s misrepresentation of us as a group, and had been building a polite and respectful relationship with Serge during the four weeks since they first met. He had also twice mentioned that Universal Medicine did not fit the ‘cult’ tag and had given strong evidence as to why not. I mention this to demonstrate the level of deception and deceit that this man, and the media generally, are capable of.Serge introduced him by saying that David was writing a book which included a chapter on Serge, and that he had asked to chat with us. David began by saying that he was a Uniting Church Minister, had studied some sort of philosophy and wanted to ask us a few questions. I felt  ‘Great! Someone who will truly listen to our experience and represent us with integrity’.

The moment he said the next few words, something about “Serge gathering a family”, alarm bells rang, and I remember feeling that as soon as we had an opportunity to speak I would set him straight.

The next moment everything changed. David turned on us and started to attack us at the same time as three women in the audience jumped up with hand-held video cameras. While this was happening, several men with TV cameras and recording equipment tried to burst in through the door, but someone had seen them outside and had barred their way.

Then it slowly became obvious that we had been set up. David did not want to hear, only to get enough footage that could be edited and twisted into the version he wanted to present and which would get maximum public attention for the TV network he was working for – which he later acknowledged. Universal Medicine students have already had several experiences of media manipulation and it is horrible. There is no, absolutely no, interest in reporting the truth, just getting a ‘news-worthy story’. The truth of a few hundred, maybe 2,000 people worldwide choosing to live a more loving and healthy lifestyle is not news!

I can’t explain how much one feels denigrated, betrayed and powerless when you invite someone to chat with you and you are ambushed. Both the ferocity and the scope of the attack took the audience by surprise. We were all looking forward to talking and setting the record straight, but some reporters can be very cunning. They ask loaded questions which are untruths and then they attack you if you do not answer the lie, or they edit so that they get the answer they want. Worse still, they won’t allow you to speak, and then chide you for not answering the question – all to get enough footage to edit for the story they want! After we realised the ambush, they still hung around filming whatever they could until we called the police.

Meanwhile it was obvious that the intensity of the ambush had shocked many people, and one under-age girl who had been filmed cried on my shoulder as she felt that she would be ostracised at school if she were shown on TV.

As a member of the audience who practises law commented to me, the events were “absolutely diabolical”.

109 thoughts on “Media manipulation has real life effects

  1. Thank you Anne for describing that eventful evening. I was not there but by all accounts it was terrible. Sounds like this “so called” man of God used lies and manipulation to find out the “truth” sounds like a man who can be bought and sold.

  2. Thank you Anne for giving an insight from a first hand perspective what the people working in media are capable of. This is not only pure manipulation and making up a story but harassing and harming people. This is truly horrible and what we need to understand is that we get fed these false stories on a daily basis and we often consume these stories believing that what we hear, read or see is true. Where is the integrity here and where is the willingness for truth? Have we all really become so corrupt and sold out?

    1. Yes, the media showed its true face here. The ugliness of the expression of the women holding the cameras was something to behold. They knew they were committing a crime and they had to close themselves off very deeply to be able to do it.

      1. I agree Christoph – the degree to which a person must shutdown their natural and loving way brings much sadness. These people hold the essence of love within them but have sold-out to forces of manipulation, need for recognition and need for power over others regardless of the outcome.

      2. Yes, because holding a camera and being a journalist is a job many people really want to do. This means they can be asked to do truly ugly things and there will be many who comply.

  3. Thank you Anne for sharing your experiences of this night with David Millikan. What a shock for all who were present to have to deal with this level of deception and a total ambush of a simple presentation on health and well-being. There needs to be accountability in the media and stricter laws protecting innocent people from these attacks by the media.

  4. Hi Anne, I had not heard the event from this perspective before but wow how invasive does it feel! Serge Benhayon welcomes all and any questions, that is a fact, but to manipulate the situation in that way is just not on. It only magnifies the way we have become a society who will take what they want to get what they need. How very sad that we behave this way just to get ahead. Where has equality gone? Where has respect gone if this is how we are to respond to something that is absolute love and honesty. Thousands of people are living more vital, more honest lives. That in itself is a worth shouting about. And not the way David Millikan behaved.

    1. And that is exactly what it did felixschumacher8. This was the incident that changed the Universal Medicine Student body forever. While I would never condone this type of behaviour by anyone, what has resulted is a more active and committed student body on all fronts. Talk about making the most of every situation.

  5. The actions of people like David Millikan expose them to be the deceptive unprincipled liars that they are. Unfortunately there seems to be no one in the commercial media world who has the decency/opportunity to tell the full story and expose people like Millikan.

    1. It may be that the media in general is now peopled by either those who do not care and will not speak up for the truth when they see the lies, and or the unprincipled liars you so rightly label, such as David Millikan and others who planned the ambush on Universal Medicine with absolute deceitfulness. There would no doubt be others in the 1000’s with similar stories and no where to go to have this form of abuse by the media properly dealt with. Whatever “authorities” are in place are obviously toothless tigers there for show and not for true accountability.

  6. It is absolutely sick that they are capturing this ‘footage’ under the guise that it is exposing the truth and truly serving others yet the evil of the act itself of accusing others of lies and imposing the ambush on them is actually worse.

    1. If you do something truly awful you need a strong justification. It is embarrassing, though, when that justification is false and you are doing something truly awful purely for your own benefit.

      1. This brings in the question… why act in such an awful way and to what avail? When we see a community doing their best to learn about the ancient teaching of harmony and the quality of life we can all live it would naturally bring up personal questions of how one lives and the choices they have made.

  7. Thank you Anne for providing full insight into the deceitful and cunning strategies employed by David Millikan and his band of followers. I cannot imagine any true minister of God lying and disrupting people’s lives in such a way. Humanity needs to know the tactics employed by the media to get a story that suits them. It’s basically a form of abuse and denigrates basic human rights. I’m not sure why being a journalist would preclude this from being a criminal act.

  8. It is extraordinary that in their pursuit for a story at any cost, the possible harm they could inflict on people such as the child crying on your shoulder or those children huddled crying in the bathroom that night, is not considered anything but collateral damage for a sensational story. What a deeply disturbing display of poor ethics and human decency.

  9. “There is no, absolutely no, interest in reporting the truth, just getting a ‘news-worthy story’. The truth of a few hundred, maybe 2,000 people worldwide choosing to live a more loving and healthy lifestyle is not news!” Except that how 2000+ people – and many more today – are living healthy loving lifestyles is news in today’s sea of escalating worldwide illness and disease – but not in the denigratory way you describe Millikan et al were taking.

  10. Anyone who has been treated by the media in the way Universal Medicine has realises that there is a great need in this country for media reform. There is no form of accountability, not even that great white elephant – the Australian Press Council – a supposed overseer of the press, set up by and funded by – you guessed it – the press. How ludicrous.

  11. Any one who has made the choice to connect to and live from their hearts will feel the freedom and responsibility that comes with living this way, and would know from the depths of their being that what Serge Benhayon presents is the missing piece in the puzzle when it comes to the health and social structure of humanity. I know, deeply that whilst those who choose to live from their love may be looked upon as different, however, that the fact we are seen is already changing the fabric of the world.

  12. Our actions and whatever we do ‘always’ have an effect – it is up to us each to take responsibility for that fact, and to realise that the energy of our actions can either heal or harm. In this instance, there is no question as to the irresponsibility of David Millikan and the media crew supporting this ambush. It highlights the general irresponsibility of the current media at large, who are generally more interested in selling a story than in pursuing, representing and publishing true ‘newsworthy’ stories.

  13. It’s so important to discern what intentions that underlie actions but then again you cannot stop people from doing things even though they had a bad intent. I’m sure there were many that could feel that something wasn’t right but stopping these reporters might have fuelled their mission even more. They should have been pulled up though for exposing so many for the traumatising set up that they had planned.

  14. This is a great example of the depth of corruption that exists in our media industry, driven however by the mass consumers’ want for sensational stories or something to talk about with friends or at the office tomorrow.
    It is horrific what you’ve described Anne, and I can’t help but feel the extent of responsibility we each hold for such a thing happening… how many times have I blindly accepted what I was told on the news, not even to consider discerning the truth of it for myself, nor the impact on so many if it is not.

  15. We can pretty much take for granted that events like this happen often to many people – media creating their own events to suit their own agenda, planned and orchestrated with no regard for truth. A twisted story to push ratings. However it hurts when you hear accounts of it from people you know and care for and know are genuinely loving people. It hurts but it only makes one more determined to speak the truth and not sensationalise life. The world dearly needs a true reflection and events like this show just how much.

  16. The level of disregard and disrespect we are capable of treating each other with is incredible. Humanity needs to take a very long hard look at what stands for entertainment – and why we believe we need it.

    1. The fact that we can be entertained to even a miniscule degree by any act that champions the division and separation of us from each other shows us how far we as a humanity have strayed from the Oneness we are from.

  17. The events of that night are horrific to read about Anne, it is a disgrace that the media are allowed to ambush and manipulate an event where hundreds of respectful and loving citizens come to gather to listen to a talk on Esoteric Medicine, in my opinion that is criminal behaviour and an abuse of our basic human rights.

  18. That ambush by the media that night illustrated absolutely no integrity and caused such a ripple effect for Universal Medicine as a whole and those aligned to the business that is still being felt today. I cannot but wonder where all those journalists are today and if they are still hell bent on using those same tactics that only serve to alienate the general public they are supposed to be serving and informing of the truth. I also wonder if any of them have reflected and learnt from the experience because I know everyone who paid their $5 for the Esoteric Medicine presentation that night certainly has.

  19. Anne , it may be 4 years since you wrote this very clear account of the sabotage of Serge Benhayon’s presentation to an audience who were there because they cared about themselves, others and the world in general, but very little appears to have changed as far as some sections of the media are concerned. Today I saw a local news item reporting that a well known sports personality had blasted a women’s magazine for misreporting a personal event in her life, using old photos and text from various other articles; and what for? Was it just for a sensational story, to beat other magazines to a scoop that actually wasn’t, and to increase profits, with no regard whatsoever for the people involved? As far as I am concerned putting profit before people is as about as low as you can go.

  20. Gives me goosebumps just reading about it – I can only imagine the shock and distress of actually being at the event – A complete overall of our freedom and “democracy”.

  21. By virtue of the fact that we as a society complacently allow such distortions of truth and outright lies to be the norm, we give voice to an evil (all that opposes truth) that would otherwise be muted and powerless in our presence.

  22. The very fact that the media think they have to sensationalise every story in order to get viewers/readers really exposes that it is all of us who have created this sorry state of affairs. There is no question in my mind of the despicable behaviour of journalists who have literally made up complete lies about Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine, but we also need to look at why they felt justified in doing it. The public thirst for more and more sensational, shocking, graphic, gossipy stories, with how true they are being an optional extra, appears unquenchable, and while there is the demand, there will always be those who want to profit from it. It is up to us to say no to this ‘gutter journalism’. If we stopped watching, or buying, they would soon stop.

  23. Definitely an ambush by the media with its disgusting behaviour, If people are wanting to fill their empty lives with this garbage then this kind of media will continue as long as we feed it. We all in our hearts long for love and truth, maybe one day we will wake up and all will gradually come to say no to this kind of unethical reporting.

  24. I know this event happened a few years ago now, but I still find reading the details horrifying – how can one human being treat another human being, or human beings this way. Surely this is an indictment on basic human rights, and goes against all the principles that we should hold firmly onto as humans: love, respect, decency and integrity.

  25. When people think only for themselves the harm they can cause others through their actions can be significant. It is of great concern when people don’t have the consideration or care in foresight to think twice, what is worse still is when the lack of care still remains in hindsight when the damage done is obvious like it was that night… and yet they kept going. It says a lot about the character and heart of a person capable of this.

  26. This story has me wondering if the media in fact leave a trail of devastation in their wake – and of all the exaggerated, false stories we read on the paper – how many members of the public were treated in this disgusting manner, simply so that the media can publish an enticing and scintillating story?

  27. It is a horrible feeling when the words in your mouth are twisted and turned, it puts you in a place where you have to justify and set things straight and often against someone who already made up their mind about you, it is like talking to a wall. It becomes worse if this is a group of people or the media as it can make you feel utterly powerless, like a force that tries to crush you. It is amazing to see when someone stands up to this without being affected or scared and it is very rare.

  28. It’s super important to acknowledge that the newspapers not only print lies but that these lies massively effect the people who have been lied about, there’s nothing innocent about twisting the truth to get a different slant on a story, as you say – it has real life serious consequences for those involved. In what world is it fair to destroy someone’s life to get a good story?

  29. It never ceases to disturb me to read about the outright abuse of Universal Medicine, Serge Benhayon, his family, and of the student body by the media. What a cunning and deceitful group of people who planned this ambush with the sole aim to present their lies to the public for their own agenda. The misuse of power and corruption by the media is completely out of control when events like this can happen with no repercussions for the people involved.

  30. It presents the fact the difference between people living the truth that can clearly see through others choosing to live less and therefore have their own agenda or view of what is in truth lies where, film is edited to create a story.

  31. Great exposure of media manipulation. When you get the behind the scenes version, how can you take the media segment seriously?

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