Lazy Media: The Dalai Lama in Canada and the U.S. met by Shugden protesters

Until now the media in Canada and the U.S. mainly gave a lot of space to the accusations of the Anti Dalai Lama protesters and repeated their allegations in almost all cases without asking any academic expert. The only media that I found that asked an academic expert is The Daily Princetonian. Zanyab Zaman quotes Jonathan Gold, a professor of religion and scholar of Buddhism in “Group to protest Dalai Lama talk at Princeton next week” and gives a fairly balanced and also factually correct article. ABC didn’t mention the protesters in their video report “Dalai Lama arrives in Birmingham” (Alabama).

Other media, such as AL.COM (i.e. Greg Garrison in “Why do people want to protest the Dalai Lama?” or Ana Rodriguez in “Protests continue today as Dalai Lama visits Alabama Theatre, Regions Field“) totally omitted to ask any expert to verify the claims of the group and offered Len Foley / ISC a good opportunity to slander the Dalai Lama, to lie or to exaggerate for instance that “People are being killed, attacked and refused service in Tibetan exile communities”. Greg Garrison gave Len Foley an unchallenged platform to offer his conspiracy theory in which the Dalai Lama is “like a god”, implying Tibetans are mindless sheep who follow him like stupid slaves, not being able to think for themselves. At least the editor of AL.COM allowed an opinion piece by Joanne Clark, that investigates the wrong and misleading claims of the ISC / NKT protesters: “Those who claim Dalai Lama is lying are themselves dishonest: reader opinion

Another media outlet that allowed itself to became rather the publishing arm of the protesters and Len Foley, repeating up to 80% of their claims without consulting any academic experts, is NBC via Jeff Eliasoph. In his documentary he gives a platform to Len Foley to state untrue claims such as those that Shugden people have been killed or that there are signs all over India, even the world, that refuse Shugden practitioners entry into shops, restaurants or even medical service centers:

I am astonished to see how careless the media (except some really rare exceptions) have become over the years (remembering the good investigative reports by The Guardian, The Independent and BBC in 1996) and what poor uninformed service they offer to their readers and the public.

However, I think besides the propaganda and media skills of the NKT and its front groups, it is also a failing of the media team around His Holiness (if there is any) that the protesters’ false accusations have been so dominant since 2008 in the media. Only extremely rarely have the facts been stated correctly and in a differentiated manner or have academic experts been quoted (at least in the US, Australia, Canada etc. … in Germany, 2014 the press teams worked rather well and the ISC / NKT weren’t able to misinform the public so much).

There is one brave man, Rabbi Shmuley, who addresses an ISC / NKT protester who disrupts the audience with the Dalai Lama in Birmingham, Alabama:

See also by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach “My Weekend With the Dalai Lama and His Portable Homeland” in the New York Observer.


See also

Concise articles by academic experts

Concise handouts about the protesters’ background by former members of the group

 Last edited on October, 28, 2014 at 9:36 am