Media Reviews

UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Charles Duhigg’s New York Times Podcast: “Change Agent”

The “Change Agent” podcast is a five-episode series by The New York Times. It is hosted by Charles Duhigg, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and author of “The Power of Habit” and “Smarter Faster Better.” It uses real-life problems to try and solve a surprising story. (When we worked on the podcast last year, Duhigg was

Undue Influence, The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu, and Current Events

Hulu has created a television series based on Margaret Atwood’s book, The Handmaid’s Tale, and it is highly recommended viewing*. Last year, Hulu produced The Path and I was interviewed by Vanity Fair for my perspective. This time, I am blogging about The Handmaid’s Tale as I believe this is a very upsetting but well

The Heaven’s Gate Tragedy–The 20th Anniversary of an American Doomsday Cult Disaster

On March 26, 1997, the bodies of 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate cult were discovered by police. Poisoned, and with plastic bags over their heads, these victims of cult mind control were forever lost to their friends and families. This story, which gained worldwide attention, illustrates just how dangerous undue influence can be and

Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath

When I first heard that Leah Remini planned to make a show about Scientology, I was cautiously optimistic. Not that many celebrities have been brave enough to share their stories, much less want to really go further than the HBO Going Clear documentary. After watching the first episode, I am happy to say that Leah

Holy Hell Documentary Shows How Cult Leader Raped Followers for Years

Imagine spending over twenty-two years of your life believing you are one of the select few who knows the secrets of the universe– only to discover the world that you live in is really a brainwashing cult. This is the story behind Holy Hell. Will Allen, the filmmaker who made this documentary from 20 years

Rush Limbaugh and Roger Ailes

Roger Ailes, FOX News, Right-Wing Talk Shows, and Undue Influence Techniques

Fox News channel boss Roger Ailes was recently forced to resign amid allegations of sexual harassment. The suit, filed by Gretchen Carlson, has opened up a window into what was apparently a pervasive work culture of discrimination, intimidation, and harassment. Back in 1996, Roger Ailes teamed up with Rupert Murdoch to create Fox News as

New Book on Patty Hearst Falls Short of Understanding Undue Influence

I recently read a NY Times book review of AMERICAN HEIRESS: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst by Jeffrey Toobin and listened to an interview done with the author on NPR. Honestly, I was horrified at his lack of knowledge and understanding about undue influence and disagreed 100% with

An Interview with Cracked.com

Just recently, I had the pleasure of being interviewed for a podcast entitled “Modern Cults (Are Scarier Than Jonestown)” by Jack O’Brien of Cracked.com. The show was a long one, and in the first segment author Karen Stollznow discussed why America is such a good breeding ground for cults. I particularly liked that she discussed,

gavel

Important New Model Offers Legal Guidelines for Cases Involving Undue Influence

Forty years ago, I was deprogrammed from the Moonies and months later I agreed to do involuntary deprogrammings with fellow cult members. During that time, parents had the legal recourse to help their adult children involved with cults. Families could go before a judge, and petition the court for a one week ex-parte “conservatorship” giving

picture of Yo-Yo Ma

Creativity, Spontaneity, All Spring from the Authentic Self: Silk Road Project Film

By World Economic Forum from Cologny, Switzerland [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons This week my family was invited to an advanced showing of a new documentary, The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble which will be premiering in NY, LA and other places in June. I invite you to