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Pagans in the Media

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Year: 2008 ...

The Media Witch's Look Back at 2007: Part One, TV

Year: 2007 ...

Witch Cinema 23: The Number 23

Witch Cinema 24: The Golden Compass: Magic, Daemons and Polar Bears!

Year: 2006 ...

Witch Cinema 21: The Wicker Man, 2006... What a Waste!

Witch Cinema 22: DVDs for Giving and Gazing

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Witch Cinema 20: Come Over to the Dark Side…

Year: 2004 ...

Witch Cinema 19

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Witch Cinema 17 - 2003 Wrap-Up

Year: 2003 ...

Witch Cinema 13

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Return of the King - Peg's Review

Witch Cinema 14

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Buffy: Season Finale 2002

Witch Cinema: Richard Harris

Witch Cinema 10

Witch Cinema 06

Witch Cinema 11

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Witch Cinema 07

Witch Cinema 09

Year: 2001 ...

The Mists of Avalon: Peg's Review

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: Peg's Review

The Fellowship of the Ring - Peg's Review

Witch Cinema 03

Witch Cinema 01

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Le Bijou Sorci?re! - 6/4/01 WHITE

Year: 2000 ...

Blair Witch - The WitchVox Review

Solstice Cinema: or, What to Watch on Chilly Nights of Winter

Blair Witch - Interview with Joe Berlinger

Blair Witch II - Peg's Trip to the Webfest

Blair Witch II - How Peg Became Involved

Year: 1999 ...

Blair Witch Project - a pre-review

Blair Witch Project - an Interview with the Directors

Blair Witch Project - Movie REVIEW

Judging Amy -- A WitchVox Review

Judging Amy -- Comments Pg 1

BWP Comments 1

BWP Comments 2

BWP Comments 6

Judging Amy -- Comments Pg 2

BWP Comments 3

BWP Comments 5

BWP Comments 7

Judging Amy -- Comments Pg 3

BWP Comments 4

Year: 1998 ...

Practical Magic: Curses and Hauntings and Love Spells, Oh My!

Charmed - Initial Thoughts

48 HOURS: *Not* Burning the Midnight Oil Doing Homework...

X-Files Epidode that Infuriated Witches (02/08/98)

The Clearwater - Madonna Shrine

World's Largest Cauldron comes to Salem Mass

Politics - CELLUCCI Slams Witches!!!

Year: 1997 ...

Xena, Warrior Princess

The Crucible (Peg's Review)

Witch City (The saga of Salem)

X-Files Epidode that Infuriated Witches

Sonys The Craft

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Article Specs

Article ID: 2115

VoxAcct: 3

Section: media

Age Group: Adult

Days Up: 8,044

Times Read: 27,408

48 HOURS: *Not* Burning the Midnight Oil Doing Homework...

Author: Peg Aloi [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: January 16th. 1998
Times Viewed: 27,408

The tabloid-style news program known as 48 HOURS presented a show tonight with several loosely-connected segments, all of which dealt with teenage violence and suicide. Some of the stories are well-known from recent news media attention:

  • the "conspiracy" shooting in a high school in Pearl, Mississippi, which left two students dead and seven wounded;

  • the suicides, both attempted and successful, of a group of teens in Keokuk, Iowa;

  • the suspended sentence of two teenagers convicted of brutally murdering 23 cats in an animal shelter.

The program linked these stories with the rise of teens' interest in Satan worship and "the occult." In seedy tabloid style, 48 HOURS merged images of Marilyn Manson with the cover of Anton LaVey's The Satanic Bible. A red, inverted pentagram was shown at least five times. Perhaps most disturbing, the word "Witchcraft" was used in tandem with "Satanism" a number of times. One teenage girl was detained in jail for a month after providing a friend with the bullets he used to shoot himself. Now, while aiding a suicide is a crime in most states, the program attempted to link this girl's "criminal" behavior with her interest in "witchcraft and spells." If this doesn't make every sixteen-year-old with a copy of Scott Cunningham's Witchcraft Today on her bookshelf nervous, I don't know what will!

Many teens these days express interest in alternative spiritual paths. 48 HOURS wants viewers to believe that such an interest will lead to violent behavior. Such vague "connections" make very dangerous information to portray on a supposed "news" show. Many viewers assume (wrongly, unfortunately) that such shows portray only truth and well-documented research. But if the show's "researchers" (and I use the term loosely) were able to dig up a number of websites on Satanism (which they showed in full color), why on earth were they unable to see the many websites devoted to the peaceful, nature-revering religion that is Modern Witchcraft? Perhaps because tree-hugging hippies and candle-burning magicians aren't "sexy journalism, " but troubled teens who turn to Satan are?

It is disappointing that this show made no attempt to link these kids' home lives or with their problems..In keeping with the very American practice of pointing the finger everywhere but at ourselves, these kids were said to be troubled (depressed, psychotic, etc.) because of their involvement with devil worship; as opposed to their being disturbed or unstable before they delved into it! Better to ask what about their lives was so painful or horrible that they would be driven to such extremes?

A kid raised in a supportive, loving environment is not very likely to walk into the school cafeteria with a hunting rifle and start firing. But by equating this kind of behavior with an interest in "the occult, " 48 HOURS sends the message that a teenager interested in pagan religious beliefs is also prone to such behavior. Why no effort was made to distinguish between Neo-Paganism and Witchcraft on the one hand, and Satanism or devil worship on the other, is perplexing to say the least, especially when so much information about modern Witchcraft exists in books, magazines and on the Internet.

Of course, to make the show look "professional, " there was the obligatory "Occult and Ritual Crime Expert" who gives lectures and advises police detectives on these matters. At one point, this "expert" showed a hand symbol, made with the index finger and pinky raised, explaining it was "the horns of the goat, " or a satanic symbol. To anyone who knows sign language, this symbol also means (surprise!) "I love you." So much for expertise...

Of course teenagers are always going to get involved in rebellious beliefs and activities...but the sociopathic, violent acts like the ones mentioned are signs of a profoundly-disturbed interest in "evil" or "the devil" is merely a symptom of someone who is poorly socialized, not the cause of that poor socialization! Thousands of teens listen to Marilyn Manson's music and don't kill themselves, or their classmates. Blaming a rock star for inciting violent crime is a sad commentary on the state of responsibility and accountability in our nation.

Feel free to tell 48 hours what you think and remember that a quick piece of snail mail has more impact than email, but feel free to do both....

48 Hours
524 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10019
(212) 975-3247

Web Site:

To order a transcript, call: (800) 777-TEXT
To order a videotape, call: (800) 338-4847

Thank you Nitewing for grabbing this contact info for us to share with the community.

also check out Jane's "Pagans and the Press" in our White pages section (thanks Diotima).

CBS and 48 HOURS have some explaining to do... it is simply unacceptable for a so-called "news" show to make such an ignorant blunder as equating Modern Witchcraft with Satan worship...anyone educated about comparative religions knows this, and CBS should have researched this matter more thoroughly. Instead, this show contained much misleading symbolism and information... taking some horrible crimes and equating them with occult activity, then failing to mention the clear differences between devil worship and Neo-paganism...and this could harm teens who have a legitimate interest in earth-centered spirituality.

Email: [Staff Email]
Media Coordinator - Witches Voice


Peg Aloi

Location: Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts

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