In the first half, investigative reporter Nicholas Schou revealed how leading journalists and media are manipulated by the secretive agencies they cover such as the CIA. While in the past, the CIA employed reporters and editors in various media outlets, this practice was banned by Congress, so now the organization relies on more subtle ways to control certain members of the press, he suggested. Schou dug deeply into the Gary Webb case – Webb was a San Jose Mercury News reporter who revealed that a group of Contra rebels in Nicaragua were supplying crack cocaine to drug gangs in Los Angeles. Webb was subjected to savage attacks by major newspapers, all of whom used anonymous CIA sources to debunk his claims, Schou recounted. The CIA later admitted that much of what Webb wrote was true, but by then he'd been driven out of journalism and eventually committed suicide.
The CIA has tried to build a positive relationship with Hollywood in recent decades, hiring a covert operations expert to help rehabilitate the agency's image, said Schou. Films like Argo and Zero Dark Thirty depict the CIA in a favorable light, he noted, as well as TV series such as Homeland, Alias, and 24. As an example of how the CIA helped shape their own portrayal, Zero Dark Thirty suggested that torture and sophisticated spy techniques were used to track down bin Laden. In actuality, as journalist Seymour Hersh reported, the CIA learned of bin Laden's location by paying an informant reward money.
In the latter half, NDE researcher and founder of the Near Death Experience Research Foundation, Jeffrey Long, M.D., discussed the findings in the largest near-death experience study in history, involving 3,000 people from diverse backgrounds and religious traditions, including nonbelievers. What he finds surprising is that there are consistent patterns among the participants, even though they come from different cultural backgrounds. Among the common elements are out-of-body sensations, encountering a mystical unearthly light at the end of the tunnel, seeing deceased relatives and pets, and feeling an altered sense of time and space.
The participants had gone through a life-compromising event, and were generally unconscious or even clinically dead-- "a time when no conscious experience is possible," and yet they shared these vivid, similar accounts, he noted. The study also looked at NDErs' encounters with the entity they viewed as God, which they most commonly described as initially a kind of light form, that then seems to settle on an appearance that seems best suited for them. The communications from God were telepathic and all encompassing with love-- interestingly, atheists in the study reported the same profound experience, said Long.
News segment guest: Andre Eggelletion