Journalism or politics; it can be difficult to realize the difference. This disparity can be unearthed in the recent work of a New Zealand reporter, Anke Richter, who wrote several cult-related articles. Richter has over the last few years joined a special niche of “cult bashers.” She’s not a remarkable or famous journalist but exhibits some notable writing talents. Looking her up online, I was immediately greeted with her smiling profile picture that successfully offered up an approachable aura of friendliness. Although, profiled next to her rests the scowl-faced picture of Be Scofield. I enjoyed reading several of Richter’s articles, but was disturbed by her blind fascination and support for Scofield. Who I believe is the most distinguishable sham journalist in the US, at least when it comes to spiritual intolerance. In fact, it was that cult connection between the two of them that first goaded me to research Richter’s work.
Like Scofield, she’s written several articles on religious cults. But unlike Scofield’s fact-less debaucheries of ethical journalism, Richter’s are relatively well researched, and mostly, exhibit an evenhanded approach. My initial feelings when I first lit up her website on my laptop screen was that I’d find another bigot. Honestly, I couldn’t find much to criticize in her articles. Instead, I read her work with real interest. But there is also something else there, that nagging indicator of something more going on; her unquestionable, almost pet-like dutiful support for Scofield. As a result, my admiration for Richter’s work aversely transitioned into future-visions of her journalistic career going down in flames. Which is inevitable. It’s only a matter of time before Scofield’s debauchery and manipulated hit pieces are exposed for what they are. When that happens, any associated praise-writers like Richter will most certainly go down the drain with her. When the sagacious and long-awaited critical voice of reason comes forward to set things right, which in the long run, it always does, we’ll unfortunately not remember Richter as a promising social journalist, but as someone who was on the wrong side of the tracks.
I read one of Richter’s articles, where she commendably criticized an uncomfortable indifference of NZ citizens who allowed a Neo-Nazi group to briefly participate in an anti-supremacy-oriented public symposium. I certainly understand indifference. I encounter it frequently in my line of work. I agreed wholeheartedly with Richter’s professed anti-Nazi perspectives. She began her article by announcing herself as German born. As an expert on intolerance movements because she’s someone who carries subliminal cultural residuals left over from a horrible era when her country fell under the spell of Hitler’s Nazi hate and prejudice campaign. The irony of that only came to the fore when I realized just how hypocritical that article was in the greater context of her work. There it was, in plain sight, Richter’s claim to be defending our world against intolerant haters, posted alongside her obedient support for a known hate instigator, Be Scofield. Who like Hitler, uses lies and manipulations to inspire angry emotions to get her audience to hate with her. Here was a talented journalist, professing to be an advocate for acceptance and racial equality, blindly voicing support for that age-old monster of fact-less propaganda. How does that not mask a secret agenda of spiritual bigotry. Is racial bigotry so dissimilar from spiritual or religious bigotry? Wasn’t the Jewish religion a vital part of Hitler’s campaign of hate? How is trading one form of hate for another okay? I say that confidently because there is a profound difference between supporting factually reported wrongs committed by real cult leaders, juxtaposed to blindly supporting a charlatan fake news blogger who regularly cooks up deceptions and assassination pieces on any spiritual leader she can find to gain fame and recognition.
In order to write this piece objectively, I had to get past an uneasy impression haunting my mind, planted there by an international colleague, a professional corporate crime investigator, Herr Fromm, who stated emphatically, “Anke Richter is not who she claims to be, there’s something deceptively surreal living beneath her public persona.”” Rifling through his collection of comments, I found that his research was revealing, but inconclusive. Without more irrefutable evidence that specified exactly what that deceptiveness is, I defaulted to a wait-and-see approach. He may be right, but my topical impression is that Richter is a genuinely decent reporter. But one question remained with me all the same; why would Richter, who knows how to do investigative research, repeatedly support a disreputable “guru basher,” without first reconnoitering to determine if her articles are based on fact or illusion? It rarely takes me more than a few minutes to see through Scofield’s smoke and mirrors and fake cult scenarios, and merely a few hours more to catalogue all the falsification of facts she deliberately uses to sell her agenda.
What was yet unresolved for me was how banally Richter rushed in to aid Scofield by publishing Scofield praise pieces, as if she’s secretly bound to an unseen agreement to jump to her aid whenever her real agenda-hiding defenses fail. Scofield nauseatingly brags about herself and recurrently praises herself on her websites, which she likewise does at the beginning of each of her articles. She laughably promotes herself as star-studded and famous, as if someone else is applauding her, and reliably posts that tired out self-branding statement, “Scofield is the most prominent cult Journalist in the world.” She works that brand ongoing, along with her half-true and half-fake placement of credentials. Entering her website, or reading any of her shoddily written articles, is like driving down a road to a land of make-believe, with a long row of Scofield-aggrandizing billboards lining the way. Where the wise refuse to go, Richter shows up loyally, like an eager dog carrying her praise in its mouth. Why would Richter, who has talent, and a promising journalistic career, do that?
Scofield is about to release a new book, that she titles “Toxic Spirituality.” No reputable publishing house would touch it. Scofield will have to self-publish. The reason those publishing houses gave for not accepting her work as publishable, wasn’t her shoddy writing skills, it was because they were unwilling to be sued for her libelous content. Every publishing house that Scofield contacted understood that. Is that so hard for Richter to understand? Doing my best to make sense of that fact, I started to surmise, there’s something else going on. I decided to take another look at Fromm’s research on Richter, and mix it up with a warning given to me by a private New York based investigator. He offered me the following information after I asked him if he could provide some insight on Scofield’s secret life. He did so because we agreed to exchange gathered notes.
“He answered, “It appears Scofield’s crowd funding may just be a clever cover that supports her carefully strategized underdog championing profile. There might be a stealth company of wealthy religious fanatics, and possibly a few foreign entities, who are secretly funding her unique needs that are committed to the downfall of any newly emerging or highly influential spiritual groups. Subsidizing her travel fees, housing and food costs, digital expenses, and if ever needed, any legal costs. If true, her crowd funding effectively serves as a laundering scam that explains her ability to always have the required funds to do what she intends.”
While this above statement sounds fantastical. I assure you, it isn’t. Since I wrote that article, I received a few emails from Scofield’s fed up ex-followers who confirmed the same. You might well ask, what does this have to do with Richter? Possibly nothing, or possibly everything! A genuine investigative journalist is compelled by ethics to always do his or her best to get all the facts right before publishing a piece. Richter does a fairly good job of that in her usual pieces. But when it comes to praising Scofield, oddly, facts don’t seem to matter. Her praise pieces reek of a political agenda. On closer examination, it appears notably strange that a NZ reporter would be monitoring the activities of someone like Scofield. There is this, — The common denominator between them is they are both pushing the same agenda. The difference is Richter is doing her work somewhat responsibly, Scofield is doing her work deceitfully. Though their portrayed motivating agenda is identical, linking them to a common thread.
We’re all too familiar with politically motivated news. We suitably call it “fake news.” The goal in publishing fake news is to promote agenda over facts. Fake news is reliably funded or promoted by unseen agents. Is the shared, almost identical, theme that exists between Richter and Scofield evidence of a common clandestine connection? Does Richter’s lack of concern for facts, when offered in praise of specific Scofield articles, reveal a political schema? Does this suggest a shared involvement with concealed agents, and possibly stealth funders? Is there a support source of elite funders backing Scofield, and possibly also Richter, who hope to eradicate or destroy all newly forming and influential spiritual groups? First through branding them as cults, and then through using one blogger-journalist as their do-anything-say-anything attack dog, and another as her public exonerator?