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Media dupes, Oprah, Orson Wells, Dan Rather

The Da Vinci Code--Chasing Down Dan Brown

Father B.F. Heffernan
Sunday, May 7, 2006

(A lot of people are grousing about the soon-to-be released, The Da Vinci Code. Canadian priest, Father Bernard F. Heffernan, will be right on site when the film is released at the Cannes Film Festival on Tuesday, where he will launch The First Religious Music Festival Cannes, 2006 at a church directly across from the Festival pavilion.)

Oprah Winfrey is one of America's top female daytime TV hosts. She's a judge of good books, which she sometimes suggests to her viewers. Oprah got so enthused about James Fry's story about his own life; that she praised him to the roof only to find out later that she had been duped. He never did many of the things listed in his "Million Pieces". Oprah had been duped; her credibility shaken. More than angry; more like rage, Oprah brought him back on her show to apologize to her audience. Media people don't like to be duped. It's serious. It cost TV news anchorman, Dan Rather, his job.

One of the first famous media dupers was Orson Wells. Back in the late 1930s, he fooled his nighttime radio audience into believing that the Martians were invading Planet Earth and were devouring all in their path. So vivid were his heinous descriptions of the people from outer space that many of the radio audience fled to safety. Some frightened fleers killed themselves in car wrecks.

Of course, we sophisticates think that we could never be duped. We're just too educated; too street wise; too space wise; so televisioned; so telescoped and so media informed. No! There couldn't be another Orson Wells. But there is.

His name is Dan Brown. Just as Orson Wells shook America, so Dan Brown shook the religious tenets of many Americans and many people around the world. Many added fuel to the fire. It was growing by the minute, aided and abetted by a duped media; the very people at whose feet we sit every evening religiously watching the evening news. Mostly, the news segments parroted Dan Brown--spelling the end of Christianity; the end of the credibility of its moral leader; the end of Christ; the end of his followers called Christians; the end of Christian morality. Welcome to the shacking up of Jesus and Mary Magdalene

But one media group refused to buy it. That was the crew of CBS TV's 6O Minutes. They sent a TV crew to France, where the story supposedly took place, to film the findings of host Ed Bradley. What they found shot down Dan Brown's book the Da Vinci Code exploding it like the German Dirigible of the 1930s.

The Da Vinci Code never shocked or fooled anyone who knows the history of Christianity. But what shocked them was how it could dupe the religious illiterates on this pagan planet.

But with the Code's cover having been blown by CBS's60 Minutes, many websites and mainstream newspaper editorials are taking a second look. Nobody likes to be duped. That includes the news media where careers depend on being trustworthy.

But where can one find the truth about The Da Vinci Code? The search site `Google' has over 200 English Websites dedicated to it. About three quarters of them follow Duper Dan. But now 60 Minutes has rattled his credibility. (He wouldn't appear on the show).

This year's Cannes Film Festival will be showing all the new movies for two weeks this month, starting with the May 14 showing of The Da Vinci Code. With its shaky credibility, organizers probably wish they never put it on the show list, but with programs printed it's too late for change. Much of the media of the world will be there, hunting down Dan Brown asking repeatedly "Dan! Why did you lie?" "Why did you lie!"

I, and a team of Cannes' volunteers, will be just across the street from the Festival Pavilion at the Notre Dame Church, which will be decorated with banners, books, videos, DVDs, leaflets, pamphlets of many different languages, etc. We will have joyful music in the church, choirs, solosand instrumental, with prayer and devotions which people can join or listen to, while browsing the display. I'll play the keyboard on the steps. Famous and non-famous singers will be welcomed to perform religious songs, for which they will receive a certificate for having performed at the First Religious Music Festival in Cannes 2006.

People are welcome to participate in the religious ceremonies conducted by their good pastor. Perhaps cookies and coffee can be served in a nearby room or on the lawn.

Father B.F Heffernan is a priest and a columnist for Canada Free Press.
Father Heffernan can be reached at: [email protected]
Columns 2007 2006