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Scientology Church hires reporters to investigate newspaper

Discussion in 'Media' started by Triumph, Feb 21, 2010.

  1. Anonymous Member

    Re: Scientology Church hires reporters to investigate newspaper

    holy crap!
  2. Belladonna Member

  3. Anonymous Member

    Re: Scientology Church hires reporters to investigate newspaper

    Before I trust anything that Rinder says it would be nice to get verification.


    Can't find a specific producer for Nightline when the interview occurred. Before people get out of hand on this it would be nice to know it is true.


    "ABC News Nightline" (1980) - Full cast and crew
  4. Relyt Member

    Re: Scientology Church hires reporters to investigate newspaper

    In case anyone missed it the first time: http://www.wusf.usf.edu/sites/default/files/Tommy Davis Neil Brown Steve Weinberg interviews.mp3

    Really an interview worth listening to.

    1. Tommy Davis sort of dodges around the question about him breaching contract and says he and the church are free to release any information they please, or not.

    2. Tommy claims that Freedom Magazine is a "Award-winning publication". Is he talking about awards given by COS Int., or some independent source?

    3. When the interviewer asks if there's anything he missed, Tommy goes off on a big rave about how great Scientology is, all the "humanitarian work" they do, how the VM's are the first to arrive at a disaster scene to help (like a news station bragging about how their helicopters were the first ones to the scene of an accident), and how there are millions of members in the US, and millions more in other countries, etc.

    4. Neil Brown is interviewed after Tommy Davis, about the investigation and why SP Times declines to take part in it.

    5. Steve Weinberg is interviewed. In his language, he seems to have a negative view on Scientology. Says that it wasn't immediately clear that Freedom was related to Scientology, and that he only agreed to edit the piece with no original contribution to the writing. He even says at one point toward the end:

    "...if the church approached me... "church"... I wouldn't even use that word... if the SCIENTOLOGISTS approached me..."
  5. Anonymous Member

    Re: Scientology Church hires reporters to investigate newspaper

    Oh, I'ma gonna paste the comments here, for safety:

  6. PodPeople Member

    Re: Scientology Church hires reporters to investigate newspaper

    Poynter, Romenesko's Article, Feedback from
    Betty Medsger, a former Washington Post reporter, was the founder of the Center for the Integration and Improvement of Journalism at San Francisco State University. She currently is a writer and journalism education consultant based in New York. (vivajournalism@rcn.com)

    Poynter Online - Romenesko

    "It's all right for those three journalists to conduct an investigation for Scientologists. They just shouldn't call it journalism. Call it an investigation on behalf of a paying client. It's a shame that Steve Weinberg compared their taking money form Scientologists to investigate an organization Scientologists are suing to the new journalism organizations that are raising money from foundations to support journalism. Some people have suggested that those news organizations are going to have a hard time being independent of their funding sources. But most are trying desperately to be independent. Weinberg's claim that this project paid for by Scientology is in the same ballpark as those foundation-funded new groups just made it more difficult for them to claim integrity."
  7. grebe Member

    Re: Scientology Church hires reporters to investigate newspaper

    I am not following your argument.

    You seem to be saying that investigating journalists is a good idea, to keep them honest.

    I would argue that there must first be evidence of wrong doing before an investigation is indicated.

    I would further argue that the CoS's investigation of the SP Times is an attempt to bully reporters for daring to write unflattering articles about the church. This response from the CoS is akin to shooting the messenger. It's not a rational response to a critical message. At best it's an ad hominem, a non sequiteur. But categorizing it as such implies the CoS is attempting civil discourse. I think it's doing no such thing.

    Journalists need to collectively call bullshit on the church's behavior here. Too many good reporters have been subjected to these upsetting tactics for too many years.

    Time to say,

    ENOUGH!



    Anons respect good journalists and would back 'em for taking a stand against this fair game bullshit, amirite?
  8. DeathHamster Member

    Re: Scientology Church hires reporters to investigate newspaper

    There's a claimed sort-of award "2006 first prize in the category, 'Writing for the Web', by the National Federation of Press Women" which CoS misrepresents as "Top Prize for Investigative Journalism". The only non-CoS reference to this on the net is a frikking Excel spreadsheet at the NFPW site. Yah, that just resonates with class and distinction!

    TeamScientology desperately keeps trying to jam dubious awards into the Freedom Wikipedia article, but never with any reliable third-party sources.
  9. Belladonna Member

  10. Anonymous Member

    Re: Scientology Church hires reporters to investigate newspaper

    I am saying that there is nothing wrong with getting an outside view on an article you do not agree with. And that I think that is a common, sane thing to do. However I don't necessarily believe that was the CoS's intent.

    When you argue that there must be evidence before an investigation is started I disagree. What if for example someone had no reason to believe that there was not an alien overlord named Xenu 75 million years ago. A person could accept it as fact with out questioning if there was any evidence in support of it. If a person never doubted LRH's integrity simply because they never met a person who did that could lead someone to a wrong conclusion.

    You are probably right in saying that this investigation was intended to bully the SPT. But that isn't really the issue. I would even go one further and speculate this is a fishing expedition to see if they can find a way to bring a law suit against the SPT, or at least cast a shadow of doubt against future articles.

    If the journalists wish to call bullshit they should write about the real issues not some unpublished report, but they are to afraid of becoming the story because of some implied barrier.

    Yes, this anon respects good journalism particularly when so little of it has been done on the subject of Scientology. And if the SPT deserves the respect it has gotten from us, it can withstand the criticism it gets. In the unlikely situation that David Miscavige is a wonderful person, who was subject to an attack with no merit wouldn't you want a hit-job article written about him to be held to scrutiny ? Truth is truth, it is not what people perceive to be true. And when you have people who have admittedly said their job was to lie to the press for years, including one who stands to gain thousands of dollars from the publicity, I don't think it is unethical to take a second look and not follow the SPT blindly, and would think that the SPT should welcome further investigation.
  11. BLiP Member

    Re: Scientology Church hires reporters to investigate newspaper

    Maybe we can get an idea of what Weinberg *really* thinks at 32:47 into the recording when he says:

    " . .. I wouldn't have been interested if the Church had approached me - 'Church', I don't even use that word - if the $cientologists had approached me . . . "

    His contempt for the Scilons is obvious.
  12. Belladonna Member

    Re: Scientology Church hires reporters to investigate newspaper

    Hahaha those images of the reel-to-reel were really pretty.

    Thanks for doing that.
  13. grebe Member

    Re: Scientology Church hires reporters to investigate newspaper

    Regardless of his feelings, Steve Weinberg helped Scientology in its fair game project against the SP Times. Actions speak louder than words.

    Scientology has been bullying journalists for fifty years. Time to say

    ENOUGH!

    I want the CoS to declare a moratorium on fucking with journalists for the next 20 years to make up for all the bullshit they've pulled to date.

    I want to see 20 years of utterly polite behavior toward reporters from the Church of Scientology.

    If a reporter is an asshole to a Scientologist, I want the Scientologist to apologize for the church's long history of assholishness to reporters and then say, "Your rudeness toward me is understandable."

    If its raining and a Scientologist sees a journalist without an umbrella, the Scientologist should donate his umbrella to the journalist.

    No complaints from the CoS about any journalist for the next 20 years. Then, only then, will I believe the CoS is serious about engaging in civil discourse with the rest of us.

    All rights rest upon a context of civil discourse. We owe nothing to any party who opts out of that context.
  14. Re: Scientology Church hires reporters to investigate newspaper

    Props go to CBS's 48 Hours for reel 2 reel shots. They have all the nice stock footage.
    Also, protip, if you have projects that are up to an hour in length, it's worth wading through all the moonspeak to setup an account.
  15. Ann O'Nymous Member

    Re: Scientology Church hires reporters to investigate newspaper

    Journalists should apply a simple policy here: the content of the report will be discussed only if it published. Full stop. Letting any scientologist comment its content is helping them, IMHO.
  16. grebe Member

    Re: Scientology Church hires reporters to investigate newspaper

    Independent investigations in the public interest should be public from start to finish unless there's good reason to keep them private.

    See "file drawer effect."
  17. DeathHamster Member

    Re: Scientology Church hires reporters to investigate newspaper

    No wonder Slappy Dave hasn't done a live interview since then.

    abc_wn_061118_miscavige_sp.jpg
    Transcript: Scientology Leader Gave ABC First-Ever Interview February 14, 1992, Ted Koppel, Nightline, ABC News
  18. grebe Member

    Re: Scientology Church hires reporters to investigate newspaper

    Review and rebuttal of the evidence presented in a news article is appropriate and happens all the time. But investigation of the reporter by someone mentioned in the article is not appropriate.

    I've posted comments critical of the CoS at WWP.net. It would be appropriate for any Scientologist to rebut my comments. It would not be appropriate for the CoS to investigate me, personally.
    Even without knowing what's in the report, the mere fact that the CoS responded to criticism with an attack upon the critics rather than a rebuttal to the criticism itself is very telling.

    Hubbard is no guide to civil discourse. For one, he cared about control, money, and power more than evidence. Secondly, he had only a high school diploma. To educated people Hubbard comes across as a rube trying to appear smart. His use of fair game only underscores the derp-derp impression.
  19. Anonymous Member

    Re: Scientology Church hires reporters to investigate newspaper

    Yet you did and do yourself investigate them. The SP times investigated them. And I believe you, and the SPT have every right to do so. But when handling public relations the rule of thumb is to only respond to people you wish to be given any validity.

    You may have heard people say things like " I am not going to dignify that with a response". That is the basic strategy of the CoS. By your logic I don't see how it would be possible to discuss coerced abortions. The CoS didn't bring them up as a topic of conversation. We have people reporting that they were coerced into having an abortion, but in order to give that claim any validity we have to make a judgement about that person. If a man said it, it would not be credible because obviously men can't have abortions. You must do some investigation of the person making claims to be diligent. Just like when the SPT was diligent when they asked repeatedly to speak to David Miscavige, and then made a reasonable judgment that he would not respond and was trying to kill the article by wasting the reporter's time. With investigation of David Miscavige, and the attitude of Tommy Davis the SPT gave him no credibility and determined he would not sit for an interview. Your own rules of civil discourse would not have allowed the "truth rundown" articles to have been printed.

    I agree with much of what you have written above but feel you making the statements above are hypocritical to what you have been preaching against in your last several posts. However I feel they have the right to do so, I also think it is bad manners. Not equivalent to or worse than murder as you have stated previously.
  20. Belladonna Member

  21. grebe Member

    Re: Scientology Church hires reporters to investigate newspaper

    "Investigation" might be the sticking point between us.

    A CoS "investigation" is typically a fishing expedition for illegal, immoral, or incompetent behavior in someone's past that can be used to embarrass the person into silence.

    What you describe above relates to the chain of evidence:
    - Reporters must cite their sources and establish whether the source has direct personal knowledge of the relevant facts or is merely repeating hearsay.
    - Reporters also must note whether the source has any compelling reason to lie or distort their testimony.
    - Background info on the source relevant to expertise and reliability as a witness is reasonable to include.

    Journalists can be eye witnesses, but most often they are summarizing the statements of others.

    If a journalist has misrepresented someone's statements in an article --not an uncommon problem-- the person should call or write to the newspaper to explain. The paper will print a retraction if indicated.

    If an article omits important information about an incident or issue, the concerned party should write a letter to the editor about that. He or she might approach another journalist to write a more accurate summary of the facts.

    tl;dr: Data relevant to the chain of evidence have nothing to do with investigative fishing expeditions against journalists.
  22. PodPeople Member

    Re: Scientology Church hires reporters to investigate newspaper

    Another excerpt of Ed Brayton's in that piece:

    "As for accepting payment from the church, they said: 'We were as objective in doing this job as we were in pursuing all the other assignments we've done for news organizations during the past 25 years.'

    Of course you were. Because you waited until the check cleared."
  23. grebe Member

    Re: Scientology Church hires reporters to investigate newspaper

    The issue is not about "rights" but about weighing evidence rationally rather than arbitrarily.

    Insisting upon proper application of rules of evidence IS more important than any single murder case. That's why we let criminals --even murderers-- walk when police violate rules of civil procedure in their collection of evidence.

    There's a time for scrutinizing journalists who might be misbehaving. That time is specifically NOT when those journalists have placed evidence against you in the press. Your first duty at that moment is to respond to that evidence.

    If members of the CoS have evidence that the SP Times reporters aren't doing their job appropriately, that's a second matter. They should present their evidence to the public and should call for the appropriate parties to look further into the matter.
  24. tikk Member

    Re: Scientology Church hires reporters to investigate newspaper

    I generally agree with the above. My take on this is that journalists and their reporting shouldn't be taken at face value because they have biases and prejudices of their own; editorial boards have biases and prejudices. No one is exempt, although the best outlets are aware of this reality and work hard to keep those biases and prejudices in check. But they shouldn't be off limits for discussion.

    But there's a wide gulf between discussion (i.e., letters to the editor, subsequent articles in other publications) and an counter-investigation paid for by the target of a prior investigation, the latter which raises serious appearances problems, as Weinberg et al. have discovered too late.

    I could imagine a scenario where a counter-investigation might be proper if the original investigation had abandoned basic journalistic principles to the extent that it gave rise to an inference that the paper was exercising some improper motivation. But that didn't really happen here: the St. Pete Times found multiple ex-members with corroborating stories about DM's physical abuse, amongst other things. Scientology was given ample opportunity to respond, and did so--the Times carved out space and printed their response verbatim.

    The reporters who took Scientology's money might counter that the Times should've interviewed DM for the piece, but DM's response was a transparent delay tactic, demanding that the interview take place months after the request was made. And we know this was a delay tactic because of the full-court press by Scientology to prevent it from coming out demonstrated just how much this was priority number one within Scientology; to suggest that DM couldn't be interviewed for months because he had something more important to do is preposterous.

    It's difficult to come up with a hard and fast rule as to when an investigation into a news outlet is warranted, but since we've ample evidence that one wasn't warranted here, the journalists who took Scientology's money and conducted the investigation have to overcome the obvious inference that they're paid-for cult whores.
  25. Anonymous Member

    Re: Scientology Church hires reporters to investigate newspaper

    Really ?
    Jayson Blair - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    and from 2 weeks ago
    Times Reporter Accused of Plagiarism Is Said to Resign - NYTimes.com

    And if there was not a fishing expedition against a DA in this matter reporters would have continued to crucify these men:
    2006 Duke University lacrosse case - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Do you believe that the DA and reporters were rightfully investigated in the above cases?

    Journalists, politicians, and "religious leaders" know their integrity is very important to the public and if they do not want to be judged by the sum of their actions they should stay out of those fields. It should not be a surprise for a journalist that a cult leader is treating his exposure similarly to how a politician might.

    We are talking about journalists not police or a court of law.
    The question is which is more important
    a) Being a murderer or the fact that someone was murdered?
    b) Having a newspaper report that you are a murderer or that people were killed ?
  26. Rockyj Member

    Re: Scientology Church hires reporters to investigate newspaper


    Very well said!
    All of this really makes Co$ look like fools without any sort of creditability!
  27. PodPeople Member

    Re: Scientology Church hires reporters to investigate newspaper

    Hmm, it's getting to be like a snowball rolled down the hill:

    http://www.getreligion.org/?p=27368

    Beginning excerpt:
    "It’s got to be hard being the Church of Scientology. Germany doesn’t want you; Wikipedia has banned your computers; protesters are trying to separate Beck from your fold; guys with samurai swords are challenging your guards; and all that Xenu talk just won’t go away.

    Add to that the relentless, and outstanding, investigative efforts of Jedi reporters at the St. Petersburg Times and, yeah, you’d be ticked too. That’s why the Church of Scientology has decided to strike back:..."
  28. Rockyj Member

    Re: Scientology Church hires reporters to investigate newspaper

    First I am in awe of all the research you do & how you find all this info so fast!

    Second, I hadn't read Richard's acceptance speech before and it actually brought tears to my eyes, especially when he shared parts of the letters he received from ex-scientologists.

    Third, what's really sad that happened in 1992! CAN did go out of business & very little media attention has been given to the cult during that 16 year span, until Anonymous announced its famous "You Tube" video pledging to end the cult's abuses!

    All the questions STILL need to be answered by our government, WHY HAVEN'T THEY STEPPED IN? Congressman Ryan took the time & lost his life trying save American citizens from another dangerous cult.
    I just don't understand our governments lack of involvement.
    If cult membership is considered too small to be concerned with is no excuse!
    There were ONLY about 1000 people living in Jonestown.
    He actually went there to investigate and save a few that were able to get word to him that they were being held against their will.
    Basically, Congressman Ryan lost his life to save a few people that wanted out of the cult! And our government is not willing to listen to or investigate all the RPF false imprisonments claims from former cult members?
    That's chicken shit & bull shit all rolled in one!
  29. Belladonna Member

    Re: Scientology Church hires reporters to investigate newspaper

    Yeah, reporters just don't liek this chilling effect.
  30. Rockyj Member

    Re: Scientology Church hires reporters to investigate newspaper

    I wonder why Co$ & others don't mention this?
  31. Re: Scientology Church hires reporters to investigate newspaper

    I'm surprised that the Co$ isn't talking lawsuits by now. Hell, it worked with Time magazine...
  32. Ann O'Nymous Member

    Re: Scientology Church hires reporters to investigate newspaper

    Winning was not the issue to starting them. Change of strategy, IMHO.
  33. Anonymous Member

    Re: Scientology Church hires reporters to investigate newspaper

    Scientology vs. TIME suit dismissed

    If you call getting the case dismissed working.

  34. Re: Scientology Church hires reporters to investigate newspaper

    I think Scientology does consider that working.

    It certainly scared off a lot of otherwise credible news agencies from reporting on stories related to them for a long time.

    Winning is not the goal by LRH policy, harassing the "enemy" and bogging down the judicial process are worth paying millions for to protect the evil scam.
  35. Re: Scientology Church hires reporters to investigate newspaper

    ^^^^
    This.

    Why else comission something like that and just leave it alone?

    The answer is: you feed it to your lawyers and let them do the dirty work. And what better witnesses than 3 'credible' reporters?

    /speculation
  36. DeathHamster Member

    Re: Scientology Church hires reporters to investigate newspaper

    Most news outfits just couldn't afford the insurance to protect themselves against those kind of costs just to win a case. (And CoS was asking for $415 million damages if Time lost.)

    Scientology may have lost that case, but the chilling effect lasted until recently. I'm sure that many reporters were told that Scientology stories were off-limits, and many papers and book publishers folded without a fight to CoS legal threats.

    e-book version of Cruise biography could lead to legal action in Australia January 16, 2008, Andrew Hendry, PC World
  37. Belladonna Member

    Re: Scientology Church hires reporters to investigate newspaper

    That effect still remains. The Times tippy-toes around them in its coverage. US National Public Radio's editorial leaning in Anonymous/Scientology is very, very timid. PBS won't touch it. And even cable - Penn Jillette was quoted as saying Showtime wouldn't let them do a Bullshit! episode on Scientology 'cause it didn't need the hassle.
  38. DeathHamster Member

    Re: Scientology Church hires reporters to investigate newspaper

    Yah, big outfits with ossified policies are probably slow to notice that CoS is mostly a toothless [STRIKE]rabid hyena[/STRIKE] tiger these days when it comes to actually carrying out any of its threats.

    Nathan Baca's major smackdown from local KESQ last year with no bite-back from CoS hopefully surprised a lot of people. (I'm sure that Tommy was surprsed!)

    And a big shoutout to Tom Cruise for making Scientology so newsworthy that even the most timid operation couldn't ignore them.

    Penn And Teller Take Bull By The Horns September 11, 2007, MTV News
  39. Belladonna Member

    Re: Scientology Church hires reporters to investigate newspaper

    Nice.

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