ESMB has entered archive mode. All posts and threads that were available to the general public are still readable. The board is still searchable. 

Thank you all for your participation and readership over the last 12 years.

If you want to join in the conversation, please join the new ESMB Redux at

Nightline's Scientology "Exclusive": What was Exclusive About It, Exactly?

Discussion in 'Tony Ortega' started by Lulu Belle, Mar 1, 2012.

  1. Lulu Belle

    Lulu Belle Moonbat

    Nightline's Scientology "Exclusive": What was Exclusive About It, Exactly?

    ​I had a strange and powerful case of déjà vu last night while watching Nightline's interview with Debbie Cook as she talked about being held in "the Hole" at Scientology's international base in California, where executives who fall out of favor with church leader David Miscavige are sent to rot in an office-prison for weeks, months, even years at a time.

    Well, OK, it wasn't really déjà vu I was experiencing. Which fancy French term do you use when you're seeing a news organization claim it has an "EXCLUSIVE" on an interview that quite a few of us other journalists have already heard numerous times before?
    I don't know. Anyone out there good with French? Anyone know how to say "cringeworthy mainstream media epic fail"?

    OK, I don't want to sound too harsh. I want to make it very clear that it is thrilling to see Debbie Cook taken seriously by a national news platform with such a large audience. Her story reached millions yesterday as it appeared on both Good Morning America and Nightline.

    But for those of us who have been covering Debbie Cook as a breaking story since the first few minutes of 2012, it was maddening to see the way Nightline reported her story yesterday from what could only be characterized as abject fear.

    ABC appeared so terrified of Scientology's litigious reputation, it not only allowed the church to hurl unsworn smears of her character in large quantities, but more egregiously, it failed to give any indication that Cook is only the latest of several former executives to come forward and describe the same exact allegations of abuse inside the church.

    Cook came off last night the same way she did in a Bexar County, Texas courtroom on February 9: credible, factual, and unflappable. But ABC seemed to go out of its way to make her sound like a lone voice crying out about abuses without any kind of previous corroboration.

    ABC had no excuse for presenting Cook's allegations without any kind of larger perspective or history: It's been nearly three years since Tom Tobin and Joe Childs exposed the horrors of "the Hole" in their explosive series, "The Truth Rundown" at the St. Petersburg Times (now Tampa Bay Times).

    Janet Reitman also wrote about "the Hole" in her book Inside Scientology, published last summer. And Marc Headley wrote about the horrors of the Int Base in his escape narrative Blown for Good, which came out in 2009.

    But even if we give Nightline the benefit of the doubt and assume that, as a typical view-from-nowhere national television program that can't deign to admit that it actually gets its story ideas from newspapers, magazines, and -- heaven forbid -- blogs, we still can't let Nightline off the hook on this one.

    (read the rest at VV)
  2. Lulu Belle

    Lulu Belle Moonbat

    One of the best things about this article is this posted comment....

    John P.[​IMG]

    Some of the details of Story #2 suggest that Mr. Jeffery is trying to drive a wedge between Mr. Spencer and the Church of Scientology, to remind Mr. Spencer that the risk of long-term damage to his reputation is not worth the money he's getting. And here's why he might just succeed:

    Lawyers have to work for many years in a community of lawyers. They often have to work collaboratively with opposing counsel to hammer out settlements. If you have a reputation for sleaze, or for being obnoxious and unpleasant, other attorneys will not be as willing to work constructively, which will ultimately hurt your ability to represent your clients, and to get more work from them. Repeat business is everything in corporate civil litigation.

    Spencer has to be having doubts about taking the case if his clients are stalking opposing counsel. When the word gets around the courthouse gossip mill that his clients are engaging in unprecedented sleaze and intimidation of fellow attorneys merely for representing the client, that will definitely cause people to think twice about dealing with him. Any attorney would look at what's happening to Mr. Jeffery and think, "that could be me."

    But the sleaze level of his clients by itself will not be enough to get Mr. Spencer to withdraw from the case. Instead, I'd focus on what you pointed out: Mr. Canann argued in front of the judge that his clients couldn't produce evidence because it was too much of a burden (we'll ignore the implication that this is because there are tens of thousands of videos of ex-Sea Org members signing agreements that they would have to search through to find Debbie's). But then one of the Church's lawyers was carrying the very same video that he had been told was impossible to produce when it came time to for them to make their case.

    Failing to produce relevant evidence when demanded by opposing counsel is a very serious offense -- it is the foundation of trust that the American civil litigation system is built on. And no attorney of any standing, no matter how much they are paid, would be comfortable with their client intentionally or knowingly failing to produce a key piece of evidence. So Mr. Canann goes in front of a judge, believing that his client is telling the truth about the video, and is blindsided almost immediately by the client's other lawyers. The judge cannot help but have noticed that Mr. Canann was made into a liar. While I'm sure the judge realized he was lied to, it still doesn't look good. If losing one's reputation with the other attorneys in town is a career challenge, losing one's credibility with judges is fatal. Messrs. Spencer and Canann have to be thinking about whether they are willing to risk losing credibility with judges that took 20 years to acquire. They have to work with them for another 20 years. Is the money from an out-of-town client who's never going to hire their firm for another case worth it?

    Mr. Spencer knows that the video incident meant he lost control of the hearing. Trial attorneys craft trial strategy very carefully and are obsessed with controlling the flow. They fear being surprised more than anything else, because if something unexpected happens, the carefully crafted argument that they are building can collapse instantly. There's usually no backup plan if huge elements of the case collapse. I am sure that after the other attorneys produced the video, he began to fear that they would do something else that would blow up his strategy, if not at the initial (relatively unimportant) hearing, but later in the trial. While I am sure he reamed out the other Scientology counsel after this incident, he has to be losing sleep over what else they might do.

    So Mr. Jeffery's e-mail is the beginning of a campaign to remind Scientology lawyers Spencer and Cannan that they could suffer long-term career damage by continuing to deal with Scientology. These short, snarky e-mails are just the tip of the iceberg. As other commenters have pointed out, Mr. Jeffery is the former mayor of his town and is undoubtedly close with the chief of police, and probably with the city attorney. If he continues to be followed, not only would it be easy for him to get the Scientology goons arrested, but he would also be more likely to get the prosecutor to go to trial. At trial, there would be evidence showing exactly who they're working for. That would be a major PR disaster for Mr. Spencer, if he's still representing the Church at that point.

    I would watch for any more incidents where Scientology's other lawyers subvert Mr. Spencer, making him look like a fool again in front of the judges and attorneys that he has to work with for the rest of his career. That is the catalyst that would allow him to withdraw from the case immediately and ethically (you can't just withdraw from a case because you've got another case that would pay you more money, for instance). When you couple that with increasing background pressure over the stalking of Mr. Jeffery, that increases the odds greatly that Mr. Spencer would withdraw.

    Break out the popcorn! And thanks, Tony, for having the details that show what's really going on. Unlike Nightline...
  3. Thrak

    Thrak Gold Meritorious Patron

    Yes it doesn't seem that long ago that we had Jennings, Rather, Brokaw, Koppel every night and network news still had a shred of credibility. Now you can barely tell the difference between GMA and Nightline. Sad.
  4. LA SCN

    LA SCN NOT drinking the kool-aid

    The hits just keep on comin'! :yes: :thumbsup:

    Great stuff and I hope Tony O has his own back well covered - the scilon attack machine surely has him on its short list.

    As far as ABC News goes, what do you expect from an outfit that generally withholds the FULL truth due to political pressure on any story.

    With all the show biz muckity-mucks that are scilons, it would be interesting to investigate which of them talk to ABC muckity-mucks.

    Or should I say schmuckity-schmucks? :biggrin:
  5. Mystic

    Mystic Crusader

    If it's on ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, CNN, Al Jareeza or RT, I divide it by Zero.
  6. BunnySkull

    BunnySkull Silver Meritorious Patron

    They referred to it as an "exclusive" because they actually interviewed Debbie. As far as I know she hasn't granted any one on one interviews with media outlets - besides answering a few questions after the injunction was dismissed. Plenty of media outlets have ran stories about her and showed video clips of her testimony, but she had not actually granted an interview until now. So technically it was an "exclusive interview" - not an exclusive story or a scoop. The fact she revealed nothing new in this exclusive interview didn't stop ABC from promoting the hell out of it.

    Unfortunately, for us, all she did was repeat exactly what she said on the stand but that made sense. The cult is still after her for the breach of contract suit. Anything new she would say in public, that isn't already part of a public record via her testimony that was a result of their injunction request, could be used against her in that case.

    I'm sure her lawyer carefully vetted questions and explained the limits of what she could reveal to the interviewer. He obviously thinks the media coverage gives her leverage in the case, but he's not gonna let the cult score any points by her going outside of information already on the public record.

    Information is going to be tightly controlled surrounding Debbie for awhile, but that's what a good attorney is supposed to do for a client. (Even if it sucks for us and popcorn futures.)
  7. uniquemand

    uniquemand Unbeliever

    The endless battles and personal trials experienced within the war against Scientology or to Keep Scientology Working, the internecine struggles, etc., make endlessly entertaining fodder. I hope that what results is a decision do revoke the charter of the corporations composing the Scientology, incorporated Church. Without that, it's a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
  8. koki

    koki Silver Meritorious Patron

    this all is a stage for Ronnie,Pat;and few others- according to my friend....:wink2:
    and he knows what he is talking about....:coolwink:
  9. Infinite

    Infinite Troublesome Internet Fringe Dweller

    KSW Standard L Ron Hubbard Scientology Tech


    HCO Manual of Justice, 1959, By L Ron Hubbard.
  10. Lulu Belle

    Lulu Belle Moonbat

    Although I can understand Tony being disgusted at Nightline, I have to say I really think they did a better job than they may be given credit for. We are all looking at this from the point of view of knowedge. We all have so much information about what Miscavige has done and what is going on in COS that this looks tame and flaky to us.

    But you have to remember:

    1) This show is meant for a public who really knows nothing about this stuff
    2) If anyone is in any way interested in learning more, it's just a google away.

    This letter in the "comments" section really kind of sums it up.


    Kim O'Brien[​IMG]

    I made my husband stay up last night to watch the interview . Poor bastard has heard me talking about this freak show for a year and trying to put up with me. Since I have been following all of this and knew a bit more behind the story ...i was bummed about the interview and the way it was done. My husband however ...freaked the fuck out . At 7am this morning ..instead of reading news before he went to work ...he read the Truth Rundown.


    I have to say, I think a reporter from ABC News talking about The Hole on US prime time television is a big fucking deal, no matter how much else they did wrong or not right enough.
  11. BunnySkull

    BunnySkull Silver Meritorious Patron

    Ronnie Miscavige? Pat Broker? Is your friend implying these are the bigwigs that Marty and the gang keep hinting will be coming forward this year? You can't make a quip like that and not fill in some blanks.

    I actually wondered when they made these references to "some big names" planning to speak out this year IF they meant Debbie or if she was a surprise of sorts. It be great if she was a surprise and they actually have others of note planned for a public reckoning with the furious, tiny one.
  12. Free to shine

    Free to shine Shiny & Free

    A Current Affair in Australia had an actual interview with Debbie first.
  13. Free to shine

    Free to shine Shiny & Free

    Some comments

  14. Terril park

    Terril park Sponsor

    Good points.

    The fact that they started by talking of the great expansion and ended with slapping and attempted finger breaking etc will no doubt incline people to google.

    its an outpoint darling. :)
  15. BunnySkull

    BunnySkull Silver Meritorious Patron

    American media won't "count" that but I only read about the Aussie shows for the most part so I didn't know if she had been interviewed or just testimony shown.

    I could bitch about American media doing this but most all media does, if it's the first interview done in that country they will call it an exclusive. The amount of Americans who may have made the effort to watch an Aussie interview with Debbie is infinitesimal compared to the number who saw it on Nightline.

    I can't complain. The American media is what DM fears the most, it's Scientologys home base where - it's where Int, PAC, and Flag are located. Its a country of 300 million and its been the cults main piggy bank for a long time. DM grew up with American network TV so ABC means something major to him, hell Nightline was the ONLY TV news program he ever appeared on - so this hit him hard.
  16. Lulu Belle

    Lulu Belle Moonbat

  17. Rene Descartes

    Rene Descartes Gold Meritorious Patron

    So in other words Spencer's second letter pointing out the night time show was illegitimate because she only gave one interview and they spread the interview out into two shows. Now why am I faulting Spencer, It would have had to have been the Church that applied that double negative to the situation.

    And they added the part about the posting of the letters on Tony O's blog.

    Idiot Church that idiotates.

  18. don't be silly UM. from the viewpoint of any organized religion "the hole" is a sequestering. CoS is entirely within very good just proper and legal rights to have it's own internal bylaws

    that don't mean i like it or support it
  19. uniquemand

    uniquemand Unbeliever

    My point is that protesting specific atrocities does bring need attention, but until the bylaws and corporate charters are revoked or amended to reflect the changes protesters want, it amounts to nothing, systemically.
  20. Petey C

    Petey C Silver Meritorious Patron

    I think the keyword was "Australian" -- it was an Australian exclusive.

    Same channel. They do tend to recycle their own stories.