Post Game #1 – Deny, Attack, Rinse, Repeat
We had a bunch of people over to watch AC 360 last night, and among them was a guy who knew very little about Scientology or the current controversy. He’s a very intelligent and perceptive man, so I was interested to get his take on the show and on the various Church spokespeople. Here are some of his observations (in italics):
Tommy Davis: His denial just went on and on. He kept repeating himself. It was like that was what he had been coached to do. Repeating his denial over and over just made it less credible to me. Despite more and more evidence, he just kept repeating his flat denial.
Good observation. Of course Tommy has nothing else to say – all he is trained to do is either deny everything or attack his critics.
Jenny Linson: Anderson Cooper’s question was an obvious one. If they had witnessed years of physical abuse, as the women were claiming, then why didn’t anyone pick up a phone and call the police? The woman just snapped at Anderson for even asking – it came across as arrogant.
Jenny seems to be the leader of the Desperate ExWives. She jumped in and deflected the question. Anderson Cooper was on the right track. He asked “don’t you have phones?” Of course, the true answer is no. Staff at the Int Base are not allowed to have cell phones, and the only landline phones are inter-office. To get an outside line, you have to go through a switchboard operator, and that requires an OK from an Ethics Officer or Security Guard, and either Ethics or Security listens in. They certainly would not allow anyone to call the authorities, even if they wanted to. Jenny could not honestly answer the question, so went on the attack. And if you want to know how Jenny Linson treats her juniors at the Base, it is with that exact superior, arrogant tone.
Norman Starkey: The guy just sounded crazy, like he was from another planet. His analogy of the Pope and the pedophile was clumsy and made no sense. He seemed to be saying that his leader was like the Pope and anyone criticizing his leader was like a pedophile priest. It seemed like he deliberately chose that comparison as he knows pedophiles are universally detested. But it made no sense as an analogy – what I got from his speech was “No one is permitted to criticize the leader.”
I don’t think Norman reads the news. If he did, he would have realized that the whole Catholic child sexual abuse scandal is currently revolving around Pope Benedict XVI, with questions about how much he knew and how much he covered up. So now is not a great time to be comparing your leader with the Pope. The fact is, these people they dig up from the Int Base and throw in front of cameras have seemingly lost the ability to speak coherently to an audience of non-Scientologists. Norman’s analogy was confused and incoherent. It was a clumsy and transparent effort to “position” detractors with “pedophiles.” And his didactic attempt to “educate” the audience in the “tech” of overts and withholds just came across as a confusing jumble. They seem to have no awareness of the image they are projecting. They come across as confused, incoherent and arrogant.
It will be interesting to see how this develops through the series.