ORIGINAL BROADCAST DATE: Saturday May 19th, 2007
To counter the bad press from the BBC1′s broadcast of Panorama’s “Scientology and Me,” the head of Scientology’s Office of Special Affairs, Mike Rinder, went on a live radio show, heard in the wee hours of the morning. It was a sports talk show which Rinder did along with a UK Scientology big-wig, Bob Keenan.
What does Scientology have to do with Sports? Besides their using a Nigerian soccer player to try to frame Bob Minton on international financial crimes…nada. However, here was a safe port where they could spew their propaganda with no tough questioning.
This is exactly the show Scientology wanted John Sweeney to do. They wanted to show nothing but their good PR spin and panicked when Sweeney suggested he would talk to people with opposing views. The host of this show, Mike Mendoza, allows the most outrageous claims to go unchallenged.
In SEGMENT 1, they discuss how the Panorama show came about, from Scientology’s perspective.
SEGMENT 2 features the clip of Sweeney losing his cool at the “Industry of Death” exhibit in Los Angeles. This is the clip Scientology put on YouTube the weekend before the broadcast to try to blunt the impact of Panorama’s show. Instead it drew a record crowd to the show and a lot of attention to Scientology’s creepy ways.
SEGMENT 3 is where Mendoza not only lobs softball questions to Scientology but he starts to answer on their behalf. Rinder disputes the effect of Disconnection on families and then smears the family who appeared on Panorama. Rinder talks about the people Sweeney talked to or tried to talk to for the show. He claims Sweeney threatened to shut down Narconon, perhaps confusing him with Vince Daniels. Mendoza has heard only “good things” about Narconon.
They poo-poo the “suggestion” that Scientology had people follow Sweeney during the making of the show. Scientology hire PI? Who would believe that? Anyone who can look at the truth.
SEGMENT 4 is when they start to take listeners calls.
In SEGMENT 5, callers or e-mailers who attack Sweeney get on with no problem. When a caller mentions possible harm from being “clear,” Mendoza nearly has a fit. Another caller talks about a friend’s husband who got drawn in and obsessed with Scientology which led to a divorce. Mendoza doesn’t even need Rinder to respond. He attacks the woman for her question.
When a caller suggests that Mendoza was perhaps a Scientologist himself, he admitted that he spent time at the Org. The segment ends abruptly as Mendoza praises Scientology for their efforts to bring “Peace to the Middle East” with their Way to Happiness pamphlets.
By SEGMENT 6, I was so incensed by this show that I had to call overseas to try to correct some of the lies being told. I was on hold for ten minutes. I got through to speak and was put on the air.
Here’s my phone call to the show which mysteriously went unaired:
“Hi, this is Mark Bunker. I have website critical of Scientology and I think you’re doing a grave injustice to your audience by only showing one side to this story…”
…and not even one word of that got through. On the air, they pretended that I accidentally got cut off and said they wanted me to call back and they’d put me on the air. So I called back and held for another 10 minutes until the screener came on the line. I explained to him what had happened and that they specifically said on air that they wanted me to call back.
I told him I would not mention my website if they were concerned about that. The screener said he had my phone number and would ask Mendoza if they wanted to call me back and put me on the air but I couldn’t remain on hold. Mendoza refused to call me back.
But Mendoza admits he spent time at the Org and he was never held down and brainwashed. Fancy that.
A caller brings up the movie “Holy Smoke” in which Harvey Keitel plays a deprogrammer. “That’s a movie!” declares Mendoza. Then allows Rinder to “dispell” the rumor of Xenu and space aliens. All bullocks, it turns out.
Tina wants to know how to best find out about Scientology. Read a book, she is told. Why do celebrities love Scientology? When Keenan drops the ball, Sweeney gives the answer.
Someone mentioned shouting at a box on an earlier show. Never happens!!! What nonsense. Who would yell at a box? Sorry that no one mentioned ashtrays.
Former member Mary e-mails a charge that critics like me were kept off the show. Mendoza is outraged someone would suggest that and admits that Scientology has given a “very generous” donation to his personal charity.
Segment 7 begins with a rousing e-mail from someone who admires the Scientologists he has met. Then it gets good as a Freezoner tries to pin Mike Rinder down on freedom of religion, especially when it comes to independent Scientologists practicing outside the church. Keenan speaks up about those damned squirrels.
Caller Brian has been in Scientology for nearly 50 years, one of the original founders. Sweeney sucks. “Industry of Death”…brilliant.
Silent Birth? Scientifically proven. Accepted church? Absolutely! What do you believe? Get a book. Why do so many people leave Scientology? So many? What? What are you talking about? What’s Scientology’s take on sex? We don’t care about sex. We deal with the spirit.
SEGMENT 8 is a quick follow up after the guests leave. Mendoza assures the audience he asked all the tough questions. Thanks for the super job, Mike.