Tips for reporters, lawyers and others dealing with Scientology
1) Reasearch the area you are investigating as much as possible before
doing the interview, deposition, cross-examination or whatever. Have
*documentation* from court cases, actual evidence, Scientology's own
policy letters and/or bulletins, or whatever it is that documents your
position or which you can use to show their denials to be false or
2) Know what the focus of your questions will be. Keep in mind your
objective(s), i.e., *what it is* that you want to determine. In this
regard it is extremely helpful to have your questions well thought-out
in advance *and* _written down_. This way, you may use them as a guide
and as help to ask yourself whether you have gotten your question
3) Realize that Scientology-trained PR persons, attorneys, etc. are
drilled extensively in techniques designed to *not* give answers to
questions from "critical" sources. A study of Scientology's "Reporter
TRs" techniques is essential to gain a thorough understanding as to
what to expect.
4) Know that you *will* be thoroughly be given the run-around. Realize
also that the Scientology PR will try to use the opportunity as a forum
to make generalized statements purporting to show that Scientology is
"expanding", the "world's fastest-growing religion", etc. In other words,
the Scientology PR will try to exploit the situation by turning it into
a propaganda vehicle for themselves.
In general, Scientologists who have contact with the media, and
attorneys hired to represent Scientology are drilled for hours or days
upon end. The first most common technique used to not answer questions
(called "Q&A" by Scientologists) is pretending to give an answer to the
question. The handling is to keep in mind the question (written down in
advance if necessary) and to repeat the question until a real answer is
received. It is very important to remember that the Scientology PR person
will be doing his/her best not to answer the questions, but will most
likely give some sort of "answers" that *divert* attention away from
the real issue. In other words, the Scientology PR person will keep
changing the subject or keep giving general information or keep trying
to steer the conversation in another direction. Keep focused on the
question you are trying to get an answer to.
If and/or when the Scientologist steers the conversation away from
your focus, the best thing to do is to acknowledge the "answer", and
then *repeat* your question as often as possible. Remain calm and
By repeating the question, you may not get a real answer, but at least
you will demonstrate the obvious, which is that Scientology is trying
to hide something and that you have come across a "hot" subject.
Realize that by persisting (continuing to repeat your question), the
Scientology PR will turn up the "heat" a notch or two. By this is meant
that the reporter will probably begin to experience other techniques
being used. These would include "cutting your comm" (interrupting your
communication in an attempt to fluster you), talking *non-stop* and
very *forcefully* (as if in a position of authority) so as to not let
you have equal time (very commonly used), or launching into personal
attacks or criticism designed to discredit, embarrass or fluster you.
If or when you find this happening, remember to remain calm. Don't
let the discussion turn into a shouting match. If you are constantly
being interrupted, it is wise to *ask* if you could speak without being
interrupted. Hopefully *you* have been courteous in following good
manners observed during rational conversation.
As Scientologists *love* to use cameras, tape recorders and video
cameras during interviews, it is wise to have your own. If you cannot
have recording equipment, or if it is impractical, try to have a
witness with you.
Another good suggestion I have it to bring another person with you
to act as an observer. This other person should stay out of the
conversation, but could helpfully point out things to you such as *when*
you do not get an answer. This other person could also assist in locating
documents (which you have brought with you) to be used to back up your
claims/questions, or to refute the Scientology PRs "information" (which
Scientologists refer to as *disinformation*, by the way).
I would recommend a study of Robert Vaughn Young's article for Quill
Magazine. Another *extremely* helpful preparatory action would be for
the reporter to study the transcript of David Miscavige's deposition
in the Bent Corydon case. You will see "Reporter TRs" at their ultimate
demonstration. As you study the deposition, note *how* Miscavige (and
his attorneys) avoids answering questions. Ask yourself whether he is
just playing "stupid". Ask whether he is just trying to "eat up" valuable
time by raising objections, pretending to not understand the question,
giving a "non-answer" or attacking the the opposition counsel.
Once you have studied Scientology's "Reporter TRs" *and* observed their
usage in action, it is far easier to recognize their "tech" and to
successfully counter it. As I see it, the most common thing the reporter
will have to do is to learn and be *very* good at repeating the question
until an answer is obtained.
In article <email@example.com>, firstname.lastname@example.org says...
>This is freakin' fascinating Robert,
>how do you think these sorts of Training Routines, "TRs",
>would work against someone who knows them and knows what to expect?
>It seems to me that if I was a reporter and
>I knew that a Scientologist that I was interviewing
>might try to "cave me in" that it wouldn't be effective.
>Would you be able to come up with a few guidelines
>on how a reporter might "handle" "Reporter TRs"?
>It might be useful to have up on the web where
>reporters doing pre-interview research could find it.
>email@example.com (Robert Vaughn Young) writes:
>>Scientology's Dept. 20:: a memoir
>>Part 3 - Reporter TRs
>>by Robert Vaughn Young
>>The ability to throw and give a press conference was usually the last part
>>of the training that we gave to Scientology PRs and the final drilling for
>>it was what was called "Reporter TRs."
>Christian E.A.F. Schafmeister Biophysics graduate student
>University of California, San Francisco
>"We went to the Moon. It wasn't a miracle. We just decided to go." -Apollo13