Panorama's Sweeney – victim of Scientology PR drill?

Journo-baiting; who’d’ve thought it’s a prescribed way of managing information flow in the media? Well, two ex-heads of PR for the Church of Scientology, that’s who. So if you’re a PR having probs with a pesky environmental journo or a financial relations advisor being truffled by an investigative reporter, you might add these alleged tricks to your arsenal…So did Sweeney, one of the beeb’s most seasoned (certainly peppery) reporters fall for this powerful form of PR provocation?

The Herald (Glasgow) features an article post from one Arnie Lerma who suggests that: “Everything in scientology is contrived. The nasty piece of work who was inciting Mr Sweeney was using a written policy of Scientology titled: REPORTER TRS’.”, says Arnie. Arnie is Wiki’d as a Scientology defector who campaigns against his former mates. A quick bit of search engining later, you can find a description of ‘Reporter TRs’ from LONG DECEASED CoS whistleblower Robert Vaughnm Young – here’s a snippet from RVY that suggests Sweeney’s rant may have been skillfully provoked:
“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.” The “TR” acronym stood for “training routine” or “training regimen” and when the acronym was applied to “Reporter TRs,” it was a series of drills that a PR did to learn how to answer questions and to take control of the conversation and, if need be, to cave a person in. They had no idea how rigorously each PR is drilled to give the right answer in exactly the right mode or fashion.

The last Reporter TRs drill was what was called “verbal karate.” This is where the “reporter” is arguing and the student PR has to cut him down, take control, wipe him out and dominate. The PR is told he is free to scream, curse, pound the table, do anything he wants to take command and control. When we wanted to really put the PR through the wringer, we’d pit two people against him/her and let ‘er rip! That was why it was called “verbal karate.” Robert’s writings, not mine.

This was my original post on the incident:

7 thoughts on “Panorama's Sweeney – victim of Scientology PR drill?

  1. Dead Man walking at, or how is it that Vaughn Young “suddenly” speaks up (he died years ago), but honestly this whole article reads like psychobabble at its best, outing the writer as just another anti-cultist drone populating the web these days. Honest journalism, my friend, is what you should strive for. Check BBC Panorama for more information.


  2. My question is are you really interested in the truth on this matter or do you prefer just airing your fixed ideas? Anyone checking out RV Young knows he made his living after leaving the church by being a paid “expert” witness, after he tried extorting money from the church to keep him silent. Right. Really creditable source.


  3. Aaah; the woodwork creaks… as Was Not Was once sang. Was aware Luana, that RVY had shrugged off this mortal coil years back, but feel free to crit the babble quoted (as it’s Roberto’s).

    Jeanne; I have no fixed ideas about this embarrassing public catfight as my original post shows; my interest is in the reputational damage sustained by both parties, from my blogstance as PR analyst and commentator.

    And re ‘honest journalism’; shouldn’t you both be a bit more transparent about your affiliations especially in blogland? So when you say ‘BBC Panorama’ Luana, you should’ve said ‘BBC Panorama exposed’.


  4. Thanks Uatu; certainly looks like an online grassroots PR job – the link you sent certainly hints at an orchestrated CoS anti-Panorama comms campaign, which they’re perfectly entitled to do, of course. Tho they must expect commentary on any suspected subterfuge?


  5. Ta Peter; no awards, but maybe fame in ‘PR Disasters Vol 2’ focussing on how easy it is to track PR identities via some simple e-name and code tracking?


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