Scientologists should hire a pro like James O'Keefe to do their undercover media exposés

Scientology building in Los Angeles
Scientology Media (Creative Commons BY or BY-SA)

Hollywood director Paul Haggis became an enemy of the Church of Scientology when he defected in 2009 and subsequently spoke out about the organization in interviews and in the recent HBO documentary, "Going Clear."

Even if he hadn't spoken out about Scientology's abuses, merely resigning from the organization was enough to trigger a campaign to pressure and smear Haggis, because reneging on a billion-year contract just isn't done!

We know that letting go is hard, Scientology, but what exactly were you expecting to gain strategically by having a church member pose as a reporter from Time magazine interested in interviewing Haggis for an article on the "golden age" of film?

That's exactly what happened earlier this month, Haggis tells Tony Ortega, the executive editor of Raw Story who also runs an anti-Scientology blog. Haggis received an email from a "Mark Webber," who asked to interview the director for a Time magazine article.

But something seemed a bit off, especially after the Times arts editor told a member of Haggis's staff that he never heard of Mark Webber and hadn't assigned him a story.

Some Internet sleuthing quickly revealed that the email was sent from a building in Los Angeles owned by the church and had come from a brand new Yahoo email account.

But to what end? Haggis speculates in an email to Ortega:

"[W]e can now only make an informed guess as to why Scientology would want to 'interview' me under this false pretext. ...

"Was it bait and switch? Get me to agree to the interview about my work and then ask if it could be in person? This often happens in our business — a phone interview turns into an in-person interview as it is more convenient. ...

"So is that what this was? An attempt to press me for some 'quote' that they could twist to fit the needs of their prestigious magazine? Or just general fishing. I don’t honestly know what they thought they could gain. But try they did."

Not very well. You'd think an organization with as much money as Scientology could hire a better fake journalist. Why doesn't Tom Cruise ever get his hands dirty when there's dirty work to be done? He's probably one of the best actors in Scientology; he should have gotten the Mark Webber role!

Better yet, Scientology should turn to a pro, a guy who knows how to convincingly go deep undercover for a media sting. You may remember him as the most pimped-out fake pimp of all time.

This story, "Scientologists should hire a pro like James O'Keefe to do their undercover media exposés" was originally published by Fritterati.

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