The author Stewart Lamont met Heber in the course of writing his book "Religion Inc.", and devoted most of a chapter to him; Lamont clearly liked him. He talked a lot about radiation and, if I remember rightly, credited Scientology with curing him of the effects of the nuclear tests that had been conducted in Utah when Heber was younger.To my thinking Heber set the gold standard as spokesperson. I have to wonder if Scientology molded Heber to it's standard as spokesperson or did Heber model all spokespeople for Scientology thereafter? But in this interview the impression that I'm left with is that Scientology is highly defensive, argumentative, deflective, obfuscating and paranoid and the constant thing about holding up Scientology books was culty and frenetic like a late night product for TV pitch. Maybe my impression is colored by what I know now and maybe audiences back then weren't so cynical? Somehow I think it isn't just me.
Heber clearly is self confident in his position but self confidence in the face of damning and convincing charges also doesn't look good. To the casual observer that's fanaticism. He didn't make a good case for Scientology. He didn't explain why it should be valued or supported and just claiming it does wonderful things doesn't fly. Where is the evidence of it? Where are their selfless charity programs and scholarships? Critics consistently point to Scientology's practice of "Dead Agenting" people by investigating or stalking them so they can dig up anything to publicly destroy their reputation instead of dealing with the facts of the matter and this interview exemplified dead agenting. It can be held up as a model of dead agenting by the best of the best in Heber's time confirming the charges of dead agenting as an official practice implemented from the very top of the organization.
Miscavige gave it a shot in 1992 and never did it again. It is a completely untenable position. All the policy and training that they must do makes them look unnatural and culty. It's just really bad optics, and this was before everything could be fact checked and countered in minute detail on the internet virtually in real time. No, I think their best strategy is to stay completely off TV and for the most part they seem to agree using over edited material, contrived CGI, with paid actors, highly controlled venues and lawyers instead of a stable official spokesperson.
If given a choice would Scientology prefer that this interview between Bent and Heber be available on the internet or completely scrubbed? My guess is they would choose scrubbed so in other words - another fail.
Scientology leader, David Miscavige, interviewed by by Ted Koppel Live on ABC Nightline show, 1992. This 90-minute segment interview earned an Emmy Award.
On the subject of Miscavige and TV, I recall someone on here (Dave B?) saying that he doubted we'd ever see Miscavige on TV again because it would be impossible for him to come out of the interview looking at all good; from memory he said that "the sleaze factor would be off the charts". I think he's been proven right and staying off TV is Miscavige's and Scientology's least bad option (at least from their point of view).