Scientology Celebrity Media Training checksheet

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From the wonderful Village Voice:

Hey, Scientology Celebrity, Here's Your Media Training Checksheet!
Our readers send us the most wonderful things. By e-mail and snail mail, our far-flung correspondents put in our hands Scientology's tasteless fundraising mailers (which we use in our recurring Sunday Funnies posts), they send us over-the-top glossy Scientology magazines, and of course they send us links and videos of Scientologists doing the darndest things.

And then, recently, in the mail, one of our readers sent us some pure gold.

It is a five-page document, and it may be the most precious, hopeful, earnest, presumptious, and ultimately dictatorial artifact I have seen come out of the church in some time.

It is a checksheet, and it is designed to instruct a new celebrity recruit in the arcane ways of L. Ron Hubbard, and how to take Hubbard's greatness to the outside world by learning how to speak to the press about such monumental things.

Five pages. About 50 individual steps. Involving the writing of essays, summarizing of books, using specific words in sentences. And the steps must be done, the document says, in sequence. No exceptions.

One of the steps has the celebrity solving a PR problem by modeling it in clay.

Hey, Tom? Tom Cruise? Um, did you learn how to talk to reporters by first modeling it in clay?

Before I get into specifics about the document, I want to thank the person who mailed it to me, who I am not going to name. (However, if you do want credit it for it here, please e-mail me to let me know. You know who you are.)

The checksheet on its own is a hoot, and provides an enjoyable window into Scientology, particularly of its era. But trying to learn about its provenance and its legacy took me on a bit of a goose chase that in itself was revealing and fun. After I give a more detailed description of the document, I'll relate what I learned from talking with various former Scientology executives who worked with celebrities over several decades.

But first, here's the top portion of the first page, to give you a sense of it:


Free to shine

Shiny & Free
Tony Ortega (Village Voice) also posted this today. I don't want to start a new thread for it, but some people here might like to do what he asks.

Tony Ortega
A CALL TO OUR READERS: Monday we have a grim anniversary coming up. I am not in a mood to write, once again, about the death of Lisa McPherson. But I know we can't let the date pass without paying our respects. So I have an idea. Rather than hear another journalist recount her life, I'd rather hear what her story has meant to YOU, Scientology watchers. So please send me a short note (one or two paragraphs, please) describing what Lisa has meant to you since her death 16 years ago. I'll put together the best dozen or so for a post on Monday. Send it to [email protected]

Petey C

Silver Meritorious Patron
Thanks indeed, FTS. I got a bit lost clicking on various links in The VV catching up on my reading ...


Silver Meritorious Patron
Too kewl.
I didn't do that checksheet, but somewhere around late '50s, early '60s, I was given a list of Celebrities who were "targetted". This list would have come from FCDC.

The Celeb that I was assigned to 'capture' was Paul Harvey.
I never did get Paul in, but I wrote letters and sent him promo. lol.



Silver Meritorious Patron
The funny thing about this check sheet is that IF SCIENTOLOGY WERE GOOD then this would be a good check sheet. If it were truly the savior of all mankind as it thinks it is.

Basically it says be prepared, know what you are going to say, know what people are going to say against you, know how to write a press release and rehearse.

Any corporation would train its employees to do this when going on TV.

Since Scientology considers all of its public as unpaid employees this check sheet would make sense. It's just basic PR.

All corporations use celebrity endorsements. So why wouldn't scientology? The only difference is that Scientology celebrity endorsements are paid for in preferential treatment not money.

Drug companies do this sort of thing all the time. Another (in my opinion) bad group using good PR methods.

It is the fact that Scientology is not what it says it is (it is more concerned with profits than helping people similar to drug companies) that makes this bad.

If you had a celebrity arguing the merits of "healthy eating versus taking drugs" using this same type of check sheet then it would be OK and helpful.

If I were going on TV promoting my business I could apply this check sheet to myself and it would help.

In my opinion this is good basic PR tech used by bad people.