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The AC360 “Dead” Blog

“We like criticism. We’re big fans of the First Amendment—
we use the free press every day.”

— From the “How to Win 360 Approval”
instructions on the
AC360 website

If the show, or the network, cared about fairness, they would have posted some of the many critical messages submitted to the AC360 “live blog.”

The blog purports to interact with viewers through dialogue by letting them comment on programs as they air. But for many people who wanted to weigh in on the AC360 series, the “live blog” was decidedly in the dead zone.

“Are all your stories this poorly researched?”
—D.S.

Despite sending their comments in and following all the rules, AC360 blocked their postings, denying a whole host of persons a chance to present their views.

While there are undoubtedly many more of which we are unaware, such a volume of would-be posters cared enough to provide copies to Freedom that we felt compelled, in the interest of free speech, to share a small sampling:

  • Anderson, what’s your agenda here? Just trying to get your ratings back up?
    —P.M.

  • You showed reams of documents provided by the Church—why not go through them and describe in some detail what they say?… Then again, perhaps those documents were a burden—it can be rough when the truth gets in the way of a good story. —D.A.

  • The height of pretense with [Cooper’s] “you decide” slogan, he presents one-sided, skewed opinions as fact, permits no rebuttal and steers his viewers to make the faulty conclusions he predetermines for us. I can just hear my philosophy professor scrawling a red “D” on any essay I would present in the Anderson Cooper style of logic. The question is, why does Cooper do this to his audience? Does he really think we can’t see through it? Or worse—has he deluded himself into believing his arguments himself? —L.W.

  • The bad guys were removed from the Church and are now accusing others of what they were doing. That's not "news." That's not a "story." Have you never witnessed bad people complaining about where they were removed from, after they were removed? —P.R.

  • If you were looking for a bully in your story about Scientology, you have certainly found one. Of course I'm referring to Marty Rathbun. After viewing three evenings of your investigative report, I suggest a change in the title. I know it is not as sexy for your ratings push, but in an effort to bring truth to your promo a change is required. The new title...MARTY RATHBUN: A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE. —J.P.

“I’ll put my money on the Scientologists who get people off drugs, help disaster victims, increase literacy, and offer a workable road to sanity.”
—T.P.

  • I have met a significant number of people who have worked directly with David Miscavige over a period of decades. I have known members of his family and their circle of friends. There has to be some means in journalism of weighing the sheer quantity of evidence and statements so as not to be fooled by a few people who were fired by the person. This [broadcast] says nothing of the tangible and obvious positive effects Mr. Miscavige's leadership has had on the Church and individual Scientologists at all levels. It is just remarkable how far off the mark your story is on this one—are all your stories this poorly researched? —D.S.

  • I am a 40-year veteran Scientologist with lots of friends in the Sea Org… Why aren't you showing things which can be proved, like their work helping victims in Haiti, Katrina and at 9/11? Why aren't you showing their anti-drug programs or their work fighting for human rights? —R.P.

  • I've been a Scientologist for more than 30 years and have spent time in and around numerous Churches of Scientology at the local, national and international levels… I know that the truth is perhaps boring in sensational TV entertainment terms. The many Church executives I have known are dedicated yet down-to-earth people who manage to both invest their considerable talents to help others while at the same time remaining grounded… The time, skills and dedication that Church executives and staff have invested in community-oriented work is nothing short of miraculous. The Church has sponsored so many community-oriented programs it is hard to keep up with them. A small sampling includes the front lines disaster relief in Haiti and in the aftermath of Katrina; it encompasses hundreds of thousands of students served with drug education lectures and a self-funded international campaign to champion the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These are all testimonies to the actual intentions and activities of the Church and its management. —L.A.

  • The AC360 story is so disjointed, and repeats itself several times per episode. I'm left with the feeling that CNN is suffering from the same malady as the ex-Scientologists, who only stir up mud and splatter it around, all the while claiming to be cleaning up the kitchen. I'll put my money on the Scientologists who get people off drugs, help disaster victims, increase literacy, and offer a workable road to sanity. —T.P.

  • It's virtually impossible to know anything from your presentation, as every time a Scientology executive tried to answer your question you cut him or her off. If you consider this “investigative” or “reporting,” we have greatly different definitions for those terms and it does NOT include inference, innuendo and supposition in lieu of facts. —L.M.

  • It would seem that yellow journalism is alive and well in the 21st century at CNN. According to ThinkQuest…yellow journalism is "biased opinion masquerading as objective fact. Moreover, the practice of yellow journalism involved sensationalism, distorted stories, and misleading images for the sole purpose of boosting newspaper sales and exciting public opinion." —J.M.

Sound familiar?

_________________

And so Anderson Cooper, his AC360 staff and their bosses in CNN Corporate rounded out their weeklong “investigation” with yet one final act of arrogance and hypocrisy. They censored in their own forum a candid dialogue with their viewers. In doing so, they expressly violated the “We like criticism” and “We’re big fans of the First Amendment” the network flaunts as their blog credo.

It seems the only criticism AC360 and company like is their own toward others…and that the First Amendment applies to CNN alone.

(See A Sampling of E-mails and Statements Sent to AC360 from those who were there.)