Related Links

CNN AC360 A History of Lies
A Freedom Special Report

A Timeline of CNN's "Investigation"
aka >> Running Away from the Subject of Their Program

Keep in mind that the last time the Church's spokesperson talked with anyone from CNN about the show, Editorial Director Richard Griffiths agreed a “hard reset” was in order. Translation: Let's start the relationship over and see if we can make amends. Now it is clear that was a disingenuous discussion.

Not only did CNN and Cooper refuse to interview these Church executives, including the International Executive Director, but they weren’t even welcome to drop by CNN studios.

Here's the back story: That conversation came about after numerous frustrations the Church experienced with Cooper and his producers during their “investigation.” Here are just a few:

  • AC360 contacted the Church in late July 2009 demanding an interview to answer allegations from disgruntled, expelled anti-Scientologists for a show airing within a week. Spokesman Tommy Davis immediately agreed to an interview on July 29—the date CNN demanded. He then flew from Los Angeles to New York along with half a dozen top Church staffers (who had firsthand accounts to disprove the allegations) to meet with Cooper and be interviewed in CNN's studios. 

  • However, upon arrival on July 29, the scheduled date of Davis' interview, CNN suddenly announced Cooper wasn't “ready,” claiming “no studio availability.” (Of course, the reader can decide for himself the credibility of CNN New York having no studio availability for their golden boy on the day he scheduled an interview and for which Church executives had flown across the country from Los Angeles.) 

  • Having been utterly inconvenienced, Davis suggested CNN take the added day to meet with him and other Church executives so the Church could provide CNN with documentation vital to their report. After all, if Cooper intended to conduct a meaningful interview, here was valuable material he could be briefed on prior to that interview—something every real TV journalist demands of his production staff. The answer was, stunningly, “No.” As in, “No,” CNN didn't want the information and, “No, they would not” accept written materials delivered to CNN's offices.

  • Davis once again queried whether the interview was delayed because of studio availability or Cooper's unavailability or another assignment. CNN insisted, as incredible as it sounds, that the lack of studio was the only cause of delay. That being the case, why wouldn't Cooper want to meet, since he had nothing else to do that day? At a minimum, common courtesy and good manners would have been reason enough given Cooper and CNN had wasted the time of more than half a dozen Church executives who were now cooling their heels 3,000 miles from their busy offices.

  • Continued back and forth e-mails degenerated to a final simple request to meet over coffee for 15 minutes in the CNN lobby café. After all, Davis and Church executives weren't just in the “vicinity of” CNN studios, they were in the hotel that literally connected to CNN studios. Again, CNN's answer was: “No.”

Over five nights, AC360 aired 46 minutes and 19 seconds of interviews and allegations from its anti-Scientologist “sources.” Over the same five nights, AC360 aired just 17 minutes and 52 seconds of Church responses.
  • Finally, frustrated, Davis informed CNN that in addition to him, the half-dozen Church executives would arrive to be interviewed by Cooper the next day. CNN's answer was again “No.” Not only did CNN and Cooper refuse to interview these Church executives, including the International Executive Director, but they weren't even welcome to drop by CNN studios. (Cooper would later claim on his broadcast that Church executives refused to be interviewed—a lie. In fact, he even canceled interviews a second time months later, after they had finally been scheduled, with the CNN excuse that Cooper had contracted an “inner ear bug.”)

Church responses 23%
Anti-Scientologist sources 77%
Church responses 16%
Anti-Scientologist sources 84%
Church responses 36%
Anti-Scientologist sources 64%
Church responses 21%
Anti-Scientologist sources 79%
Church responses 33%
Anti-Scientologist sources 67%

  • The next day, July 30, Davis was interviewed. Cooper couldn't get out of the studio fast enough after the one-hour time allotment was up.

  • However, before Cooper's producers could make their escape, Davis and Church counsel personally handed them a full box of documentary evidence, including dozens of signed affidavits disproving the stories fed CNN by their “sources.” It was something CNN would never forget or forgive. Because despite Cooper's attempt to not receive any information, so he and CNN could maintain “plausible deniability” when he aired scandalous, sensationalistic lies from his sources, CNN was now in possession of the truth disproving those lies. 

  • Next ensued a bizarre series of CNN escapades in an attempt to recover higher ground.

When Church executives repeatedly insisted on being interviewed, CNN refused to call them at their offices but would only speak to them if the executives were on a cell phone.

After Church officials denied that ridiculous demand, CNN refused to speak to them at all, never even responding to numerous voice mail messages.

Church executives then wrote to CNN. Despite more than a dozen letters, transmitted by both e-mail and FedEx, CNN never answered or acknowledged receipt of even one.

Next, CNN was contacted by Church counsel, whereupon the network begrudgingly agreed to interview Church executives. But Cooper had a precondition: The interview had to be in a hotel room.

When that absurd precondition was rejected, CNN finally agreed to interview Church executives at the Church of Scientology—located a mere 723 yards from CNN studios. But Cooper had another precondition: He insisted the Church not be allowed to record their own video of the interviews and further insisted that the Church not be provided with a copy of interview footage shot with CNN cameras. (Other media outlets never give such prima donna preconditions for their news anchors when interviewing the Church.)

It didn't matter. When the interview date arrived, in October, Cooper canceled due to that “inner ear bug.” He never attempted to reschedule.

  • Compounding their prima donna stance, Cooper and company then shot down any meetings with other CNN shows or staff. When another program was scheduled with another far more prominent, competent and well-known CNN journalist, CNN Corporate had it torpedoed. Why? Because this competing program, on CNN, would have shown the inside of a Church and, by comparison, shown the AC360 “investigation” to be the joke it was. (See How Anderson Cooper Torpedoed an Interview.)

  • Caught out and checkmated by the fact their two star journalists would present entirely different pictures of Scientology, and by the fact they sabotaged the one that would have included both an on-site inside look at the Church as well as an interview with the Church’s leader, CNN committed to a “hard reset” of Cooper's AC360 “investigation.” Meaning, AC360's bias had been exposed and CNN would start over and do it right. That was November 2009.

  • March 2010: It was now five months later and Cooper's ratings continued to plummet—a mere 50 percent viewership compared to the year before.

  • Out of the blue, after refusing to take one hour, let alone one minute, to accept invitations inside any number of Church facilities and so see firsthand the religious institution he claimed to be investigating—not in the nine months since he first contacted the Church, not in the five months since CNN did a “hard reset”—Anderson Cooper announced his program. It was laughingly portrayed as a “nine-month investigation.” (See Anderson Cooper: By the Numbers.)

For Cooper's choice of salaciousness over reality, watch the video Anderson Cooper's Definition of “An Investigation.” For his taste in the tabloid sound bite, no matter how outrageous, watch the video A Worker’s Paradise “Slave Camp.” And finally, in full evidence of the journalistic maxim that “pictures don't lie” and proof of Cooper's willful avoidance of the truth, watch the video A “Beating Every Day” While 10,000 Miles Away.

Sound outrageous?

Well, nothing is too outrageous for AC360, because Cooper, his producers and even CNN Corporate saw exploiting the popularity of Scientology as a quick fix to their ratings debacle. But it didn't even work. Throughout the five nights, ratings continued their inexorable plummet. The public knows when they've been duped. Even the most casual viewer couldn't help but notice the same outrageous, unsubstantiated sound bites played over and over and over, while the program CNN titled “Scientology” never showed a single second of the Church.

So that's all AC360 was about. An attempted quick fix to their ratings plunge. Too bad they didn't accept the Church's offer to go inside. That would have at least been news. But CNN is no longer the “most trusted name in news”; it seems they've left the profession entirely. Their ship is sinking and can't be saved. Now it's clear why.

Why did Anderson Cooper run away from 10 Scientology senior executives who flew 85,000 miles to tell their stories—while AC360 spent at least $20,000 in flights, hotels and meals for the apostate “Posse”?


Copyright © 2011 Church of Scientology International. All Rights Reserved. FREEDOM is a trademark and is used with the owner's permission.