the Church of Scientology
since 1968
ALEX GIBNEY & HBOThe Prison of Propaganda

Alex Gibney: Stacking the Deck

One of Alex Gibney’s favorite propaganda techniques that shows up throughout his HBO TV movie is “card stacking.” It’s the manipulating of an audience with one-sided testimonials while censoring the voices of anyone with a different point of view. But Gibney takes it to another level. He’s so desperate to forward his propaganda agenda he literally exhumes a gold digger and self admitted perjurer dead nearly 20 years—someone no Scientologist has ever even heard of—and never even reveals she is dead. He then has a hired gun actress deceive audiences into believing the gold digger herself is voicing allegations that were discredited and recanted decades ago about Scientology’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard. All the while, Gibney utterly ignores a lifetime of accomplishments that earned the founder a place on Smithsonian Magazine’s list of the 100 most influential Americans.  READ MORE


Alex Gibney: Stacking the Deck



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Video transcript

Alex Gibney: Stacking the Deck

In an attempt to come off as at all credible, Alex Gibney is pushing his made-for-television video on the Church of Scientology as if it were a “documentary.”

It doesn’t come close.

Because by definition, an actual documentary provides a factual record with documentation, whereas Gibney’s TV show is pure fiction.

But abusing his power as a documentarian by dealing in the art of black propaganda is nothing new to Alex Gibney.

He’s a specialist.

After all, Gibney isn’t a documentarian. No. He’s a “propagantarian.”

So, he restricted his quote, “documentation” to the embittered rantings of a self-corroborating pack of disgruntled has-beens, aren’t-nows and never-was’s with axes to grind…

And Gibney never divulged the kind of people they really are.

Of course, that’s a patent propaganda trick known as “card stacking” – twisting everything to support a preconceived agenda while suppressing all contrary facts.

Masquerading as “balanced,” Gibney managed to avoid meeting with any actual Scientologists or their representatives, particularly those in full possession of the facts and with firsthand documentation.

Clearly, Gibney’s agenda never called for revealing the truth.

In fact, putting his corruption on full display, he steered clear of all contact with the Church, admitting that he: “… only reached out to the church late in the process”. “Late in the process” being Gibney’s propaganda redefinition for: “after the film was already in the can.”

But knowing absolutely nothing about his subject didn’t stop Gibney from trying to pass himself off as an expert on things he’s never even seen…

What was response from the Church when you tried to gain access?

You know, at the time, I didn't try to gain access to that facility.

In fact, Alex Gibney didn’t try to gain access to any Church facility at any time.

And in true propagandist form, he never attempted to look.

The Church sent Gibney dozens of letters to get him to look.

He not only refused, but also never even answered any of the letters.

Even when he had access to thousands of pages of documentation provided by the Church…

Gibney simply wasn’t interested.

Yet somehow – inexplicably – Alex Gibney made a documentary without actual documentation.

For the tale Gibney spins as a “biographical overview” of Scientology’s founder… is just another classic case of card-stacking propaganda.

Here is what Alex Gibney intentionally omitted – information fully and freely available to him, about the life and accomplishments of Scientology’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard:

At the age of 13, he became America’s youngest Eagle Scout … He was a barnstorming pilot during the dawn of aviation… and as the writer of over 250 published works, a literary force during the Golden Age of Pulp Fiction.

And what did Gibney show?

That’s right – nothing. Every one of these facts omitted.

Mr. Hubbard was also a master mariner, licensed to captain any vessel on any ocean…

He was a decorated World War II naval officer… and a member of the famed Explorer’s Club, carrying out three expeditions beneath the coveted Explorer’s Club flag…

But what did Alex Gibney show of these documented accomplishments?

Exactly what you’d expect from someone who habitually spins facts.

So naturally, he leaves out the following:

Mr. Hubbard authored the most widely read book on the human mind ever written, a book that rode best seller lists for 100 consecutive weeks…

He founded the only major religion to have emerged in the 20th century, with new churches rising on six continents in more than 40 major cities…

He inspired humanitarian programs in the fields of literacy, morality, volunteerism, drug education and rehabilitation and human rights, impacting millions every day all over the globe.

What did Alex Gibney show?

None of it.

He was not about to let facts get in the way of a card-stacking agenda.

Like the facts that…

Mr. Hubbard wrote an astounding 75 million words and delivered over 3,000 lectures…

He’s the most published and translated author in history, as recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records…

And he was recognized by Smithsonian magazine as one of the 100 most significant Americans of all time.

All documented, all a matter of public record… and all… well, you know.

That’s Alex Gibney, the self-proclaimed “documentarian” who documents nothing.

Gibney could have taken facts from any of the 16 encyclopedic volumes on the life of Scientology’s founder that were in his possession…

… volumes containing historic photographs, as well as illustrations, maps and diagrams, along with archival documents such as personal letters, articles and essays written by L. Ron Hubbard himself.

But Alex Gibney – he chose not to disclose any of it in his cable video…

Not because he’s stupid…

… but because he’s a rank propagandist.

Gibney decided to tell the story of the founder of a worldwide religion by ferreting out a source even a tabloid journalist would consider “questionable” at best.

His “source’s” credentials:

Gold digger…

… fabricator of misinformation to the media…

… and accessory to forgery – knowingly filing documents in court

later proven to have been counterfeited by her attorney.

All a matter of public record…

And all in a sleazy attempt to take over the Hubbard Dianetics Foundation for personal gain.

In other words, an opportunist, just like Alex Gibney…

Obviously, if Gibney had wanted the truth, he could have easily found it online anywhere within the 35,000 words on the site dedicated to Scientology’s founder.

And if he couldn’t be bothered to read, he could have watched any of the dozens of videos there that tell the story of Mr. Hubbard’s extraordinary life in full detail.

But no, Alex Gibney preferred to use the word of a failed gold digger from over six decades ago.

That’s right – discredited in 1951 — 64 years before Gibney’s propaganda piece.

Oh, and lest anyone think the voice Gibney presented in his TV show was this gold digger’s – it wasn’t.

In actual fact, Gibney’s gold digger has been dead for nearly twenty years.

So what did Gibney do? He hired a Hollywood actress to act out those 64 year-old discredited allegations and passed her off to an unwitting audience as the real thing.

He never revealed the fact that the woman was deceased—after all, then everybody would have asked why he didn’t speak to any of the hundreds of people who knew L. Ron Hubbard and are still alive!

He could have spoken to Mr. Hubbard’s official biographer, a man who has studied his life for more than 25 years.

But Gibney didn’t find him “relevant.”

He was alive and had actual information.

Or he could have spoken to the Trustee and Executor of Mr. Hubbard’s estate, another man who is alive and who worked closely with Scientology’s founder for two decades…

… a man who at HBO’s invitation, flew to New York to see Gibney…

… and when he got there, Gibney snubbed him.

No – Alex Gibney wanted to present Mr. Hubbard’s story only through the distorted lens of an avaricious woman nobody in Scientology today has ever heard of…

A woman long deceased who, after being caught out in her deceit more than sixty years ago, wrote an official document retracting every statement she had invented.

Another inconvenient truth conveniently omitted by propagandist Alex Gibney.

So just how does Gibney get away with calling himself a “documentarian”?

And for that matter, how does Sheila Nevins, head of documentaries at HBO, justify airing Gibney’s biased and one-sided rantings?

There can only be one answer: neither Gibney, nor Nevins, nor anyone at HBO ever intended to do a documentary. They were only interested in producing a propagantary.

Of course, none of this is a surprise, given Alex Gibney’s pedigree…

…after all, he learned propaganda at the feet of his hero…

…his father Frank Gibney, documented by a Congressional report and the New York Times as a CIA propagandist during the Cold War.

Among Frank’s claims to infamy, he was editor of a purported “journal” kept by a Soviet double agent …

A book the elder Gibney later admitted was based on CIA disinformation files -- and the spy’s “journal,” a total invention.

Like father, like son…

But make no mistake, Alex Gibney is a propagandist in his own right…

… taking his place in the pantheon of the most anti-religious zealots in history…

… hate mongers who use propaganda to marginalize and denigrate religion.

… evil men who scorn and attack any view or belief different than their own…

… bigot, atheist, un-American: … you name it and that’s Gibney.

A man who knows how propaganda is made.

“…everything is spin. And the idea is you go in and you tell your story forcefully and you stick to that story.”

And that’s all you really need to know.

Alex Gibney: HBO’s documented propagandist.

In summoning this gold digger’s ghost, Gibney regurgitates a 64-year-old discredited tale that has its origins in a get-rich-quick scheme by the woman and her publicity starved lawyer to try to shake down Mr. Hubbard for money and take over the Hubbard Dianetics Foundation after Dianetics soared to the top of national bestseller lists. What Gibney never mentions is that this woman in 1951 recanted every lie she had invented. Her statement at the time speaks for itself: “I do hereby state that the things I have said about L. Ron Hubbard in courts and the public prints have been grossly exaggerated or entirely false. I have not at any time believed otherwise than that L. Ron Hubbard was a fine and brilliant man. I make this statement of my own free will.” None of it appeared in Gibney’s film because when the deck is stacked like Propagandist Gibney does, the truth gets buried.

Sara Northrup

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Because Alex Gibney in his propaganda film “Going Clear” covered up relevant details about his sources, the Church of Scientology  produced factual, documented information telling the real story behind each of these individuals and their role in advancing Gibney's bigoted agenda.