Alex Gibney Exposing Gibney’s Propaganda in Going Clear Documentary
Alex Gibney says he and HBO “got the story we wanted” for the one-sided Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief. Here’s the formula: don’t even bother to ask to visit or to film inside an actual church, and don’t ask to speak to a typical Scientologist. Shoot lots of cheesy phony scenes using shadowy figures and insects, filling the insides with half-baked lies spread by the usual band of misfits kicked out of the Church years ago and who now make a living smearing the Church. The result: the propaganda he wanted.
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Alex Gibney spent 2 years secretly producing a film on Scientology—a film he refers to as a “documentary.”
Documentary… it’s a word that conjures up images of legitimate investigation and fact-based reporting.
But in Gibney’s case there is precious little evidence of either one.
During those two years of production, Gibney entirely avoided direct interaction with the Church—never once taking the time to contact the very subjects of his project.
When Gibney finally emerged from seclusion, he presented a one-sided and false diatribe that can scarcely be called journalism.
Of course, considering Gibney’s “pedigree,” this is no surprise.
His father, Frank Gibney, maintained a public persona as a journalist.
But according to a Congressional Report and the New York Times, Frank Gibney was part of a covert CIA operation to release propaganda through book publishing and the media.
Apparently the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Because Alex Gibney’s HBO piece is textbook propaganda.
Gibney hand picking his sources to serve his version of the truth.
Among his sources—Mark “Marty” Rathbun—“Shut the fuck up”—a professional anti-Scientologist with deep-seated anger issues who was expelled from the Church more than a decade ago.
Gibney quotes Rathbun extensively, including one fabricated morsel in which his prized “source” describes a Church facility as a “prison camp.”
A buzzword guaranteed to manipulate public misperception.
Gibney exhibits a shameful lack of originality with his dramatization of this so-called “prison camp”—ants crawling up a wall.
It’s an old cheap propaganda trick borrowed from one of the most reprehensible films of all time.
… laughable were the intent not so vicious.
Of course, Gibney never actually showed the place he’s supposedly “documenting.”
He didn’t want to.
That would have ruined his story.
So let’s take a look at what Gibney—sight unseen—calls a “prison camp.”
Located in Southern California, the facility includes an exquisitely appointed state-of-the-art audiovisual production facility spanning 500 acres.
The property is a self-contained movie studio dedicated to film and video productions that advance the Church’s religious mission.
And it features immaculate administrative offices as well as dedicated spaces for every aspect of filmmaking.
This is the Church’s Film Studio—aptly known as the “Castle.”
It’s home to one of the largest sound stages in the world…
And it’s open for public tours.
The sound stage itself is more than three stories tall and is large enough to accommodate four professional basketball courts.
Yes, this IS the spot Gibney portrays with ants crawling up a wall.
Here’s more of the reality—the film and video editing facilities—with more than a dozen high definition editing bays.
… a full music recording and mixing area serving every film and video produced at the studio.
It includes this greenroom for musicians and singers between takes.
Add to all of that a music composition room for scoring—outfitted with the most advanced equipment in existence.
The Music Mix room is capable of producing everything from stereo mixes to full, theater-quality 5.1-surround sound.
But Alex Gibney showed none of this.
Instead, he showed ants.
He could have shown the administrative offices for Church management.
Here’s the reception.
Here’s the conference room.
And the central courtyard.
But Gibney stayed true to his agenda and left all of it out of his so-called “documentary.”
Even the park just outside the offices.
What did Gibney show instead?
And while Gibney himself has said, “The thing I worry about most is getting it wrong…”
Gibney couldn’t have gotten it more wrong.
After all, this is also the place Gibney dismissed as a “prison camp.”
Here are the staff’s living quarters.
These are the staff apartments, each building with its own two-story lounge and library.
And here are the apartments themselves.
The housekeeping facilities include a central laundry that does the staff’s washing, dry cleaning and even irons their bed linen.
While as for the rest of the amenities—here is the staff dining room, with a professional kitchen to accommodate hundreds at every meal.
Instead of all of this, Alex Gibney showed …
Gibney might have shown any of the recreational facilities, like this communal pool and barbecue area.
Or the tennis courts…
… the basketball courts…
Or the sand volleyball courts…
The baseball diamond…
The soccer field…
Or the property’s own golf course and clubhouse where public events are held.
All of this is the alleged “prison camp.”
But Gibney wasn’t interested in the truth.
Because that would have ruined the story he wanted to tell.
Gibney’s deceit can be proven with just a click.
Because every bit of this footage is viewable on the Church’s web site—and has been for years.
An actual “documentarian” would have shown the place he was “documenting.”
A propagandist will show you this: And Gibney’s star witness, the one who called it a “prison camp”?
He used to live at the place.
Here’s where he lived after he was removed from the Church.
… a far cry from the Church’s workers’ paradise…
… a place he called a prison camp, that’s actually more like Club Med.
Then again, this is a guy known to have a skewed view of reality—as evidenced by his frequent aggressive outbursts.
“Do you hear me?” And the way he addresses his congregation.
“Shut the fuck up.”
But Alex Gibney can hide behind no such excuse.
He’s simply dishonest, and carrying out a prejudicial agenda.
Gibney was offered the opportunity to meet with Church staff and parishioners on 14 separate occasions.
In fact, Sheila Nevins, HBO’s head of documentary programming, received the same repeated invitations.
But both flatly refused.
So there’s really no other explanation for the fictitious narrative contrived by author Lawrence Wright, strung together by Alex Gibney and rubber-stamped by Sheila Nevins.
All three determined to make sure that the truth never got in the way of their false propaganda.
And so they give you… Ants.
In his documentary Going Clear, Alex Gibney staged a fake scene starring a handful of ants. All it takes to “exterminate” this propaganda is the video evidence of the area’s resort-like grounds—the state-of-the-art production facilities, lush landscaping, pool, tennis courts, recreational facilities, housekeeping services and even a golf course used for community events. What did Alex Gibney think of the area in question? In two years he never asked to see it himself, let alone film there. He just took at face value wild and bizarre urban myths spread by a handful of bitter professional anti-Scientologists.