Media training

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Because Toronto Anons are such a diverse group, we need to present a unified message to the media. This is important to get our message into the mainstream media and to counter the Church of Scientology's spin/propaganda. Before any protest and especially before speaking to any media, read this page first.

Also read up on the info in this wiki:

Try to give specific examples, names, dates if you can when talking about things like Disconnection policy, lawsuits by the CoS, Fair Game attacks on critics. The more that you know about what you are talking about, the moar the win. Remember: Knowledge is power. Arm yourself.

Q & A

Here are some possble questions by the media, and some suggested responses. Our salient points are highlighted after each question/answer.

(If you've ever noticed politicians being interviewed, they rarely answer a question directly. Use this technique and redirect your responses to get our points across.)

Q: Who are you? Who is Anonymous?

A: I'm a citizen who is concerned about the unethical and criminal actions of the Church of Scientology. Anonymous is a collective of like-minded of people. We have united in order to bring the criminal actions of the Church of Scientology into the public eye. We remain anonymous to protect ourselves from criminal harrassment by the Church of Scientology.

  • Any personal reasons (eg. friends in Scientology, former Scientologists, etc.) should be said here.

Q: Why are you protesting?

A: First of all, we are protesting against the organization known as the "Church" of Scientology, its leaders, and their unethical and illegal practices. They have inhumane policies towards their own members of such as "Disconnection". Individuals within the Church are forbidden contact with those whom the Church deems to be a threat or critical of the Church. This policy is used frequently by the Church of Scientology to separate families, creating a rift between those outside the Church and those trapped within it. This also removes any social supports an individual has outside the Church, making it more difficult for them to end their affiliation with this cult. Female members of their "Sea Org" have been forced to have abortions. Their "Rehabilitation Project Force" (RPF), a branch of their "Sea Org" runs punitive camps much like gulags for their recalcitrant workers/followers.

  • we are against the Church of Scientology and its leaders, not Scientologists
  • discuss the Church of Scientology's policy of Disconnection

Q: The Church of Scientology calls you "cyberterrorists" - how do explain the denial of service attacks, harrassing phone calls, white powder, black faxes, vandalism, etc?

A: Anonymous does not condone nor encourage such actions. Our protests have all been peaceful and non-violent. The prank phone calls, DDoS attacks and black faxes were the result of a small number of individuals, who do not represent our movement. We believe that the Church of Scientology sent the white powder to themselves in order to try to incriminate us. They have a known history of attacking their critics with smear campaigns.

  • Anonymous does not condone illegal acts
  • our demonstrations have been peaceful
  • the Church of Scientology has a history of lying to its followers and to the media
  • Discuss "Operation Freakout"

Q: The Church of Scienology calls you "religious bigots" - aren't you promoting hate?

A: Absolutely not. We have no qualms with the religious beliefs of any person. Every member of Anonymous would probably agree with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states in article 19 "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance." The Church of Scientology does not abide by this declaration as they harass ex-members and make it incredibly difficult for people to leave their ranks. The reason is that the Church charges its members tens of thousands of dollars for books, courses and "auditing" to achieve spiritual enlightenment. It's really a "pay for salvation" scheme that milks its followers.

  • we are against the Church of Scientology and its leaders, not Scientologists
  • the Church of Scientology attacks its critics
  • the Church of Scientology is run like a for-profit business, it is not a religion
  • mention the FreeZone: practitioners of L. Ron Hubbard's tech but outside of the Church of Scientology

Q: What are your goals? Is it to destroy Scientology?

A: We wish to reform the illegal and unethical practices of the organization known as the Church of Scientology. The Church charges its members tens of thousands of dollars for books, courses and "auditing" to reach salvation. We believe that religion should be free. We also want to highlight the fact that the Church of Scientology operates front organizations, such the CCHR (Citizens Commission on Human Rights, an anti-psychology and anti-Psychiatry organization that masquerades as a human rights organization), Narconon, and Criminon which are really recruiting organizations for Scientology.

  • we are against the Church of Scientology and its leaders, not Scientologists
  • the Church of Scientology is run like a for-profit business, it is not a religion
  • mention the FreeZone: practitioners of L. Ron Hubbard's tech but outside of the Church of Scientology

Q: Have you read Dianetics (or other Scientology texts/literature)?

A: We are not against the beliefs of Scientology as a religion. (We don't care whether they believe in space aliens, thetans, or Xenu.) We take issue with the Church of Scientology's illegal and unethical practices and it's abuse of their followers.

  • we are against the Church of Scientology and its leaders, not Scientologists
  • we believe in freedom of religion

Q: Why are you wearing masks?

A:We do so out of solidarity to those who have criticized Scientology and to protect ourselves from reprisals by the Church of Scientology. The Church of Scientology has a "Fair Game" policy against its critics, which states that anyone declared a "'suppresive person' may be tricked, sued, lied to or destroyed".

  • discuss Church of Scientology's "Fair Game" policy
  • Use Gregg as an example? (There are lots of examples.)

The Rules

Wisdom from the Honolulu wiki [1]:

The following is intended as a guide for Anonymous engaging in their first public encounter with the press. Much like there are rules for demonstrating, there are also rules for communicating. Public opinion is Anonymous' number one ally. The majority of the informed public agrees with our campaign against the Church of Scientology, so we must use this to our advantage. Public opinion is the lifeblood of any campaign, and Scientology has seasoned professionals; when they aren't hiding behind plexiglass.

Rule #0: Rules 1 and 2 of the Internet apply.

Rule #1:

If you have experienced speakers, debate club members, Public Relations professionals, or similarly skilled individuals, appoint them your spokesperson ahead of time.

Rule #2:

Often there will be no one with the experience to speak for your demonstration. Analyze your own self-confidence. If you find yourself lacking, perhaps someone who is more confident would be a better speaker.

Rule #3:

Do not give your name, or a fake name. To give a name is to give up being Anonymous. If the report insists that their organization's policy is to take a name and title, create an Alias. Avoid calling yourself a spokesperson. If you are the organizer for your demonstration, refer to yourself as an organizer for that area rather than a spokesperson or leadership figure. Anonymous has no leaders.

Rule #4:

No memes. The public will not understand, and the reporter's opinion of you may drop. How the reporter perceives you is the way that the public will perceive you when they read or watch the report.

Rule #5:

Determine your talking points beforehand. Reporters will have questions they have planned in advance, but these may reference the actions that Anonymous has taken prior to these demonstrations. You must know what you are talking about. Strong talking points include Lisa McPherson, the breaking up of families, the policy of disconnection, the policy of Fair Game, and the slave like conditions under which the Sea Org operates. If you realized just now that you had no idea what one or more of those talking points was about, you should do some research before the demonstration.

Rule #6:

Do not be afraid to decline to answer a question. If you are unsure how to answer something, declining to comment is better than speaking in broad terms and sounded like a fool.

Rule #7:

If the interview is not right away, ask if you may see a list of possible questions or topics beforehand. This is a common practice for interviews. If granted a list of questions, this will allow you to do specific research beforehand. Do not be surprised if a question is still brought up that you were not prepared for.

Rule #8:

Keep your cool. If the journalist is obviously hostile, attempt to answer their questions with as much dignity as possible. Do not insult them.

Rule #9:

Look to the future. Do not allow the press to harp on past actions. Steer your conversation towards the present and future of this movement.

Rule #10:

Consider the sit-in. Civil Rights activists would fill up a restaurant, denying other people entry. They did this to make a point, and now historians look back and call this Civil Disobedience. Anonymous took part in Civil Disobedience when this war started and it drew international attention. We have moved on from these actions and are staging worldwide Demonstrations. Avoid the use of the term “raid” when speaking to the media.

Rule #11:

Look the reporter or the camera in the eye, however they prefer. Avoid looking down at your feet if at all possible. If you come across as confident and commanding, the public will respect you more.

Rule #12:

Avoid the use of the words “um” or “like” as much as possible. A well spoken person commands more respect, resulting in less lulz at your personal image on international television.

Rule #13:

Don't ramble. Try to answer the question presented while steering the conversation to your talking points, but don't go off on a tangent.

Rule #14:

Be aware of your background. Having several hundred protesters behind you is better than a bare street.

Rule #15:

Always tell the truth.

If you follow these rules and prepare yourself beforehand, these rules will help you represent your demonstration and Anonymous as a whole in a positive fashion.

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