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The People of “Secret Lives”: Merchants of CHAOS
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What Channel 4 Wouldn’t Show You

or viewers with no factual knowledge of L. Ron Hubbard, “Secret Lives” might have seemed to offer something in the way of information.

     Yet even a cursory review of documentation made available to Channel 4 prior to the programme’s airing reveals that the show’s producers painted an intentionally misleading picture.

     All those in the public eye have supporters and detractors. But this is not about opinion; it is not about, “you are entitled to have your view of L. Ron Hubbard and I have mine.” It is a simple matter of, did something happen in the manner described by Channel 4 or not? And, if not, how exactly did Channel 4 fashion the lies?

     One only has to examine a small portion of the available evidence and the answer becomes apparent to anyone with any common sense.

     Among other tabloid tricks employed was the attributing of statements to someone and then using those statements to discredit the person—when in fact the person never said anything of the kind in the first place.

     By way of example, Channel 4 repeated the tired old line in which a quote about religion and money is attributed to L. Ron Hubbard.

     There’s no doubt that it is a fitting quote, considering the historical revisionism Channel 4 had already committed itself to. But the fact is, L. Ron Hubbard never uttered those words. It refers to a quote from George Orwell as anyone can verify simply by consulting the author’s own published diaries. To ensure Channel 4 was aware of this, the relevant pages from those diaries were placed directly into their hands. But it was too good a line for their purpose so they left it in the script, knowing they were wrongly attributing the quote to L. Ron Hubbard.

     In fact, this was only one of 94 statements contained in the show which Channel 4 should have known were lies, because they had been provided with documentation disproving most of them before they aired.

The War: Truth and Lies

     Like many other servicemen of his generation, L. Ron Hubbard spoke rarely, if ever, of his war record. But as U.S. Naval records show, he was highly decorated for his service with the Allied forces in World War II.

     But rather than present the little-known facts of this period of Mr. Hubbard’s life—as biographers may have been expected to do—the “Secret Lives” team knowingly presented a distortion of the truth. And to do that they had to take their motif of doctored facts even a step further.

     The intention is obvious: undermine the founder of a religion, and you undermine the whole of that religion. Yet the fact is, L. Ron Hubbard very definitely suffered blinding and crippling injuries through the course of combat in the Second World War, and that fact is perfectly clear in his naval medical records.

     One medical report describes a severe bone infection in the hip and back, forcing him to walk with a cane. Another shows his vision was registered at 20/100—which, according to medical review, meant that he could not distinguish facial features until three or four feet away, could not make out a street sign beyond ten yards and could not read a newspaper.

     Yet by 1948, medical records suddenly show him once again “physically qualified for active duty.”

     It is a rather fascinating story; even Navy medical examiners found it utterly remarkable that a blind and crippled L. Ron Hubbard of 1945 was suddenly fit for active duty in 1948. Whether one accepts Dianetics or not, the fact remains that his vision was 20/20 and he never again wore glasses after Dianetics.

     And why didn’t Channel 4 present that story? Well, it certainly wasn’t because they didn’t have the documentary evidence. L. Ron Hubbard’s official biographer placed the medical records directly into reporter Jill Robinson’s hands. She apparently chose to ignore them—since they disproved her own pre-conceived story.

Say it With Innuendo

     When they were unable to tell outright lies, the “Secret Lives” producers resorted to other stock tabloid tools: suggestive innuendo and selective editing.

     One example of this came when they presented a statement from L. Ron Hubbard’s former literary agent who claimed Mr. Hubbard hypnotized attendees at a science fiction gathering in 1948.

     There is not a shred of documentary evidence to support this story, but even that is beside the point. Channel 4 wanted a statement to suggest Dianetics is actually a form of hypnosis—despite the fact that it is diametrically opposed to any form of hypnosis, and that fact is well-established in more than 17 million copies of Dianetics.

     So, to get their statement, Channel 4 paid this former literary agent $500, placed him in front of the cameras, and coaxed him to talk for hours on end. From this extensive footage they had no problem pulling sound bites to suit their pre-conceived slant.

     But when recently contacted again, that same literary agent revealed the part Channel 4 left out of his statement: “When Dianetics broke on the scene, he went out of his way to emphasize that he really didn’t feel it was a good idea to fool around with hypnotism. ... I never tell the hypnotism story without emphasizing that he corrected his feelings about the use of it.”

Reality check

     When not knowingly lying, or using the editor’s scissors to get rid of anything that did not fit their “revision” of reality, the producers apparently just told their hired “sources” to let their imaginations run free.

     This is the only explanation for one statement which Channel 4 repeated from a man who, for the last five years, has been exclusively and only paid to utter anti-Scientology statements.

     His primary stock in trade is what one might describe as the unaccountable statement—the cleverly worded phrase aimed at presenting a distinct impression without actually saying much.

     This “source” admitted under oath in legal testimony just prior to the airing of “Secret Lives” that he never makes such statements unless paid.

     Channel 4 used him as a “witness” to describe periods from L. Ron Hubbard’s later years. However, while making it obvious that he intended to conjure images of the likes of the eccentric Howard Hughes, he conveniently omitted that not only did he never lay eyes on L. Ron Hubbard during this period, he never met the man at all, ever.

     The truth—available to anyone—speaks for itself. Mr. Hubbard always remained a tremendously active individual and prolific writer. During the period mischaracterized by Channel 4, Mr. Hubbard’s output as an author was truly astonishing. He wrote the largest single-volume work of science fiction ever written, and a sweeping ten-volume series—every one of them a New York Times bestseller.

     He also penned two film scripts and three music albums. He wrote a non-religious moral code based purely on common sense and decency, The Way to Happiness, which has been circulated to more than 65 million people in more than 20 languages. And that doesn’t even take into account the thousands of pages he wrote on Dianetics and Scientology during that time. In short, here was a truly prolific man, to the very last chapter of his life. Yet Channel 4 made no mention of this despite being aware of these facts.

     They also never even attempted to obtain statements or interviews of those who did know Mr. Hubbard during the last years of his life. But if they had, they would have heard something like this, from a non-Scientologist who worked for him for years on his property in California: “He was always very friendly and very interested in what was going on on the property and how we were doing. ... It didn’t matter if it was raining or bright and sunny, Mr. Hubbard would be out and about, asking questions, striking up conversations and taking photographs. He was very appreciative of anything and everything that a person did [and] always very friendly and very generous.”

     That is what the reality of Mr. Hubbard’s life is all about—and what Channel 4 lacked the integrity to show its viewers. Yet perhaps most amazing is the contradiction Channel 4 never sought to explain: If even a fraction of what has been alleged against Scientology were true, it is inconceivable that it would continue to be popular, to attract high-profile members—or remain the fastest-growing religion on Earth. Moreover, Mr. Hubbard’s life—one rich in experience and friendships—would not have been a candidate for “Secret Lives” tactics.

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