BBC Reporter John Sweeney, one of the main journalists behind the BBC Panorama show Scientology and Me should be quite experienced with journalism and the routines of the job.

We all know the techniques of journalists to elicit an unexpected emotional response from the subject. Nobody likes being in the camera spotlight like that with a fast paced and prying journalist in your face trying to make you err at every step.

They stalk the subject and film it at every possible moment, hopefully trying to capture something that nobody else has so they can have some sensational materiel for their show.

This is John Sweeney’s profession – he’s a journalist for a living on one of the worlds largest TV channels.

Now what does a journalist like John Sweeney say when the tables turn and he is the one being documented? When a journalist starts to investigate him, his actions and his life?

We’ve all seen the video on youtube.com, but before you look at it again, let’s rapidly look over the journalistic philosophy of John Sweeney per the BBC’s Panorama site. He says “First, find a crocodile. Two, poke it in the eye with a stick. Three, stand back and report what happens next. If it’s a sodden log you’ll be quite safe. If it’s a crocodile you’ve got a story.”

And let’s see the video now

Link to video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxqR5NPhtLI

Have we got a story here? Per John himself I think we do.

We will all agree that one of the most fundamental journalistic skills is the mastery of language. Let’s see how John excused himself after this outburst; we would all expect a quick twist of words that would make it all seem rational and intelligent.

Link to video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVAeL8AyYeI&NR=1

For someone whose job it is to investigate and write stories one would expect a little more creativity than “I wanted to show you that my voice was louder than yours”. (I’ll have to try that next time I start yelling at someone I am investigating).

Now in response to this he claims he was feeling brainwashed because he was “being stalked” for several days. Actually the stalking in question here is a Scientology Documentary team that did a documentary on John Sweeney’s making of the Panorama show. But how can this be an excuse? Here is a Documentary journalist complaining of being stalked by a documentary team? Does he not realize what he is saying?

In other words, is documentary journalism brainwashing people?

I don’t know about that last statement but I do know that John Sweeney is getting a taste of his own medecine and it’s not tasing good.

A fellow blogger wrote an article and has some great videos on this.

Don Grey

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