TV: "Extra", Monday, December 29, 1997 -- full transcript
Subject: TV: "Extra", Monday, December 29, 1997 -- full transcript
From: email@example.com (NoScieno)
Date: 2 Jan 1998 07:53:57 GMT
In article <19971229231200.SAA13077@ladder02.news.aol.com>
(thread "TV: "Extra", Monday, December 29, 1997"),
firstname.lastname@example.org (DavisS) writes:
>I watched the NBC show "Extra" today (5:20 PM ET) and this is the essence:
>It was a very short piece, probably smaller than the "Thigh Anxiety episode
>that followed. It was by reporter David Jackson.
Less than four minutes. I thought they covered a lot of ground in that span.
AND it's short enough to be webbed in streaming video.
This is a complete and accurate transcript, except for the lead-in and closing
A quiet somber soundtrack underlies all video clips except for the interview
segments with Dell Leibrich and Kurt Weiland. Surround-sound renders it
powerfully moving. Many different photos of Lisa (GOD, but she took a good
picture. Most of them are on Jeff's Memorial page). The video transitions
between the "stock footage" and the zoomed/panned photos are mostly slow blends
and blur-in/outs, with a few fade-to-blacks. The video work is very good from
a technical point of view and pushes more emotional buttons
than are evident from a reading of the transcript, which is why I've gone to
the trouble of detailing it (Jeez, maybe I should have just asked Extra for the
story-boards). Enjoy. Cry. I did.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Video: Architectural details of FH "Church of Scientology" carved in stone
facade, [blend] still shot of Scn "minister" at lectern with large Scn cross on
wall, [blur] photo of Lisa, [blend] home video of Lisa dancing w/partner --
freezes at word "dead.". [fade out]
Voiceover, David Jackson:
"It's a two-year-old mystery that may unlock the secrets of the Church of
Scientology. One minute Lisa McPherson was a healthy 36-year-old woman whose
love of country dancing was eclipsed only by her love for her church. But the
next minute she was dead."
Video: [fade in] Picketers with signs, pan up to and slo-mo on picket sign
w/large photo of Lisa. ('zat you, Jeff?) Sign reads "Lisa McPherson 1959 --
1995" [slow blend to interview]
"The bizzarre circumstances of her death have protesters and Lisa's own aunt
blaming the church."
Interview with Dell Leibrich.
"They isolated her and did not get her medical help.. when it was needed...."
Video: Pan down from trees to Dell Leibrich sitting on yard swing, [blend]
composite of court documents, [blend] photo of Lisa, [blend] view of Clearwater
and FH, [blend] photo of Lisa, [blend] photo of Hubbard.
"The claims sound outrageous. But Dell Leibrich says she'll prove them in
court in an $80 million wrongful death suit against the church. For 18 years
Lisa was a devout Scientologist who lived close to church headquarters in
Clearwater FL. In the last two years of her life, Lisa reportedly spent over
$97,000 to learn the self-help teachings of church founder L. Ron Hubbard."
Video: Dell Leibrich walking with David Jackson, [blend] lovely B/W photo of a
younger Lisa, [slow blend] Interview with D.L. recounting Lisa's last phone
call to her friend. [fade out]
"But Dell tells me she believes Lisa died because she wanted out. A belief,
she says, that was prompted by a mysterious phone call to a friend not long
before she died."
Dell Leibrich: "...'and I'll tell you about it when I get there -- I can't
talk about it over the phone -- said, but I'll have a lot to tell you. She
said I'll be home Christmas, for good' -- It's what she told her friend"
Jackson: "And what was that indicating, do you think?"
Leibrich: "Well, like her friend thought, that she's getting out of
Video: [fade in] Photo of Lisa, [blend] footage of downtown CW, [blend] ER
entrance of Morton Plant Hospital, [ blend]photo of Lisa, views of FH hotel,
[blend]photo of Lisa, [blend] short abstract of ambulance lights
"Just two weeks later, on Nov 18 1995, Lisa was in a minor traffic accident in
Clearwater FL. She didn't appear injured, but for some reason she tore off her
clothes and ran naked down the street, following the accident. Doctors at this
hospital prescribed psychiatric help. Lisa refused, in line with church
beliefs against psychiatry, and instead checked into Scientology's Fort
Harrison hotel, under the care of a doctor who was allegedly not licensed to
practice in the state of Florida. Seventeen days later Lisa's condition had
deteriorated. She was rushed to another hospital, where she was dead on
Video: Outside of ME's office, [blend] medical reports.
"The medical examiner says the cause of death was -- quote -- a
thrombo-embolism of the left pulmonary artery. In other words, a blood clot.
The coroner says that clot came from -- quote -- bed rest and severe
David Jackson, on location in Clearwater, "SCIENTOLOGY" sign prominent in
"What the coroner's report doesn't say is -- who's to blame for Lisa's death?
Is the church responsible or did she die of natural causes? The lawsuit, of
course, is designed to determine that, ultimately. But it also accomplishes
something else. It gives us a rare look inside the church of Scientology --
both its medical practices and its treatment of its own members."
Video: baby-watch logs, CW police car, architectural details of FH, police car
David Jackson, voiceover.
"The lawsuit forced the disclosure of these medical notes, written by the
scientologists who cared for Lisa during her 17 days at the hotel. It says --
quote -- she was very confused and combative. And an entry that could explain
her dehydration says that she would -- quote -- take a sip of water and spits
it out (sic). Clearwater Police investigators say three of the scientologists
who attended her have apparently left the United States, presumably for
Laura Vaughn, interview:
"Did these people do anything to harm her, or intentionally harm her?
Video: Laura Vaughn marching up corridor, [blend] police car driving up street.
"Church attorney Laura Vaughn blames anti-scientology feeling for two-year
Clearwater police investigation and for the lawsuit."
Laura Vaughn, interview:
"I think that the reason that we're all here, the reason that we're having this
discussion, the reason that all of this has happened is because it's the Church
Video: David Jackson and Kurt Weiland on sidewalk, clip of Dell Leibrich.
"Scientology also insisted we talk with its External Affairs Director, Kurt
Weiland, who tells me he believes aunt Dell is in this for the money."
Kurt Weiland, interview:
"What they are trying to do here is extort 80 million dollars from the church,
through this lawsuit. And that means that they will tell 80 million lies if
that's what it takes to get to the point of payoff."
Video: Dell Leibrich sitting on waterfront dock, [blend] photo of Lisa. [slow
blend] Dell Leibrich interview.
"Dell say that's not true She simply wants to avenge her niece's death, and
leave people with a message."
Jackson: "What would you tell anybody that has a family member who's suddenly
become involved with Scientology?"
Leibrich: "I say: get out, get out. You don't know what you're getting into."
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
>All in all, a C-, I'd say. Absolutely essential facts were not mentioned,
>making it sound as though Dell Liebreich might actually be out for the money.
Even accounting for my personal bias, I did *not* get that impression. Weiland
does *not* come off as sincere. The juxtaposition of his incredibly callous
remarks with Dell's obvious visible pain and mourning is shocking. I can't
believe they let him say that on TV! Scientology's right foot is three rounds
heavier -- they "insisted" that he get air-time, remember. Very chilly guy,
Make that five or six rounds -- "... the reason that all of this has happened
is because it's the Church of Scientology." -- Laura Vaughn
>Her case was not fully laid out by not mentioning the facts that 1)
>Scientologists persuaded her to leave the ER over doctors' objections, and 2)
>The caregivers avoided the nearby ER to go to the distant hospital with a
>friendlier Scientologist doctor on duty, thus delaying emergency care for a
>dying (if not dead!) woman.
Yes, these important details were not rendered accurately. They also could
have mentioned the missing logs as "adding to the mystery," which they do.
With just a few seconds more they might have worked in a mention of the
The "nearby ER," may I point out, was the same Morton Plant Hospital that had
reluctantly released her to the "care" of her fellow cult members. Dead or
alive, had they deposited her there, the PR flap would have been worse than at
New Port Richie where there was no in-house record of her earlier
Moreover, the phrase "... rushed to another hospital ..." coincides with a
glimpse of ambulance lights -- I would have substituted a shot of the Flag van
-- leaving the false impression that every effort was made to save her life
when it became clear that she desperately needed emergency medical care. Such
was plainly not the case. Driving her in a private vehicle past four (?) other
hospitals in order to get to the one with a Scientologist can only mean that
Lisa died *at* the $FH (as Elliot UnAbleson admitted on TV a while ago). There
was no need for emergency medical care. There was a crucial need for emergency
>COS PR handlers did a better job this time.
You can bet they didn't get what they really wanted though.
>Not enough time to tell the story, and perhaps a harder news show would have
>been tougher, spent more effort to get more facts.
Definitely a lightweight report. Extra is a lightweight program. I give 'em a
C-plus. If they had said "The bizzarre circumstances of her death have
protesters united on the internet, and Lisa's own aunt blaming the church," I
would have given them a B-minus. Perhaps PBS Frontline will do a two-hour
expose' of Scientology someday.
I can hear the bivalves snapping and gasping already.
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