I was digging through my archives and I found a portion of a Glenn Beck radio show from March 2000. Beck was merely a local boy in Tampa, Florida and not yet the major loon who would be propelled to fame and fortune by FOX News. Instead he invited on some loons from Scientology’s public relations arm, Al Buttnor and Pat Harney. Harney was then known as Pat Jones and we would often run into her around Clearwater during the LMT years. Buttnor had been brought down from Toronto to help out with the dual PR disasters of the Lisa McPherson case and the opening of the Lisa McPherson Trust. Here’s an fine example of the PR work he did for Scientology at the time. Buttnor reaches out to the husband of a critic of the Church of Scientology:
CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY OF TORONTO
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS
Pastor WIlliam Palmer
Evangelical Lutheran Church
232 Fennel Ave.E
Dear Pastor Palmer:
I am very sorry to have to write to you. It is a very
difficult matter to broach because perhaps you are not even
aware of the situation.
I am sorry to tell you that your wife has become involved
in a hate campaign against our religion in Toronto both by
her regular postings to the internet on a newsgroup and by
her recent participation in pickets at our Church. We are not
sure why she is doing this.
We have discussed this matter with several of our Lutheran Friends
and they suggested that we write to you in an effort to open a
door communication and hopefully reconciliation. It was even
suggested to us that a mediator from Conrad Grebel College may be
of benefit to resolve the situation if necessary and we agree that
this may be helpful.
Communication can resolve all things. I hope this is a matter we
will be able to discuss.
Please feel free to write me at your earliest convenience.
Rev. Al Buttnor
You can see why Buttnor’s delicate touch was felt needed in the town where Miscavige’s biggest headaches were ongoing. He returned to Canada later in the year when his son was tragically murdered. You can see a nifty pic of Buttnor on Meetup.com although it can’t compete with this candid shot of Buttnor taken by Bob Minton as Buttnor was hiding in a Tampa airport toilet stall while reporting back on Ursula Caberta’s near arrival from Germany.
Enough of the pre-show. Here’s the recording of Glenn Beck’s chat with them, featuring callers from the Clearwater area.
Buttnor and Harney on Glenn Beck
Incidentally, if you’d like to listen to a show that featured both Pat and myself, click here. It was a fun show from Texas in 2008 and a rare circumstance where I was able to interact with a Scientologist on air.