In today’s second chunk of Tony Ortega’s Underground Bunker, Tony weighs in on a trial of two Scientologists in Russia.
I would know nothing about this trial if it weren’t for Tony Ortega. I have no idea if what he is reporting is factual. The reason I have no idea if it’s factual is because I don’t have access to the original facts that he seems to be reporting on. And because Tony Ortega has been fighting Scientology for 9 years now, there is no way for me to know if what he has reported about this trial in Russia has anything to do with reality.
I read his article this morning because Ortega said that the events of this trial in Russia made him ‘queasy’. He admits he doesn’t know what these Scientologists did. He just knows what, reportedly, the charges against them are. And yet he says that the last time he talked to a Russian state-owned media agency they reported the exact opposite of what he told him.
So, again, he has this totalitarian regime he doesn’t trust, and they are putting Scientologists on trial for something.
Is he ‘queasy’ because a totalitarian regime is going after Scientologists just for being Scientologists, or what?
Turns out he doesn’t mind that at all. What makes Tony Ortega queasy is that, in this case, the US government is standing up for the first amendment rights of Scientologists in Russia:
Ortega has written, while at The Village Voice in vigorous defense of the notorious Backpage.com against reporters who were uncovering that Backpage was engaging in sex trafficking, including child rape:
“What happens when two adults find each other through Backpage.com? I couldn’t tell you. The whole point of Backpage.com is that we aren’t involved after two consenting adults find each other through the community bulletin board, which exists solely so that people can freely express themselves—sometimes in ways that make other people uncomfortable. We’re First Amendment extremists that way. Always have been.”
Turns out, Tony Ortega, when it comes to Scientology and not child sex trafficking, is not a First Amendment extremist at all. In fact, any first amendment defense of Scientology or a Scientologist makes Tony Ortega ‘queasy’.
What that means to his readers is that Tony Ortega can only see one side of an issue on Scientology and never the other. He can’t tolerate all of the facts pertaining what he writes about every day.
This is because, when it comes to Scientology, Tony Ortega is no longer a journalist – he has become a tribalist.
Tony often laments that the Los Angeles Times and other media outlets don’t print what he wants them to print. They don’t cover stories he wants him to cover. They don’t listen to him. I think there’s a reason for that. They have seen with their own eyes, that this guy, when it comes to Scientology, has become one-sided and hysterical.
Maybe there was a time, if he had gotten out of this war he has engaged in with Scientology for 9 years now, he would have survived. But that time is gone.
Tony Ortega has gazed too long into the Abyss. And the Abyss has gazed back into him.
Tony Ortega has become the monsters that he fought.