The Atlantic Jumps the Shark

Oy. So The Atlantic decided it was a good idea to run an advertisement for the Church of Scientology masquerading as an news article about explosive growth in the church:

Note the yellow “sponsor content” label. That, and a blurb at the bottom, are your only clues that this was essentially written by the PR department at the CoS. But probably worse than the article are the obsequious comments:

The article lasted less than 24 hours before being pulled. There’s a snapshot available.

Probably the best response comes from Boing.boing:

The issue here is that The Atlantic played fast and loose with its journalistic integrity, allowing the CoS to post a press release on their site and call it an article. What’s more, they seem to have allowed the CoS to moderate the comments, or at least set the guidelines, because there is no strongly negative comment in the bunch. Bad show.

As for the CoS, they’re probably smarting from an actual article with actual content from the Tampa Bay Times, “FBI’s Scientology investigation: Balancing the First Amendment with charges of abuse and forced labor.”

The FBI authorized some church defectors to covertly record certain conversations. At least one witness agreed to wear a wire, if needed. The FBI obtained aerial surveillance video of the church’s remote facility outside L.A. Agents even talked of raiding the property.

Through it all, the church continued to tout itself as mankind’s only hope, a beacon for human rights. Miscavige christened more than two dozen multimillion-dollar churches, calling them “islands of sanity” for a troubled world. And the church’s PR machine credited him for leading a “Renaissance” of the religion L. Ron Hubbard started in 1954.

  • vasaroti

    I never hear about fundies picking on Scientology. I wonder why that is.

    • Irreverend Bastard

      Just like there is honour among thieves, peddlers of religion and other woo don’t debunk each others silly stories.

      • Reginald Selkirk

        peddlers of religion and other woo don’t debunk each others silly stories.

        Har. Ask a typical evangelical Southern Baptist whether Catholics are Christians, and whether Mormonism is a myth.

        • Sunny Day

          You would think that a god would simply show up and explain all this.

    • kessy_athena

      Because Rush Limbaugh hasn’t told them that Scientology is part of the evil conspiracy out to destroy civilization as we know it? My guess is that since most fundies seem to get all their information from very limited and highly politicized sources, Scientology just isn’t on their radar because those sources haven’t focused on it. Of course, the fact that Scientology doesn’t really have much of a presence on the national political stage and is therefore not a threat to the political agendas and ambitions of certain individuals and groups is purely coincidental and has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the lack of interest on the part of the right wing media.

  • Bob Jase

    As I joined the E.O.D. almost twenty years ago, sworn in by the right-reverend Doctor Robert E. Price hisself, I have more faith in the accuracy of the Cthulhu article than the Scientology one.

  • Robster

    All these silly nonsense religions (or those with MORE silly nonsense than the ‘regular’ religions) have really silly names. “Scientology” sounds made up, bit like its version of the nonsense, Cthulhu!! Did they throw alphabet soup in the air and see what landed? Mormons-Did the bloke who made that stuff up like Ethel Mermon or something? There’s that many of them, there’s probably a business somewhere making a zillion coming up with super silly nonsense for these fraudsters to tout.

  • Tim

    The Atlantic’s statement with regard to the pulling of the article:

    “Regarding an advertisement from the Church of Scientology that appeared on on January 14:

    We screwed up. It shouldn’t have taken a wave of constructive criticism — but it has — to alert us that we’ve made a mistake, possibly several mistakes. We now realize that as we explored new forms of digital advertising, we failed to update the policies that must govern the decisions we make along the way. It’s safe to say that we are thinking a lot more about these policies after running this ad than we did beforehand. In the meantime, we have decided to withdraw the ad until we figure all of this out. We remain committed to and enthusiastic about innovation in digital advertising, but acknowledge—sheepishly—that we got ahead of ourselves. We are sorry, and we’re working very hard to put things right. ”

    Also two responses from a senior editor and a correspondent:

    Good to see that they’re revisiting their policies, but it doesn’t explain how something like that was let through in the first place.

  • RickRay1

    Magic underwear should have been everyone’s first clue – TO THE STUPIDITY OF SCIENTOLOGY… and all the other religions, too !

    • Yoav

      You’re getting them mixed up, magic underwear is moronism, scientologists have thetan detectors.

      • Sunny Day

        Really, whats the diff?