Tony Ortega: The Atlantic Magazine Becomes Scientology’s Newest “Ideal Org”

Discussion in 'Media' started by The Wrong Guy, Jan 14, 2013.

  1. Anonymous Member

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  2. Anonymous Member

    I see many more similarities between the Taliban and Scientology, than differences.
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  3. The Wrong Guy Member

    Why the Atlantic removed the Scientology advertorial - Reuters

    By Alexander C. Kaufman

    LOS ANGELES ( - The Atlantic apologized on Tuesday for posting a sponsored advertorial from the Church of Scientology, celebrating its leader David Miscavige.

    The sponsored post, which went live Monday at 9:25 a.m. PT, touted 2012 as "milestone year" for the secretive church, which has been steeped in controversy throughout the years.

    It was taken down about 8:30 p.m. and replaced by a message saying the magazine had "temporarily suspended this advertising campaign pending a review of our policies that govern sponsor content and subsequent comment threads."

    "We screwed up," Natalie Raabe, an Atlantic spokeswoman told TheWrap after the firestorm of criticism and mockery the advertisement generated on the web. "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."

    The Atlantic issued the following statement:

    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.

    The timing of the ad was no surprise. New Yorker writer Lawrence Wright's book-length exposé on Scientology - based on his 2011 profile of former Scientologist Paul Haggis - is due out Thursday.

    Sponsored content, otherwise known as native ads or advertorials, have become a popular source of revenue for online publications, including Forbes and Business Insider.

    But, normally, advertisers do not want comment threads under their paid-for content, and while this has never been a problem for previous Atlantic clients, the heated feelings surrounding Scientology erupted in the comment section below the article.

    The Atlantic's marketing team was moderating the comments - about 20 in all before the post was pulled - as they were posted, Raabe said.

    "In this case, where a mistake was made, where we are taking a hard look at these things, is there were comments allowed on this post," an Atlantic official with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap. "For a subject like this where people very strong feelings, we realized there's not a clear policy in place for things like commenting."

    The Church of Scientology told TheWrap no one was available to speak on the controversy, and its media relations team did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.


    Original article:
    Updated at 1:36 p.m. PT with the number of comments posted on the original article before it was removed.
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  4. Anonymous Member

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  5. DeathHamster Member

    Obviously it was a typo. Miscavige meant that 2012 was a millstone year for Scientology.

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  6. Anonymous Member

    Gothamist: Behold The Bizarre Scientology Advertorial The Atlantic Pulled From Its Website

    Interesting excerpt:
    The Nation: After Protests, 'The Atlantic' Removes Scientology Advertorial

    Forbes: The Atlantic On That Scientology Advertorial: 'We Screwed Up'

    Interesting excerpt:
    The Wrap: Why the Atlantic Removed the Scientology Advertorial (Updated)

    Interesting excerpt:
    A nice tweet:
    And of course The Onion:,30910/?ref=auto

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  7. afternon Member

    Well a big thankyou to David Miscavige and Atlantic online for bringing so much free publicity to all the exposes of the Scientology cult coming out this year!
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  8. Xenu Is Lord Member

    In other words, Scientology paid for an ad that they wanted to have a specific outcome too, they paid for a fluff piece and did not get it because the comments section provided an outlet for the truth. All the Clams that were being told to go read this bit were being exposed to entheta. Scientology must have pressed the Atlantic to censor the comments (as it was their ad and they felt they could control the response). This did not work out because we live in the age of Anonymous and the internet. Clearly Scientology has learned very little if anything from the Tom Cruise debacle when they tried to get that video pulled.
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  9. grebe Member

    So the Atlantic thinks its big mistake was allowing comments?

    Uh... no.
  10. Anonymous Member

    I've now read a ton of articles on this. It appears not only The Atlantic, but also the majority of media critics, have two main concerns.

    By far the greatest concern is about the combination of allowing comments, but moderating (i.e., censoring them) for the benefit of the advertiser.

    The second, lesser, concern is about clearly differentiating and distinguishing the "advertorial" or "inline" advertisement content from editorial content.
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  11. YouSeeNothing Member

    I agree, but the publications would catch hell for denying a "religion" from advertising. By saying it was the comments they are free to remove the ad without any fallout from the cult. I'm not even sure they have to refund their money since it did run and the cult was responsible for fucking up the comments? Help, legal fags!
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  12. Anonymous Member

    The Atlantic is under no obligation to accept any advertising from anyone, religion or no. They are privately (meaning non government) held and while they cannot discriminate in employment, they can in the advertising dollars they accept. It is that whole "free press" thing ya know.
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  13. Anonymous Member

    NPR had a piece about this today. In it they pointed out that the Atlantic received a lot of complaints from journalists who pointed out that the Scientology corporation targets any journalist for abuse and harassment who dares to write anything critical of the company. The writes were outraged that The Atlantic would allow a corporation that harasses journalists to advertise in such a way that it looked like it was the magazine itself that was promoting Scientology.

    Gotta love NPR.
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  14. Anonymous Member

    Comment posted on Marty's blog:

  15. Xenu Is Lord Member

    CAN YOU GIVE THE LINK? Are the clams posting there?
  16. Anonymous Member

    Indeed, Scientology should be referred to as a business or a company, only, 'cos that's what it is.
    Or just a criminal, money-laundering, human-trafficking syndicate.
  17. YouSeeNothing Member

    Louanne is already screeching about censorship. I wonder if this is a sign of the the cult's next move. Karen Pouw letter next?
    The media coverage on The Atlantic screwup is tremendous. I haven't seen this many new news items in a 24-hour period in a Google search since the TomKat divorce. Can other publications be convinced to drop the cult ads based on the comments angle? If that were the case, it'd be killing two birds with one stone--cutting cult ads and generate more media attention. I think the Atlantic is being careful by saying it was because of the comments to avoid a lawsuit from the cult. I hope that works for them.
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  18. Anonymous Member

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  19. DeathHamster Member

    I wonder if the current Karen Pouw was disciplined over this screw up?
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  20. moarxenu Member

    One thing that one of the articles mentions is the role teh Twitter played in the pwning of The Atlantic. I retweeted the shit out of Tony's article. Glad to be part of an army of tweeps.
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  21. RightOn Member

    while you are there and have people's attention, it may be a good time to tweet some other stuff about COS?
    as mentioned before?
  22. Anonymous Member

    4 people like this.
    • 49864_598375905_7387_q.jpg

      Luis Lugoohh gosh... this website blocked the content :(

      "We have temporarily suspended this advertising campaign pending a review of our policies that govern sponsor content and subsequent comment threads." - The Atlantic.
      Yesterday at 2:14am ·
  23. David spanked me!
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  24. Anonymous Member

    Wired: The Atlantic, Scientology, and the Theft of Credibility

    Very good article. Excerpts:
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  25. Anonymous Member

    It was Davey Pouw, and he is never wrong. It's the world that's wrong.
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  26. failboat Member

    Who is your local NPR affiliate? I couldn't find it on the last 3 days of any of their listed national programs' stories. I checked all their national broadcast shows, from Morning Edition to Talk of the Nation - even the obscure ones.

    I suspect you heard it on a local NPR jockey's program, not on a national program. Or you heard it on a PRI (Public Radio International) program.
  27. Aurora Member

  28. Anonymous Member

    Definitely on NPR and it was one of the national shows, but I don't recall which. The Scientology/Atlantic piece was short, less than 5 minutes, maybe just 3. I guess not every tidbit makes it to the website.
  29. NOI

  30. failboat Member

    What time of day was it when you heard the story? Who is your local NPR affiliate? There are ways to narrow it down for me, but you haven't helped much so far. I will find it if it exists. So far I don't have much reason to believe it does.

    In addition to PRI, there is also American Public Media, who makes Marketplace and much of the programming that is broadcast on NPR stations.

    The fact that an NPR story is 3 minutes or less doesn't preclude it from getting a link on its program page. About half the stories on Morning Edition and All Things Considered are 3 minutes or less, but they archive each of these shows in its entirety every day, with individual links for each story.
  31. The cult doing what they do best - fucking shit up.

    They pay for a PR piece in a respected magazine and, like everything they do,it turns into a footbullet of epic proportions. A heap more bad publicity and more lies exposed.

    This is my soap opera. Watching these idiots deal with the digital age.
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  32. Anonymous Member

    Does subversion = terrorism these days? Lawfags?
  33. Anonymous Member


    The advertorial itself was pretty fantastic. It conveyed all the tone-deaf self-congratulation of the worst totalitarian nightmare regimes. Then it was followed by clearly strictly moderated canned "user comments." In fact, just go read it (scroll to the bottom) and then compare it to virtually any press release from KCNA, the Central News Agency of North Korea. The Scientology copy had all the uncritical summarization of a pre-teen's book report, the fawning praise of a tween love letter and the rigidly bright forecast of a Five Year Plan.

    Figuring out why journalists pounced on it requires very little effort. One, the advertorial stood merely a few inches behind the line of hilarity on its own and stepped across it a few times. Critics only needed to give it a nudge. Then we would all think, "Hey, those critics are funny."

    Two, the Church of Scientology has, in the past, sued journalists, sought to intimidate and frighten them and generally evinces lockstep, cult-like hostility toward any inquiries into its practices. The Tampa Bay Times—formerly the St. Petersburg Times—has published many excellent pieces on the CoS, from the Church's own backyard. (It's headquartered in Clearwater, which is part of the greater Tampa Bay Area.) As a result, the Times has been an intimate witness to the Church's hostility and attempt to influence local government for decades. More importantly, this ad clearly meant to divert the Scientology narrative away from Lawrence Wright's new book, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood & the Prison of Belief. Combine journalist's sticking up for their own, not wanting to be bullied and wanting to throw the narrative back toward a serious work, and their motives are pretty obvious.
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  34. Anonymous Member

    It should have been placed on The Onion
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  35. Anonymous Member

    Nieman Journalism Lab (at Harvard University)
    HT - ESMB:“Ideal-Org”&p=767601&viewfull=1#post767601

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  36. Anonymous Member

    Very good analysis.

    Why The Atlantic’s Scientology Advertorial Was Bad

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  37. Missfit Member

    so, it's been pulled, but is there any understand why this happened in the first place? Who's the Ad department/ Marketing team...let's pull some names, cross check them. Something rubs me the wrong way about this, who's in there fucking this shit up?

    I'm bored, it's friday...on a digging mission I go.
  38. Anonymous Member

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  39. Missfit Member

    I don't know why, but I don't believe it was money. I find it so hard to believe that suddenly the AJ would just put something like this up without considering the implications, even if they were hard up for cash. It just doesn't seem likely. Especially since so many of the contributing editors and writers were disgusted after the fact. I personally think this was an intentional ploy to keep this a secret.

    I ran the names of the masthead of the AJ, the only one that showed Scilon crap was the name "Alison Smith" but that's a pretty common name...

    Advertising Support
    Sales Planners: Brent Hicks, Alison Smith, Kathleen O'Rourke

    not that anyone cares, but would anyone like to do a little digging and see if it's the same person?
  40. Was The Atlantic’s Scientology Fail Inevitable?

    By Sharmin Kent on Jan 18, 2013 at 9:13 am

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