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 that we got ahead of ourselves. We are sorry, and we’re working very hard to put things right.
In which The Atlantic apologizes for running “sponsored content” praising the leader of the Church of Scientology.
The Best Longreads About Scientology
We pulled together our favorite longreads about Scientology. Got any others we should check out?
- The Apostate (2011), Lawrence Wright, The New Yorker. On Paul Haggis vs. the Church of Scientology.
- What Is Scientology? (2012), Tony Ortega, The Village Voice. An in-depth but readable guide to what Scientologists believe, with links to Scientology reporter Tony Ortega’s hundreds of articles about the church.
- The Cult of Greed (1991), Richard Behar, Time. “Ruined lives. Lost fortunes. Federal crimes.” In this 1991 cover story, Time magazine declared, “Scientology poses as a religion but really is a ruthless global scam.”
- Attack the Attacker (1996), Joel Sappell and Richard W. Welkos, Los Angeles Times. The sixth part of a Los Angeles Times investigation, focusing on Scientology’s widely perceived policy of harassing critics and defectors. See an index of the entire series here.
- The Money Machine (2009), Joe Childs and Thomas C. Tobin, St. Petersburg Times. The first part of an investigation into Scientology’s extreme pursuit of cash. Plus, see the whole series, and the entire archive of the Times’ numerous investigations of Scientology.
- His Town (2012), Jason Sheeler, Texas Monthly. When Marty Rathbun became an outspoken defector from the Church of Scientology, a group of filmmakers began to disrupt life in his adopted hometown. But they weren’t counting on the response of his neighbors.
They sit down with an ordained Scientology minister, more like a resident Scientology judge, who tries to get them to resolve their differences,” says Press. “Usually, with a marriage, it’s designed to keep them together. Then they [would] run something on her called ‘the doubt formula,’ which is rigged: Katie wants to leave Scientology; for her to use the doubt formula she’s in effect practicing Scientology, so it’s self-defeating because all roads lead back to Scientology indoctrination.
ALL ROADS LEAD BACK TO SCIENTOLOGY. (via cheatsheet)
The Fresh Air Interview: Church of Scientology, Fact-Checked
GROSS: There was a meeting that you refer to in your article about Scientology, where people from the New Yorker staff met with representatives from Scientology. What was this meeting about?
Mr. WRIGHT: That was one of the most amazing days of my life. I had been out to Los Angeles to interview Tommy Davis over the Memorial Day weekend. And when he finally did come to meet with me, he said that he had decided not to talk to me.
But I asked him if he would agree at least to, you know, to respond to our fact-checking queries about the church. And he agreed to that. And over a period of time, we sent them 971 fact-checking queries, which alarmed them.
Terry Gross, NPR Fresh Air
More stories about the legendary New Yorker fact checking department, please.