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The Atlantic's Scientology Advertorial 213

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the history-of-a-time-to-come dept.
magic maverick writes "The Atlantic recently ran an 'advertorial' for the 'Church of Scientology'. During this time, they filtered comments and removed negative comments. While they have since apologized, incisive.nu has an interesting run down of what they did wrong, from both a moral and business perspective." It turns out these sponsored stories are commonplace, and a serious source of revenue: "Native ads are critical to The Atlantic’s livelihood. They are one element of digital advertising revenue, which in 2012 accounted for a striking 59 percent of the brand’s overall advertising revenue haul. Unclear just how much of the digital advertising revenue stems from sponsor content. We’re working on that."
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The Atlantic's Scientology Advertorial

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  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @01:04PM (#42605279)

    The only question here is "Which one is the dog?"

    Is it the Church of Scientology--whose batshit-crazy cult bullshit, strongarm tactics, litigious bullying, etc. are quite well-known by now? Is it these poor souls, who have fallen so far out of favor in recent years that they're losing members even in their traditional gullible himbo/bimbo bastion of Hollywood?

    Or is it the Atlantic, who gave up any pretense of integrity long ago, and whore themselves out like a $5 hooker to any advertiser still dumb enough to think that anyone under the age of ancient still reads The Atlantic? Is it these poor souls, who still bother to publish a magazine that hasn't been relevant since The Great War?

    I think a better analogy might be two dying dogs, lying down together in a last feeble attempt to fend off the cold.

    • by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @01:12PM (#42605387)

      Poor souls? At least a prostitute provides a valuable service, unlike that cult.

      • by tripleevenfall (1990004) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @01:37PM (#42605777)

        Excuse me sir, We at the CoS have trademarked the term "cult" and your use of it is forbidden by copyright. You'll be hearing from our legal team.

      • by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @01:40PM (#42605821) Homepage

        Well, they've managed to demonstrate that Tom Cruise is an insufferable idiot.

        That counts for something.

        • they also gave us Battlefield Earth, which is one of the most gloriously bad, campy, unintentionally funny films ever made.

          • by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @01:46PM (#42605909) Homepage

            Did 'they' do that? Hubbard had written that bit of fiction before he moved onto his really lucrative fiction.

            Seriously, would you trust a religion started by a science fiction writer who said "You don't get rich writing science fiction. If you want to get rich, you start a religion."?

            Really? Aliens? That can only be detected with your voodoo device? Is that the best he could come up with?

            • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @01:53PM (#42606003)

              Really? Aliens? That can only be detected with your voodoo device? Is that the best he could come up with?

              That it worked so well and suckered so many ... that may have been his point.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward

              Hubbard had written that bit of fiction before he moved onto his really lucrative fiction.

              Actually Battlefield Earth was published in 1982, while Scientology was started in 1952 or 1953, depending on your definition of "started." Your other points, however, are quite accurate.

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by couchslug (175151)

              It worked.

              It takes a selectively blind person to WANT religion, but that sort of person is incapable of critical thinking on that specific subject however brillian or stupid they might otherwise be. Hit the sweet spot and they'll be your bitch.

          • by whitroth (9367) <whitroth&5-cent,us> on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @02:04PM (#42606179) Homepage

            If you think that was funny - I've never seen it - you should read the book.

            As a lifelong SF fan, let me tell you what it was: a pulp writer's parody? homage? to every single pulp magazine genre that was extant in the late forties and early fifties, when Hubbard was writing. The section of Air Adventures, Detective Stories, Jungle Adventure Stories. Seagoing Adventure, SF, and on, and on. They were perfect... hackneyed pulp writing.

            And btw, to Battlefield Earth was published about 4 years before he died. Dianetics, his first foray, is from the late forties, while Dianetics is from the fifties; by the seventies, he was already calling it a "church", and spent something like the last 10 years of his life on his yacht, wanted by the authorities in the UK for tax evasion, as they didn't consider The Church of Scienterifficology a church or religion.

            What "really lucrative fiction" were you referring to, followuper?

                    mark

          • by MightyMartian (840721) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @02:05PM (#42606199) Journal

            Plan 9 From Outer Space and This Island Earth are gloriously bad, campy and unintentionally funny films. Battlefield Earth was pretty much unwatchable. It was the film equivalent of a guy so bad you wouldn't piss on him if he was on fire. It's so awful it isn't even worthy of MST3K treatment.

            I remember my wife and I rented it, and while I knew perfectly well who Hubbard was, was willing to view the movie on its own merits. After about 20 minutes, we gladly turned it off. A few years later it was on cable so I decided to give it another go. After the first scene with Forest Whitaker and John Travolta I changed the channel.

            The Human Centipede 2 is a work of art compared to Battlefield Earth.

            • by xevioso (598654)

              Now now, it's not that bad. I rewatched it again recently, or at least part of it. While horrible, it's not insufferable.

              For me the one thing that did repeatedly get on my nerves were the skewed camera angles. Every single frame is skewed 45 degrees in one way or the other.

            • by Bardez (915334)

              It's so awful it isn't even worthy of MST3K treatment.

              How about a RiffTrax [rifftrax.com]? They're the same MST3K guys, BTW.

              • ROTFL! I may actually pay for that. The part where the voice over proclaims "It's become a Noel Coward play!" is priceless.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          He's a good actor. Watch his movies if you like them, stop giving a shit about his personal life. The world would be a much better place if no one was obsessed with random people the see on screen on hear singing.
          • they see on screen or hear singing, ugh. Proofreading fail.
          • I'm not going to support people who, as part of their personal lie, take action and make up lies that harm others. I don't care how fucking good his movie may, or may not, be.

            • by Admiral Valdemar (2553412) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @02:01PM (#42606123)
              The problem with that is, somewhere, you are supporting someone of equal or greater drain on society. It's hard to be fully ethical about things 100% of the time, so while not supporting a film actor is one thing, you could be supporting Big Oil or an eeevil tech firm doing far worse. That said, the sooner this cult dies, the better.
            • I'm not going to support people who, as part of their personal li[f]e, take action and make up lies that harm others.

              Has Tom Cruise done that himself, though? Or is he just as deluded as the other poor fools who've been suckered into Scientology - moreso, in his case perhaps, since it would be even more in Scientology's interests to continue buffing his ego, given the considerable interest his name can generate. They gave him a freakin' medal, for Xenu's sake. I wouldn't be surprised if Cruise had been told and genuinely believed that all of the negative press about Scientology was part of an establishment (or alien) cons

          • by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @01:57PM (#42606051) Homepage

            He's a good actor.

            He's a middling actor at best, and lately has been stuck in the same tired re-hash of his hero fantasy.

            Watch his movies if you like them, stop giving a shit about his personal life.

            I'm sorry, but having seen him jumping on Oprah's sofa, and talking about how modern medical science is wrong about anti-depressants and the like ... he's a crackpot idiot.

            You want to make extraordinary claims? Back 'em up or STFU. He sure as heck can't back them up.

            I don't give a shit what he does in his personal life ... but I'm sure as hell not going to watch his movies and give the impression he deserves more of a public forum.

            By all means, feel free to watch what he's making if you're into that -- but to me he's moved into the realm of actors I dislike and won't watch his stuff.

            • by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @02:32PM (#42606565) Journal

              talking about how modern medical science is wrong about anti-depressants and the like

              A broken clock is right twice a day, and crazy ass Tom Cruise is right about this too. A 2008 meta analysis [plosmedicine.org] of all studies, published and unpublished, on SSRI antidepressants found that the effects are clinically insignificant in the great majority of patients. Only those ranked as very severely depressed experience any significant benefit over placebo.

              It's been 6 years since that study, and none have overturned its conclusions. Yet SSRIs are prescribed to the moderately depressed every day. I've asked psychiatrists how they can justify this in light of the data, they've responded with their own confirmation biases. I don't see any way to interpret this but to conclude that psychiatry for depression is almost entirely a scam.

              • "I don't see any way to interpret this but to conclude that psychiatry for depression is almost entirely a scam."

                Bingo. They've been collecting their office fees, and subscribing drugs to enrich the pharmaceuticals for at least fifty years now. It's amazing how many psychiatric patients are "cured" when there is no more money to squeeze out of them. Hyperactivity is just as much a scam as depression.

              • by Jawnn (445279)

                I don't see any way to interpret this but to conclude that psychiatry for depression is almost entirely a scam.

                That conclusion is not supported by your premises. On the contrary...
                Pharmacological treatment of severe depression is effective. If we lump such treatment into "psychiatry", your conclusion is patently false.
                You have presented no evidence documenting the efficacy of psychiatry in general (without regard to specific treatment modalities), hence your conclusion is unsupported. Furthermore, I'll hazard to guess that there are treatments used by psychiatrists for their moderately depressed patients which ar

                • by Bacon Bits (926911) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @04:08PM (#42607827)

                  Having suffered from moderate dysthymia for the past 20 years with bouts of severe depression, I can safely state three things:

                  1. Psychologist == psychotherapist. I saw my psychologist 1 hour a week for about 5 years straight when I needed the help.

                  2. Psychiatrist == pharmacologist. I see my psychologist for 30 minutes every six to twelve months to get a prescription refill. The demand on psychiatrists is high, because very few people are crazy enough to get a PhD and the turn around and get an MD. 12-16 years of school tends to make them only slightly less insane than their patients.

                  3. Antidepressants allow me to function in society. My condition is an exception, however, because it actually is a chemical imbalance. Without medication I stop going to work/school, then stop spending time with friends, then stop talking to people in any way, then stop cleaning the house, then stop bathing, then stop eating.

                  Fuck Tom Cruise and fuck the Church of Scientology.

                  • See, and this is what people forget. Just because these meds are over-prescribed doesn't mean that they aren't effective, nor that there aren't many people who genuinely benefit from them. I'm glad to hear your life has been improved. I know a bit about depression, but I can't imagine what "severe" depression must be like. Don't let the cynics get to you.

                • by Hatta (162192)

                  Pharmacological treatment of severe depression is effective. If we lump such treatment into "psychiatry", your conclusion is patently false.

                  Note how I said "almost entirely". SSRI's work for the severely depressed. That's a small fraction of the population though, so that's not very profitable.

                  You have presented no evidence documenting the efficacy of psychiatry in general (without regard to specific treatment modalities), hence your conclusion is unsupported. Furthermore

                  Why would the efficacy of psychi

                  • by iluvcapra (782887)

                    In light of all of this, it's hard to see how psychiatry for depression is anything but a scam.

                    Your argument is that psychiatry is affirmative fraud, that psychiatrists know that their drugs don't work, and that this information is suppressed for the sake of profits -- and you base this all off of one paper, a paper that says nothing about fraud, profits, or suppressed knowledge. Find the paper that proves psychiatrists systematically misreport outcomes, or that they believe drugs don't work, or that they

              • by Maritz (1829006)

                It's been 6 years since that study, and none have overturned its conclusions. Yet SSRIs are prescribed to the moderately depressed every day. I've asked psychiatrists how they can justify this in light of the data, they've responded with their own confirmation biases. I don't see any way to interpret this but to conclude that psychiatry for depression is almost entirely a scam.

                Quite a stretch. You may be putting too much on this study. I'd read at least this [sciencebasedmedicine.org] before concluding "it's a scam".

                for example... "The study has numerous weaknesses, however. Because the study only looked at pre-approval clinical trials it did not account for all available data. Also, once a drug is approved study designs are more variable as they are no longer specifically designed to meet the criteria for FDA approval and may be more relevant to clinical practice. The analysis only considered a single mea

          • Does he good? Or does he evil? It matters not you say. Watch him anyway you say.

            That path, to the dark side it leads. Consider all when making a decision you should.
          • So, in short, you approve of those advertising packages promoted by the entertainment industry, and you don't give a damn about the fools who live inside those packages?

            I could make a list of individuals, if they were on fire, I wouldn't urinate on them. Heading the list would probably be that dead drug addict kiddie diddler, Michael Jackson. That boy was a freak, by almost any definition. The fact that he was filthy freaking RICH was good enough for most people to forgive him of all his sins, crimes, ec

        • I disagree. Mr Cruise accomplished that by himself.
        • Well, they've managed to demonstrate that Tom Cruise is an insufferable idiot.

          That counts for something.

          That falls into the category of self-evident. No third-party demonstration is needed.

      • Poor souls? At least a prostitute provides a valuable service, unlike that cult.

        Providing hours upon hours of laughter for us sane people isn't a valuable service?

        • You claim to be sane? I don't see Cruise as funny. Is it possible that you are a product of conditioning by the mass media? When the canned laughter sounds, you laugh? Something to think about, huh?

          • I didn't mean Tom Cruise specifically, but the entire organization. See, e.g., nearly every Scientology discussion on Slashdot.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Black Parrot (19622)

      I think a better analogy might be two dying dogs, lying down together in a last feeble attempt to fend off the cold.

      Hey, they're both just chasing the Almighty Buck. You should show a little patriotic respect.

    • SPONSOR CONTENT [boingboing.net]

    • by durrr (1316311)

      I dont' think opressive scientology ads are important to the livelihood of the atlantic. I think it's important to the expanded profit margins of the upper echelons.

    • by Nemyst (1383049) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @01:27PM (#42605633) Homepage

      Not a good analogy, because one may feel pity for two dying dogs.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      There's nothing dishonest or dishonorable about being a hooker. And prostitution should not be disreputable.

      I cannot say the same for Scientology.

    • by Alien54 (180860)
      Part of this is that everyone who participated in the 2008 protests thought that Scientology was dead and buried.
      Suddenly here they are, bigger than ever, and vying for space in main stream media publications.
      Most of the controversy is because it's THEM.
      The statements that they make in the advertorial seem to be conservative positive reports about facilities they have opened, etc. This sort of thing is all verifiable, as well as the conclusion that this means something for their leadership.
      Because i
    • to any advertiser still dumb enough to think that anyone under the age of ancient still reads The Atlantic?

      I find myself reading atlantic articles every once in a while: their stuff shows up on at least flipboard. That to me seems like they're adapting to newer format a little better than, say, newsweek.

  • Principals (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    High Brow Magazine abandons principals in pursuit of the almighty dollar, news at 11.

  • Slashvertisement (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @01:11PM (#42605383)

    This article is something, coming from a tech site that has blatantly posted advertisements disguised as stories, intentionally or not.

    The only reason the atlantic caught shit was that it was that CoS is easy an hated target, product placement articles are nothing new or interesting.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      You don't see the difference between product placement and a cult using a newspaper to ruin more lives?

      When does slashdot run ads for crack cocaine? That would be similar to what we are talking about here.

      • by Black Parrot (19622) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @01:16PM (#42605457)

        You don't see the difference between product placement and a cult using a newspaper to ruin more lives?

        When does slashdot run ads for crack cocaine? That would be similar to what we are talking about here.

        Well, Slashdot is always pushing bitcoin. If that won't ruin your life, nothing will.

      • When does slashdot run ads for crack cocaine?

        My god man - how can you say that so callously? I just ordered my twenty-seventh Raspberry Pi board - this month!

        Insensitive clod.

      • by s.petry (762400)

        The post you responded too presented a valid point. Your response is an argument from Fallacy. No, there is no similarity as you describe. Further, you can not say that a person is more or less guilty of a crime depending on what the substance is. A guy found guilty of selling Crack is not "less guilty" than the person who was selling Heroin. Both are criminal acts and both are illegal.

        I dislike CoS as much as the next person that dislikes the CoS, so don't confuse what I'm saying in any way with defen

        • There are to crimes, degrees. Not all murder is equal, not all theft is equal and not all corruption is equal. It is one thing to take money for advertising a stupid product and quite another for advertising a murderous criminal organization preying on the weak minded.

          That you don't get this shows you to be a poor human being, no doubt you would view the theft of a loaf of bread the same as the theft of a diamond.

          • by s.petry (762400)

            The rate you refer to is what society uses as a measurefor the punishment, not the state of guilt or innocence. If I take property that does not belong to me I am guilty of theft. Whether the theft was a diamond or loaf of bread is not relevant as to my guilt of crime.

            Claiming that I'm more guilty based on what I stole is ludicrous.

            • by tragedy (27079)

              Claiming that I'm more guilty based on what I stole is ludicrous.

              Errr grand theft vs. petty theft?

      • by Hentes (2461350) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @03:42PM (#42607507)

        When does slashdot run ads for crack cocaine?

        There's a weed story every other week.

    • by sjames (1099)

      The difference is the paid nature of the content. As far as I know, the slashvertisements are not paid ads disguised as stories and the comments are not covertly censored to eliminate criticism and create the illusion of grass roots support..

    • by PhxBlue (562201)

      This article is something, coming from a tech site that has blatantly posted advertisements disguised as stories, intentionally or not.

      Point, but part of the story here is that New Atlantic was actively deleting negative comments about Scientology while allowing positive comments to remain (albeit with a metric fuckton of downvotes). There's no such process of selective moderation at SlashDot because moderators are assigned at random.

  • by John3 (85454) <john3@cornells . c om> on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @01:12PM (#42605395) Homepage Journal

    The Onion skewered the "sponsored content" [theonion.com] concept nicely yesterday. Even sponsored content needs to meet editorial standards, maybe even more so since you are accepting compensation for allowing them to use your brand name to promote theirs.

    • The Onion is the new 'wikileaks'. That was actually stolen minutes from a CIA conference [youtube.com].

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @01:13PM (#42605407)

    This was recently mocked by both the Onion [theonion.com] and Boing Boing [boingboing.net]. I think this is one of the first times that I'm less afraid of Cthulhu than the alternative. Actually, Cthulhu looks pretty damn reasonable when he wears a suit and a tie.

  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @01:35PM (#42605751) Homepage Journal
    You know what the most serious source of revenue for a publication is? Readership.

    Piss off your readers, they'll go somewhere else for news.

    If your readers go somewhere else, so will your advertisers.

    If The Atlantic takes a major fiscal hit over this (which I certainly hope they do), they've got no one to blame but themselves.
    • You know what the most serious source of revenue for a publication is? Readership.

      The heart of the problem is that readership is no longer an adequate source of revenue. The Atlantic's actions should be seen as an act of desperation, not a sell-out.

      We are all losers if it becomes unfeasible to perform the quality of journalism that the Atlantic built its reputation on.

      • You know what the most serious source of revenue for a publication is? Readership.

        The heart of the problem is that readership is no longer an adequate source of revenue. The Atlantic's actions should be seen as an act of desperation, not a sell-out.

        Readership is still the key determining factor in the survivability of a publication, because advertisers base their decisions regarding where to place their adverts based on readership (or hits, or visits, or whatever term for "people who see this material" you want to use). No readers (site visitors) == no advertisements == no money.

        We are all losers if it becomes unfeasible to perform the quality of journalism that the Atlantic built its reputation on.

        I take it you don't watch any of the 24-hour-cycle media networks, do you? Low quality journalism coupled with near-constant advertisement is pretty much the name of the game

  • by roccomaglio (520780) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @01:50PM (#42605963)
    Our media is constantly showing their biases. I would not be surprised if someone at the Atlantic was a devote Scientologist. Just this week CBS told CNET that they could not give a best in show to Dish's SlingBox. It is up to you the consumer of media to decide what is accurate or not. Fox News sometimes reports on things that other media chooses not to cover. They also choose to give a voice to some people that other media chooses to ignore. I read a large variety of sources and then use my own judgement as to what is believable or not.
    • Except in CNET's case, the decision was driven by the parent's company litigation with Dish network. I can understand CBS' aversion to having one of its subsidiaries endorsing a product that its trying to stop in court. I'm not commenting on the merits of their case, but I can understand the situation they found themselves in. I always found CNET's "Best in Show" arbitrary and in fact one of their "Best in Show" was awarded twice (2012 & 2013) to the same product that has yet seen the light of day (The

      • by admdrew (782761)

        I think this CNET situation shows a significant issue with the more 'popular' journalism - corporate bias. While we can all understand CBS's motivations, I feel that there needs to be far more journalistic integrity in situations like these; CNET's job was to provide awards based on merit, independent from what their parent company may be involved in (although, like you said, some of their reporting is questionable at best, even when parent company conflict of interest isn't involved).

        So, basically, fuck yo

    • You don't need to justify watching Fox then when NPR, PBS, and foreign sources like BBC or Times of India. BBC in particular has the unique perspective that often rings more true than many domestic sources.

      Fox does not deserve attention because they suck at journalism (sourcing in particular). Fox should not get praise for covering "other stuff" because multiple sources do journalism so much better without the taint. On the entertainment side, I would take one episode of "This American Life" or "Frontlin

    • by guttentag (313541)

      Our media is constantly showing their biases.

      Every person has his own biases. A journalist's job is to minimize those biases as much as possible to present a fair and balanced perspective. Some groups of journalists (The New York Times, for example) are better at this than others (The Washington Times).

      That being said, in every media organization there is a struggle between the people who produce the content (the editor and his team of editors and reporters) and the people who find ways to pay salaries and keep the lights on (the publisher and his

  • by Dyinobal (1427207) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @02:07PM (#42606239)
    This happens all the time, why do you think we don't have any serious discussion about money in politics. Because the media gets paid because of all the money in politics via ad time etc. Why would the media want to have a discussion about money in politics? They profit from it like crazy.
  • What's the difference between this advertisement and all those Dianetics commercials I grew up with? I still see Scientology paying for advertising in all sorts of commonplace venues, including cable TV commercials, the "stress testing" in the middle of malls, and various newspapers and magazines. Is the Atlantic held to a higher standard for whatever reason?
    • The difference is that in the situations you mentioned everyone knew it was advertising where in this case it was advertising passed off as news. Billboards and TV commercials are not news, and neither is a kiosk setup in the mall for "stress testing".
    • by chrismcb (983081)

      Is the Atlantic held to a higher standard for whatever reason?

      Yes.
      There are two differences. One is that the ad was made to look like a normal, unbiased news article. But at the same time, someone was removing critical comments. The latter is bad, the former is pretty much unforgivable for a news site.

  • by Loosifur (954968) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @02:32PM (#42606545)

    Foreign Policy, which was bought by the Washington Post a few years ago, started running these type of things around the time (shortly before or after, don't recall) of the change in ownership. Now that I think about it, it was probably shortly after, because the Post itself began running a bunch of "Chinawatch" segments on its site, which were basically advertorials from China Daily, one of China's state-run newspapers. At any rate, around the time I noticed that FP started to be over half full of ads by volume, and that easily 3/4 of that was some marketing drivel about how awesome China is, or how Dubai is doing such wonderful things in the world, is when I dropped my subscription. I'm not paying for a bimonthly travel brochure, and I'm sure as hell not reading a magazine about international relations that sells ad space to propagandists.

  • by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @02:38PM (#42606659) Homepage

    I cam across this very long, very interesting story about Scientology last night which details how with diminishing membership, it is trying to squeeze the very last dime out of those remaining and accelerating its die-off.

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/alexklein/is-scientology-self-destructing [buzzfeed.com]

    But inside the church, the Ideal Orgs are sparking insurrection. Across the country, donors and high-ranking executives say that the aggressive fundraising and construction scheme is used to enrich the central church at the expense of the rank and file, helping to grow the Scientology war chest to over a billion dollars. Two former members, Mike Rinder and Mark Elliott, went so far as to call the project a "real estate scam." To some of these defectors, the structures are metaphors for the religion itself: garish on the outside, empty on the inside. The irony is that the very expansion that Scientology lauds as its renaissance is actually a symbol of internal dissent and decline.

    ***

      And the ranks of the faithful are dropping. In 2008, there were 25,000 self-identifying American Scientologists, down by over a half from 55,000 in 2001, according to the American Religious Identification Survey. (Over the same time period, the number of Wiccans more than doubled from 134,000 to 342,000.) The 2011 British census showed a total of 2,418 Scientologists across England and Wales; about 73 times as many Brits identified themselves as "Jedi."

    • I LOVE that story. I'd already read it before coming on here. Both of these stories are the current feature on Mark Rathbun's WordPress site right now. The real question of importance to me (because I am a former member of the Co$ and currently practicing outside of the corrupt organization) is WHY did the Co$ feel a need to justify spending about a billion dollars on these buildings when they're empty. And the answer that question is reported on AT LENGTH in Alex Klein's article. As a disillusioned (a
  • I can recall a fair amount of sponsored ads pretending to be reporting in the New York Times. During the run-up to invading Iraq.

    One of the cops always yells 'he's got a gun!' as the broken door gives way.
  • Nature is supposedly on of the most respected science journals around (even if you deconstruct the liberal bias in its comments section). Even once in a while they run theme sections of either assembled or invited papers. And I noticed in two such recent sections there is a sponsored article from an industrial source. The paper is clearly labeled as sponsored. An example is a special section on COPD. A drug company published a study about a drug to deal with this. (Was that the one with elephant tv com
  • So given the current rate of slashvertisements, is this what we can expect here in a year or two?

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