Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Monday, February 22, 2010

Church Of Scientology Hires Journalists To Investigate Critical Newspaper Coverage

Posted By on Mon, Feb 22, 2010 at 2:02 PM

click to enlarge HTTP://CAPTIONS.ILLMEYER.COM
  • http://captions.illmeyer.com
The Washington Post presented the latest evidence today that journalists are hard-up for jobs and cash: Three respected investigative reporters have sold their services to the Church of Scientology to pick apart the St. Petersburg Times' series of scathing investigative stories in 2009 about the church detractors call a criminal cult.

The former executive director of Investigative Reporters and Editors, Steve Weinberg, told the Post that the Scientologists paid him $5,000 to edit the study: "It certainly wouldn't be something just any reporter would do. My role

was more limited, and I can certainly use the money these days." Still, Weinberg said he "tried to make sure it's a good piece of journalism criticism, just like I've written a gazillion times." The other reporters who hired out their services were Pulitzer Prize-winning print reporter Russell Carollo, and

Emmy-winning TV producer Christopher Szechenyi.



Weinberg noted that the contract stipulated that the church doesn't have to make the study public, but that if it does, it has to release the entire 20-page critique -- which the church's spokesman Tommy Davis told the Post was "highly critical" of St. Pete's coverage. Imagine that.

Bay Area members of the international group of Scientology detractors

known as Anonymous (which we wrote about in 2008 feature stories) say

the move merely shows the church's desire to manipulate any negative

information about them. Anonymous has already been commenting on the

Post's piece on their on-line forum Why We Protest

"I think it's a foot bullet," one local long-time Anonymous protester told the Weekly.

"It's going to backfire on them, because its another thing of

Scientology trying to manipulate the media, this time by co-opting the

three journalists that they've hired ... [Scientology is] already

coming under a lot of scrutiny for this."

So does he think time-tested reporters can produce a objective critique when paid off by the very subject of that study? "It's going to be a real test of

[the hired reporters'] journalistic integrity," the protester said. We'll say.

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , ,

About The Author

Lauren Smiley

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook

Slideshows

  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"