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


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

Tonight on Facebook, Tony Ortega posted:

Twitter lit up today with the astonished reactions of readers who couldn't believe that The Atlantic took a paid article from Scientology, touting its "Ideal Orgs." We have some thoughts on that, and we've reached out to The Atlantic for a comment.

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

There’s been a stunned reaction on Twitter as readers express their astonishment at the paid article by Scientology that The Atlantic agreed to post on its website today.

The Atlantic is a venerated magazine (founded in 1857!) which has been celebrated for the way it made use of the Internet probably better than any highbrow publication, its AtlanticWire getting high marks for originality and innovation.

But taking paid puff pieces from Scientology? This innovation is resulting in a big backlash.

The article, and open comments, are at

It's not even the paid content article that's so irritating. They moderate comments to such a degree, that it's impossible to say anything, but "what a beautiful building" and "how do I join?".
They should be ashamed of themselves for not allowing comments critical of the content.
Typical Twitter comment:
Evil Wylie

MT @drmabuse: Dear @jbennet: You have no integrity. You have no spine… You are Scientology's bitch.


@IndieScieNews on Twitter
And now The Atlantic makes amends?... or attempts to do so.....
A Wonderful New Book About Scientology, By a Wonderful Writer

By Jeffrey Goldberg
Jan 14 2013, 8:32 PM ET

Working with Lawrence Wright was one of the great pleasures of my journalism career. Even before I met Larry, at The New Yorker, I was a great admirer of his, and my admiration only grew as I got to know him personally, and as I watched him work. There is no more careful reporter in the world than Larry, and no one who is as thorough and as indefatigable.

"The Looming Tower," of course, is one of the greatest works of narrative non-fiction published in the past several decades, but all of his work on religion -- he's an unparalleled spelunker of the religious mind -- is very much worth reading. Which is why I'm so particularly excited this week to read his just-published investigation of the Church of Scientology, "Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief."

You can order it from Amazon right here.

Ho Tai

Patron Meritorious
Wow. Wow. When I was in college in the 60s I would buy a copy of the Atlantic Monthly when I had some time and thought I should do something to improve myself. Times have changed.


Patron with Honors

The comments on the thread are now closed. I guess they didn't like my comment about how 'many humans and animals were harmed in the making of these craptastic films' (or something like that). The Atlantic must be hard up for ad funds.


@IndieScieNews on Twitter
Update courtesy of WWP:’s-newest-“ideal-org”.108107/#post-2258235
Atlantic took that shit down and it now reads

" We have temporarily suspended this advertising campaign pending a review of our policies that govern sponsor content and subsequent comment threads."

That's the dank shit right there.
EDITED TO ADD: My guess is that the issue may be the comments. I think the Church of Scientology wanted editorial control over the comment thread, and that crossed some line for The Atlantic -- perhaps breaching the (thin, if any) wall between editorial and marketing / advertising. Plus, The Atlantic was getting the shit kicked out of it on Twitter, the Blogosphere, news sites, etc.
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I leave Twitter for a few hours, and THIS happens. Wow. It's all over my feed. My tweeps are PISSED at The Atlantic for running this. I didn't get to see the actual ad, as they took it down a little while before I found out about it, but I've read about it.

You know what this reminds me of? The ads oil/energy/chemical companies take out as PR damage control when they've been busted doing something terrible, or are about to be busted. I think the CoS is SCARED. Very, very scared.

The increase in bulk mail I've noticed... long-time exes getting incessant phone calls (including a friend of mine who hasn't been in touch with them in 15+ years)... a big splashy advert in The Atlantic... Are they in a stat spiral? Is there a big (hopeless) push to try to turn things around?? That's what my gut tells me, but I'm curious what others have observed along these lines. (ETA: Also, I've seen the messages on this board about books about to be published that may have a large impact.)

Also, who was put in charge of that ad placement?! Total, utter FAIL. That is NOT an audience that is going to welcome that message. Granted, there are probably exceedingly few audiences that would at this point, but still!


The whole article has been removed now

We have temporarily suspended this advertising campaign pending a review of our policies that govern sponsor content and subsequent comment threads.

Sadly I don't think it's because they thought better of selling their soul.


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Salon: The Atlantic’s Church of Scientology advertorial
A "sponsored content" paean to David Miscavige reads like North Korean propaganda

It’s tough to make a buck in online journalism, and I’ll bet there isn’t a news operation on the Web that hasn’t run ads or “advertorials” sure to make its editorial staffers squirm. But running cult-of-personality propaganda that sounds like its straight out of the North Korean government? For the Church of Scientology? That’s stooping pretty low for a dollar.

Danger Mouse

Patron with Honors
The only two magazines I subscribe to are The Atlantic and Scientific American. Somehow I think SA would not have posted this load of manure.

Dean Blair

Silver Meritorious Patron
Boy did Scientology GOOF THE FLOOF or what. This is going to help Larry Wright's new book sell like those proverbial hotcakes. Me thinks there will be a few new members in the RPF tomorrow.


@IndieScieNews on Twitter
The Hollywood Reporter: 'The Atlantic' Pulls Scientology 'Sponsor Content' After Online Uproar

The paid advertorial touted the accomplishments of Scientology and Church leader David Miscavige but drew withering online criticism.

The Atlantic has removed from its website a paid "sponsor content" story touting Scientology after other news organizations and bloggers raised questions about the piece.