Motion of the ocean

The very serious Atlantic magazine is now running paid “advertorials” for Scientology.

67 replies
  1. 1
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    The very serious Atlantic magazine is now running paid “advertorials” for Scientology.

    The equivalent of the death rattle in the publishing world.

  2. 2
    Rathskeller says:

    Currently yanked. http://m.theatlantic.com/misc/notice/

    here’s an important new story about Scientology, though, from the Tampa Bay Times.

  3. 3
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Gotta pay the rent, dude.

  4. 4
    NotMax says:

    This was beaten to death in an earlier thread.

    My engrams hurt.

  5. 5
    proverbialleadballoon says:

    Sleazy.

  6. 6
    Napoleon says:

    “Native Ads” – what the hell does that even made and how is it differant then “Ads”?

  7. 7
    legion says:

    As if their support of McMegan didn’t already signal their moral and intellectual bankruptcy…

  8. 8
    R-Jud says:

    @NotMax:

    My engrams hurt.

    Not very upstat, huh? You need more auditing.

  9. 9
    Zifnab says:

    Is this really any worse than advertising for LDS or Catholicism? Yeah, Scientology is bad, but it really isn’t much worse than anything else. Take their money.

  10. 10
    NotMax says:

    @R-JudTouché

    :·)

  11. 11
    Suffern ACE says:

    Never quite understood why they don’t just buy their own outlet. I mean, all they’d have to do to be respectable is declare a hatred of communism and demand a need for reducing unfunded mandates and they’d be welcome at the table. Especially if they were known to hire writers and pay them on time.

  12. 12
    Rathskeller says:

    @Zifnab: No, you are quite mistaken. Scientology is much closer to organized crime than LDS or the Catholic Church. They systematically attempt to get around laws in every country, they bully people with a ferocity that can scarcely be believed, and they fleece innocents of money.

    In contrast, if you want to be in the LDS or Catholic Church, eh, grab a pew. Someone will be by at some point to talk and it’s free if you choose.

  13. 13
    Emma says:

    @Zifnab: It was written as a story. It allowed comments, most of which were rather laudatory until negative comments began to be “up’ed”, at which point comments were turned off. Then they yanked the whole thing after other news outlets started pointing out it was propaganda.

    They stepped in it up to their shins.

    (edited to make it clear. need another cup of coffee)

  14. 14
    NotMax says:

    @Rathskeller

    They systematically attempt to get around laws in every country, they bully people with a ferocity that can scarcely be believed, and they fleece innocents of money.

    Isn’t that also the M.O. of every high-powered Wall Street firm?

  15. 15
    JPL says:

    OT.. Please call Reid’s office on filibuster reform. That issue will come up in one week.
    A friend called and was referred to this videohttp://video.vegaspbs.org/video/2325544208/

    I haven’t listened to it yet but instead asked about his views on the filibuster and what reforms would he support. I mentioned the last gentlemen’s agreement with McConnell and asked how that worked out. I mentioned that the filibuster might be an important tool for actual votes but they are filibustering the right to vote. You can do what you want but please call. (202-224-3542)

  16. 16
    Cassidy says:

    @Rathskeller:

    They systematically attempt to get around laws in every country, they bully people with a ferocity that can scarcely be believed, and they fleece innocents of money.

    In contrast, if you want to be in the LDS or Catholic Church, eh, grab a pew. Someone will be by at some point to talk and it’s free if you choose.

    Is today ironic humor day? Did I miss a memo?

  17. 17
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Rathskeller:

    The LDS church and Catholicism are not very far from organized crime, themselves.

    It’s not for nothing I call LDS the Scientology of the 19th Century.

  18. 18
    Amir Khalid says:

    Advertorials are a very bad idea. They’re paid for like advertising, but the publication dresses them up to look, at a glance, like regular editorial content to the reader. This borders on deception.

    There is supposed to be a bright line between ads and editorial content. Advertorials blur that line and compromise credibility for the sake of revenues. The Atlantic Monthly should conclude its review by swearing off advertorials.

  19. 19
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    Overall, the Atlantic is a fine periodical. If the Editorial Staff could countermand the Bean-Counters (which department has effectively taken control of all corporations in the last 20 years). they would. This is not in their control.

    Wouldn’t this be the metaphor for the Obama Admin and Congress, or should we blame the President for errors and omissions from legislation?

  20. 20
    redshirt says:

    Amazing that a religion created as a joke bet is now treated semi-seriously. We humans have a ways to grow.

  21. 21
    Roger Moore says:

    @Zifnab:

    Is this really any worse than advertising for LDS or Catholicism?

    No, but I’d be just as upset with any ad like this one. It isn’t about Scientology, it’s about disguising advertising as editorial content, which is clearly not OK.

  22. 22
    Rathskeller says:

    @NotMax: No. Scientology is really in a different category from other institutions. If you really piss off Goldman Sachs, you might be across the table from three lawyers. Money might be sued for and won. Whatever.

    But do Wall Street firms kill people’s dogs or phone in death threats? Would they send people to your house every day? Would you expect them to infiltrate government agencies in order to destroy documents and alter policy (as they did with the IRS). The Scientology folks are deeply wrong and bad.

    Which in turn makes The Atlantic seem especially craven here. This isn’t one of those Republic of Saudi Arabia ads where they talk to potential business partners. Gross but ultimately not very important. In contrast, the “Church” of Scientology craves acceptability, and The Atlantic helped them along that road.

  23. 23
    sharl says:

    Boing-Boing had some fun with this (apologies if someone beat me to this in earlier comments).

  24. 24
    Roger Moore says:

    @NotMax:

    Isn’t that also the M.O. of every high-powered Wall Street firm?

    And we clearly love big Wall Street firms around here so much that we wish teh ghey would finish destroying traditional marriage to the point that it would be legal to marry a corporation.

  25. 25
    BruinKid says:

    Oh gawd, the man who helped those six children at Sandy Hook is now getting harassed by phone and e-mail, with some of them coming close to being death threats, by the Sandy Hook “truthers” who think the massacre never happened.

    I’m generally a pacifist, but when they’re THIS much of an asshole to people who don’t deserve it, I may have to wish bad things happen to sociopaths like that.

  26. 26
    Alex S. says:

    @Roger Moore:

    I’d marry a hot mess like Walmart.

  27. 27
    Rathskeller says:

    @Cassidy: Sorry, I don’t get it. You don’t have to pay to be in the Catholic or LDS church. Bible’s free, online, etc. They may want you to donate, but it’s not a requirement. (I understand the LDS social pressure to tithe is actually quite intense, but still technically your choice.)

    In contrast, you do have to pay, in the tens of thousands of dollars, in order to be an active member in Scientology and to even be able to read their doctrines. No money, no advancing in the church.

  28. 28
    Cassidy says:

    @Rathskeller: Okay. Not going to get into a big debate over it. IMO, you just described the actions of any major organized religion, especially here in the US. The protestant/ evangelical Christion tradition here in the US is every bit as bullying, greedy, fleecing, and actively doing whatever they can to circumvent the laws of this country. The catholics are not far behind. They were the old guard, but are now trying to play catch up in a modern world. The LDS does the same thing and requires their members to tithe a significant amount of money. But Scientology uses flashing lights so they’re wierd?

  29. 29
    Epicurus says:

    In all fairness (despite their continued inexplicable employment of McArdle), the magazine seems to have changed their mind about this whole thing. (See update.) http://tbogg.firedoglake.com/2.....ial-world/

  30. 30
    Maude says:

    @Amir Khalid:
    The problem is that The Atlantic did this in the first place. It shows poor judgement. The credibility of the magazine is damaged and that won’t go away.
    It also hurts the good writers there. They could be seen as guilty by association.

  31. 31
    JPL says:

    @BruinKid: I saw that earlier. Hopefully the parents who lost children during the massacre are prepared for the crazies. A professor from FAU has written extensively about his crackpot ideas. Did you know some parents don’t cry enough in public? If the whackos shed their own blood, I would not mourn.

  32. 32
    schrodinger's cat says:

    Isn’t this the same magazine that gave Megan McCardle a platform? An Econ blogger who can’t do simple arithmetic? And hosts the self important and self satisfied Aspen Ideas festival? They had no credibility to lose.

  33. 33
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @redshirt:

    Hey, there’s money in the grift. Of course it’s taken semi-seriously. There’s green to be had.

  34. 34
    Comrade Jake says:

    I got into a back and forth with a Politico writer about this on Twitter last night. He didn’t see what the big deal was.

    Politico is probably just upset they didn’t think of this first. After all, page hits!

  35. 35
    Lev says:

    I guess my comment about how happy I was about the CoS branch in Israel opening didn’t get through the filter. I only said that Tom Cruise would finally be able to share his views on psychiatry to an audience that would no doubt be thrilled to hear them…

  36. 36
    Mike in NC says:

    The Atlantic has been going downhill for years to the point where it’s now a refuge for neoconservatives and glibertarians. I cancelled my subscription.

  37. 37
    Thor Heyerdahl says:

    I walked by the former office of Scientology in Toronto (Yonge/Bloor), and found out that it had moved further downtown (Richmond Street West I believe).

    I thought to myself that this was not a coincidence…The Toronto International Film Festival used to have its nexus around Yonge & Bloor, however in the last couple years since the building of a new building it’s been rather close to where Scientology moved. I guess they wanted to be as convenient as possible for visiting clients.

  38. 38
    J.W. Hamner says:

    I’m surprised it was taken down honestly… do we think it was Scientology or The Atlantic that pulled the plug?

  39. 39
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Maude:
    Well, we don’t disagree on that; the Atlantic has certainly shot itself in the foot, and quite badly. Its best hope now is to try to live this down.

    Because they seek to make ads look like editorial content, I feel advertorials are fundamentally deceptive. Some news publications make it a policy not to run advertorials at all. Many that do run advertorials are careful to label them as such. But if an “advertorial” label is big enough to catch the casual reader’s eye, then it has defeated the effort to dress the advertorial up as editorial content, and thus the very purpose of advertorials.

    The best way to avoid this mess is to leave advertorials the hell alone.

  40. 40
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    Don’t knock Scientology. It really is the one true American religion:
    1. Parts fools and their money
    2. The wealthier you are, the more perks there are
    3. Being part of it automatically makes you better than everyone else.

  41. 41
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @J.W. Hamner:

    Definitely The Atlantic pulled it.

    $cientology would never do such a thing.

  42. 42
    redshirt says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: No doubt. The motivation for most religions. It’s fascinating to watch in real time – what was once so nakedly apparent (Scientology is a complete joke and an obvious money grab) – has, over time, morphed into a semi-serious, established Religion.

    The same process happened with Mormonism, but that sect has the benefit of an additional 100 years over Scientology, so it seems more legit.

    Keep extrapolating on this theme and you’ll realize that all Religions are scams, and are made to seem legit simply through the accumulation of time.

    Too bad Zeus and the boys didn’t have better marketing people back in the day.

  43. 43
    mdblanche says:

    @Epicurus: So the Atlantic will not do the wrong thing if enough people yell at them loud enough? Well, at least that’s better than Congress.

  44. 44
    Regnad Kcin says:

    @redshirt: I thought the RC church was started in a fit of pique between Meletius and Jerome

  45. 45
    Maude says:

    @Amir Khalid:
    We agree on that. The Atlantic should have known better.

  46. 46
    Maude says:

    @BruinKid:
    The story is on Yahoo News. Evil people are all over the place.

  47. 47
    LanceThruster says:

    How small is the fine print on Sea Org’s billion-year contract?

    Btw, whatever happened to the ruling on Scientology’s copyright on its material?

    IIRC, if the info was fiction, copyright applied, but if factual it was argued you can’t copyright knowledge of that type.

  48. 48
    LanceThruster says:

    Thanks to the Ex-Scientology Kids for this great quote —

    The great blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach; but we shut our eyes, and like people in the dark, we fall foul upon the very thing we search for, without finding it.
    – Seneca

  49. 49
    Suffern ACE says:

    I’d like to be able to comment on the ads posted online. They’d be newsier that way. So the next time I get an video ad that makes me wait 20 seconds to load and other 20 seconds to play before I can cancel it, I’d like to leave a message like “Your product sucks and you’re wasting my time.” Or “Use of this product killed my Aunt in a horrible way.” The fact that they decided to dress up the Scientology ad with a comment section with pre-written comments is the next step in advertising for the future.

  50. 50
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Advertorials are a very bad idea.

    I have fought against them ferociously at every publication that has employed me. Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose, but my hatred of “advertorials” has never wavered. They’re complete horseshit.

  51. 51

    @Rathskeller:

    Scientology, how about that? You hold on to the tin cans and then this guy asks you a bunch of questions, and if you pay enough money you get to join the master race. How’s that for a religion?
    — Frank Zappa

  52. 52
    LanceThruster says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    How do you feel about Editizing?

  53. 53
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    The fact that they decided to dress up the Scientology ad with a comment section with pre-written comments is the next step in advertising for the future.

    They faked a comment section? By the time I got a look at The Atlantic, they’d taken down the advertorial, so I didn’t see that. Well, that crosses the line, that does. It’s not in the ethically dubious territory of the advertorial anymore. This is outright deception of The Atlantic’s readers.

  54. 54
    LanceThruster says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    They faked a comment section?

    Before joining, I couldn’t even spell “Scientology[tm],” now I are one! ~ LanceThruster (OT XII)

  55. 55
  56. 56
    Barry says:

    @Suffern ACE: “Never quite understood why they don’t just buy their own outlet. I mean, all they’d have to do to be respectable is declare a hatred of communism and demand a need for reducing unfunded mandates and they’d be welcome at the table. Especially if they were known to hire writers and pay them on time. ”

    I assume that you’re referring to the Washington Times, the Moonie rag. And after Moon bought his way into respectability in The Village, it’s got to have gotten much easier.

    Actually, why doesn’t the CoS just buy the Atlantic?
    They’d only have to fire Fallows and Coates; the rest would fit right in. And they could invite Megan McArdle back.

  57. 57
    Rathskeller says:

    @Cassidy: Please give a similar example from any organized religion that does things like kill dogs:

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/lamaga.....ill-my-dog

    I am an atheist going on 40 years now, and I have oh so many complaints about organized religion. I vividly remember when I once blurted out “fuck the pope!” near two Catholic friends who gave me a good-natured (but painful) pummeling. Nevertheless, I can still find deep veins of good inside nearly every religious organization, both in their actions and in their beliefs. I share common values, even if I don’t think their god exists.

    Not so with Scientology. I think they are dangerous criminals, from the top to the bottom. Their actions and beliefs are equally toxic.

  58. 58
    trollhattan says:

    Was talking this morning to a friend who’s freezing at her office and thought she’d dig out her curling iron (at your desk?!?) and hold it to warm up. I challenged her to find a second iron and conduct free audits for her office mates. Had to explain the joke but now she’s going to try and find one and post a sign, ala Lucy van Pelt.

    Wish I worked in a fun office.

  59. 59
    MikeJ says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Because they seek to make ads look like editorial content, I feel advertorials are fundamentally deceptive.

    The use of third person pronouns is what really put it over the edge. The advertiser paid for the space, the advertiser wrote the copy, the advertiser picked all the pictures, yet the copy refers to the advertiser as if it were some other entity.

    Had they simply said, “hey we opened a bunch of churches this year and we think our leader is a pretty cool guy” I wouldn’t really have a problem with it. Of course if they did that the Atlantic might have a bigger problem in that people would still think they wrote copy and are actually part of the sponsor’s org.

  60. 60
    trollhattan says:

    @BruinKid:

    Ughhhhh. It’s people like this who make me question renewing my humankind membership. I wonder whether the Taft teacher who talked the kid into surrendering his shotgun is going to be the next target? After all, he’s already a union thug, now he’s demonstrably anti-gun.

  61. 61
    Cassidy says:

    @Rathskeller: You mean like supporting policies that cause the deaths of people here in the US or having homosexuals put to death in Africa? But dogs or something? I don’t know what your plan is here.

    And yes, fuck the pope and all the talibangelical grifter motherfuckers who have followed since.

  62. 62
    AuroraD says:

    @Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin): Er – you mean, the Atlantic used to be a fine periodical. I subscribed for about a bazillion years, but then all of a sudden they started publishing a series of horrible writers – not only the execrable McMegan, but also those two almost-interchangeable CamillePaglia Lite assholes, Caitlyn Flanagan and Sandra Tsing-Loh. After that, the downhill spiral was very steep indeed.

  63. 63
    LanceThruster says:

    @Rathskeller:

    I was instructed to dummy up about my atheism in our company vanpool because it was making baby Jeebus cry (not far from literal truth…really).

    [sigh]

  64. 64
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    @AuroraD:

    Well, their Entertainment desk is still excellent. :)

  65. 65
    Rathskeller says:

    @Cassidy: sorry, but you’re apparently not even trying to understand, so there’s no point in communicating with you.

  66. 66
    Rita R. says:

    @Napoleon:

    Native advertising is just the newest “techie” term for advertorial. I went to an online-focused media conference recently and that was THE buzzword repeated throughout the day ad nauseum, along with “advertising is content too.”

  67. 67
    El Cid says:

    Maybe this partly explains the Onion’s “advertorial” regarding Taliban successes in 2012.

    SPONSORED: The Taliban Is A Vibrant And Thriving Political Movement

    KABUL — 2012 proved to be just another in a succession of landmark years for the Taliban, as the influential Islamic fundamentalist organization continued its awe-inspiring push toward unprecedented expansion.

    Even following a decade marked with some difficulties, the devoted members of the Afghani cultural and political movement have proven consistently successful in their trailblazing efforts to continue the Taliban’s constant recruiting of talented and diverse young insurgents and building its thriving base of support from politicians and citizens alike to over 30 times that of a decade ago.

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