We know things in the newspaper and magazine rackets are really grim right now. Every time we put up a job opening, we get hundreds of applications from folks looking for work. (Hey, and we’re about to put up another one, for copy chief, so all of you copy editors out there, get your resumes ready and keep an eye out for our imminent ad.)
But are things so bad that you’d be willing to go to work for Scientology, and do its dirty work by writing for its Freedom Magazine?
We’ve been reporting on the constant surveillance Scientology keeps Marty Rathbun under now that the former top church executive is speaking out about Scientology’s leader, David Miscavige.
The church’s latest ploy is to send in a goon squad posing as a documentary film crew, which has only resulted in raising the ire of local residents, who have rallied to Rathbun’s side.
Another page from the Scientology playbook is to send in Freedom Magazine “investigative reporters,” and there’s little doubt who it is the new hires will be sent to investigate. From the ad:
Freedom Magazine is looking for experienced investigative reporters for short and long-range freelance assignments…Current assignments are based in Los Angeles, New York and Southeastern Texas.
Get that, desperate fellow ink-stained wretch? Answer the ad, and soon you’ll be plying a paddle boat in the canal behind Marty’s house, just like these “investigators”:
This isn’t the first time Scientology has dangled work to hard-up scribes in order to target people it has a problem with.
In 2009, the St. Petersburg Times hit Scientology with the most powerful expose in years. Its authors, Joe Childs and Thomas C. Tobin, then found themselves the target of Freedom Magazine, which specifically hired reporters, one a Pulitzer Prize winner, to go after the St. Pete Times duo. The newspaper decided not to cooperate with the hired guns.
“I ultimately couldn’t take this request very seriously because it’s a study bought and paid for by the Church of Scientology,” St. Pete Times Executive Editor Neil Brown told Howard Kurtz at the time.
So keep that in mind, fellow scribe. Some Scientology cash might come in handy, but heading to Corpus Christi to do the church’s bidding might not look so good on the old resume. Just sayin’.
Tony Ortega is the editor-in-chief of The Village Voice. Since 1995, he’s been writing about Scientology at several publications. Among his other stories about L. Ron Hubbard’s organization:
The Larry Wollersheim Saga — Scientology Finally Pays For Its Fraud
The Tory Bezazian (Christman) Story — How the Internet Saved A Scientologist From Herself
The Jason Beghe Defection — A Scientology Celebrity Goes Rogue
The Paul Haggis Ultimatum — The ‘Crash’ Director Tells Scientology to Shove It
The Marc Headley Escape — ‘Tom Cruise Told Me to Talk to a Bottle’
The Jefferson Hawkins Stipulation — Scientology’s former PR genius comes clean
The Daniel Montalvo Double-Cross — Scientology lures a young defector into a trap
A Church Myth Debunked — Scientology and Proposition 8
Daniel Montalvo Strikes Back — Scientology Hit with Stunning Child-Labor Lawsuits
When Scientologists Attack — The Marty Rathbun Intimidation
A Scientologist Excommunicated — The Michael Fairman SP Declaration
The Richard Leiby Operation — Investigating a reporter’s divorce to shut him up
The Hugh Urban Investigation — An academic takes a harsh look at Scientology’s past
Giovanni Ribisi as David Koresh — A precedent for a Scientology-Branch Davidian link
Janet Reitman’s Inside Scientology — A masterful telling of Scientology’s history
The Western Spy Network Revealed? — Marty Rathbun ups the ante on David Miscavige
Scientology’s Enemies List — Are You On It?
Inside Inside Scientology — An interview with author Janet Reitman
Scientology and the Nation of Islam — Holy Doctrinal Mashup, Batman!
Scientologists — How Many of Them Are There, Anyway?
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 6, 2011