‘The Atlantic’ drops controversial Scientology advertorial

By David Ferguson
Tuesday, January 15, 2013 10:46 EDT
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Miscavige via Flickr Commons
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The Atlantic‘s website has dropped a controversial paid advertorial from the Church of Scientology. TheNextWeb.com reported that as of midnight Eastern time, the Atlantic website was displaying a message saying the Scientology article had been taken down “pending a review of our policies that govern sponsor content and subsequent comment threads.”

The feature, paid for by the Church of Scientology, was titled “David Miscavige leads Scientology to Milestone Year,” and appeared on Monday. Atlantic comment moderators rigorously policed the comment threads associated with the article. Both decisions have drawn heavy fire from critics, who accuse the Atlantic for placing revenue ahead of editorial standards.

Miscavige was named as one of the highest ranking church officials in a New Yorker article from 2011 that revealed dozens of shocking secrets about the Church of Scientology.  Scientology was founded by science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard in 1952 and is known for its high profile celebrity adherents like actors Tom Cruise and John Travolta.

Business Insider took a screen shot of the Miscavige post before it disappeared, available here.

UPDATE: The Atlantic has posted an apology from editor Natalie Raabe.

“We screwed up,” wrote Raabe. “It shouldn’t have taken a wave of constructive criticism — but it has — to alert us that we’ve made a mistake, possibly several mistakes. We now realize that as we explored new forms of digital advertising, we failed to update the policies that must govern the decisions we make along the way.”

The full statement is available here.

[image via Flickr Creative Commons]

David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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