Church of Scientology lashes back at St. Pete Times

January 7, 2010

We received in the mail a newspaper, 12 pages on high-bright, that attacks the St. Petersburg Times, its management and its foundation, Poynter Institute. It’s called Freedom, with the subhead “Investigative Reporting in the Public Interest.” It’s website is

Last month, I reported on the investigative series that the St. Pete Times did on Scientology leader David Miscavige. Former executives of the Church of Scientology, including two of the former top lieutenants to Miscavige, described a culture of intimidation and violence under David Miscavige. Read The Truth Rundown.

The faux newspaper is scathing. The lead article is “Steal, Bribe and Spy: Times Publishing Accused of Unlawful Tactics to Kill Competition in Lucrative Government Transcription Business.” It claims Congressional Quarterly, “while owned by Times Publishing Co., parent of the St. Petersburg Times, allegedly used unethical and even illegal tactics to destroy its principal competitor.”

The editorial “To Tell The Truth” – which is also on the front page – is upset the newspaper won’t do an internal investigation of the Church’s claims that the paper has “serious violations of journalism ethics.”

Other Stories (these cover the next pages of the paper)
The Poynter Institute: Hypocrisy Exposed
Merchants of Chaos: Journalism with an Agenda
Big Pay at Poynter Institute
How Much is the St. Petersburg Times Worth?

The next five pages are a special feature: “An Outsider’s View of Scientology in Clearwater”

The back cover has one article, “One Man’s Crusade,” and three ads for the Church and the faux newspaper.

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