Scientologists Hire Journos to Investigate Newspaper Investigating Scientology

During peace times career soldiers become mercenaries and during the cratering of the newspaper industry skilled journalists also become guns for hire.

The St. Petersburg Times has spent decades investigating Scientology and now Scientology is returning the favor. Notably, Steve Weinberg, the former IRE executive was hired by the group to edit a study about the newspaper.

Wapo’s Howard Kurtz reports:

The reporters hired for the study are Russell Carollo, who won a 1998 Pulitzer for Dayton, Ohio’s Daily News for a series on medical malpractice in the U.S. military, and Christopher Szechenyi, an Emmy-winning former television producer who has worked for the Boston Globe’s Web site.

Asked about taking on the assignment, the two chose to respond in a joint statement Sunday. “We were hesitant,” they said. “That’s why we insisted on being paid in full before we started our work, total editorial independence and having someone with the reputation of Steve Weinberg involved. Every entity has the right to receive fair treatment in the press.”

Each reporter admitted to being paid $5000 for the gig. So basically, the “church” spends a tiny $15,000 to intimidate its adversary, that just so happens to be a struggling (as are all) newspaper. Chilling.

Remember how insulting Toyota was to the LAT for breaking the story about (ahem) breaks?

Kurtz ends:

Whether the journalists’ report is released or not, Davis says the church plans more scrutiny of its media adversary — which comes as no surprise to Neil Brown. “I counted up something like six or seven journalists the church has hired to look into the St. Petersburg Times,” Brown says. “I’ve just got two looking into the Church of Scientology.”

Hat tip Greg Mitchell

Previously on FBLA:

  • Scientologists Take Aim at Mexico City’s Drug Problems