A couple years ago, Scientology posted a puzzling want ad seeking "experienced investigative reporters" for its magazine, Freedom, which "covers human rights and social betterment issues and does investigative reporting in the public interest." What kind of stories would these reporters be investigating? We got an answer that the mission includes digging up dirt on Scientology's critics.
On Friday, Freedom reporter James Lynch sent an email to Foster Kamer, a blogger who used to work for the Village Voice, asking for information for a profile of Tony Ortega, the former editor of the Village Voice who has since focused primarily on criticizing the Church of Scientology. Lynch's first question: "Do you know any reasons for Ortega's obsessive interest in and incessant blogging about Scientology?"
We don't know Ortega's reasons, but let us try to answer that one: The rise of Scientology is an effing fascinating story, and fascinating stories are what real reporters like to write about. The Church has been working to rehabilitate its image recently, following the publication of Lawrence Wright's book Going Clear, a history of Scientology's packed with fascinating details, including, just to name a few off the top of my head, the Church's maybe-accidental involvement with a Moroccan coup, slave labor camps, and current leader David Miscavige's ritualized humiliation of its clergy. It's is not a flattering portrait.