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The Atlantic's Scientology Advertorial

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the history-of-a-time-to-come dept.

Advertising 213

magic maverick writes "The Atlantic recently ran an 'advertorial' for the 'Church of Scientology'. During this time, they filtered comments and removed negative comments. While they have since apologized, incisive.nu has an interesting run down of what they did wrong, from both a moral and business perspective." It turns out these sponsored stories are commonplace, and a serious source of revenue: "Native ads are critical to The Atlantic’s livelihood. They are one element of digital advertising revenue, which in 2012 accounted for a striking 59 percent of the brand’s overall advertising revenue haul. Unclear just how much of the digital advertising revenue stems from sponsor content. We’re working on that."

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If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (4, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#42605279)

The only question here is "Which one is the dog?"

Is it the Church of Scientology--whose batshit-crazy cult bullshit, strongarm tactics, litigious bullying, etc. are quite well-known by now? Is it these poor souls, who have fallen so far out of favor in recent years that they're losing members even in their traditional gullible himbo/bimbo bastion of Hollywood?

Or is it the Atlantic, who gave up any pretense of integrity long ago, and whore themselves out like a $5 hooker to any advertiser still dumb enough to think that anyone under the age of ancient still reads The Atlantic? Is it these poor souls, who still bother to publish a magazine that hasn't been relevant since The Great War?

I think a better analogy might be two dying dogs, lying down together in a last feeble attempt to fend off the cold.

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (5, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#42605387)

Poor souls? At least a prostitute provides a valuable service, unlike that cult.

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (4, Funny)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | about 2 years ago | (#42605777)

Excuse me sir, We at the CoS have trademarked the term "cult" and your use of it is forbidden by copyright. You'll be hearing from our legal team.

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (5, Funny)

PhxBlue (562201) | about 2 years ago | (#42606567)

Pfft. If you were really with the CoS, you'd have made Slashdot remove the post.

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (3, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 years ago | (#42605821)

Well, they've managed to demonstrate that Tom Cruise is an insufferable idiot.

That counts for something.

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (2)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | about 2 years ago | (#42605835)

they also gave us Battlefield Earth, which is one of the most gloriously bad, campy, unintentionally funny films ever made.

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (4, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 years ago | (#42605909)

Did 'they' do that? Hubbard had written that bit of fiction before he moved onto his really lucrative fiction.

Seriously, would you trust a religion started by a science fiction writer who said "You don't get rich writing science fiction. If you want to get rich, you start a religion."?

Really? Aliens? That can only be detected with your voodoo device? Is that the best he could come up with?

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42606003)

Really? Aliens? That can only be detected with your voodoo device? Is that the best he could come up with?

That it worked so well and suckered so many ... that may have been his point.

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42606779)

Hubbard had written that bit of fiction before he moved onto his really lucrative fiction.

Actually Battlefield Earth was published in 1982, while Scientology was started in 1952 or 1953, depending on your definition of "started." Your other points, however, are quite accurate.

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (0)

s.petry (762400) | about 2 years ago | (#42605957)

I believe one should check the chronology of book writings by LRH. While long, Battlefield Earth was a decent book. Published well before the time of the cult and Dianetics (sp? I'm in no mood to go make sure I spelt it correctly)

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42606583)

While long, Battlefield Earth was a decent book.

I read the first half of that book, and I laughed long and hard at this comment. Battlefield Earth is a contender for one of the worst sci-fi books ever written.

Fleet of semi trucks, meet gaping plot holes.

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42606821)

While long, Battlefield Earth was a decent book. Published well before the time of the cult and Dianetics (sp? I'm in no mood to go make sure I spelt it correctly)

uh, incorrect. Battlefield Earth was published in 1982, while Scientology was started in 1952 or 1953 (Dianetics in '51), depending on your definition of "started." You should've been in the mood to check on your decades-long mistake.

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (4, Informative)

whitroth (9367) | about 2 years ago | (#42606179)

If you think that was funny - I've never seen it - you should read the book.

As a lifelong SF fan, let me tell you what it was: a pulp writer's parody? homage? to every single pulp magazine genre that was extant in the late forties and early fifties, when Hubbard was writing. The section of Air Adventures, Detective Stories, Jungle Adventure Stories. Seagoing Adventure, SF, and on, and on. They were perfect... hackneyed pulp writing.

And btw, to Battlefield Earth was published about 4 years before he died. Dianetics, his first foray, is from the late forties, while Dianetics is from the fifties; by the seventies, he was already calling it a "church", and spent something like the last 10 years of his life on his yacht, wanted by the authorities in the UK for tax evasion, as they didn't consider The Church of Scienterifficology a church or religion.

What "really lucrative fiction" were you referring to, followuper?

        mark

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#42606275)

The camp really translates well to the movie then.

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#42606199)

Plan 9 From Outer Space and This Island Earth are gloriously bad, campy and unintentionally funny films. Battlefield Earth was pretty much unwatchable. It was the film equivalent of a guy so bad you wouldn't piss on him if he was on fire. It's so awful it isn't even worthy of MST3K treatment.

I remember my wife and I rented it, and while I knew perfectly well who Hubbard was, was willing to view the movie on its own merits. After about 20 minutes, we gladly turned it off. A few years later it was on cable so I decided to give it another go. After the first scene with Forest Whitaker and John Travolta I changed the channel.

The Human Centipede 2 is a work of art compared to Battlefield Earth.

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (2)

xevioso (598654) | about 2 years ago | (#42606291)

Now now, it's not that bad. I rewatched it again recently, or at least part of it. While horrible, it's not insufferable.

For me the one thing that did repeatedly get on my nerves were the skewed camera angles. Every single frame is skewed 45 degrees in one way or the other.

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (1, Insightful)

YodasEvilTwin (2014446) | about 2 years ago | (#42605873)

He's a good actor. Watch his movies if you like them, stop giving a shit about his personal life. The world would be a much better place if no one was obsessed with random people the see on screen on hear singing.

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (1)

YodasEvilTwin (2014446) | about 2 years ago | (#42605899)

they see on screen or hear singing, ugh. Proofreading fail.

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (5, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#42605927)

I'm not going to support people who, as part of their personal lie, take action and make up lies that harm others. I don't care how fucking good his movie may, or may not, be.

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (5, Insightful)

Admiral Valdemar (2553412) | about 2 years ago | (#42606123)

The problem with that is, somewhere, you are supporting someone of equal or greater drain on society. It's hard to be fully ethical about things 100% of the time, so while not supporting a film actor is one thing, you could be supporting Big Oil or an eeevil tech firm doing far worse. That said, the sooner this cult dies, the better.

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 years ago | (#42606901)

I'm not going to support people who, as part of their personal li[f]e, take action and make up lies that harm others.

Has Tom Cruise done that himself, though? Or is he just as deluded as the other poor fools who've been suckered into Scientology - moreso, in his case perhaps, since it would be even more in Scientology's interests to continue buffing his ego, given the considerable interest his name can generate. They gave him a freakin' medal, for Xenu's sake. I wouldn't be surprised if Cruise had been told and genuinely believed that all of the negative press about Scientology was part of an establishment (or alien) conspiracy.

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (4, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 years ago | (#42606051)

He's a good actor.

He's a middling actor at best, and lately has been stuck in the same tired re-hash of his hero fantasy.

Watch his movies if you like them, stop giving a shit about his personal life.

I'm sorry, but having seen him jumping on Oprah's sofa, and talking about how modern medical science is wrong about anti-depressants and the like ... he's a crackpot idiot.

You want to make extraordinary claims? Back 'em up or STFU. He sure as heck can't back them up.

I don't give a shit what he does in his personal life ... but I'm sure as hell not going to watch his movies and give the impression he deserves more of a public forum.

By all means, feel free to watch what he's making if you're into that -- but to me he's moved into the realm of actors I dislike and won't watch his stuff.

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (4, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#42606565)

talking about how modern medical science is wrong about anti-depressants and the like

A broken clock is right twice a day, and crazy ass Tom Cruise is right about this too. A 2008 meta analysis [plosmedicine.org] of all studies, published and unpublished, on SSRI antidepressants found that the effects are clinically insignificant in the great majority of patients. Only those ranked as very severely depressed experience any significant benefit over placebo.

It's been 6 years since that study, and none have overturned its conclusions. Yet SSRIs are prescribed to the moderately depressed every day. I've asked psychiatrists how they can justify this in light of the data, they've responded with their own confirmation biases. I don't see any way to interpret this but to conclude that psychiatry for depression is almost entirely a scam.

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (1)

StuartHankins (1020819) | about 2 years ago | (#42606295)

Does he good? Or does he evil? It matters not you say. Watch him anyway you say.

That path, to the dark side it leads. Consider all when making a decision you should.

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (3, Funny)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 years ago | (#42606435)

Does he good? Or does he evil? It matters not you say. Watch him anyway you say.

Burma Shave? :-P

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 2 years ago | (#42607081)

So, in short, you approve of those advertising packages promoted by the entertainment industry, and you don't give a damn about the fools who live inside those packages?

I could make a list of individuals, if they were on fire, I wouldn't urinate on them. Heading the list would probably be that dead drug addict kiddie diddler, Michael Jackson. That boy was a freak, by almost any definition. The fact that he was filthy freaking RICH was good enough for most people to forgive him of all his sins, crimes, eccentricities, or whatever you might want to call it.

Tom Cruise would make the list, quite far down from Michael. But, he's definitely on the list.

Some of us have standards.

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (1)

jason.sweet (1272826) | about 2 years ago | (#42606169)

I disagree. Mr Cruise accomplished that by himself.

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (1)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | about 2 years ago | (#42606267)

Well, they've managed to demonstrate that Tom Cruise is an insufferable idiot.

That counts for something.

That falls into the category of self-evident. No third-party demonstration is needed.

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | about 2 years ago | (#42606587)

Poor souls? At least a prostitute provides a valuable service, unlike that cult.

Providing hours upon hours of laughter for us sane people isn't a valuable service?

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (2, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#42605439)

I think a better analogy might be two dying dogs, lying down together in a last feeble attempt to fend off the cold.

Hey, they're both just chasing the Almighty Buck. You should show a little patriotic respect.

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 2 years ago | (#42605487)

SPONSOR CONTENT [boingboing.net]

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42606117)

SPONSOR CONTENT [boingboing.net]

Hey that's what Barack Obama looks like when he talks about gun control.

... while surrounded by his own gun-toting guards, to make himself feel safe, of course.

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (0, Troll)

xevioso (598654) | about 2 years ago | (#42606307)

Shut up, tea-tard. The rest of civilized society has had it with you and the rest of you gun-fetishists.

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (0, Troll)

Bodhammer (559311) | about 2 years ago | (#42606469)

"tea-tard" and "civilized" on the same sentence!

Hey lib-tard, don't be a hypocritical douche...

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42606571)

Why'd ya pull yer resume off LinkedIn Jeremiah Cornelius -> http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3368135&cid=42529887 [slashdot.org] Is it since someone spotted you're not only a "San Fran 'Man'" (a fella is more like it) and that you can't even spell what you allegedly used to do for a job? It's correctly spelled PENETRATION, not "pentration" as you misspelled it there in front of 1,000's no doubt (one would think an anal penetration man from San Fran'd know how THAT is spelled at least, lol). Jeremiah Cornelius likes to troll others -> http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2238996&cid=36457426 [slashdot.org] , but can't handle it when it's done in return showing he is illiterate, and that much is obvious. You fail troll. How many years did you leave your resume up there with that basic literacy fail on it? Yes you have been trolled. You like? I wager you don't since you removed your faulty resume (on the very thing you took pride in that you can't even spell correctly most likely indicating you weren't any good at it either).

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (1)

durrr (1316311) | about 2 years ago | (#42605497)

I dont' think opressive scientology ads are important to the livelihood of the atlantic. I think it's important to the expanded profit margins of the upper echelons.

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42605621)

It really is sad that we are so degraded that the difference between organized, criminal, conspiracies and legal businesses is very hard to define. Just as the so-called Church of Scientology is essentially a criminal enterprise how could we claim that Microsoft is not also a criminal enterprise. When you violate the rights of others and the laws of nations and are fined over and over again how is it that Microsoft is not classified as organized crime. Or we could discuss Wall Street and investment banks in the same light. We no longer really try to enforce justice.

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (5, Insightful)

cfulton (543949) | about 2 years ago | (#42605863)

When was it that America tried to enforce justice?
Starting with slavery and moving on to the railroad monopolies, tammany hall, the Chicago political machine, union busting in the 1930's, the company towns of the coal mines, separate but equal and on and on and on. We do try in fits and starts to fix these things, but always the rich and privileged find ways to give themselves privileges and immunity that the average Joe is not entitled to. It is not just American history but world history that teaches us this. So, maybe we should stop being sad about a time that didn't exist and do something about it. Whether we vote with our money or in the ballot box or through protest it is up to us to change things and looking back on a better time that did not really exist will not get it done.

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (1)

s.petry (762400) | about 2 years ago | (#42606015)

Hot damn! Spot on! I will however point out that most people lack the critical thinking abilities to see the truth in what your post. Really, that guy on the TV News station told them that it used to be fair, and politicians tell them that they matter so it has to be true!

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42606247)

This nicely sums up the fantasy economics used by Republicans and the Tea Party -- as if some unfettered free market is going to fix everything, and cutting taxes for the rich would suddenly make us prosperous.

All of the "let's go back to this" stuff is a lie or a fantasy which didn't exist, has never existed, and which can't be pulled into existence.

People get deluded about the things they believe, even when there's no evidence to support them.

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (5, Insightful)

Nemyst (1383049) | about 2 years ago | (#42605633)

Not a good analogy, because one may feel pity for two dying dogs.

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42605637)

I don't know which one is the wrong dog but hopefully they have people that are a bit better at the English language and who's not foolish enough to subscribe to a wanna-be tech site with a heavy socio-political bias.

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#42605759)

"Which one is the dog?"

The one being wagged...

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42606029)

There's nothing dishonest or dishonorable about being a hooker. And prostitution should not be disreputable.

I cannot say the same for Scientology.

Re:If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42606379)

The Atlantic has declined in quality over the years, but so has online journalism in general.

I ask you to name another site that has *more* integrity than the Atlantic. I don't mean that to suggest that the Atlantic is somehow a paragon of integrity, just that online journalism in general is not spotless.

Every website that's not run off of donations makes money from advertisements, and most sites other than the Atlantic are even worse, in that they aren't up-front about their glaring biases (Gizmodo anyone?). At least the Atlantic marks their sponsored articles as "sponsored content."

Frankly, I don't really see the big deal. It's really clear to me what's sponsored and what isn't, because it's labeled as such. With Adblock, I don't see most of it anyway.

I hate the CoS as an organization and see it as a criminal enterprise, but that's what this is about. It's not about the Atlantic, and it's not about sponsored content, it's about this particular sponsored content. They made a bad decision about what ads to include vis-a-vis their demographic, but who cares? If they kept doing it I might be more upset, but they pull an ad, they learn a lesson.

At least we're having this conversation--that's more than can be said about most of the bullshit extremist gossip-columns that passes as legitimate journalism today.

Principals (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42605365)

High Brow Magazine abandons principals in pursuit of the almighty dollar, news at 11.

Slashvertisement (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42605383)

This article is something, coming from a tech site that has blatantly posted advertisements disguised as stories, intentionally or not.

The only reason the atlantic caught shit was that it was that CoS is easy an hated target, product placement articles are nothing new or interesting.

Re:Slashvertisement (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#42605435)

You don't see the difference between product placement and a cult using a newspaper to ruin more lives?

When does slashdot run ads for crack cocaine? That would be similar to what we are talking about here.

Re:Slashvertisement (4, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#42605457)

You don't see the difference between product placement and a cult using a newspaper to ruin more lives?

When does slashdot run ads for crack cocaine? That would be similar to what we are talking about here.

Well, Slashdot is always pushing bitcoin. If that won't ruin your life, nothing will.

Re:Slashvertisement (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42605461)

The point is that in both cases people are willing to put moral and ethical principles out the window when dollars are waved at them. Yeah, Scientology is much more evil than some tech company being allowed to use the Slashdot frontpage to shill, but it's just matters of degree.

Re:Slashvertisement (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#42605495)

Matters of degree are a big deal though.

The question is where to draw that line, at any shilling or for bad enough product. Slashdot seems to have chosen the latter, the Atlantic seems to want to get rid of the line altogether.

Re:Slashvertisement (2)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#42605771)

the Atlantic seems to want to get rid of the line altogether.

An ad that looks just like reporting is in reality just shitty reporting. If the Atlantic wants to publish shitty reporting, their readers will move elsewhere. Problem solved.

Re:Slashvertisement (1)

YodasEvilTwin (2014446) | about 2 years ago | (#42605923)

Some papers seem to get more successful the shittier their reporting. See tabloids.

Re:Slashvertisement (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about 2 years ago | (#42606701)

Some papers seem to get more successful the shittier their reporting. See tabloids.

Or the USA TODAY that I get free at the hotel when I travel. I have heard that the international version isn't so bad but the domestic one is garbage.

Re:Slashvertisement (4, Funny)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | about 2 years ago | (#42605701)

When does slashdot run ads for crack cocaine?

My god man - how can you say that so callously? I just ordered my twenty-seventh Raspberry Pi board - this month!

Insensitive clod.

Re:Slashvertisement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42606011)

You don't see the difference between product placement and a cult using a newspaper to ruin more lives?

While I agree that both the cult and crack ruin lives, the cult is legal and I see ads for lots of legal stuff that ruins lives (alcohol, sugar, fast food, cigarettes, etc). I think the important point you missed is The Atlantic at least labels these (poorly) as advertisements. Slashdot often has things listed as stories that are clearly not journalism, but advertisements.

Re:Slashvertisement (1)

s.petry (762400) | about 2 years ago | (#42606323)

The post you responded too presented a valid point. Your response is an argument from Fallacy. No, there is no similarity as you describe. Further, you can not say that a person is more or less guilty of a crime depending on what the substance is. A guy found guilty of selling Crack is not "less guilty" than the person who was selling Heroin. Both are criminal acts and both are illegal.

I dislike CoS as much as the next person that dislikes the CoS, so don't confuse what I'm saying in any way with defending them.

Your an idiot and spreading lies (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 2 years ago | (#42606757)

There are to crimes, degrees. Not all murder is equal, not all theft is equal and not all corruption is equal. It is one thing to take money for advertising a stupid product and quite another for advertising a murderous criminal organization preying on the weak minded.

That you don't get this shows you to be a poor human being, no doubt you would view the theft of a loaf of bread the same as the theft of a diamond.

Re:Slashvertisement (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42605667)

Slashdot is a platform that allows slashvertisements, as well as allow active shills to defend/support their sponsors. Slashdot is a diluted form of main stream media, with active shills that push whatever "narritive" that the owners want.

Its pretty easy to see where they are active, typical slashdot stories have around 200 posts, where they are active, it is much greater. Luckily a lot of those posts are by those slashdotters fighting against the shills.

Re:Slashvertisement (1)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#42605823)

Its pretty easy to see where they are active, typical slashdot stories have around 200 posts, where they are active, it is much greater.

I donno about that... a typical "book report" might only score 10 comments, usually one of them is me asking why/how the book is better than "google for it"

I see small comment numbers on "tech" and large comment numbers on "politics". If it sounds like something you'd see screencasted on Hak5 or audio podcasted on hacker public radio theres like 50 comments, if it sounds like something you'd see on fox news or dr phil its got about 200 comments. If its the kind of thing the lamestream media would interrupt dancing with the stars or a football game to report live, you'll get about 500 comments.

The shills are pretty hard to separate from the trolls, even if you follow the money. The "I love e-ink" and "I can't read text on a LCD" (hello, unless you're using text2speech what are you doing here?) crowd, wtf are they trolls or shills or ? Or who's seriously paying the "I'll never buy an electric car until I can fill it with gas and drive for 18 continuous hours and my electric car needs a trailer hitch to hang my fake pickuptruck nuts" crowd?

Re:Slashvertisement (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 2 years ago | (#42606023)

I see small comment numbers on "tech" and large comment numbers on "politics". If it sounds like something you'd see screencasted on Hak5 or audio podcasted on hacker public radio theres like 50 comments, if it sounds like something you'd see on fox news or dr phil its got about 200 comments. If its the kind of thing the lamestream media would interrupt dancing with the stars or a football game to report live, you'll get about 500 comments.

Well, tech generally falls into one of two categories - "cool" and "uncool".

Political stories are, by their very nature, very polarized. This site attracts people from a variety of political viewpoints - libertarian, anarchists, socialist, communist, capitalist, free market, etc. It's natural they all have conflicting viewpoints because that's what differentiates one political view from another.

And then there's politics in tech as well - Google, Apple, Microsoft - they all have their fair share of haters, fanboys, and will always attract a bunch of trolls to bait both sides.

Heck, one common irony I see is how everyone complains when "non tech people" refuse to "learn about the technology they use" and ask others to help fix it (usually the /. poster about helping friends and family). On the other hand, the same tired old arguments get brought up over and over again because said posters fail to actually learn stuff that's not tech related (e.g., IP law is a good one - how many times do people have to confuse trademarks, patents (design and utility), and copyright?), or repeat the same old crap that's been debunked for years (e.g., "Will never buy from iTunes - Amazon only because it's DRM free" despite iTunes being DRM-free for many years now as well).

Heck, I'm sure we can compare the /. popultaion with the general population and similarities - mechanics complaining about "walled gardens" of modern cars, mechanics complaining about drivers not knowing anything about their cars, etc.

Re:Slashvertisement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42606381)

Or who's seriously paying the "I'll never buy an electric car until I can fill it with gas and drive for 18 continuous hours and my electric car needs a trailer hitch to hang my fake pickuptruck nuts" crowd?

Hey, now, don't hate on us midwestern nerds. We have to drive a lot and we need the trailer hitch for when our cars get stuck in the snow or when we need to haul firewood and stuff. I have a trailer hitch on my 4 cyl Integra and it's quite useful. Thanks for reminding me that I need to buy a ballbag for it, though.

Re:Slashvertisement (2)

sjames (1099) | about 2 years ago | (#42606549)

The difference is the paid nature of the content. As far as I know, the slashvertisements are not paid ads disguised as stories and the comments are not covertly censored to eliminate criticism and create the illusion of grass roots support..

Re:Slashvertisement (1)

PhxBlue (562201) | about 2 years ago | (#42606621)

This article is something, coming from a tech site that has blatantly posted advertisements disguised as stories, intentionally or not.

Point, but part of the story here is that New Atlantic was actively deleting negative comments about Scientology while allowing positive comments to remain (albeit with a metric fuckton of downvotes). There's no such process of selective moderation at SlashDot because moderators are assigned at random.

The Onion's take on it (5, Insightful)

John3 (85454) | about 2 years ago | (#42605395)

The Onion skewered the "sponsored content" [theonion.com] concept nicely yesterday. Even sponsored content needs to meet editorial standards, maybe even more so since you are accepting compensation for allowing them to use your brand name to promote theirs.

Re:The Onion's take on it (0)

davydagger (2566757) | about 2 years ago | (#42605527)

mod points when I need one, +1

the onion rocks.

Re:The Onion's take on it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42605893)

"Sponsored content" without informing the reader is fraud, pure and simple. The people facilitating it should be in jail.

If they don't state on the spot that it's sponsored then that's all the evidence you need to know they are engaging in fraud. They are fraudulently misrepresenting an article as second party opinion, rather than first party propaganda.

After all, if it made no difference to inform the reader of the true affiliation then there should be no problem informing the reader, should there? Since there is a difference and they are willing to pay sometimes serious money for it then that difference is important and that means it's fraud. The Atlantic editor who approved it and the advertiser who paid for it should both at a minimum pay fines for seriously and deliberately misinforming thousands of readers and ideally should spend time in jail for their sins.

Re:The Onion's take on it (1)

s.petry (762400) | about 2 years ago | (#42606131)

There is a slight problem with your request for punishment. In order for the fraud to be punishable there must be intent to cause harm. Proving that this advert caused any harm, or was intended to cause harm, would be impossible (and without merit ).

Is it worthy of people boycotting the magazine forever? Most surely yes. Is it punishable? Not in a criminal sense, but consumers should punish them by boycotting. Further, other organizations in a similar line of work should publicly shun them and learn from their mistake.

Re:The Onion's take on it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42606509)

The people facilitating it should be in jail.

While I agree that the practice is egregiously unethical, and I wouldn't mind it being illegal, even if it was illegal, why should any non-violent criminal be put in jail?

Read this [wikipedia.org] and think about how your attitude contributes to the problem. People who have a knee-jerk, "put 'em in jail" reaction to non-violent transgressions that may or may not be illegal ought to be in jail.

BoingBoing did as well... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42605949)

Dread Cthulhu leads his cult to a banner year [boingboing.net] . Its amazing how good the sponsorship opportunities have been.

Re:BoingBoing did as well... (1)

John3 (85454) | about 2 years ago | (#42605981)

Very amusing, thanks for pointing this one out.

Re:The Onion's take on it (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#42606033)

The Onion is the new 'wikileaks'. That was actually stolen minutes from a CIA conference [youtube.com] .

The Taliban and Cthulhu (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42605407)

This was recently mocked by both the Onion [theonion.com] and Boing Boing [boingboing.net] . I think this is one of the first times that I'm less afraid of Cthulhu than the alternative. Actually, Cthulhu looks pretty damn reasonable when he wears a suit and a tie.

Just a thought (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42605619)

Just a question, but if the Catholic church or Baptist church put in a stealth advertisement would there be the same outcry? I'm agnostic so I'm not trying to push an agenda by asking this question.

Re:Just a thought (1)

jason.sweet (1272826) | about 2 years ago | (#42606459)

so I'm not trying to push an agenda by asking this question.

Bullshit! Asking a question is always pushing an agenda. Even if you are only asking where to find a toilet, you are pushing an agenda.

Re:Just a thought (0)

Jerry Atrick (2461566) | about 2 years ago | (#42606599)

All 3 so called 'churches' are diseases, all that differs is how virulent they are. The Catholics&Baptists are old and have evolved to not kill their hosts. The newbie scammers haven't and with luck will be eradicated before they adapt.

Way to have some integrity The atlantic.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42605651)

Dealing with the nutbags at the church of scientology... Whats up for next month? In bed with fred phelps?

Ad Block (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42605675)

Does Ad Block see this article as an ad?

"Serious Source of Revenue" (5, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#42605751)

You know what the most serious source of revenue for a publication is? Readership.

Piss off your readers, they'll go somewhere else for news.

If your readers go somewhere else, so will your advertisers.

If The Atlantic takes a major fiscal hit over this (which I certainly hope they do), they've got no one to blame but themselves.

Re:"Serious Source of Revenue" (1)

Capt.Albatross (1301561) | about 2 years ago | (#42605921)

You know what the most serious source of revenue for a publication is? Readership.

The heart of the problem is that readership is no longer an adequate source of revenue. The Atlantic's actions should be seen as an act of desperation, not a sell-out.

We are all losers if it becomes unfeasible to perform the quality of journalism that the Atlantic built its reputation on.

Re:"Serious Source of Revenue" (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#42606061)

You know what the most serious source of revenue for a publication is? Readership.

The heart of the problem is that readership is no longer an adequate source of revenue. The Atlantic's actions should be seen as an act of desperation, not a sell-out.

Readership is still the key determining factor in the survivability of a publication, because advertisers base their decisions regarding where to place their adverts based on readership (or hits, or visits, or whatever term for "people who see this material" you want to use). No readers (site visitors) == no advertisements == no money.

We are all losers if it becomes unfeasible to perform the quality of journalism that the Atlantic built its reputation on.

I take it you don't watch any of the 24-hour-cycle media networks, do you? Low quality journalism coupled with near-constant advertisement is pretty much the name of the game these days, and you're right - human social progression loses as a result.

Don't be so quick dismiss a Fox News article (3, Insightful)

roccomaglio (520780) | about 2 years ago | (#42605963)

Our media is constantly showing their biases. I would not be surprised if someone at the Atlantic was a devote Scientologist. Just this week CBS told CNET that they could not give a best in show to Dish's SlingBox. It is up to you the consumer of media to decide what is accurate or not. Fox News sometimes reports on things that other media chooses not to cover. They also choose to give a voice to some people that other media chooses to ignore. I read a large variety of sources and then use my own judgement as to what is believable or not.

Re:Don't be so quick dismiss a Fox News article (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42606339)

Except Fox News has actually gone to court to preserve their right to lie to their viewers.

Re:Don't be so quick dismiss a Fox News article (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about 2 years ago | (#42606427)

Except in CNET's case, the decision was driven by the parent's company litigation with Dish network. I can understand CBS' aversion to having one of its subsidiaries endorsing a product that its trying to stop in court. I'm not commenting on the merits of their case, but I can understand the situation they found themselves in. I always found CNET's "Best in Show" arbitrary and in fact one of their "Best in Show" was awarded twice (2012 & 2013) to the same product that has yet seen the light of day (The Razor Game Pad).

Also in CBS' case they didn't write an editorial against "The Hopper". They asked their subsidiary not to award it best in show. Whereas the Atlantic was actually presenting advertising as news.

Re:Don't be so quick dismiss a Fox News article (2)

admdrew (782761) | about 2 years ago | (#42606831)

I think this CNET situation shows a significant issue with the more 'popular' journalism - corporate bias. While we can all understand CBS's motivations, I feel that there needs to be far more journalistic integrity in situations like these; CNET's job was to provide awards based on merit, independent from what their parent company may be involved in (although, like you said, some of their reporting is questionable at best, even when parent company conflict of interest isn't involved).

So, basically, fuck you CBS - they should know better than most companies what journalistic integrity is, and what it means to staunchly follow it. Ultimately, this is really no different from all of the other major news outlets, which are for-profit and are organized like other standard corporations (highly-paid executive staff, ultimate motivation is the company's fiscal bottom line).

Re:Don't be so quick dismiss a Fox News article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42606681)

Fox News sometimes reports on things that other media chooses not to cover. They also choose to give a voice to some people that other media chooses to ignore.

[citations needed]

Don't be so quick dismiss NPR/PBS/BBC/Etc Either (1)

EXTomar (78739) | about 2 years ago | (#42606979)

You don't need to justify watching Fox then when NPR, PBS, and foreign sources like BBC or Times of India. BBC in particular has the unique perspective that often rings more true than many domestic sources.

Fox does not deserve attention because they suck at journalism (sourcing in particular). Fox should not get praise for covering "other stuff" because multiple sources do journalism so much better without the taint. On the entertainment side, I would take one episode of "This American Life" or "Frontline" over the entire programming week as well.

Re:Don't be so quick dismiss a Fox News article (2)

guttentag (313541) | about 2 years ago | (#42607079)

Our media is constantly showing their biases.

Every person has his own biases. A journalist's job is to minimize those biases as much as possible to present a fair and balanced perspective. Some groups of journalists (The New York Times, for example) are better at this than others (The Washington Times).

That being said, in every media organization there is a struggle between the people who produce the content (the editor and his team of editors and reporters) and the people who find ways to pay salaries and keep the lights on (the publisher and his team of accountants and salespeople). If the publisher had his way, they'd be selling "The Atlantic: The Breakfast Cereal" in every supermarket and prostituting the brand to push anything people are willing to pay them to push. If the editor had his way, there would be no ads, twice as much space for stories and three times as many reporters on staff. Ultimately they have to find a balance.

I've watched this play out at a major newspaper. I remember the publisher pleasantly announcing that the newspaper's home page would be replaced by a "portal" of advertising, with a small box readers could click on if they wanted to read news (a mutiny resulted and he left a few months later). And I remember hearing the top editor screaming "What the fuck is a pop-up ad doing on my home page?!" so loud we could hear it across the newsroom even though his door was closed (years later, they had to give in and allow pop-ups).

In the last 10-15 years, that balance has been shifting in favor of the publishers, because they're under pressure to find new sources of revenue to keep the lights on and pay everyone's salaries. Occasionally this results in the editor having to beat his head against the negotiating table because his choices are (a) allow sponsored content that is bullshit designed to look like facts written by his team, and hope it's a temporary band-aid as opposed to the "new normal," or (b) go out to the newsroom and tell his team they're out of a job.

"Advertorials" and "sponsored content" that masquerade as real news stories are a line that should not be crossed. There are no standards that make them OK. If your readers can't trust what you publish, you're done.

How about selling out an entire country? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42606089)

Globe and Mail's Oil Sands Advertorial Blurs Lines. Public Editor Won't Discuss

http://thetyee.ca/Mediacheck/2012/10/22/Globe-Oil-Sands-Advertorial/

The Globe and Mail is not a Scandal Sheet.

It is English Canada's Newspaper of Record!

This happens all the time. (2)

Dyinobal (1427207) | about 2 years ago | (#42606239)

This happens all the time, why do you think we don't have any serious discussion about money in politics. Because the media gets paid because of all the money in politics via ad time etc. Why would the media want to have a discussion about money in politics? They profit from it like crazy.

I don't see what's new here... (1)

Woogiemonger (628172) | about 2 years ago | (#42606461)

What's the difference between this advertisement and all those Dianetics commercials I grew up with? I still see Scientology paying for advertising in all sorts of commonplace venues, including cable TV commercials, the "stress testing" in the middle of malls, and various newspapers and magazines. Is the Atlantic held to a higher standard for whatever reason?

Re:I don't see what's new here... (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about 2 years ago | (#42606783)

The difference is that in the situations you mentioned everyone knew it was advertising where in this case it was advertising passed off as news. Billboards and TV commercials are not news, and neither is a kiosk setup in the mall for "stress testing".

The Atlantic isn't alone (4, Interesting)

Loosifur (954968) | about 2 years ago | (#42606545)

Foreign Policy, which was bought by the Washington Post a few years ago, started running these type of things around the time (shortly before or after, don't recall) of the change in ownership. Now that I think about it, it was probably shortly after, because the Post itself began running a bunch of "Chinawatch" segments on its site, which were basically advertorials from China Daily, one of China's state-run newspapers. At any rate, around the time I noticed that FP started to be over half full of ads by volume, and that easily 3/4 of that was some marketing drivel about how awesome China is, or how Dubai is doing such wonderful things in the world, is when I dropped my subscription. I'm not paying for a bimonthly travel brochure, and I'm sure as hell not reading a magazine about international relations that sells ad space to propagandists.

"Advertisement" header (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 2 years ago | (#42606575)

Newspapers used to put "advertorial" content in a box and label it "advertisement." Some still do, at least in the "non-advertising-only" sections of the printed paper.

It's about time TV, radio, and online media did the same.

Pretty nice magazine you once had (1)

Zawahiri (963352) | about 2 years ago | (#42606639)

Well, so much for credibility.

Scientology is fading (4, Interesting)

anagama (611277) | about 2 years ago | (#42606659)

I cam across this very long, very interesting story about Scientology last night which details how with diminishing membership, it is trying to squeeze the very last dime out of those remaining and accelerating its die-off.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/alexklein/is-scientology-self-destructing [buzzfeed.com]

But inside the church, the Ideal Orgs are sparking insurrection. Across the country, donors and high-ranking executives say that the aggressive fundraising and construction scheme is used to enrich the central church at the expense of the rank and file, helping to grow the Scientology war chest to over a billion dollars. Two former members, Mike Rinder and Mark Elliott, went so far as to call the project a "real estate scam." To some of these defectors, the structures are metaphors for the religion itself: garish on the outside, empty on the inside. The irony is that the very expansion that Scientology lauds as its renaissance is actually a symbol of internal dissent and decline.

***

  And the ranks of the faithful are dropping. In 2008, there were 25,000 self-identifying American Scientologists, down by over a half from 55,000 in 2001, according to the American Religious Identification Survey. (Over the same time period, the number of Wiccans more than doubled from 134,000 to 342,000.) The 2011 British census showed a total of 2,418 Scientologists across England and Wales; about 73 times as many Brits identified themselves as "Jedi."

New York Times (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about 2 years ago | (#42606675)

I can recall a fair amount of sponsored ads pretending to be reporting in the New York Times. During the run-up to invading Iraq.

One of the cops always yells 'he's got a gun!' as the broken door gives way.

Cult of Judaism in Mali (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42606937)

Meanwhile, the cult of Judaism is feeding a growing Holocaust in Mali. Modern Christianity, Islam, and Modern Judaism are ALL Judaic cults, believing in the exact same god, and deriving from the exact same roots, honoring the same 'holy' text- The Old Testament.

Christians and Jews in France are pouring arms and troops into Mali on the clear understanding that every 'black' Muslim there is a 'legitimate' military target.

Meanwhile, Scientology bashes Psychology, and places some paid ads in some minor magazines. Is there any comparison, on the scale of evil. Of course, the one thing every Jew, Modern Christian and Muslim can agree on is that OTHER organised religions are the devil's work, and must be destroyed. Be in no doubt, those that bash Scientology are merely the cult of Judaism's attack dogs.

We see their work in events like the recent bombing of the university in Aleppo, Syria. Obama trained terrorists attacked students taking their exams with missiles provided by the government of Israel. Syria's crime is that it is a secular society in a Middle East filled with theocracies, notably those of America's two most important partners, Israel and Saudi Arabia. The cult of Judaism (whether of Islamic, Christian or Jewish flavour) will not tolerate secular regimes.

And yet, no matter how much murder and destruction the cult of Judaism engages in, Slashdot will only publish stories bashing Scientology. How very logical. How very scientific.

Appropriate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42607001)

I think it is appropriate the quote at the bottom of the page is "Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no substitute for a good blaster at your side. - Han Solo". Hokey and ancient fit nicely with CoS and newsprint.

As someone who works in publishing I think there is an important line to be drawn between blindly publishing any crap and accepting sponsored content. One of our publications does accept sponsored stories, but we run them by an editor to make sure the content is true or (in the case of opinion) at least not harmful to our readership. We try to maintain a level of quality and we leave our website open to comments from the readership. if they want to give a rebuttal to the content we publish, they are welcome to, we're not going to filter out comments that differ.

fuck3r (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42607065)

empire in 3ec7ine,
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