January 15, 2013

The Atlantic had a stormy night. It had posted “sponsor content” celebrating the Church of Scientology, as seen in the image above. The lede:

2012 was a milestone year for Scientology, with the religion expanding to more than 10,000 Churches, Missions and affiliated groups, spanning 167 nations — figures that represent a growth rate 20 times that of a decade ago.

Comments, too, looked a bit skewed in the direction of Scientology:

People couldn’t believe it. Reaction on Twitter was nearly uniform, with folks hammering the Atlantic for dashing its credibility. Wrote one tweep: “R.I.P, @TheAtlantic Magazine: 1857-2013. It was a good run.”

The Atlantic responded by taking down the advertorial and huddling. Wrote a spokeswoman to the Erik Wemple Blog: “We have temporarily suspended this advertising campaign pending a review of our policies that govern sponsor content and subsequent comment threads.”

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.