St. Petersburg Times Special Report

Just in:

Freedom Magazine broadsheet December/January 2009
by the Church of Scientology International.

Here’s the intro:

What happens when a newspaper fails to serve the community? After Freedom published its in-depth report on the St. Petersburg Times last summer, a number of journalists formerly associated with the Times came forward. They related incidents at the Times which revealed serious violations of journalism ethics.

When it was suggested to the Times that an internal investigation was in order, the paper’s attorneys declared the idea to be “preposterous.” The Times leadership apparently believes it is beyond the bounds of inspection—even from within its own ranks.

Not only journalists think it’s time for a hard look at the Times. Freedom heard from readers and former readers who say it is obvious to them that the Times “goes after” individuals and organizations in the community—particularly those who work for community betterment.
Emerging from the reader response to our exposé on the Times is a clear picture of a community that sees the paper as out of touch at best, too often utterly disdainful of the community it ostensibly serves, and from whom it takes advertising and subscription dollars.

In exchange for those dollars and public trust, the Times is supposed to report the facts and provide a true picture of the community.  Readers say it is failing at both.

With Pew Research Center surveys showing that only 29 percent of Americans think news organizations get the facts straight, and with the St. Petersburg Times’ refusal to consider even some internal soul-searching, we have a true crisis.

The mission of journalism is truth.  Journalists carry the mandate to provide a “fair and comprehensive account of events and issues,” as the Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists sets forth.

We all deserve a “fair and comprehensive” newspaper in Clearwater, but the Times refuses to bear that responsibility.  Because its leadership is unwilling to reform from within, we now turn the spotlight on them from outside.

For this and subsequent special editions, we retained experienced and independent professional journalists and asked them to go find the facts, the truth this community deserves. We welcome your comments.

Download on Freedom Magazine December/January 2009

Wow, this one’s not! Off reading now….

– L

Update: 1 January. has it now!



  1. bd,

    what I know about debates is one thing. It needs a subject. And you did not provide one.

    Case closed.

    Take some time off.

    – L

  2. ah, comms course graduate, right? you really don’t know how to debate, do you? i’l give you time to collect yourself, i’ll be back after dinner.

    by the way, you accused me of lying at December 31, 2009 9:56 pm. that was your first reaction. meanwhile, why do you trust fm, which has given you no evidence at all?

  3. so you would agree that, by definiton, the cos is attacking those perceived to be enemies, yes?

  4. think what you want. like I said, try it yourself. ironic, isn’t it? when I say something, you assume I am lying. but when you read it in fm, you accept it as true without needing proof. it doesn’t matter if you believe me or not, try it yourself.

    just recall, bew years eve is not a holliday, today is. so try them tomorrow.

    • bd,

      “when I say something, you assume I am lying”

      Actually, I am not. Maybe I should. You give no details, just claim and accuse. So what do you expect?

      “but when you read it in fm, you accept it as true without needing proof.”

      Big yawn again. Another bullshit allegation without facts to back them up. Did you actually read any the articles in that Freedom Magazine. I saw that it’s online now as well:

      – L

  5. nice, louanne. real classy. so you’re ignoring his pont because of math?

  6. So how many articles has the FreedomRag (type, I of course, meant FreedomMag) dedicated towards the SP Times? Is it only two, or is it more? I lose track.
    How can this NOT be perceived as a counter-attack, as the articles always attack the individuals involved?

    • AnumberofJournalists,

      So your counting skills would be the first thing to address. Then your reading skills. And maybe then we talk.

      – L

    • “How can this NOT be perceived as a counter-attack, as the articles always attack the individuals involved?”

      It is a counter-attack, and a good one. Why would you think otherwise?

      – L

  7. Actually, let’s look at this logically for a minute. If what the FM says is true, would that mean that the journalists came forward to the FM only? Because, once again, they only present an entirely unverifiable claim or statistic of “a number of journalists”.

    And clearly, the paper itself is not concern, after printing three new articles yesterday alone about the many high-profile OTVIII’s that left the group in disgust.

    The CoS likes to pretend that they’re being singled out, for whatever reason. It’s an oft repeated claim, of course. But the SP times is covering a very controversial group that allegedly engages in criminal behavior. Currently, there aren’t many others that fit that mold. But search the site for “Catholic Sex Abuses” and you’ll find several thousand articles from that dark time period. Were they picking on the poor pedophiles at that time? Was it wrong to write THOSE articles?

  8. Louanne,
    I would be interested if you could point out an allegation that I’ve made? Besides, you’re using the “mag” to prove their own allegations. That’s much like referencing your other website in order to prove your own. Could I do the same? Make my own website, and site it as evidence to my claims?
    You’re surprised that the paper didn’t answer your question (if you did call) on new year’s day? Not everyone works when you would have them do so… Try again tomorrow, maybe you’ll have better luck. No answer is not an admission of guilt. In the meantime, try to find any reference, other than the CoS owned freedom mag to suppor their claims- how do you know they’re not lying? Do you take their word for it, merely because they tell you something is true?

    • “You’re surprised that the paper didn’t answer your question (if you did call) on new year’s day?”

      I am not surprised at all. But it was you who claimed that you called them at New Years Eve and got something “interesting” that you don’t want to share. I call bullshit on that.

      – L

  9. “(727) 893-8111 You can call them and they’ll transfer you as required.”

    Cool. That was fun I had a while ago (checked the other Freedom Magazine (!

    Transferred me to a mailbox in the end. Cowards…

    – L

  10. Here is the number I called- the switchboard: (727) 893-8111
    You can call them and they’ll transfer you as required. Personally, I spoke to the news room and the editorial staff. You may want to check with them. I’ll be very interested in what you find.

    • bd, all you’re squirting out here is a bunch of waffle and unfounded allegations. What’s that supposed to be? An intellectual response to a 12-page newspaper that is rife of facts, copies of documents and statements?

      – L

  11. Ooh… my papa always told me it’s rude to point out a lady’s footbullet… but you’re still anonymous, so it’s hard to tell.
    The only reference to scientology is, as follows, “Scientologists go after Poynter, St. Petersburg Times, CQ in magazine cover story”- yes, they’re aware of the accusation (the unfounded one), but not aware of their reporters doing such. That was what I was referring to- they know the FM is lying, but they’re not aware of any truth to it. Is that more clear for you?
    If you are accusing me of lying (which is rather rude), I suggest you call them yourself. Unless you’re concerned about the answer you’ll receive?

  12. bd,

    Freedom Magazine is owned and operated by the Church of Scientology International (link goes to copyright page that says so), I think since the late 1960s. They got a lot of journalistic awards in the past but I haven’t seen many issues coming out in the last couple of years. This one really rocks! A lot of details and hard facts.

    Yes, you really should do a couple of calls, for real, not just claiming. Poynter, the owner of the SPT is aware of this new issue:

    – L

  13. what else I love about the freedom mag, is they are wonderful and supporting our own points.

    because, they claim, the times is unwilling to “reform from within”, they must “turn the spotlight on them from outside”.

    isn’t that the same argument used against the cos?

  14. my goodness, of course because freedom mag published it, I automatically assumed it to be true…

    … but a few quick calls confirm that this is al a lie. the spt is not aware of this, nor are competing newspapers. isn’t it ironic, that freedom mag makes up lies about others, accusing them of violating journalistic integrity.

  15. I can’t find a source for that that is not owned by scientology. can you?

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