sweinberg

Steve Weinberg, Russell Carollo, and Christopher Szecheny — Scientology’s Sleazy Bitches

In today’s Washington Post, Howard Kurtz reports the alarming news that three “journalists” — Steve Weinberg, Russell Carollo, and Christopher Szecheny — were paid money by the Church of Scientology to examine the St. Petersburg Times‘s “conduct.” This ad hoc “investigation” was commissioned because the newspaper has devoted considerable resources to examining the ostensible religious organization. But the new study is highly suspect. Weinberg reveals in the article that the final results may be withheld from public dissemination, should the Church not find the report to its liking. And in Weinberg’s case, this condition is especially duplicitous — given that his last book was a volume on the brave journalist Ida Tarbell.

Let’s clarify why this is a dark day for American journalism. A journalist is someone who typically goes out of his way to remain as impartial as he can. If he investigates a story, he is very careful not to accept remuneration from any of the parties involved. He remains ideally a third party. He must, if he is to remain ethical, investigate all sides of the story and remain as transparent as possible.

Numerous newspapers have established codes of ethics, which can be readily perused online.

The New York Times maintains a very solid ethics policy on neutrality, stating:

Staff members and those on assignment for us may not accept anything that could be construed as a payment for favorable coverage or for avoiding unfavorable coverage. They may not accept gifts, tickets, discounts, reimbursements or other benefits from individuals or organizations covered (or likely to be covered) by their newsroom. Gifts should be returned with a polite explanation; perishable gifts may instead be given to charity, also with a note to the donor. In either case the objective of the note is, in all politeness, to discourage future gifts.

Similarly, the Los Angeles Times also maintains rigid standards about conflicts of interest:

Staff members may not enter into business or financial relationships with their sources. Similarly, staff members may not cover individuals or institutions with which they have a financial relationship.

The Associated Press Managing Editors also maintain a Statement of Ethical Principles, noting:

Financial investments by staff members or other outside business interests that could create the impression of a conflict of interest should be avoided.

Thus, by nearly every professional standard, Weinberg, Carollo, and Szecheny have failed. Even if they consider what they do to be “objective,” they have accepted payment from one of the key parties. They have entered into a business relationship with one of their sources. They have willfully thrown away their integrity for these numerous conflicts of interest, taking the Church of Scientology’s money to give it the report that it wants. And the lack of transparency on the Church’s part leads any reasonable outsider to conclude that the motives here are far from noble.

Carollo and Szechenyi explained to Kurtz, “Every entity has the right to receive fair treatment in the press.” And while fairness is certainly a laudable standard, this statement rings hollow when one considers the conditional nature of this pursuit. When Weinberg confesses, “I can certainly use the money these days,” he demonstrates unequivocally what his real motives are. And the whole exercise becomes a willful distortion of journalism, where news stories are sold to the highest bidder. The truly sad thing here is that Weinberg sold out his principles for a pittance — a mere $5,000.

Because of these disgraceful indiscretions, these three men have capitulated their right to be identified as journalists. They no longer have the right to be taken seriously by any major news organization. And if their bylines are to be found within newspapers again, then readers must reject these names as bona-fide upholders of the Fourth Estate.

Be Sociable, Share!

5 Comments

  1. Are you feeling so much rage that it is as if you are a volcano full of souls being exploded by nuclear bombs on behalf of an evil galactic alien emperor?

  2. Thank you for an excellent article, Edward. You have succinctly identified all of the reasons why these reporters should be shunned by major news outlets in the future. Being “for sale” is not an option. Their careers are over!

  3. “One hires a reporter who gets to work thinking up ideas and turning out releases.” -L. Ron Hubbard, “HOW TO HANDLE BLACK PROPAGANDA” church official policy, published 21 Nov 1972. It is Scientology church scriptures to use reporters to do this type of work defending Scientology. The bottom line is David Miscavige beat up staff, and there was a climate of staff to staff violence that David Miscavige condoned and fueled. No reporter nor new religion scholar has had the guts to take up this history of Scientology, except two newspapers, the St. Pete Times and an Oregon newspaper briefly in tneir article on Jeff Hawkins, which was the first breaking of the staff to staff upper ranks Scientology violence story. We sadly lack scholars and reporters sufficiently knowledgeable of Hubbard’s church scriptures and of the many critical books and even of the 1968 Granada Productions filmed interview with L. Ron Hubbard, to poke through L. Ron Hubbard’s own blatant lying. There are reams of Scientology church policy driving Scientology’s irreligious behavior, similar to Hubbard’s “HOW TO HANDLE BLACK PROPAGANDA.” The most shocking Scienotlogy “official church policy is a limited edition policy to the Office of Special Affairs, who are the ones who hired these reporters.
    “OFFICE OF SPECIAL AFFAIRS NETWORK ORDER
    15, 18 February 1988 Confidential BLACK PROPAGANDA …. Our propaganda is dirty…. We do this trick by survey and attack…. we become re-classified as attackers and the enemy as bad hats …… We just run propaganda campaigns….It reclassifies our attackers as evil people… Achieve for ourselves a dominance in classifying ourselves and others.” “L. RON HUBBARD, … official Church policy.” Scientology’s irreligious PR/intell tactics are covered in Hubbard’s writings, if anyone bothers to just read what he wrote.

    Chuck Beatty, ex Scientology staffer 1975-2003. Pittsburgh, 412-260-1170

  4. I can’t believe that these hired “journalists” would support a Cult that orchestrated Operation Freakout. In case they come across this post, here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia:
    “Operation Freakout was a Church of Scientology covert plan intended to have the US author and journalist Paulette Cooper imprisoned or committed to a mental institution. The plan, undertaken in 1976 following years of Church-initiated lawsuits and covert harassment, was meant to eliminate the perceived threat that Cooper posed to the Church and obtain revenge for her publication in 1971 of a highly critical book, The Scandal of Scientology. The Federal Bureau of Investigation discovered documentary evidence of the plot and the preceding campaign of harassment during an investigation into the Church of Scientology in 1977, eventually leading to the Church compensating Cooper in an out-of-court settlement.”

    You can also watch a CBS 60 Minutes report on this horrible Cult here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaj–EDMhME

  5. Carollo has been ethically impaired for many years. His only concern is to promote himself to win journalism “awards” and he could care less about the subject of his journalism, the accuracy of his stories, or the ethics of how he acquires information.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>