The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power

The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power

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"The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power" is an article, written in 1991 by U.S. investigative journalist Richard Behar
Richard Behar
Richard Behar is an award-winning American investigative journalist who has written on the staffs of leading magazines including Forbes, Time and Fortune over a 22-year period from 1982-2004. His work has also appeared on CNN and PBS...

, which is highly critical of Scientology
Scientology
Scientology is a body of beliefs and related practices created by science fiction and fantasy author L. Ron Hubbard , starting in 1952, as a successor to his earlier self-help system, Dianetics...

. It was first published by Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

magazine on May 6, 1991, as an eight-page cover story, and was later published in Reader's Digest
Reader's Digest
Reader's Digest is a general interest family magazine, published ten times annually. Formerly based in Chappaqua, New York, its headquarters is now in New York City. It was founded in 1922, by DeWitt Wallace and Lila Bell Wallace...

in October 1991. Behar had previously published an article on Scientology in Forbes
Forbes
Forbes is an American publishing and media company. Its flagship publication, the Forbes magazine, is published biweekly. Its primary competitors in the national business magazine category are Fortune, which is also published biweekly, and Business Week...

magazine. He stated that he was investigated by attorneys
Lawyer
A lawyer, according to Black's Law Dictionary, is "a person learned in the law; as an attorney, counsel or solicitor; a person who is practicing law." Law is the system of rules of conduct established by the sovereign government of a society to correct wrongs, maintain the stability of political...

 and private investigators affiliated with the Church of Scientology
Church of Scientology
The Church of Scientology is an organization devoted to the practice and the promotion of the Scientology belief system. The Church of Scientology International is the Church of Scientology's parent organization, and is responsible for the overall ecclesiastical management, dissemination and...

 while researching the Time article, and that investigators contacted his friends and family as well. Behar's article covers topics including L. Ron Hubbard
L. Ron Hubbard
Lafayette Ronald Hubbard , better known as L. Ron Hubbard , was an American pulp fiction author and religious leader who founded the Church of Scientology...

 and the development of Scientology, its controversies
Scientology controversy
Since the Church of Scientology's inception in 1954, numerous Scientologists have been involved in scandals, at times serving prison sentences for crimes, such as those committed in Operation Snow White...

 over the years and history of litigation
Scientology and the legal system
The Church of Scientology has been involved in court disputes in several countries. In some cases, when the Church has initiated the dispute, question has been raised as to its motives. The Church says that its use of the legal system is necessary to protect its intellectual property and its right...

, conflict with psychiatry
Scientology and psychiatry
Scientology and psychiatry have come into conflict since the foundation of Scientology in 1952. Scientology is publicly, and often vehemently, opposed to both psychiatry and psychology. Scientologists view psychiatry as a barbaric and corrupt profession and encourage alternative care based on...

 and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service
Internal Revenue Service
The Internal Revenue Service is the revenue service of the United States federal government. The agency is a bureau of the Department of the Treasury, and is under the immediate direction of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue...

, the suicide of Noah Lottick, its status as a religion
Scientology as a state-recognized religion
Scientology status by country describes the status of Scientology and its recognition as a religion or otherwise in different countries. The Church of Scientology pursues an extensive public relations campaign for state recognition of Scientology as a religion and cites numerous scholarly sources...

, and its business dealings
Scientology as a business
While the Church of Scientology describes itself as a religion and is recognized as such in countries like the United States, Spain and Australia, various governments have denied the organization charitable status for tax purposes, and some still regard the organization as a business.-Business...

.

After the article's publication, the Church of Scientology mounted a public relations campaign to address issues in the piece. It took out advertisements in USA Today
USA Today
USA Today is a national American daily newspaper published by the Gannett Company. It was founded by Al Neuharth. The newspaper vies with The Wall Street Journal for the position of having the widest circulation of any newspaper in the United States, something it previously held since 2003...

for twelve weeks, and Church leader David Miscavige
David Miscavige
David Miscavige is the leader of the Church of Scientology and affiliated organizations. His title is Chairman of the Board of Religious Technology Center , a corporation that controls the trademarked names and symbols of Dianetics and Scientology. Miscavige was an assistant to Hubbard while a...

 was interviewed by Ted Koppel
Ted Koppel
Edward James "Ted" Koppel is an English-born American broadcast journalist, best known as the anchor for Nightline from the program's inception in 1980 until his retirement in late 2005. After leaving Nightline, Koppel worked as managing editor for the Discovery Channel before resigning in 2008...

 on Nightline about what he considered to be an objective bias by the article's author. Miscavige alleged that the article was actually driven by the company Eli Lilly
Eli Lilly and Company
Eli Lilly and Company is a global pharmaceutical company. Eli Lilly's global headquarters is located in Indianapolis, Indiana, in the United States...

, because of Scientology's efforts against the drug Prozac. The Church of Scientology brought a libel suit against Time Warner
Time Warner
Time Warner is one of the world's largest media companies, headquartered in the Time Warner Center in New York City. Formerly two separate companies, Warner Communications, Inc...

 and Behar, and sued Reader's Digest in multiple countries in Europe in an attempt to stop the article's publication there. The suit against Time Warner was dismissed in 1996, and the Church of Scientology's petition for a writ
Writ
In common law, a writ is a formal written order issued by a body with administrative or judicial jurisdiction; in modern usage, this body is generally a court...

 of certiorari
Certiorari
Certiorari is a type of writ seeking judicial review, recognized in U.S., Roman, English, Philippine, and other law. Certiorari is the present passive infinitive of the Latin certiorare...

 to the Supreme Court of the United States
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 in the case was denied in 2001.

Behar received awards in honor of his work on the article, including the Gerald Loeb Award
Gerald Loeb Award
The Gerald Loeb Award, also referred to as the Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism, is a recognition of excellence in journalism, especially in the fields of business, finance and the economy. The award was established in 1957 by Gerald Loeb, a founding partner of...

, the Worth Bingham Prize
Worth Bingham Prize
The Worth Bingham Prize, also referred to as the Worth Bingham Prize for Investigative Reporting, is an annual journalism award which honors: "newspaper or magazine investigative reporting of stories of national significance where the public interest is being ill-served."- About the Prize :The...

, and the Conscience-in-Media Award
Conscience-in-Media Award
The Conscience-in-Media Award is presented by the American Society of Journalists and Authors to journalists that the society deems worthy of recognition for their distinctive contributions. The award is not given out often, and is awarded to those journalists which the ASJA feels have...

. The article has had ramifications in the current treatment of Scientology in the media, with some publications theorizing that journalists are wary of the litigation that Time Warner went through. The article has been cited by Anderson Cooper
Anderson Cooper
Anderson Hays Cooper is an American journalist, author, and television personality. He is the primary anchor of the CNN news show Anderson Cooper 360°. The program is normally broadcast live from a New York City studio; however, Cooper often broadcasts live on location for breaking news stories...

 on CNN
CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

, in a story on Panorama
Panorama (TV series)
Panorama is a BBC Television current affairs documentary programme, which was first broadcast in 1953, and is the longest-running public affairs television programme in the world. Panorama has been presented by many well known BBC presenters, including Richard Dimbleby, Robin Day, David Dimbleby...

2007 program "Scientology and Me
Scientology and Me
Scientology and Me was a television documentary broadcast 14 May 2007 as part of the BBC's Panorama series. Reporter John Sweeney visited the United States to investigate whether the Church of Scientology was becoming more mainstream...

" on the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

, and has been used as a reference for background on the history of Scientology, in books from both the cult
Cult
The word cult in current popular usage usually refers to a group whose beliefs or practices are considered abnormal or bizarre. The word originally denoted a system of ritual practices...

 and new religious movement
New religious movement
A new religious movement is a religious community or ethical, spiritual, or philosophical group of modern origin, which has a peripheral place within the dominant religious culture. NRMs may be novel in origin or they may be part of a wider religion, such as Christianity, Hinduism or Buddhism, in...

 perspectives.

Research for the article



Before penning "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power", Behar had written a 1986 article in Forbes
Forbes
Forbes is an American publishing and media company. Its flagship publication, the Forbes magazine, is published biweekly. Its primary competitors in the national business magazine category are Fortune, which is also published biweekly, and Business Week...

magazine, "The Prophet and Profits of Scientology", which reported on the Church of Scientology's business dealings and L. Ron Hubbard
L. Ron Hubbard
Lafayette Ronald Hubbard , better known as L. Ron Hubbard , was an American pulp fiction author and religious leader who founded the Church of Scientology...

's financial success. Behar wrote that during research for "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power", he and a Time contributing editor were themselves investigated by ten attorneys and six private investigators affiliated with the Church of Scientology. According to Behar, investigators contacted his friends and previous coworkers to ask them if he had a history of tax or drug problems, and obtained a copy of his personal credit report that had been obtained illegally from a national credit bureau
Credit bureau
A credit bureau , or credit reference agency is a company that collects information from various sources and provides consumer credit information on individual consumers for a variety of uses. It is an organization providing information on individuals' borrowing and bill paying habits...

. Behar conducted 150 interviews in the course of his research for the article.

Behar wrote that the motive of these operatives was to "threaten, harass and discredit him". He later learned that the Church of Scientology had assigned its head private investigator to direct the Church's investigation into Behar. Anderson Cooper 360°
Anderson Cooper 360°
Anderson Cooper 360° is a one-hour television news show on CNN, hosted by the American journalist Anderson Cooper. It is also broadcast around the world on CNN International....

reported that Behar had been contacted by Church of Scientology attorneys numerous times while doing research on the article. The parents of Noah Lottick, a Scientologist who had committed suicide, cooperated with Time and Reader's Digest.

Synopsis


The full title of the article is "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power: Ruined lives. Lost fortunes. Federal crimes. Scientology poses as a religion but is really a ruthless global scam — and aiming for the mainstream". The article reported on the founding of the Church of Scientology by L. Ron Hubbard
L. Ron Hubbard
Lafayette Ronald Hubbard , better known as L. Ron Hubbard , was an American pulp fiction author and religious leader who founded the Church of Scientology...

 and controversies
Scientology controversy
Since the Church of Scientology's inception in 1954, numerous Scientologists have been involved in scandals, at times serving prison sentences for crimes, such as those committed in Operation Snow White...

 involving the Church and its affiliated business operations, as well as the suicide of a Scientologist. The article related the May 11, 1990, suicide of Dr. Edward Lottick
Edward Lottick
Edward Lottick is a family physician and inventor.His son was Scientologist Noah Lottick. Noah Lottick's suicide was featured as part of the Time Magazine article "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power", by Richard Behar. After his son's death, Lottick was inspired to further research...

's son Noah Antrim Lottick. Lottick was a Russian studies student who had taken a series of Scientology courses; he died after jumping from a hotel tenth floor window. The Church of Scientology and Lottick's family have differing positions on the effect Scientology coursework had on him. While none of the parties assigned blame, they expressed misgivings about his death. Initially, his father had thought that Scientology was similar to Dale Carnegie
Dale Carnegie
Dale Breckenridge Carnegie was an American writer, lecturer, and the developer of famous courses in self-improvement, salesmanship, corporate training, public speaking, and interpersonal skills...

's self-improvement techniques; however, after his ordeal, the elder Lottick came to believe that the organization is a "school for psychopaths". Mike Rinder
Mike Rinder
Michael "Mike" Rinder is an Australian Scientologist who was a former chief spokesman of the Church of Scientology. Rinder served as Executive Director of the Office of Special Affairs and was a director of the Church of Scientology International...

, the head of the Church of Scientology's Office of Special Affairs
Office of Special Affairs
The Office of Special Affairs or OSA is a department of the Church of Scientology. According to the Church, the OSA is responsible for directing legal affairs, public relations, pursuing investigations, publicizing the Church's "social betterment works," and "oversee[ing its] social reform programs"...

 and a Church spokesman, stated "I think Ed Lottick should look in the mirror ... I think Ed Lottick made his son's life intolerable".

The article outlined a brief history of Scientology, discussing Hubbard's initial background as a science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

 writer, and cited a California judge who had deemed Hubbard a "pathological liar". The Church of Scientology's litigation history
Scientology and the legal system
The Church of Scientology has been involved in court disputes in several countries. In some cases, when the Church has initiated the dispute, question has been raised as to its motives. The Church says that its use of the legal system is necessary to protect its intellectual property and its right...

 was described, in addition to its conflicts with the Internal Revenue Service, with countries regarding whether or not to accept it as a religion
Scientology as a state-recognized religion
Scientology status by country describes the status of Scientology and its recognition as a religion or otherwise in different countries. The Church of Scientology pursues an extensive public relations campaign for state recognition of Scientology as a religion and cites numerous scholarly sources...

, and its position against psychiatry
Scientology and psychiatry
Scientology and psychiatry have come into conflict since the foundation of Scientology in 1952. Scientology is publicly, and often vehemently, opposed to both psychiatry and psychology. Scientologists view psychiatry as a barbaric and corrupt profession and encourage alternative care based on...

. Behar wrote of the high costs involved in participation in the Church of Scientology, what he referred to as "front groups and financial scams", and harassment of critics. He estimated that the Church of Scientology paid US$
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

20 million annually to over one hundred attorneys. Behar maintained that though the Church of Scientology portrays itself as a religion, it was actually a "hugely profitable global racket" which intimidated members and critics in a Mafia
Mafia
The Mafia is a criminal syndicate that emerged in the mid-nineteenth century in Sicily, Italy. It is a loose association of criminal groups that share a common organizational structure and code of conduct, and whose common enterprise is protection racketeering...

-like manner.

Cynthia Kisser, then director of the Cult Awareness Network
Cult Awareness Network
The Cult Awareness Network was founded in the wake of the November 18, 1978 deaths of members of the group Peoples Temple and assassination of Congressman Leo J. Ryan in Jonestown, Guyana. CAN is now owned and operated by associates of the Church of Scientology, an organization that the original...

, was quoted: "Scientology is quite likely the most ruthless, the most classically terroristic, the most litigious and the most lucrative cult the country has ever seen. No cult extracts more money from its members".

Church of Scientology's response


The Church of Scientology responded to the publication of "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power" by taking out color full-page ads in USA Today
USA Today
USA Today is a national American daily newspaper published by the Gannett Company. It was founded by Al Neuharth. The newspaper vies with The Wall Street Journal for the position of having the widest circulation of any newspaper in the United States, something it previously held since 2003...

in May and June 1991, on every weekday for twelve weeks, protesting the Time magazine cover article. Two official Church of Scientology responses were titled "Facts vs. Fiction, A Correction of Falsehoods Contained in the May 6, 1991, Issues of Time Magazine", and "The Story That Time Couldn't Tell". Prior to the advertising
Advertising
Advertising is a form of communication used to persuade an audience to take some action with respect to products, ideas, or services. Most commonly, the desired result is to drive consumer behavior with respect to a commercial offering, although political and ideological advertising is also common...

 campaign, Scientologists distributed 88-page bound booklets which disputed points from Behar's article. The "Fact vs. Fiction" piece was a 1/4 in booklet, which criticized Behar's article and asserted "Behar's article omits the information on the dozens of community service programs conducted by Scientologists ... which have been acknowledged by community officials". One of the advertisements in USA Today accused Time of promoting Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 and Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

, and featured a 1936 issue of Time which had Hitler's picture on the front cover. The Church of Scientology sent out a news release condemning Time's "horrible history of supporting fascism", and said that the article was written because Time had been pressured by "vested interests". When asked by the St. Petersburg Times
St. Petersburg Times
The St. Petersburg Times is a United States newspaper. It is one of two major publications serving the Tampa Bay Area, the other being The Tampa Tribune, which the Times tops in both circulation and readership. Based in St...

whether this was the case, Time Executive Editor
Editor in chief
An editor-in-chief is a publication's primary editor, having final responsibility for the operations and policies. Additionally, the editor-in-chief is held accountable for delegating tasks to staff members as well as keeping up with the time it takes them to complete their task...

 Richard Duncan responded "Good Lord, no". Heber Jentzsch
Heber Jentzsch
Heber Carl Jentzsch has served as president of the Church of Scientology International since 1982.-Biography:Heber Jentzsch grew up in a Mormon family, and identified himself as a "believing Mormon". He is the son of polygamist Carl Jentzsch and Carl's third wife Pauline; Heber has 42 siblings...

, at the time president of Church of Scientology International, issued a four-page news release which stated "Advertising is the only way the church could be assured of getting its message and its side of the story out to the public without the same vested interests behind the Time article distorting it".

After the advertising run critiquing Time magazine in USA Today had completed, the Church of Scientology mounted a $3 million public relations campaign about Scientology in USA Today, in June 1991. The Church of Scientology placed a 48-page advertising supplement in 1.8 million copies of USA Today. In a statement to the St. Petersburg Times, Scientology spokesman Richard Haworth explained "What we are trying to do is put the actual facts of dianetics
Dianetics
Dianetics is a set of ideas and practices regarding the metaphysical relationship between the mind and body that was invented by the science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard and is practiced by followers of Scientology...

 and Scientology out there".

In response to the Church of Scientology's claims of inaccuracies in the article, a lawyer for Time responded "We've reviewed all of their allegations, and find nothing wrong with the Time story." In June 1991, Newsweek
Newsweek
Newsweek is an American weekly news magazine published in New York City. It is distributed throughout the United States and internationally. It is the second-largest news weekly magazine in the U.S., having trailed Time in circulation and advertising revenue for most of its existence...

reported that staffers for Time said they had received calls from a man claiming to be a paralegal
Paralegal
Paralegal is used in most jurisdictions to describe a paraprofessional who assists qualified lawyers in their legal work. This is true in the United States and many other countries. However, in Ontario, Canada, paralegals are licensed by the Law Society of Upper Canada, giving paralegals an...

 for Time, who asked them if they had signed a confidentiality form about the article. Time editors sent staffers a computer memo, warning them about calls related to the article, and staffers told Newsweek that "sources named in the story say detectives have asked about their talks with Time". A Church of Scientology spokesman called the claims "scurrilous".

On February 14, 1992, Scientology leader David Miscavige
David Miscavige
David Miscavige is the leader of the Church of Scientology and affiliated organizations. His title is Chairman of the Board of Religious Technology Center , a corporation that controls the trademarked names and symbols of Dianetics and Scientology. Miscavige was an assistant to Hubbard while a...

 gave Ted Koppel
Ted Koppel
Edward James "Ted" Koppel is an English-born American broadcast journalist, best known as the anchor for Nightline from the program's inception in 1980 until his retirement in late 2005. After leaving Nightline, Koppel worked as managing editor for the Discovery Channel before resigning in 2008...

 his first interview on Scientology on the ABC News
ABC News
ABC News is the news gathering and broadcasting division of American broadcast television network ABC, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company...

 program Nightline. The program noted that Scientology has vocal critics and cited Behar's 1991 article. Behar appeared on the program and gave his opinion of why individuals join Scientology, stating that the organization's "ulterior motive" is really to get people to take high-priced audit counseling
Auditing (Scientology)
Auditing was developed by L. Ron Hubbard, and is described by the Church of Scientology as "spiritual counseling which is the central practice of Dianetics and Scientology".-Description:...

. Behar stated on the program that he had evidence that members of the Church of Scientology had obtained his personal phone records. Later in the program, Koppel questioned Miscavige on the Church of Scientology's response to the Time magazine article, particularly the $3 million the church spent advertising in USA Today. Miscavige explained that the first three weeks of the advertising campaign was meant to correct falsehoods from the Time article, and the rest of the twelve-week campaign was dedicated to informing the public about Scientology. Koppel asked Miscavige what specifically had upset him about the Time article, and Miscavige called Behar "a hater". Miscavige noted that Behar had written an article on Scientology and the Internal Revenue Service three years before he began work on the Time piece, and made allegations that Behar had attempted to get two Scientologists kidnapped. When Koppel questioned Miscavige further on this, Miscavige said that individuals had contacted Behar after an earlier article, and Behar had told them to "kidnap Scientologists out". Koppel pressed further, noting that this was a serious charge to make, and asked Miscavige if his allegations were accurate, why he had not pressed charges for attempted kidnapping. Miscavige said Koppel was "missing the issue," and said that his real point was that he thought the article was not an objective piece.

Miscavige alleged on Nightline that the article itself was published as a result of a request by Eli Lilly and Company
Eli Lilly and Company
Eli Lilly and Company is a global pharmaceutical company. Eli Lilly's global headquarters is located in Indianapolis, Indiana, in the United States...

, because of "the damage we had caused to their killer drug Prozac". When Koppel asked Miscavige if he had affidavits or evidence to this effect, Miscavige responded "You think they'd admit it?" Miscavige stated that "Eli Lilly ordered a reprint of 750,000 copies of Time magazine before it came out," and that his attempts to investigate the matter with Eli Lilly and associated advertising companies were not successful.

Litigation



The Church brought a libel lawsuit against Time Warner and Behar, seeking damages of $416 million. The Church alleged false and defamatory statements were made concerning the Church of Scientology International in the Time article. More specifically, the Church of Scientology's court statements claimed that Behar had been refining an anti-Scientology focus since his 1986 article in Forbes, which included gathering negative materials about Scientology, and "never accepting anything a Scientologist said and uniformly ignoring anything positive he learned about the Church". In its initial complaint filing, the Church quoted portions of the Behar article that it alleged were false and defamatory, including the quote from Cynthia Kisser, and Behar's own assertion that Scientology was a "global racket" that intimidated individuals in a "Mafia-like manner".
Noah Lottick's parents submitted affidavit
Affidavit
An affidavit is a written sworn statement of fact voluntarily made by an affiant or deponent under an oath or affirmation administered by a person authorized to do so by law. Such statement is witnessed as to the authenticity of the affiant's signature by a taker of oaths, such as a notary public...

s in the case, in which they "affirmed the accuracy of each statement in the article"; Edward Lottick "concluded that Scientology therapies were manipulations, and that no Scientology staff members attended the funeral" of their son. During the litigation, the Church of Scientology attempted to subpoena Behar in a separate ongoing lawsuit with the Internal Revenue Service, and accused a federal magistrate of leaking information to him. Behar was questioned for over one hundred and ninety hours during thirty days of depositions with Scientology attorneys in the libel case. One question was about Behar's life in his parents' home while he was still inside the womb. St. Petersburg Times
St. Petersburg Times
The St. Petersburg Times is a United States newspaper. It is one of two major publications serving the Tampa Bay Area, the other being The Tampa Tribune, which the Times tops in both circulation and readership. Based in St...

explained that this question was prompted by Scientology teachings
Engram (Dianetics)
In Dianetics and Scientology, an engram is defined as "a mental image picture which is a recording of an experience containing pain, unconsciousness and a real or fancied threat to survival. It is a recording in the reactive mind of something which actually happened to an individual in the past and...

 that certain problems come from prenatal memories. Behar told the St. Petersburg Times he "felt it was extremely excessive". In a countersuit, Behar brought up the issues of Church of Scientology private investigators and what he viewed as harassment. By July 1996, all counts of the libel suit had been dismissed. In the course of the litigation through 1996, Time Warner had spent $3.7 million in legal defense costs. The Church of Scientology also sued several individuals quoted in the Time article.

The Church of Scientology sued Reader's Digest in Switzerland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and Germany for publishing a condensed version of the Time story. The only court to provide a temporary injunction was in Lausanne, Switzerland. In France, Italy, and the Netherlands, the courts either dismissed the Church of Scientology's motions, or set injunction hearings far beyond the date of actual publication. The company defied the injunction and mailed copies of the article, "Scientology: A Dangerous Cult Goes Mainstream," to their . Worldwide editor-in-chief of Reader's Digest, Kenneth Tomlinson
Kenneth Tomlinson
Kenneth Y. Tomlinson is a former editor at Reader's Digest and American government official. He is the former chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which manages Voice of America radio, and formerly Chairman of the Board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which manages funds...

, told The New York Times that "a publisher cannot accept a court prohibiting distribution of a serious journalistic piece. ... The court order violates freedom of speech and freedom of the press". The Church of Scientology subsequently filed a criminal complaint against the Digest in Lausanne, and Mike Rinder
Mike Rinder
Michael "Mike" Rinder is an Australian Scientologist who was a former chief spokesman of the Church of Scientology. Rinder served as Executive Director of the Office of Special Affairs and was a director of the Church of Scientology International...

 stated it was in blatant violation of the law. By defying the Swiss court ban, the Reader's Digest risked a fine of about $3,400, as well as a potential three months' jail time for the Swiss Digest editor-in-chief. A hearing on the injunction was set for November 11, 2001, and the injunction was later lifted by the Swiss court.


In January 2001, a United States Federal Appeals Court
United States court of appeals
The United States courts of appeals are the intermediate appellate courts of the United States federal court system...

 upheld the dismissal of the Church of Scientology International's case against Time Warner. In its opinion, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit is one of the thirteen United States Courts of Appeals...

 ruled that Time Warner had not published "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power" with an actual intent of malice
Malice (legal term)
Malice is a legal term referring to a party's intention to do injury to another party. Malice is either expressed or implied. Malice is expressed when there is manifested a deliberate intention unlawfully to take away the life of a human being...

, a standard that must be met for libel cases involving individuals and public groups. On October 1, 2001, the Supreme Court of the United States
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 refused to consider reinstating the church's libel case Church of Scientology International v. Time Warner Inc., 00-1683. Time Warner said it refused to be "intimidated by the church's apparently limitless legal resources." In arguments presented to the Supreme Court, the Church of Scientology acknowledged that church officials had "committed improper acts" in the past, but also claimed that: "allegations of past misconduct were false and distorted, the result of the misunderstanding, suspicion and prejudice that typically greet a new religion". Of the rulings for Time Warner, the Church of Scientology complained that they "provide a safe harbor for biased journalism". Behar commented on the Church of Scientology's legal defeat, and said that the lawsuit had a chilling effect: "It's a tremendous defeat for Scientology ... But of course their doctrine states that the purpose of a suit is to harass, not to win, so from that perspective they hurt us all. They've had a real chilling effect on journalism, both before and after my piece".

Awards




As a result of writing the piece, Behar was presented with the 1992 Gerald Loeb Award
Gerald Loeb Award
The Gerald Loeb Award, also referred to as the Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism, is a recognition of excellence in journalism, especially in the fields of business, finance and the economy. The award was established in 1957 by Gerald Loeb, a founding partner of...

 for distinguished business and financial journalism, the Worth Bingham Prize
Worth Bingham Prize
The Worth Bingham Prize, also referred to as the Worth Bingham Prize for Investigative Reporting, is an annual journalism award which honors: "newspaper or magazine investigative reporting of stories of national significance where the public interest is being ill-served."- About the Prize :The...

, the Conscience-in-Media Award
Conscience-in-Media Award
The Conscience-in-Media Award is presented by the American Society of Journalists and Authors to journalists that the society deems worthy of recognition for their distinctive contributions. The award is not given out often, and is awarded to those journalists which the ASJA feels have...

 from the American Society of Journalists and Authors
American Society of Journalists and Authors
The American Society of Journalists and Authors was founded in 1948 as the Society of Magazine Writers, and is an organization of independent nonfiction writers in the United States...

, awarded to "those who have demonstrated singular commitment to the highest principles of journalism at notable personal cost or sacrifice," and the Leo J. Ryan Award
Leo J. Ryan Award
The Leo J. Ryan Award was established by the Leo J. Ryan Education Foundation in honor of Congressman Leo J. Ryan; the only United States Congressman to be killed in the line of duty. He was assassinated in Guyana, while investigating Jonestown and The Peoples Temple. Ryan was posthumously awarded...

, in honor of Congressman Leo J. Ryan
Leo Ryan
Leo Joseph Ryan, Jr. was an American politician of the Democratic Party. He served as a U.S. Representative from California's 11th congressional district from 1973 until he was murdered in Guyana by members of the Peoples Temple shortly before the Jonestown Massacre in 1978.After the Watts Riots...

. Paulette Cooper
Paulette Cooper
Paulette Marcia Cooper is an American author who is best known for activism against the Church of Scientology and the harassment she suffered as a result. Cooper's books have sold close to a half a million copies.-Early life:...

 was also awarded the 1992 Conscience-in-Media Award by the American Society of Journalists and Authors, for her book The Scandal of Scientology
The Scandal of Scientology
The Scandal of Scientology is a critical exposé book about the Church of Scientology, written by Paulette Cooper and published by Tower Publications, in 1971....

. This was the only time in the history of the American Society of Journalists and Authors that the award was presented to more than one journalist in the same year.

In a February 1992 issue of Time, editor Elizabeth Valk congratulated Behar on his Conscience in Media Award, stating "Needless to say, we are delighted and proud". Valk noted that the honor had only been awarded seven times in the previous seventeen years of its existence. Managing editor Henry Muller also congratulated Behar in an April 1992 issue of Time.

Analysis


Several authors have commented on the article and used it as a reference for background on Scientology. Not all analysis of the article has been positive. David Healy
David Healy (psychiatrist)
David Healy is an Irish psychiatrist who is currently a professor in Psychological Medicine at Cardiff University School of Medicine, Wales. He is also the director of North Wales School of Psychological Medicine. He became the centre of controversy concerning the influence of the pharmaceutical...

's book criticizing the pharmaceutical industry, Let Them Eat Prozac, was critical: "The Time article was way over the top. Even Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

 was portrayed less badly." Healy addressed the article's claim that lawsuits were one of the Church's key tactics against enemies. He noted that the Citizens Commission on Human Rights
Citizens Commission on Human Rights
The Citizens Commission on Human Rights is an advocacy group established in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and psychiatrist Thomas Szasz. The group promotes several video campaigns which support views against psychiatry...

 (CCHR), a Church of Scientology affiliated group discussed in the article, had filed a petition with the Food and Drug Administration
Food and Drug Administration
The Food and Drug Administration is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, one of the United States federal executive departments...

 inquiring what it was going to do about Prozac. Healy dismissed the notion that CCHR engaged in "orchestrated campaigns," writing that very few of the fifty lawsuits filed against Prozac were related to the Church of Scientology. Mark Silk
Mark Silk
Mark Silk is a professor of religion in public life at Trinity College and the editor of Religion in the News, which is published by the college. He was born in Cambridge, Mass. in 1950 and graduated from Harvard College in 1972. In 1982 he earned a Ph.D. in medieval history from Harvard...

 criticized Behar's article in his book Unsecular Media: Making News of Religion in America. Silk classified the work among what he referred to as the "false-prophecy topos", and characterized Behar's account of Noah Lottick's suicide as an "atrocity tale".

Insane Therapy noted that Scientology "achieved more notoriety ... with the publication of the journalist Richard Behar's highly critical article". Larson's Book of World Religions and Alternative Spirituality
Larson's Book of World Religions and Alternative Spirituality
Larson's Book of World Religions and Alternative Spirituality: All the Facts About Hundreds of Cults is a non-fiction book that discusses cults, New Age movements, and alternative religions from a biblical and Christian perspective....

described the cover design of the article as it appeared in Time, writing that it "shouted" the headline from the magazine cover. In a 2005 piece, Salon.com
Salon.com
Salon.com, part of Salon Media Group , often just called Salon, is an online liberal magazine, with content updated each weekday. Salon was founded by David Talbot and launched on November 20, 1995. It was the internet's first online-only commercial publication. The magazine focuses on U.S...

magazine noted that for those interested in the Church of Scientology, the Time article still remains a "milestone in news coverage," and that those who back the Church believe it was "an outrageously biased account".

Legacy


The Church of Scientology's use of private investigators was cited in a 1998 article in The Boston Herald, and compared to Behar's experiences when researching "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power". After the paper ran a five-part series of critical articles in 1998, Church of Scientology President Heber Jentzsch
Heber Jentzsch
Heber Carl Jentzsch has served as president of the Church of Scientology International since 1982.-Biography:Heber Jentzsch grew up in a Mormon family, and identified himself as a "believing Mormon". He is the son of polygamist Carl Jentzsch and Carl's third wife Pauline; Heber has 42 siblings...

 confirmed that a private investigative firm was hired to look into the personal life of Joseph Mallia, the reporter who wrote the articles. In a later piece titled "Church of Scientology probes Herald reporter—Investigation follows pattern of harassment" this investigation was likened to Behar's assertions of harassment, as well as other reporters' experiences from 1974, 1988, and 1997.

Because of the history of conflict between Readers Digest and Scientology, the writer of a 2005 cover story on Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise
Thomas Cruise Mapother IV , better known as Tom Cruise, is an American film actor and producer. He has been nominated for three Academy Awards and he has won three Golden Globe Awards....

 agreed to certain demands, including giving Scientology issues equal play in the writer's profile of Cruise, submitting questions for Cruise to Church of Scientology handlers, and sending the writer of the article to a one-day Church immersion course. Also in 2005, an article in Salon questioned whether the tactics of the Church's litigation and private investigations of Time Warner and other media sources had succeeded in decreasing the amount of investigative journalism pieces on Scientology in the press. A 2005 article in The Sunday Times
The Sunday Times
The Sunday Times is a British Sunday newspaper.The Sunday Times may also refer to:*The Sunday Times *The Sunday Times *The Sunday Times *The Sunday Times...

cited the article, and came to the determination that the Church of Scientology's lawsuit against Time Warner "served to warn off other potential investigations", and that "The chill evidently lingers still".

"The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power" continues to be used today by journalists in the media, as a reference for historical information on the Church of Scientology. In April 2007, CNN
CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

 anchor Anderson Cooper
Anderson Cooper
Anderson Hays Cooper is an American journalist, author, and television personality. He is the primary anchor of the CNN news show Anderson Cooper 360°. The program is normally broadcast live from a New York City studio; however, Cooper often broadcasts live on location for breaking news stories...

 interviewed former Office of Special Affairs
Office of Special Affairs
The Office of Special Affairs or OSA is a department of the Church of Scientology. According to the Church, the OSA is responsible for directing legal affairs, public relations, pursuing investigations, publicizing the Church's "social betterment works," and "oversee[ing its] social reform programs"...

 director Mike Rinder
Mike Rinder
Michael "Mike" Rinder is an Australian Scientologist who was a former chief spokesman of the Church of Scientology. Rinder served as Executive Director of the Office of Special Affairs and was a director of the Church of Scientology International...

, in a live piece on Anderson Cooper 360 titled "Inside Scientology". The CNN story was prompted by the May 2007 airing of a BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 Panorama
Panorama (TV series)
Panorama is a BBC Television current affairs documentary programme, which was first broadcast in 1953, and is the longest-running public affairs television programme in the world. Panorama has been presented by many well known BBC presenters, including Richard Dimbleby, Robin Day, David Dimbleby...

investigative
Investigative journalism
Investigative journalism is a form of journalism in which reporters deeply investigate a single topic of interest, often involving crime, political corruption, or corporate wrongdoing. An investigative journalist may spend months or years researching and preparing a report. Investigative journalism...

 program, "Scientology and Me
Scientology and Me
Scientology and Me was a television documentary broadcast 14 May 2007 as part of the BBC's Panorama series. Reporter John Sweeney visited the United States to investigate whether the Church of Scientology was becoming more mainstream...

". In the interview, Anderson Cooper quoted directly from "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power" article, when asking Rinder about the history of Operation Snow White
Operation Snow White
Operation Snow White was the Church of Scientology's name for a conspiracy during the 1970s to purge unfavorable records about Scientology and its founder L. Ron Hubbard...

, and if those tactics were currently used by the Church. Rinder answered by stating that the individuals involved with Operation Snow White were no longer involved in Church of Scientology activities, and that the incident was "ancient history". Cooper then again referenced the Time magazine article noting that Behar asserted that he was illegally investigated by Scientology contacts during research for his article. Cooper questioned Rinder on the dismissed lawsuit against Time Warner
Time Warner
Time Warner is one of the world's largest media companies, headquartered in the Time Warner Center in New York City. Formerly two separate companies, Warner Communications, Inc...

, and Rinder acknowledged that all of the Church of Scientology's appeals against Time Warner were eventually rejected.

The article has been cited as a reference used for background on Scientology in books which take a critical look at cult
Cult
The word cult in current popular usage usually refers to a group whose beliefs or practices are considered abnormal or bizarre. The word originally denoted a system of ritual practices...

s such as Larson's Book of World Religions and Alternative Spirituality
Larson's Book of World Religions and Alternative Spirituality
Larson's Book of World Religions and Alternative Spirituality: All the Facts About Hundreds of Cults is a non-fiction book that discusses cults, New Age movements, and alternative religions from a biblical and Christian perspective....

and Insane Therapy: Portrait of a Psychotherapy Cult, those that analyze new religious movement
New religious movement
A new religious movement is a religious community or ethical, spiritual, or philosophical group of modern origin, which has a peripheral place within the dominant religious culture. NRMs may be novel in origin or they may be part of a wider religion, such as Christianity, Hinduism or Buddhism, in...

s including Understanding New Religious Movements and The Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements, and in a work that includes researchers from both schools of thought, Misunderstanding Cults: Searching for Objectivity in a Controversial Field
Misunderstanding Cults (book)
Misunderstanding Cults: Searching for Objectivity in a Controversial Field was edited by Benjamin Zablocki and Thomas Robbins. The book was published by University of Toronto Press, on December 1, 2001 and includes contributions from ten religious, sociological and psychological scholars.The book...

.

External links


Article, at official Time website. Companion article to main article, also by Behar.