Intellectual Cleansing 2 - Why journalists stay silent - 2008-10-14
Here is a typical experience I had early on with the Echo. I had been approached by a group of residents concerned that the Church of Scientology was intending to use a local health clinic to promote their work. The residents felt this was a misuse of public space and that the clinic's reputation might confer some legitimacy on the Scientologists' claims. When I told the news editor about the story, he looked mortified. "We never run stories about the Scientologists," he said. Why, I asked. "Because they have money and sue every time we mention them in the paper."
I am not even sure whether his excuse was genuine. Had I written the story for the Advertiser, I doubt we would have been sued. But, looking back, I think his comment concealed some bigger truths about the difference between the Echo and the Advertiser.