The outcry on Twitter was almost immediate. Why would the Atlantic, known for its journalistic integrity, choose to run such a story on its site as regular content. To note: it included the label ‘sponsor content’, but this wasn’t enough.
Soon after it was posted, some readers noted that comments on the story were moderated, unlike other stories, which had comments posted immediately.
As some form of damage control, @TheAtlantic RT’ed a tweet by Senior Editor Alexis Madrigal, promoting a book written by one of its writers will soon release on Scientology.
But it was too late. The audience was furious. This is what I find so positive about the Scientology advertorial – albeit at The Atlantic’s expense – readers are not satisfied with pure dreck.
Readers demand more than Lady Gaga and the latest on Kim Kardashian’s behind from trusted sources. And if they don’t feel a trusted source of information is behaving appropriately, the community calls them on it.
Sometimes, with humour. A spoof @TheAtlanticAds twitter account was created (complete with Pepsi logo in the corner), and the satire flew.