Operation Clambake

Hollywood Reporter
January 21, 1999 (Online)

(LOS ANGELES) - "Sci-fi hack and self-made messiah"?

Those are the terms allegedly used by The Hollywood Reporter in an article referring to Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. Not so. The story was picked up through a wire service and reprinted in Canada's National Post. Along the way, its exact wording mysteriously changed. THR's original copy, in a piece about John Travolta's upcoming projects, read that the film "Battlefield Earth" would be "based on the novel by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard." However, in the National Post, it read "The film is based on a novel by L. Ron Hubbard, the sci-fi hack and self-made messiah who founded the Church of Scientology, of which Travolta is an adherent." The revised article provoked an outcry from reps for Scientology, who pointed out the change to THR. National Post executive editor Kirk LaPointe said the changes were made by an editor at the nascent newspaper, which began publication last October and is owned by publishing magnate Conrad Black, owner of the Chicago Sun-Times and London's Daily Telegraph. But he was unable to say how the changes occurred. Interestingly, this isn't the first time the paper has raised the church's ire: Scientology spokesman Al Buttnor said in a Jan. 20 letter to the Post editor that the paper omitted "key statements" from sources in two other Post articles about Scientology. LaPointe said it was not certain if the Post would publish another Scientology letter following the latest incident.
(The Hollywood Reporter)