Memorable headlines: Scientology as a “ruthless global scam”
Copy editors at newspapers spend a great deal of time and energy on writing headlines. And for good reason — headlines attract attention, and some live on decades after they are written. This is the fifth in a series of posts on memorable headlines.
THE PUBLICATION: Time magazine
THE STORY: In 1991, Time magazine published a lengthy article on the Church of Scientology. The story accused the church of being a money-hungry organization that uses Mafia-like tactics.
ITS SIGNIFICANCE: In the days before the World Wide Web, information about Scientology was difficult to find, and the church regularly obstructed efforts by reporters to write stories about it.
Time’s award-winning story presented a view of the church’s operations to a national audience. “Ruthless global scam” became a shorthand for Scientology’s critics, and journalists such as Kurt Loder of MTV have referred to it in reports on the church.