Boston Now's Scientology lovefest, Day 2

Well, Boston Now published Part 2 of its "Another side of Scientology" series today, and it's a doozy.  The subhed--"Parents, pols grapple with church's role in teaching Boston kids"--suggests that correspondent Kim Abruzzo might atone for yesterday's puff piece. But Abruzzo sure doesn't.

As with yesterday's story, you've really got to read this article in its entirety to appreciate just how credulous it is. But here are some lowlights:

A pull quote from Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. "[A] workable, secular educational method with proven results." Right there in the middle of the page. That's how Hubbard describes the "study technique" used by Boston's Delphi Academy. There's no dissenting take from any Scientology critic; instead, city councilor Chuck Turner (who's not always the most reliable observer) is quoted saying he likes what he's seen at Delphi.

A half-assed discussion of Scientology's "Citiznes Commission on Human Rights."
Here's what Abruzzo tells us about CCHR, which shares an office with the aformentioned Volunteer Ministry:
According to CCHR, formed as an arm of Scientology in 1969, psychiatric diagnoses are disorders, not diseases, and are not proven to be caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. '[CCHR] is an outlet...if a person has been institutionalized without consent, or if a mother has been ordered to put her child on psychiatric drugs or face losing custody,' [Volunteer Ministry founder Robert] Castagna said.
This is where things get really remarkable. Abruzzo doesn't provide any countervailing criticism of CCHR--which suggests, to me, that she's either a Scientologist herself or just a weak reporter. [Addendum: a reader argues the blame lies with Abruzzo's editors rather than Abruzzo herself. In retrospect, I think that's right.]

Consider this excerpt of a January 24, 2007 MetroWest Daily News story on CCHR's reaction to the apparent murder earlier this year of James Alenson by John Odgren, who's been diagnosed with hyperactivity disorder and Asperger's, a mild form of autism. As the excerpt indicates, CCHR's goals are somewhat broader that Castagna indicated:
A Scientology group targeting "toxic" medications plans to protest in Sudbury today for a public airing of any drugs given to the teen accused of murdering another boy at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School last week....

"I think everybody will be devastated," said Rebecca Goniwich, a Sudbury special-needs advocate, of today’s noon protest.

"Walk a mile in our shoes before you judge," added the mother of an autistic teen.

Members of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, established by the Church of Scientology, will hold a 20-foot banner stating: "Psychiatry’s toxic drugs cause suicide and acts of violence."

The demonstration will call for the release of the types of drugs given to accused killer John Odgren, 16, and the name of the doctor who prescribed them [emph. added]. Odgren, who suffers from a mild form of autism, was taking several undisclosed medications when he reportedly stabbed Alenson three times in a school bathroom.
Dismissal of Scientology's critics. Castagna "acknowleges, however, there will always be critics of anything related to his church," Abruzzo tells us. In a sidebar, meanwhile, a Scientology official calls allegations that another Boston literacy program was a Scientology front "exaggerated tabloid claims." This statement goes unchallenged.

A recycled lede from yesterday.
Again, Brookline resident Laura Creedonekhator talks about how great the Boston Scientology Volunteer Ministry has been for her autistic son, Jake.

This is truly bizarre stuff. I'll be contacting Boston Now to ask about Abruzzo's reportage, and I'll post whatever response I get here.

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