For immediate release

April 2, 2021

Sydney Morning Herald’s Ben Schneiders Engages in Textbook Anti-Scientology Propaganda 

In a pair of articles aimed at marginalizing Australian Scientologists, Ben Schneiders of the Sydney Morning Herald shamelessly employs antireligious propaganda techniques. 

By definition, the selective and twisted presentation of “information” to harm an institution or group, propaganda like that of Schneiders’ seeks out whatever sources will forward the originator’s biased intent, irrespective of reliability. 

Ben Schneiders of the Sydney Morning Herald, who describes himself as an “investigative journalist”

To wit, Schneiders sought out for “commentary” on the Scientology religion in Australia an unemployed blogger in the United States—an individual dismissed in disgrace from his last job as a result of his anti-Scientology obsession, an obsession so consuming it compromised his ability to function at work. The blogger, Tony Ortega, is also a known champion and defender of Backpage.com, which had become the largest online sex trafficking site in the world before its seizure by federal law enforcement in April 2018. Minors trafficked on the site include a teenager who describes being gangraped, choked and forced to perform sexual acts at gunpoint. Another was stabbed to death and another murdered in 2017, with her corpse burned. 

Propaganda like that of Schneiders’ seeks out whatever sources will forward the originator’s biased intent. 

To fulfill his overtly biased agenda, Schneiders sought out this obscure anti-Scientology extremist and sex-trafficking promoter with no ties to Australia, over barrister and former Australian Solicitor-General David Michael John Bennett, a graduate of Harvard Law School and a member of the Order of Australia who worked for years with the Church of Scientology to champion religious freedom in the country. “What began as a fight for what is fair, led to a decision that has spread across the world to guarantee the rights of people of all faiths,” said Mr. Bennett of the religious recognition he assisted the Church in securing. The Australian Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, described as “irresistible” the conclusion that the Church of Scientology was a religious institution. The 1983 case famously established the standard for the definition of religion and religious charities in both Australia and New Zealand. 

Evidencing his motives, Schneiders preferred Ortega as a source for his “journalism,” which involved avoiding, rather than presenting, the true story of the Scientology religion and its humanitarian members in Australia. 

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