And Now, A Word From The Legal Department Of The New Yorker

The New Republic/February 15, 2011

By Jonathan Chait

The Scientology expose is one of my favorite journalistic genres. It combines all the low pleasures of depravity, titilation, hilarity, and pornographic glimpses into the lifestyles of the rich, famous and insane along with the good-for-you qualities of the worthy expose. The only downside, from the readers' standpoint, is that the famously litigious Church of Scientology can force its chroniclers to interrupt their narratives with lawyerly qualifications.

Lawrence Wright's fine contribution to the field in the latest New Yorker has all the obvious hallmarks of a piece that has been combed over by lawyers. You can spot every place where the New Yorker's legal team forced Wright to append a word of rebuttal from the Scientologists in order to stymie the inevitable lawsuit, most of them set off in parentheses. The staff of Jonathan Chait has taken the time to compile the lawyerly caveats in one place:

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