The 'church' does not like the St. Petersburg Times. Because the Florida paper has an excellent ongoing investigation into the various weirdnesses of Cruise and Co. So it has hired three surprisingly legit journalists to investigate them right back.

Howard Kurtz, in the Washington Post, reports that the cult hired Steve Weinberg, the former executive director of non-profit Investigative Reporters and Editors, Russell Carollo, who won a Pulitzer in 1998 for a series on medical malpractice that appeared in the Daily News of Dayton, Ohio, and Christopher Szechenyi, an Emmy-winning former TV producer. (They possibly saw this job advertisement.)

The three men, one of whom admitted he could "certainly use the money these days," were hired to look at the journalistic practices that went into the Times reporting. Except the Times refused to co-operate. "I ultimately couldn't take this request very seriously because it's a study bought and paid for by the Church of Scientology," Executive Editor Neil Brown told Kurtz. "I was surprised and disappointed that journalists who I understand to have an extensive background in investigative reporting would think it's appropriate to ask me or our news organization to talk about that reporting while (a) it's ongoing, and (b) while they're being paid to ask these questions by the very subjects of our reporting."

Which sums the whole thing up really.