Impact: One of the first journalists to challenge the False Memory Syndrome Foundation in press
Michele Landsburg is a Canadian journalist known for a long-running feminist column in the Toronto Star. From 1993 to 1998, Landsberg wrote 9 columns outing The False Memory Syndrome Foundation (FMSF) as unscientific. Through this, she became one of the first journalists to challenge the foundation, in a time where most media sources favored the arguments of False Memory Syndrome Foundation.
The FMSF filed a formal complaint against Landsburg about her articles criticizing the foundation. In a personal correspondence with Ross Cheit on July 19, 2021, Landsberg wrote about four instances of harassment:
“The Freyds did come after me. They lodged an official complaint against me with the Ontario Press Council, which had the power to rule on cases and force the newspaper in question to publish the decision, including the name of the reporter found to be at fault. Very humiliating to be named in a featured report in your own newspaper! Luckily, after the case dogged me for some months, the Council ruled in my favour.
I also had The Amazing Randy threatening to turn up at my office at The Star, pleading with me pathetically not to publish any more evidence of his pedophilia. All because he had relatives in Toronto.
There was an Ontario family, too, who founded the Canadian branch of the False Memory Syndrome foundation. They harassed me endlessly with angry and pathologically defensive arguments (10 page hand-written letters!) to persuade me I was utterly deluded about recovered memory. Some years later, I received a letter from their daughter, who had been sexually assaulted by the father. She thanked me in the most heart-rending manner for defending the victims of abusers, and apologized for not having come forward earlier...but she just didn't have the strength to stand up to her abusers publicly.
I was also mocked by other reporters, all of whom blithely accepted and promoted the FMS arguments without doing an ounce of research.”