The first I heard of Harry Potter was from a string of news reports in the '90s, centred around complaints that the book series might encourage children to investigate the occult.
This seemed odd at the time since I'd just spent a large part of my childhood watching or reading fiction that showed witches and wizards as hero(in)es (e.g. Meg & Mog, The Hobbit, Mr Magica ...), and some that had children being taught magic (The Worst Witch, The Sorcerer's Apprentice ...), and I have still not heard of similar complaints over those older works.
I don't doubt that there were genuine objections to the series since just about everything in the world offends someone, but why so much, and so well-publicised?
As far as I could see the main effect of the Harry Potter controversy was to get the series a lot mentions on prime-time TV. I think the books were good enough to stand on their own, but the extra publicity in the early days didn't hurt.
Is there any evidence that the complaints around Harry Potter were deliberately stirred up, over-reported or somehow brought to the attention of the media by someone connected with the publisher? Were there similar news reports about other magic-related children's books in the last century?