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Martin Bashir Compares Newt Gingrich to Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard, and more in our Thursday Stats Roundup!

It's that time of the week, when Scientology workers scramble to get their statistics turned in. And with the Thursday 2pm deadline looming, we like to do the same, rounding up the church's stats for the past week. First up, a little political humor...

Yesterday, Martin Bashir did a bit of editorializing on MSNBC, trying to find an historical antecedent for presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, who he apparently doesn't like very much. In fact, Bashir seems to feel that Gingrich is such a self-aggrandizing looney, he could only think of one other person in history who resembles Newt: Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.

Hey, come to think of it, Martin may be on to something here.

During his "Clear the Air" segment to close his show yesterday, Bashir -- who knows a thing or two about Scientology -- made the comparison after describing Gingrich as "a perfect combination of religiosity and insanity" and a "peddler of myths and fantasies."

Ouch.

Thursday's Stats: Upstat or Downstat? The funny thing is, I'm not really sure who makes out worse, Newt or L. Ron. But one thing I do know: having MSNBC's audience puzzle over that question is a pretty big downstat in itself!


Story #2: Oh Ricky, You're So Fine

Ricky Gervais is writing and directing Life's Too Short, a mockumentary-style show currently airing in the UK about the life of Warwick Davis, who plays himself as a little person in show business. On a recent episode, Davis decides to check out whether Scientology has anything to offer him. We enjoyed the scene he plays with an actor portraying a Scientology official, who, the folks over at Operation Clambake point out, looks an awful lot like vanished church spokesman Tommy Davis.

Oh, the hilarity.

Gervais picked on religion in general with his 2009 movie The Invention of Lying, but he has singled out Scientology in the past for particular ridicule.

At the Golden Globes this year, he quipped, "Also not nominated was I Love You Phillip Morris, Jim Carrey, and Ewan McGregor. Two heterosexual characters pretending to be gay. So the complete opposite of some famous Scientologists, then."

Thursday's Stats: Upstat or Downstat? As we've pointed out in the past, comedians are in a unique position to reach many more people than news articles. We have a feeling Ricky isn't going to give up on this rich vein of comedy any time soon. A modest downstat now, with much more potential to come!


Story #3: TIME Cops Out Again

Rah rah! Occupy Wall Street is Person of the Year! And we suppose that also means that Anonymous gets to share in the glory (such as it is), even though the connection between the two is somewhat tenuous.

Actually, this has nothing to with Scientology and was included here only as a chance to poke fun at old, confused TIME for yet another cop-out Person of the Year. I'm surprised that this issue didn't come with a mirrored cover for all of you angry people out there to see yourselves in.

Thursday's Stats: Upstat or Downstat? This precious issue of the magazine has somehow managed to make protesters look so harmless and lovable, I'm going to have to award some upstat to the church simply on principle.


Story #4: David Miscavige, Linguist

Over at his blog, Marty Rathbun has been having fun with excerpts from the October IAS gala in the UK, which featured Scientology leader David Miscavige talking about church accomplishments for three hours straight.

Except, that is, when someone else was on stage to laud him.

Rathbun pulled out some nice excerpts in this video, showing Miscavige step up to translate praise for himself so that he appears to be talking about what a hell of a guy he is in the third person.

And here's what Rathbun didn't point out: unlike monolingual Americans, educated people from Colombia and Russia generally all speak English, and so these folks were no doubt more than able to translate their own praise for Miscavige, and didn't need the diminutive emcee to do it for them.

Well, that's Miscavige's idea of show business anyway.

Thursday's Stats: Upstat or Downstat? The big crowds and lavish sets and black tie are all intended to give Scientologists a certain impression of Miscavige's power, but for the rest of the world, the weirdness is almost too much. When these videos leak, even one like this which is one three-hour infomercial about how well the organization is supposedly doing, the disconnect from the real world is glaring. Another embarrassing downstat.

Well, things certainly seem to be winding down a bit with the holidays upon us. But don't fear. We have lots of good, special stuff in preparation for the last couple of weeks of the year, so make sure and check back with us between your shopping trips or treks to grandmother's house!

And in the meantime, don't forget to vote in our poll for Scientology Story of the Year.


Tony Ortega is the editor-in-chief of The Village Voice. Since 1995, he's been writing about Scientology at several publications.

tortega@villagevoice.com | @VoiceTonyO | Facebook: Tony Ortega

Keep up on all of our New York news coverage at this blog, Runnin' Scared


SCIENTOLOGY IN THE VILLAGE VOICE

[All recent stories] | [Top 25 People Crippling Scientology] | [Commenters of the Week] [Thursday 2pm Stats!] | [Scientology vs. South Park] | [This Week Aboard the Apollo] [Sunday Funnies]

FEATURED INVESTIGATIONS

[Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis secretly recorded discussing "disconnection"] [Benjamin Ring, LA deputy sheriff, wants you to spend your 401K on Scientology] [Scientologists: How many of them are there, anyway?] [Scientology hates clean ice: The "Fair Game" operation that should turn your stomach] [Scientology hates clean ice, part 2: Another target, and the web as weapon] [Paulette Cooper, Scientology's original and worst nightmare: a Thanksgiving tribute]

THE TOP 25 PEOPLE CRIPPLING SCIENTOLOGY

1. L. Ron Hubbard | 2. David Miscavige | 3. Marty Rathbun | 4. Tom Cruise | 5. Joe Childs and Tom Tobin | 6. Anonymous | 7. Mark Bunker | 8. Mike Rinder | 9. Jason Beghe | 10. Lisa McPherson | 11. Nick Xenophon | 12. Tommy Davis | 13. Janet Reitman | 14. Tory Christman | 15. Andreas Heldal-Lund | 16. Marc and Claire Headley | 17. Jefferson Hawkins | 18. Amy Scobee | 19. The Squirrel Busters | 20. Trey Parker and Matt Stone | 21. Kendrick Moxon | 22. Jamie DeWolf | 23. Ken Dandar | 24. Dave Touretzky | 25. Xenu

HELD ABOARD THE FREEWINDS: TALES OF THE SEA ORG

[Valeska Paris, held against her will from 1996 to 2007 on Scientology's cruise ship] [Ramana Dienes-Browning, marriage at 16, sexual interrogation, life in the engine room] [Melissa Paris, Valeska's sister: forced to marry at 16]

SCIENTOLOGY VS. SOUTH PARK: INVESTIGATION AS RETALIATION

[Scientology targeted South Park's Parker and Stone in an investigation] [More documents in the South Park probe: instructions to send in a young mole] [Scientology responds in typical fashion] | [Lloyd Kaufman confirms the probe] [Mark Ebner also investigated after South Park involvement] [Mark Chauppetta, private eye, explains what Scientology operatives look for]

MARTY RATHBUN AND THE SIEGE OF SOUTH TEXAS

[Scientology has Rathbun arrested] | [Rathbun and Mark Bunker reveal surprising ties] In Germany with Ursula Caberta: [Announcing plans] | [Press conference] | [Making news about Tom Cruise, Bill Clinton, and Tony Blair] | [Post-trip interview] The Squirrel Busters: [Goons with cameras on their heads] | [Rathbun's open letter to neighbors] | [Ingleside on the Bay, Texas rallies to Rathbun's cause] | [Squirrel Buster's claim to be making a "documentary"] | [VIDEO: "On a Boat"] | ["Anna" sent to creep out Monique Rathbun] | [Squirrel Busters go hillbilly] | [A videographer blows the whistle on the goon squad] | [Ed Bryan, OT VIII, shows the power of Scientology's highest levels]

SCIENTOLOGY SPYING AND "FAIR GAME"

[Secret Scientology documents spell out spying operation against Marc Headley] [Scientology's West U.S. spies list revealed] | [Scientology's enemies list: Are you on it?] Spy operation against Washington Post writer Richard Leiby: [Part 1] | [Part 2] [A Scientology spy comes clean: Paulien Lombard's remarkable public confession] [Scientology advertises for writers in Freedom magazine] [Accidental leak shows Scientology spy wing plans to "handle" the Voice] [Lori Hodgson and Disconnection: "No one's going to take my eternity away"]

SCIENTOLOGY AND CELEBRITIES

[Hey, Scientology Celebrity, Here's Your Media Training Checksheet!] [Tom Cruise and X Factor's Stacy Francis singing together on the Freewinds] [X Factor's Stacy Francis: Her first husband, Michael Sandlofer, answers abuse claims] [Tom Cruise and Baby Suri embarrassed by news item, so someone must pay] ["Tom Cruise told me to talk to a bottle"] | [Tom Cruise likes coconut cake] | [Tom Cruise has a sense of humor] | ["Tom Cruise not a kook!"] | [Paulette Cooper on Tom Cruise] [Paul Haggis, director of Crash, issues an ultimatum, leaves the church] [Character actor Jason Beghe defects noisily] | [Actor Michael Fairman reveals his "suppressive person" declaration] | [Michael Fairman talks to the Voice] [Giovanni Ribisi as David Koresh: Scientology-Branch Davidian link makes sense] [Russell Brand weds ex-Scientologists in wild ceremony] | [Skip Press on Haggis] [Placido Domingo Jr.: Scientology's retaliation is "scary and pathetic"] Grant Cardone, NatGeo's "Turnaround King": [Doing Scientology's dirty work?] | [Milton Katselas complained about Cardone's smear job] | [Cardone runs to Huffpo] [Philip Boyd, Saving Grace actor, rips "the business that is Scientology"]

JANET REITMAN'S INSIDE SCIENTOLOGY

[Our review of Inside Scientology] | [An interview with Janet Reitman] | [A report from Reitman's first book tour appearance] | [At the Half-King: Reitman not afraid] [Scientology doesn't like Inside Scientology] | [Q&A at Washington Post] [A roundup of Reitman's print reviews, and why isn't she on television more?]

HUGH URBAN'S THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY

[A review of Urban's scholarly history of the church] | [An interview with Hugh Urban]

EX-SCIENTOLOGISTS SPEAK OUT

["The Money Machine": another blockbuster St. Pete Times investigation] [Marc Headley: "Tom Cruise told me to talk to a bottle"] | [The Nancy Many interview] [Sympathy for the Devil: Tory Christman's Story] | [Jeff Hawkins' Counterfeit Dreams] [86 Million Thin Dimes: The Lawrence Wollersheim Saga] | [Mike Rinder on spying]

OVERSEAS NEWS

[Scientology in Israel: Arson, attempted murder, paranoia -- and a visit by the Voice!] [Scientology dodges a bullet in Australia] | [Scientology exec Jan Eastgate arrested] [All hell breaks loose in Israel] | [Scientology sees fundraising gold in the UK riots] [Aussie former rugby pro Chris Guider calls David Miscavige "toxic" and "violent"] [Stephen Cox, UK church newbie, pledges 20K pounds] | [Biggi Reichert: A German Lisa McPherson?] | [The Birmingham trove: 7,000 internal e-mails] [Australian farmer blamed for giving Tom Cruise a bad shrimp, loses her friends, family]

ODD VIDEOS AND ODDER NEWS

[Scientology chillin' with hip hop!] | [The curious career of Scientology rapper Chill EB] [Chill EB and me: the Voice interviews Scientology's in-house rapper] [Scientology singalong, "We Stand Tall"] | [Captain Bill Robertson and "Galactic Patrol"] [Scientology wins a major award!] | [Scientology wants your money: Meet Dede!] [Birmingham in the House! The "Ideal" dance mix] | [Scientology and the Nation of Islam] [When Scientology was hip] | [Sad: David Miscavige makes fun of his own fundraisers] [Freedom magazine parodies The New Yorker. Hilarity ensues.] [Scientology surf report: Anonymous parties outside the New York "org"]

THE VIEW INSIDE THE BUBBLE

[A scientologist's letter to the Voice and its readers] | [Scientology silent birth] [Tad Reeves: Scientology might listen to this guy] | [More Tad Reeves and family] [Scientology never forgets: A heartwarming telemarketing holiday miracle] [Desperate Scientology fundraising caught on video]


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