How to read a tabloid magazine story about the Church of Scientology: A primer - 2015-07-02
Four years ago, we set out on this adventure to report about Scientology every day. And one of the results of that experiment is the amazing community that has built up around the Bunker. We set out to create a place where Scientology could be discussed, but without the wild rumors and mistaken myths that clog up so many other places. We wanted the facts, and we wanted them first.
But even with that facts-first approach we've cultivated here, it's understandable that there was some excitement yesterday when Star magazine put out a new issue with the headline "Tom Leaving Scientology!" on its cover. While some counseled caution, others were ready to have a parade for Tom Cruise getting out of the church.
But does Star actually have any facts to back up its cover headline? Let's take a closer look. First, let's review how tabloid publications tend to put together their stories on Scientology. They start with a tiny germ of an idea — a quote from someone, often someone they don't really want to check out very carefully or it would spoil the fun — and then ask that person to speculate about what it is they've heard. We've been on the other end of these conversations. We've had some small incremental piece of information, and the tabloid hacks on the other end of the line try to get us to say that what we've heard is actually indicative of something much bigger or even completely different. We don't play that game. But others are happy to go along.