Olbermann needs an honorary SP declare with a joking/degrading medal!
Countdown with Keith Olbermann
Friday, May 12, 2006
OLBERMANN: It has been the lights-out moment for countless religions and cults. A leader announces he has super powers and promises on such-and-such a date to prove it. Day arrives, nothing happens, leader escapes to Nutley, New Jersey. Our third story in the COUNTDOWN, while Paramount Pictures wonders if it can overcome Tom Cruiseâ€˜s adherence to Scientology, at the box office, the faith is set to open up its own super center where believers can hone their super powers in beautiful downtown Clear Water, Florida much. The 57 perceptics, described by founder L. Ron Hubbard, will be brought out by use of machines including an anti-gravity simulator and something with a gyroscope. So, Mr. Cruise has a place to improve his gravity, his compass direction, and especially the saline content of self. While you check yours, â€œDatelineâ€˜sâ€? Hoda Kotb got to sit down with former and current members of the group to talk about the No. 1 face of the church of Scientology.
HODA KOTB, â€œDATELINE NBCâ€? (voice-over): Many celebrities swear by Scientology. Thereâ€˜s John, Juliet, Jenna, and Jason, Kirstie, Leaha (ph), and Sophia. Not the king, but his wife and daughter, Beck and Bart.
BART SIMPSON, CARTOON CHARACTER: Is it a book report or a witch-hunt?
KOTB: Well, the actress doing his voice. And it is no coincidence.
KAREN PRESLEY, FMR. SCIENTOLOGIST: We were put under incredible duress, actually, to recruit celebrities.
KOTB: In my mission to find out if Cruise is in control or out of control, I met former Scientologist, Karen Presley, she says she used to work full time at the churchâ€˜s exclusive Celebrity Center in Hollywood. Her job, she says, recruiting the stars.
(on camera): Was there was a list?
PRESLEY: Actually there was. Young actors, that were really making it in film, at the time, I think, our biggest priorities.
KOTB (voice-over): Tom Cruise was exactly that. It was 1985 and he was filming â€œTop Gun.â€? He says the church helped cure him of a learning disability and in recent years, heâ€˜s out to fix the rest of us or at least his coworkers.
TOM CRUISE, ACTOR: You have to understand in Hollywood when people need help, they call me. When theyâ€˜re having trouble with something, they call me, because they know that Iâ€˜m the type of person that they can depend on.
KOTB: But could Hollywood studios depend on Cruise or had his private life blown up his public appeal? Our mission to learn more about him takes us into one of the most personal rituals of Scientology. Clutching these metal rods connected to this machine called an E-Meter. Scientologists undergo intense spiritual counseling meant to clear their minds of past traumas and self defeating behavior. The person drawing it out of them is called an auditor.
(on camera): Youâ€˜ve audited what dozens of people, hundreds of people?
BRUCE HINES (ph), SCIENTOLOGIST AUDITOR: Maybe a thousands.
KOTB (voice-over): Bruce Hines (ph) says he spent 30 years in the church and was an auditor to the stars. He says he sat with them drawing out fears, secrets, past indiscretions, and wrote everything down.
HINES: When I was auditing I would have to write, daily, how did it go and how are they doing and this report would go to people very high up in the organization. They keep tabs on it.
KOTB (on camera): Are there things in those folders or secrets that might change oneâ€˜s opinion of the celebrity.
KOTB: Better or worse?
KOTB (voice-over): He would not reveal what he learned from the stars, but he told us in 2000 he was sent to audit Cruiseâ€˜s then wife Nicole Kidman and find out if and why she was losing interest in Scientology.
(on camera): How concerned were the leaders in Scientology that Nicole Kidman wasnâ€˜t really, you know, showing enough interest in the church?
HINES: Fairly concerned, as evidenced by the fact that they sent me down there.
KOTB: Why do you think Nicole left Scientology?
HINES: She felt it wasnâ€˜t for her. You know, it wasnâ€˜t what she wanted to do in life.
KOTB: Do you think she could have remained Mrs. Tom Cruise and not be a Scientologist?
HINES: In my opinion, no. Their view of life would be so at odds with each other, I donâ€˜t think that they could have a very meaningful relationship.
KOTB (voice-over): So, with Katie it was court and convert.
QUESTION: Are you a Scientologist? Have you looked into it yourself?
KATIE HOLMES, ACTRESS: I have looked into it myself and I really like it and I think itâ€˜s really wonderful.
QUESTION: Have you goneâ€”have you tried any sessions at all or any auditing or anything like that?
HOLMES: Yeah, and itâ€˜s reallyâ€”I feel like Iâ€˜m bettering myself.
KOTB: As she joined the A-list cast of Scientology, my mission was to delve into the world of churchâ€˜s leading man. I sat down with one of the highest ranking members of the church of Scientology. Mike Rinder rarely talks publicly about his most famous church member.
MIKE RINDER EXEC. DIR. OFFICE OF SPECIAL AFFAIRS INTâ€˜L: Iâ€˜ve known Tom for 15 years. I consider him a friend.
KOTB (on camera): Do you think heâ€˜s a good spokesperson for Scientology?
RINDER: I think heâ€˜s a very good representation of what a Scientologist is. I think heâ€˜s, obviously, successful. Heâ€˜s obviously very happy. He does a lot to help other people. He lives an ethical life.
KOTB (voice-over): But last year the star was orbiting far from planet Hollywood into the galaxies of Scientology. Many wondered did he wander off too far?
(on camera): Does the church ever call Tom Cruise and say, you know what, hold back the reigns a little?
RINDER: No, I donâ€˜t think anybody in the world calls Tom Cruise and tells him to pull back the reigns.
KOTB (voice-over): But Tom Cruise and celebrities do promote Scientologyâ€˜s agenda.
(on camera): Does the church actively recruit celebrities?
RINDER: No. No. The church is open to anybody.
KOTB: No one specifically told, weâ€˜d like it get more celebrities because celebrities sort of up the profile of Scientology? We have a list of celebrities? None of that?
RINDER: Absolutely not. Absolutely not.
KOTB (voice-over): Maybe not, but how many religions have a designated Celebrity Center? And he confirms that the church keeps confidential files on celebrities, and other members of the church who undergo auditing.
(on camera): So, what happensâ€”my question is, what happens to those notes? Those files?
RINDER: They are locked in file cabinets in locked rooms.
KOTB: Never to be opened?
RINDER: Never. Only the auditor. Theyâ€˜re for the auditor. Not for anybody else.
KOTB (voice-over): The church says former auditor Bruce Hines never met with Nicole Kidman and should not discuss his work for the church. The church goes on to dispute both his and Karen Presleyâ€˜s statements and questions their motives.
RINDER: Just because someone says something, particularly a former someone who is, you know, seeking to have their minute of fame by making statements that sound sensational, that doesnâ€˜t make it true.
KOTB: On thing is for sure, Tom Cruiseâ€˜s behavior over the last year raised the profile of Scientology. The question is, for better or worse?
(on camera): Do you consider Tom Cruise the churchâ€˜s biggest asset or liability?
RINDER: Oh, come on. Is that a joke question?
KOTB: Itâ€˜s a question.
RINDER: Asset or liability? Tom Cruise is the biggest movie star in the world and Tom Cruise is a Scientologist.
KOTB (voice-over): But will Cruise be an asset or liability for the movie studios that made â€œMission: Impossible III?â€?
OLBERMANN: â€œDatelineâ€˜sâ€? Hoda Kotb reporting.
Perhaps an even greater mystery for women, anyway, from understanding Scientology to understanding guys. Is the answer to be found in your dog? Speaking of dogs, O.J. Simpson achieving a new high in low. Details on these stories ahead, but first time for COUNTDOWNâ€˜s â€œTop 3 Sound Bitesâ€? of this day.