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Tony Ortega Puts the Skids on Tom Cruise TMZ Item

Here’s a suggestion for TMZ. When the next need-for-verification Church of Scientology-tinged item comes along, like this Friday afternoon EXCLUSIVE speculating that a pair of wee-hour motorcycle riders were Tom Cruise and girlfriend, check with Tony Ortega first.

The former Village Voice editor-in-chief works tirelessly at the helm of his must-read Scientology blog The Underground Bunker. No one knows more about CoS celebrity members past, present and near future-than this guy. If TMZ had checked with Ortega, they could have easily avoided this Saturday morning admonition:

This isn’t the first time that ex-Scientologist Tiziano Lugli has been mistaken for Tom Cruise zipping around Hollywood on his Ducati motorcycle.

But TMZ? You’d think Harvey Levin’s outfit would want a bit more confirmation before deciding that a video of Tiziano and his wife Jamie is Tom Cruise and his “Rebound Chick.”

There was a lot of this kind of thing going around Friday afternoon, heading into the holiday weekend. For example, all sorts of outlets were taking a couple of tweets by Jimmy Kimmel and comedian Jeffrey Ross as unimpeachable proof that the former gave the later a $1.9 million nude painting of Bea Arthur. Even if that turns out to be true, the fact that everyone was happy to run with the news without actually waiting for Kimmel to confirm is equally scary.

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