Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sinking New York Times elevates stinking TMZ

Recent viewers of the corporate porn-pushing gossip site TMZ.com and its whitewashed syndicated television sister know the AOL and Time Warner-backed operation for its ugly misogynistic harassment of the troubled woman who gave birth to octuplets, and know its shaved bronzed midget frontman as the giddy giggling amalgamation of Sidney Falco and Roy Cohn who's shown up joyfully on local news and morning shows to wallow in the pugwash of the latest conscienceless backdoor gangbang perpetrated by his jealous Hollywood-hating attack squad.

But to readers of The New York Times, TMZ.com is a shining light of investigative muckraking journalism, not only challenging but leading the mainstream in the coverage of "billion-dollar business scandals and the economic collapse."

In a story that's hit the Times website tonight, reporter Brian Stelter states that TMZ actually "drove mainstream coverage and Congressional outrage with a blog post late last month that exclaimed, 'Bailout Bank Blows Millions Partying in L.A.' The site reported that Northern Trust, a bank that received $1.6 billion in taxpayer money, had hosted hundreds of clients and employees at a golf tournament and a series of parties in Southern California. 'Your tax dollars, hard at work,' the site wrote.

"Northern Trust never sought the bailout funds, but agreed to take them last fall at the behest of the government. Regardless, the photos of Tiffany gift bags and the grainy video clips of Chicago and Sheryl Crow performing for the group angered readers —as well as Congressional Democrats, who demanded in a letter that Northern Trust repay what the company 'frittered away on these lavish events.' The bank said it would do so 'as quickly as prudently possible,' news that earned four exclamation points from TMZ.

"Harvey Levin, the editor of TMZ, who called the story 'the most important thing we’ve ever done,' knows his readers don’t come to the site for a dissertation on mortgage-backed securities. 'It’s hard for people to wrap their heads around $800 billion in bailout money. It’s too big a thing,' he said. 'It’s much easier to understand paying for a Sheryl Crow concert.'"

At a time when established, major newspapers are folding left and right in the face of economic woes and Internet competition, such praise and validation in the pages of the financially-troubled New York Times seem outlandish and hard to even fathom-- unless you read TabloidBaby.com and remember our criticism of the boy blogger-turned-Times reporter.

After Stelter wrote his second gushing Times story about the TMZ TV show in December 2007, we wrote that "youthful TV blogger-turned-New York Times special reporter Brian Stelter continues to drag the former 'newspaper of record' down the slippery slope of hype and spin with his breathless adulation of the syndicated television series based on the corporate porn-pushing gossip site TMZ.com."

While TMZ's most notable "contribution" to the coverage of the economic crisis has been its scapegoating and mocking of the so-called "Octomom," tabloid television shows have been, as Stelter praised TMZ and other infotainment shows, "expanding their coverage" since the Eighties, when A Current Affair covered the San Francisco earthquake and fall of the Berlin Wall. The acquisition of the Northern Trust celebrity party photos was the center of TMZ's jaded and cynical spin, but it was a very brief diversion from its usual corrupt fare. Stelter's use of the Times platform to give credibility to the site only gives Levin and his patrons more authority to state with a straight face that the work they do is of value and deserving of corporate and network support in expanding.

And all this comes on an evening when TMZ's gallery of online headlines is highlighted by

Reality Doc Sued Over Alleged Botched Vagina
Neverland Was Filled with Sculpted Boys

(Of special to irony to those who recall Harvey Levin's initial brush with the spotlight, TabloidBaby.com "drove mainstream coverage and Congressional outrage" in 2005 with its exclusive photos of Mitzvahpalooza, the $10 million bat mitzvah tossed by a Long Island defense contractor accused of supplying faulty body armour to US soldiers in Iraq, and featuring pop and rock stars like Don Henley, Tom Petty, 50 Cent and Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and Joe Perry. Mainstream organizations from Rolling Stone to Time magazine used our photos.)

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