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In 1709, the first modern gossip magazine, began publishing blind items, in a section called “Saunterings.” (In 1905, the section’s editor attempted to blackmail Emily Post’s husband after learning of his infidelity.) Tycoons and politicians were the initial focus of the gossip trade; one British photographer bribed a gardener to gain entrance to Winston Churchill’s house, where he hid, waiting for the perfect shot, until Churchill spotted him and chased him away.
With the rise of Hollywood, actors became gossip’s prime quarry; the magazine courted lawsuits by printing stories with titles like “Mae West’s Open Door Policy.”On the Fox News program, Kurtz asked Levin whether his willingness to buy material “tarnished” TMZ’s integrity. ”Kurtz noted that, amid all the gossip, TMZ had aired some consequential stories.
In 2009, TMZ broke the news of Michael Jackson’s sudden death, and two years ago it revealed a recorded phone call between Donald Sterling, then the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, and his mistress, in which Sterling urged her not to bring her African-American friends, including Magic Johnson, to Clippers games.“How does TMZ get this stuff?“I’d have to talk people off cliffs,” Weakland said.“I’d tell them, ‘We’re not going to reveal our sources, because we want you to be a source for us again.After guards responded to the incident in the lobby, several surveillance officers gathered and wondered aloud if a tape of Rice and Palmer could be sold to TMZ—the Web site that, since its inception, in 2005, has taken a merciless approach to celebrity news.At around ., one of the surveillance officers, sitting at a monitoring-room computer, reviewed footage from a camera that faced the elevator and, using a cell phone, surreptitiously recorded the screen. It was the middle of the night in Los Angeles, where TMZ is based, so a message was left on the tip line. On September 29, 2015, an internal e-mail summarizing tips from the previous night referred to “info regarding George Clooney’s wedding,” “a video of a pro athlete getting attacked by a goat,” and “pictures of Meek Mill being incarcerated.” (The e-mail is one of many that were leaked to ) The tip line also recorded a claim that a major pop star “wears a fake booty in her music videos” and employs a “person who makes the fake butts.”Many tipsters ask to be paid, and the site often complies.