Gossip As A Commodity

jaredpaulstern.jpgAs Jared Paul Stern moves into what in 2006 is officially flash-in-the-pan fame-dom, that is to say a guest-editing gig on Gawker.com, there’s still some ink getting thrown his way.

First yesterday D.C.’s gossip duo tried but failed to find someone willing to pay them to stay out of the Reliable Source.

Today Howard Kurtz has a column titled “Reporters in Glass Houses” about whether the Washington press corps is a mini-Jared Paul Stern.

“In short, is it really all that vast a distance from the TriBeCa nightspots prowled by Page Six writers to the Georgetown cocktail parties and Gridiron dinners where Washington reporters might sniff out news?” he asks, and then turns to anti-press quote machine Jeff Jarvis for this doozy: “When you think about it, how much really separates celebrity gossip from Washington coverage? Rumors, blind items, schmoozing, tips, paybacks, grudges, parties, lunches, leaks, hidden agendas, corruption, sex.”

That said, Kurtz gets to the heart of the rub: “There is little question that some New York gossip writers get better freebies. Stern told USA Today that he accepted a hotel junket to the Bahamas and often got free use of cars in exchange for favorable mentions. Page Six Editor Richard Johnson got a free trip to the Oscars and a fabulously expensive bachelor party at the Mexican estate of the producer of those ‘Girls Gone Wild’ videos. And Washington reporters? A free screening at the Motion Picture Association of America? Unlimited hors d’oeuvres at a Capitol reception? Watching Condi work out on the road? The temptations are endless.”