Gossip’s Last Grove: Judy Miller Called Me From Jail

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Lloyd Grove, who left his Lowdown gossip column at the Daily News and has been blogging today over at Gawker, had to jump through some ethical hula hoops during his tenure:

Before accepting the Daily News job from [Mort] Zuckerman — who enjoyed a reputation for involving himself in his editors’ journalistic judgments — I asked him how he saw his role in my prospective column. “My role,” he told me over coffee in an outdoor cafe on Capitol Hill, “will be to open my newspaper and read it.”

Mort was as good as his word, even though I would occasionally hear that he was peeved about this or that item concerning this or that pal. In July 2005, then-New York Times reporter Judith Miller, a close Zuckerman friend, phoned him from jail in Virginia to complain bitterly about a mocking item reporting that her husband, Jason Epstein, was taking a luxury Mediterranean cruise during her incarceration. Mort insisted — via a top editor — that I write a sympathetic follow-up item expressing my delight that Epstein was able to get away from the stress of Plamegate.

Why Grove isn’t saving these anecdotes for a book, much less offering them to Gawker and the LA Times, rather than, say, the New York Times, is beyond us.

  • My Life as a Gossip Columnist [LAT]
  • Lloyd Grove: Reduced to Gawking [Daily Intel]
  • Lloyd Grove, Blogger