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A Story Only Jason Blair Could Appreciate

So, on Monday, the New York Times ran a story about the celebrity gossip website TMZ with a teaser on the front page of its business section reading: “A Year of Scoops, and Respect.” It went on to say: “Many in the media are likely to remember 2009 as the year when they stopped scoffing at TMZ.”

That very day, TMZ published an “exclusive” story about a grainy black-and-white photograph that it claimed “appears to show John F. Kennedy on a boat filled with naked women.”

Hours later, TMZ admitted that the photo was a hoax. The photo actually appeared in a 1967 Playboy magazine spread titled “Playboy’s Charter Yacht Party: How to Have a Ball on a Briny with an Able-Bodies Compliment of Ship’s Belles.”

The website The Smoking Gun called TMZ’s exclusive “a colossal hoax” and TMZ executive producer Harvey Levin told the New York Times “We’re not happy about it, but this is part of journalism.”

Memo to the NYT: “Get Jayson Blair on this story right away!”

About Robert W. Welkos

Executive Editor: Robert W. Welkos is an award-winning journalist who covered the entertainment industry for 15 years as a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times. During this span, he wrote extensively about the movie industry from turmoil in the executive suites, the Academy Awards and Golden Globes, and box office hits and bombs to visits to movie sets as well as profiles of top stars and A-list directors, cutting edge features on the newest indie films and visits to famous film festivals like Sundance and Cannes. Prior to entertainment, Welkos worked as a reporter and assistant city editor in The Times’ Metro section where he undertook major investigations for the paper as well as covering breaking news and writing in-depth features. Before joining The Times, he worked for the Associated Press in Reno, Nevada, and City News Service in Los Angeles.

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