It's a great day at Fox when someone calls them out on their hypocrisy and yesterday was one of those rare days. Howie Kurtz interviewed TMZ founder Harvey Levin and tried to get Levin to admit he pays for video and only sensationalists like TMZ engage in that shameful practice. Kurtz, the ever-so-tactful journalist who penned an editorial entitled, "What if we just pulled the plug on Ferguson?”, tried to trivialize the role of TMZ as a "raunchy tabloid" operation which is certainly not a news gathering source. Levin had other plans for Kurtz's opinion. He said,
We been around for nine years, and you look at all the stories we've broken...There are stories literally that every newscast in America has put on their air. I would take issue with the way you're describing it because if that's the case, you guys have been spoon-fed this stuff over at Fox News as well as everywhere else. For nine years, you have been taking all of our stories, so I'll just rest on that."
Kurtz, notably busted, responded with a cliché; "We all live in TMZ's world now." He then asked, how much TMZ paid for those Ray Rice videos and reiterated the raunchy tabloid insult because they "pay for video." Levin says,
"you work for a news company that pays for video. Fox News pays for video.
He mentions ABC, NBC, CNN as well as for-profit print media sources like Getty who also do the exact same thing. He then asks Kurtz,
You wanna tell me that Fox News Channel and all the others haven't paid for people who come along and say 'I have this great piece of video?'
Proudly, Kurtz asserts Fox doesn't pay for information. Levin accuses him of changing the subject, and says,
"you're not really arguing that you guys don't pay for video, right, you know you do.....there's nothing wrong with it....(all profit-driven news organizations make money)...who cares if you pay for it?"
Then Howie pulls a fact straight from his posterior and says,
"Fox News does not pay six figures for a source."
The TMZ founder was stunned and said, "Who said we did?" So Kurtz admits, 'I'm just throwing it out there, you can knock it down if you want." Levin replies, "I'm just throwing it right back at you."
Of course, everyone pays for video, but Harvey Levin did admit neither he nor his organization pays for interviews. The implication that Fox News probably does hung heavy in the air toward the end of a painful interview for Kurtz. He also jabbed at Fox by saying
"most of our stories are true."
Lastly, TMZ's founder explained how they are different (and better) than Fox News.
Absolutely we will pay for video and photos, it's just we're being a little more honest than you guys.
Whoomp, there it is.