The caller seemed pretty sure of himself, but it’s not enough to hang the entire story on. With no place further to go, I turn to my old friends at TMZ.com, the masters of hunting celebrity news. I call Gillian, their P.R. person extraordinaire, and brief her on the phone about what’s going on with Lampley. (I half expect her to know about the arrest already. TMZ.com is always one step ahead of everyone else on things like this.) Gillian says she wasn’t aware of the arrest and immediately begins working on it with me. I have no idea what kind of resources TMZ has, but between her and Harvey Levin, the two of them are able to squeeze the date of birth of the arrested Jim Lampley out of the SD sheriffs. It matches HBO Jim Lampley’s birthday. It looks like we’ve confirmed it’s the same guy.
Huh? A network news affiliate checks with a gossip site flack first? Yup! Like the Underwriters Lab or the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, the TMZ “thumbs-up” is a sign consumers know and trust for good gossip.
FBLA ceases to wonder what Murrow, Paley, et al would think.