Not only will we not be able to see Sasha Baron Cohen's "interview" with Latoya Jackson in Bruno, and not only will we never find out what "stage move" he was feverishly creating "to succeed his famous 'moonwalk,'" (crueler Awl staffers than I suggest "the Demerol flop"), there are other, sadder concerns. Like, when will America learn to respect TMZ?
A reader writes!
You know what's funny is how everyone was all like "oh it's TMZ so we don't believe it." But TMZ broke it and had the story right from the get-go, while LA Times had it wrong initially and no one faults them. If TMZ said "coma, not dead" everyone would get all mad and be like "they suck." Instead, everyone's all like "oh see the LA Times says it's true so he is really dead!"
Well, I don't agree that the LA Times had it "wrong." They had what they could confirm. (By that logic, everyone else was at that time much wronger!) But otherwise: quite so! Here are some screenshots of the news as it slowly-actually, very quickly, really!-evolved yesterday evening (or afternoon, if you were on west coast time: all times below are EST).
As of 6:19 p.m., Drudge was still hedging, going with "REPORT." While updating the top left with "LA TIMES: MICHAEL JACKSON IN A COMA…."
An LA Times story today says that this headline was already up at 5:51 pm, but that is not what we saw looking at their website. (Nor is it obviously what Drudge saw.) As late as 6:20, we were still seeing something like "Michael Jackson rushed to hospital/in a coma," on front and inside pages. (It should be noted that their servers were getting hammered (as were Twitter and AOL's servers!), and so things pushed through may not have appeared immediately online. Clarifications welcome!)
At 6:26 p.m., CNN, citing the LA Times, pronounced Michael Jackson dead.
In any event, at 6:33 p.m., the New York Times was fronting this. Which: ouch.
At 9:23 p.m., the television critic of the LA Times was perhaps the first person at a non-blog publication to write this true fact: "Folks at CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and other outlets refused to acknowledge that it was TMZ that first reported the superstar's death because, presumably, TMZ is a gossip website and that's just tacky."
(Disclosure: I have tried to stick to observable facts above, as I have a life-long favorable bias towards the LA Times, in part because it was my hometown paper growing up and in part because they pay me to contribute to the paper, unlike everyone else in this world.)