So some total dickhead gossip columnist tried to extort a multibillionaire in exchange for keeping his name out of the rags. Wev. But I’m curious about the coverage of the victim’s political affiliations. CNN notes:

Burkle, one of the world's richest men, has an estimated personal wealth of more than $2 billion. He has given millions of dollars to political causes, including more than $200,000 to Republican California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his campaigns.
Sounds like a Republican.

On the other hand, the New York Daily News says:

He is a major Democratic Party fund-raiser and is a senior adviser to former President Bill Clinton. Sean (Diddy) Combs, Leonardo DiCaprio, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Hillary and Bill Clinton, former Calif. Gov. Gray Davis, former Vice President Al Gore and Bundchen are just a few of his acquaintances.
Sounds like a Democrat. (Can he really be pals with both Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger? That’s fun.)

None of which really matters, except that Page Six, for whom the extortionist worked, published several stories about Burkle that simply weren’t true.

Burkle had insisted to Page Six staffers and editors that the items were not true. Among the other false items is a Jan. 1 report that Burkle flew Tobey Maguire, girlfriend Jen Meyer and blonde actress Sarah Foster in his private jet to Aspen, Colo., where they "vacationed at Burkle's mansion."

Burkle does not own a mansion in Aspen, did not fly his private jet to Aspen, and didn't vacation with Foster, Maguire or Meyer.
Burkle sent a personal letter directly to the chairman of News Corp., which owns The Post (and Page Six)—Rupert Murdoch, who never replied. And I think we all know where on the spectrum Mr. “Fox” Murdoch’s ideological inclinations fall. Which might just sound like tinfoil hattery until you go back to CNN:

Burkle in February joined forces with union workers at nine Knight Ridder Inc. newspapers in an effort to buy the group. His company, Los Angeles-based The Yucaipa Cos. LLC, teamed with the Newspaper Guild-Communications Workers of America, which had been looking for investors to help with the acquisition.
Hmm. A billionaire Democratic supporter who was getting involved with Murdoch’s competition.

Of course The Post is saying that the extortionist, Jared Paul Stern, was operating on his own and has suspended him. And maybe he was—although part of what he said (captured on tape by the Feds) that Burkle needed to do to keep his name out of the papers was hire his editor’s fiancée. Even if he was acting on his own, he was only able to go after Burkle because Burkle was being repeatedly attacked in the paper, and whose agenda was fueling that scenario is what interests me. It sounds like Murdoch was using part of his media empire to settle a political score—which isn’t illegal, but it’s not ethical, either. Gee, where have I heard that before…?

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