I don't know whether to laugh or puke. Crying has nothing to do with the stink being given off by the justifications Jared Paul Stern is offering for his recent dealings with supermarket magnate Ron Burkle. For the measly sum of $100,000 up front, and a $10,000 per month retainer, he offered the California billionaire freedom from the abuse that Stern's employer, The New York Post, has been heaping on him via its "Page Six" society column.
Stern has taken refuge in the classic contemporary two-part rebuttal when one is caught with their hand in the cookie jar. Part one, claim to be framed or entrapped, and part two, justify it by saying, what does it matter? Everyone does it anyway.
For part one, he claims that it was Burkle who was continually trying to get him to use the word protection, that only selected bits of a three-hour conversation were released, the $100,000 was for a proposed investment in his clothing line, "Skull and Bones", and the $10,000 per month for work as a media consultant. Besides that, he claims to have told Mr. Burkle that he didn't need protection against lies being told him in "Page Six" stories because the column did not print them:
"If we do an item and we say, 'There's a rumour that so-and-so is doing something,' it's not inaccurate that there's a rumour of something," he said yesterday. "We report on what people are talking about." Jared Paul Stern The Globe and Mail 2006-04-12
Somehow the printing of hearsay and innuendo has become not lying about a person as long as you say somebody is saying it's gossip or a rumour. Does it matter who says it? If, for example, Mr. Stern's editor says it to Mr. Stern, and Mr. Stern then runs a story saying, rumour has it that Mr. Burkle has sexual relations with farm animals, how is that not lying?
Anybody can say anything about anybody and preface it with "I heard", or "rumour has it", but that doesn't make it true. Why print it if you don't know whether or not you can substantiate what has been claimed? The only reason could be to damage the reputation of the person in question. There is no such thing as benign gossip or innuendo, so why do these people at "Page Six" think they are an exception?