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Burkle vs. Murdoch

Newsweek thinks there is a reason other than money for Ron Burkle’s interest in buying Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal…revenge:

In addition to his quest to publish a newspaper, Burkle may have at least one other reason for plunging into a possible bidding war for Dow Jones: to prevent the Journal from falling into the hands of an alleged nemesis, Murdoch.

In the spring of 2006, Burkle emerged as a central figure in a scandal that exploded at one of Murdoch’s most recognizable media franchises: the Page Six gossip column of the New York Post. The incident cast a harsh spotlight on the symbiotic world of celebrity gossip, where quid pro quos apparently are the coin of the realm among gossip columnists, tipsters and the targeted celebrities. Dubbed “Payola Six” by the media site Gawker, the scandal stemmed from allegations that former Page Six contributor Jared Paul Stern sought to extort Burkle, demanding that he make payments to the writer to avoid negative gossip about him from appearing in the tabloid. Stern was allegedly captured in a secret videotape recording asking for an upfront $100,000 payment and a $10,000 monthly stipend. Stern denied the accusations, but was fired by The Post. The sordid affair had begun in 2005, when Burkle began turning up with regularity on Page Six in situations that he damned as inaccurate and negative. Burkle reportedly wrote to Murdoch complaining bitterly, but the items continued.

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