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Winchell_photo.tif.jpgGossip columnist Liz Smith wonders in The New York Times today whether it’s still possible for a “professional gossip columnist” to have a distinctive voice now that bloggers are in the business.
Gone are the days when a single powerful columnist could make or break a career, she laments. At the height of Walter Winchell’s (left) influence in the late 1930’s and 1940’s, his column was syndicated in more than 2,000 newspapers; Ms. Smith is syndicated in 70 newspapers.
The Internet and blogs have returned gossip to its earliest human roots – the kind of gossip that the priests told you was a venal sin,” said Ann Gerhart of The Washington Post.(Register or use BugMeNot) “You can make it up. You can speculate wildly. You can accuse people of the most taboo practices, all in this sort of merry way.”
Ms. Smith said that the blogs left her cold. She says she reads six newspapers a day, but not the blogs. “I only have a few years left to live, and I don’t have time for them,” she said. “Besides, I don’t believe them.” Badda bing.