TMZ and the National Enquirer-Radar Online are having a war and mutual nervous breakdowns over Whitney Houston, her buddy Raffles van Exel, and what if anything the final police reports will show this week. It’s alleged by my sources that both tabloid outfits bought pictures from van Exel–TMZ of Whitney’s hotel room and a picture they were lied to about; the Enquirer bought the picture of Houston in her coffin.
Since I wrote all this, the two tabs have freaked out. Early in this story, TMZ insisted that no cocaine was found in Houston’s room. They had no named sources. Now they say there was cocaine, and they have no named sources. I’m told that once the folks at TMZ read in my story at Forbes.com that they’d been hoodwinked on a picture that was supposed to be Whitney’s dead body on a gurney (they didn’t know it, but it was Bobbi Kristina, covered up in a white sheet), they flipped. Apparently they were offered the coffin picture,too, but either couldn’t meet the price or were angry about having been lied to.
There is no honor among thieves. Lie down with dogs and get up with fleas. Pick an adage. The tabs are doing back flips trying to save their own “faces,” and stall until a tox report finally comes in. TMZ this morning is wild. They simply declare van Exel no longer a suspect in something that’s never been confirmed or denied by anyone with a name. They are desperate. On the comments page below this morning’s story, all sorts of people are writing in contray reports. It’s funny enough to watch the comments roll in.
But it’s not funny about what’s happened here. Since Whitney died, her sister in law, brother and daughter have given an interview to Oprah. Her mother has given an odd interview to local Channel 9 in New Jersey that’s running tomorrow night. Cissy Houston says she doesn’t blame herself for Whitney’s death. Pat Houston says “the writing was on the wall” but told Oprah that it wasn’t drugs that killed Houston. Then the coroner came back and said Whitney was a chronic drug abuser. Is everyone just in denial? Are they dense?
But back to TMZ: you simply cannot declare something true or untrue with unnamed sources because you feel like it. There’s more to come about Whitney, van Exel, and the whole story. Read my posts both here and on Forbes.com. None of this is over, not by a long shot.