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Paris Hilton’s Ken Doll

We hear Bob Woodward’s not the only respected journalist to have his objectivity swayed by access to the high and mighty. Sources at Us Weekly say the mag’s West Coast editor, Ken Baker, has gotten a little too close to Paris Hilton, and that his not-so-secret obsession with his number-one source is affecting his coverage.

According to insiders at the gossip glossy, the 35-year-old Baker spends a large part of his day on the phone with Paris, and insists on putting a positive spin on anything published about the heiress—much to the consternation of his boss, Janice Min. “I think this goes far beyond a crush,” confides a friend of Hilton’s. “Every time her phone rings, it’s Ken. He calls more than any other guy, even more than her boyfriends.”

We hear Bob Woodward’s not the only respected journalist to have his objectivity swayed by access to the high and mighty. Sources at Us Weekly say the mag’s West Coast editor, Ken Baker, has gotten a little too close to Paris Hilton, and that his not-so-secret obsession with his number-one source is affecting his coverage.

According to insiders at the gossip glossy, the 35-year-old Baker spends a large part of his day on the phone with Paris, and insists on putting a positive spin on anything published about the heiress—much to the consternation of his boss, Janice Min. “I think this goes far beyond a crush,” confides a friend of Hilton’s. “Every time her phone rings, it’s Ken. He calls more than any other guy, even more than her boyfriends.”

The relationship has clearly benefited Baker, who is seen as something of a wunderkind in the business for his ability to bring in celebrity exclusives. Since Paris first appeared on the national scene in 2003 with her infrared sex tape, Us Weekly has broken the lion’s share of Hilton-related scoops—her break-up with Nick Carter, her harrowing account of her hacked Sidekick ordeal, and her engagement to Paris Latsis. (The couple’s breakup, we broke. US weekly followed up a week later with the “official” story, straight from Hilton herself.)

What could the two possibly be talking about? According to a mag insider, “Paris uses Ken to plant negative items about her enemies, like Nicole Richie.” In fact, one of the memos found on Hilton’s pilfered Sidekick—“tell ken about jess trying to bone JT”—was widely deciphered as a reminder to tell Baker that Jessica Simpson was stalking the wild Timbersnake. (The phone’s address book, conveniently enough, contained Baker’s digits, too.)

Even in public, Baker has made little attempt to conceal his admiration for his prize canary: he once told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteran, “When it comes to Paris Hilton, you either love her, loathe her, or lust after her, but either way … you have to admit she’s fascinating,” and even based a character on her—the inventively named London Marriott—in his new satirical roman a clef, Hollywood Hussein.

Sadly, the feeling apparently isn’t mutual: “Paris thinks it’s funny when he calls, and will sometimes taunt and even abuse him,” says Hilton’s pal. “She brags that he’s obsessed with her and wants to fuck her.” That’s gratitude for you.

Asked about his special friendship with the hotel heiress, Baker played down his role in bringing home the Hilton bacon and denied there was any “quid pro quo” involved. “Paris has chosen to give exclusive interviews to Us on several occasions because, I would imagine, she realizes our young readership is her fan base,” he said.

“Also, Us Weekly has covered several major news events concerning Paris Hilton with aggressive journalism. For example, we were the only magazine to run a cover on her Sidekick scandal and, most recently, we broke news that Paris had ‘stolen’ Mary Kate Olsen‘s boyfriend. I’d imagine Paris would have prefered these stories weren’t given so much coverage, but as a news magazine that is our responsibility to our readers.”

Baker went on to say that the idea Paris toyed with him on the phone was a “fiction,” adding that he hadn’t interviewed her in over a month. “If you hear from her, tell her I said ‘Hi!’”

We tried to, but Hilton’s crisis manager, Elliot Mintz, did not return calls or e-mails, and her publicist, PMK’s Jack Ketsoyan, was “traveling” and could not be reached.

Previously:
When Tom Met Paris
Paris-dise Lost

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