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UNRELIABLE SOURCES: TV Honcho's Marriage-Ending Love Affair, Media Boss Serving As Covid Superspreader & Publicist Spilling Royal Family Secrets

Sep. 2 2021, Published 5:37 p.m. ET

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Everyone loves a good bit of gossip, and none more so than those of us who work in the industry. Welcome to Unreliable Sources, where you'll find the juiciest scandals, most shocking stories, and buzzy bits of info currently circulating in the halls of power throughout American culture. If you don't have anything nice to say, come sit by me...

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Which TV honcho had a marriage-ending affair with a network spin doctor?

The talk in TV land is afire about the big boss at this behemoth and his very close aide – a lucky lady who, since the on-again, off-again romance, has subsequently scurried up the corporate ladder.

Everyone is tight-lipped about the romance for fear it could deliver a serious blow to the network as the next #metoo scandal — a la Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, and Charlie Rose. (Yes, sadly, there are still as-yet-unexposed men in positions of power who have used their VIP status to get a subordinate between the sheets. Believe me, we still have them in our crosshairs.)

No flash in the pan, this clandestine romance had been going on for years before the duo both had ugly splits from their respective spouses.

At the height of the torrid tussle, one media outlet was so hot on their trail, it even commissioned reporters and photographers to tail the two lovebirds, who are both parents.

While they didn’t snag the crucial "gotcha" shot, paps learned through the course of their reporting that the pair lived in the same Manhattan building, albeit in separate apartments. Keep your friends close and your lovers closer?

Around the same time, the hunters had become the hunted, as the network’s frantic press office created accounts with all the pap agencies to search for errant images of the honcho and spin doctor, so they could buy them up.

“It appeared as though someone was scared enough to think they might have been photographed together in a compromising position,” a source whispered to Reliable Sources.

Alas, no photo ever materialized — and their names have been consigned to chitter-chatter as opposed to a page one scandal. So far.

Guess who tested positive for COVID-19 at this online news leader, the very same day staff were ordered back to the office?

[Insert guess here.]

The top boss was forced to leave after a positive test, but returned to the office the next day, proclaiming it was all a false alarm. To say his staffers were skeptical is an understatement...

It wasn’t the first time this carefree newsroom leader has treated COVID-19 with reckless abandon.

They previously went on a Mexico vacation during the height of the pandemic, only to return and infect a high-level staffer with the delta variant that is running rampant in the state where this operation is based.

We couldn’t help but wonder: How did this household name bring their COVID germs back with them, since you have to test negative prior to boarding the flight?

Pesos can buy you anything in Mexico.

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The golden rule of journalism is to never give up your source.

Someone clearly failed to inform Barry Diller's dying digital news wasteland, The Daily Beast.

As royal observers well know, Buckingham Palace has long had its own way of doing things, especially when it comes to the pesky press. In short, mum's the word.

However, renegade outcasts Meghan and Harry (who shall heretofore be referred to as "The Royals Formerly Known As The Sussexes," or TRFKATS, for short), seem to have an insatiable appetite to respond to every little itty bitty thing that is reported about them. Seriously, they cannot resist. (Methinks someone has a Google alert on themselves.)

So, now to the goods: Every time a “source” is quoted as a “friend” of Harry or Meghan, on the Beast, it’s more than likely their publicist.

Indeed, it's more than just likely. We have the receipts.

Unreliable Sources has discovered one recent instance where a spin doctor for TRFKATS proactively provided information to a reporter for The Daily Beast about drones flying over their sprawling estate.

On advice from the publicist, The Daily Beast filed a Freedom of Information request with the cops in California in order to stand up the deliberately leaked story.

While the cops responded that they would not provide any information, as it violated privacy laws, the Freedom of Information request was logged per procedure — thereby outed the reporter who outed his source as a "rep" for Harry and Markle.

The journo even cites the couple's exact address in the Freedom of Information request, which was likely given to him by the “rep” to increase the chances he’d be provided with “independent” confirmation. (I mean, the queen would not be amused.)

Later, the same reporter (Tom Sykes, sorry to reveal your shabby reporting) cited an anonymous "source" in a report for The Daily Beast for an article titled, "Fearful Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Report Multiple Drone Flybys to LAPD, Will Now Pay for Own Security."

The source — aka the publicist for the Royals Formerly Known As The Sussexes — said the couple was dealing with "unimaginable" levels of press intrusion.

Sure, flying drones over Harry and Meghan’s house is illegal under California’s paparazzi laws. No one's saying otherwise.

At the same time, though, using your publicist to seed the gossip you want to see leaked is talking out both sides of your chatty mouth.

We're sorry, Harry and bride: You can't have your flacks and hate them too.

Plus, it's an understatement to say that most members of the actual Royal Family would find this un-becoming, given their tense relationship with the press since the split of Charles and Diana.

Did you think that's all the goss we have about TRFKATS? Those two are a never-ending fount of inspiration. See, below.

Omid Scobie shot to prominence with his New York Times bestseller about the Royals Formerly Known As The Sussexes, “Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family.”

The book was the pre-eminent tell-all about the rogue and renegade royals who notoriously split from the House of Windsor in January last year.

Now in paperback, the book boasts a brand-spanking-new epilogue with never-before-told, truly scandalous details that have emerged since the first edition.

But, is it all too good to be true? Many professional gossips such as myself are questioning the credibility of the London-based writer, who also serves as Royal Editor At Large for Harper's Bazaar and is a contributor for ABC News and a regular on Good Morning America.

Prior to lining up this gaggle of gigs off the back of “Finding Freedom,” he was the Royal Editor for Us Weekly under Jann Wenner’s regime. There, he reported for the mag, among other exclusives, that the Sussexes actually got engaged in Africa (Meghan later said Harry proposed during a “cozy” night in at his Kensington Palace apartment, where the two were roasting a chicken), and he incorrectly named the designer of Meghan’s wedding dress (the former duchess ended up wearing Givenchy).

The world may have moved on from those misses, but trust, we never forget.

Indeed, it was of little surprise to hear that another serious Scobie fact is in dispute yet again: According to Scobie, a former reporter for the weekly British tabloid Heat, he "just turned 33" (at least, that is what he told The Times of London).

But official records reveal he's actually six years older — prompting the very valid question, how many other lies has he told? (Also, why would a male journalist of a certain age shave a few years off his age? Is it possible he's as vain as the pretty young things he tends to cover?)

For their part, The Royals Formerly Known As The Sussexes denied working with Scobie on his book. In fact, an actual “spokesman” insisted last year that they “did not collaborate with the authors on the book, nor were they interviewed for it.”

Lawyers for The Royals Formerly Known As The Sussexes have already got on the front foot, denying suggestions the couple had “reignited a rift” with the Queen over allegations of neglect (as reported by Scobie).

His updated paperback, widely viewed as sympathetic to Harry and Meghan and hostile to Buckingham Palace, contains the allegation by a “friend” of Meghan describing the couple’s disappointment with the Queen when she responded to their Oprah Winfrey tell-all in March.

Her Majesty publicly said at the time: “The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. Whilst some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately. Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members.”

In the new epilogue, Scobie claims that this “did not go unnoticed by the couple, who a close source said was ‘not surprised’ that full ownership was not taken.'”

He also quoted a “friend” of Meghan as saying: “Months later and little accountability has been taken. How can you move forward with that?”

Friends. They’ll always be there for you.

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Peacock, n: /ˈpēˌkäk/

To display oneself ostentatiously, most often in the hopes of securing a mate.

See also: The pastime of choice for some of the Big Men on Campus over at 30 Rock.

Fired liar ex-Nightly News anchor Brian Williams — aka The Peacock Pinocchio — has some wind beneath his wings, privately telling people he expects to rise from the ashes beyond his current bedtime story, the late-night program 11th Hour With Brian William.

While The Peacock Pinocchio is peacocking and parlaying his optimistic opinions, Political Director for NBC News, Chuck Todd, is said to be sulking in the corner.

The current moderator of Meet The Press and MTP Daily on MSNBC — who was said to be a favorite of ex-boss Deborah Turness — is “being pushed to one side,” according to an insider.

Todd is said to be "livid" at what he believes is a campaign to push him out.

What's the proof? Friends say he points to Nicole Wallace. MSNBC brass extended her hit show Deadline to two hours last year, taking over the time slot previously held by the man ex-President Trump infamously dubbed “Sleepy Eyes.” (That's Todd, if you've forgotten.)

So popular is Wallace amongst network staff and viewers alike, the former Republican campaign operative who worked on John McCain’s 2008 presidential run has even been tossed around to replace Todd on the network’s flagship Sunday morning show, Meet The Press.

"Chuck is livid at the prospect and lashing out behind the scenes,” said our source.

Peacock-a-doodle-doo.

Which New York-based "investigative" reporter spent the night drunk at his Editor’s apartment who gracefully allowed him to sleep on her couch because he was too wasted to get home?

Well, actually, this upstanding citizen ordered him to the makeshift bed because he didn’t have all of his faculties!

The only problem was the reporter had to investigate a very serious scenario the morning after: he had literally pissed the bed.

Now that’s not the type of leak any journalist or editor wants.

A former CNN producer has slammed “the most trusted name in news” as an organization that is “polluted with cliquey bureaucrats who'd rather punish someone with initiative than recognize a good story.”

Joel Labi, who worked as on-air talent at CNN’s HQ in Atlanta and later in Hong Kong on CNN International and its flagship Asia news program, took to Facebook to reminisce about the time he interviewed journalist and TV host Pino Maniaci, who spent more than two decades fighting organized crime on his local TV station in Sicily, Italy.

The backstory: Last week, it was announced Maniaci will be the feature of a forthcoming documentary titled “Vendetta: Truth, Lies and The Mafia,” a series that will also feature anti-mafia crusader Silvana Saguto, one of Italy’s most powerful judges.

Maniaci and Saguto crossed paths in 2013, when Maniaci’s investigations into corruption in the judiciary led him to accuse Saguto and others of stealing money seized from mafia-related businesses.

Saguto responded by claiming that Maniaci was a mafia mouthpiece trying to tarnish her reputation. Maniaci was charged with extortion and defamation in 2016, the same year that Saguto was charged with 39 crimes, including corruption, conspiracy, abuse of office, forgery, and embezzlement. Both claimed they were the victims of a mafia vendetta. In April this year, Maniaci was acquitted of the crime of extortion.

In any event, Labi – who is now a spin doctor for the Treasurer of Australia, The Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP — took to Facebook to shred his former employer about a “labor of love,” which he said “took months to put together.”

That was this online exposé published in 2016 after he interviewed the anti-mafia kingpin while on vacation in Sicily.

“When the piece was finally published online, I pitched it to a few of my CNN television colleagues who were keen for me to come on air to bring the story to life,” recounted Labi.

“But rather than being praised for following a lead while on holiday, and turning out what CNN Digital thought was a pretty good yarn, my narrow minded managers gave me an ‘official warning’ because they didn't like that this 'producer' was veering ever-so-slightly out of his lane.”

Then he delivered his death blow: “People ask me why I think so little of CNN these days. It's because the organization is polluted with cliquey bureaucrats who'd rather punish someone with initiative than recognize a good story. I've worked in newsrooms before and after CNN — and CNN's recent decline makes perfect sense to me.”

That's all the gossip that's fit to print, for now. Stay tuned for more from my Unreliable Sources at RadarOnline.com.

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