TMZ left its more savory rivals in the dust yesterday, reporting Michael Jackson’s cardiac arrest and death before any other media outlet, the Chicago Tribune reports. The AOL gossip website reported Jackson’s death at 2:44 local time, less than 20 minutes after the singer expired. But many outlets were so leery of citing the paparazzi-fueled site that they instead credited the Los Angeles Times, which reported the story online at 2:51.
“That’s typical,” said TMZ’s managing editor. “No matter what they say, people know we broke the story.” CNN by contrast, didn’t report the death as outright fact until the coroner’s office confirmed it at 4:25; until then, it relied on reports from other outlets, which it could not independently verify. Coincidentally—or not—Time Warner owns both TMZ and CNN.