According to the CNNMoney Media Team, Harvey lampooned cable news ads for "drugs and death" and mocking TV reporter packages while responding to the recent New Yorker story about TMZ's practices. Talk of TMZ paying for info has been "overblown," he said. While defending his payments for photos/videos by saying "everybody" does it, and admitting he's not against paying for tips, he said "I cannot remember the last time we paid for a tip."
In fact, founder Harvey Levin told the crowd Wednesday at the Code Conference, when TMZ reported that former First Lady Nancy Reagan had died in early March, the tabloid broke the story before Reagan's own daughter even found out.
"I was at the gym on Sunday, and Patti Davis, [Reagan's] daughter came up to me and asked 'How did you get this before I found out?'" Levin recounted. "We got a tip, and it happens to be someone I know, and we started making calls."
He said that when TMZ recently broke the story of Prince's death, the news helped set a traffic record of 18 million unique visitors for the site.