Poor Jared Paul Stern. A smart, on-top-of-it gossip journalist who, according to all the news accounts, has voluntarily and stupidly fried himself by recently trying to solicit $220,000 from billionaire Ron Burkle in return for a year’s “protection” against “inaccurate and unflattering items” about him in the New York Post‘s “Page Six” gossip column. Walked right into it…putz. And out of this comes a report that Harvey Weinstein , the co-chief of the Weinstein Co., has “finessed” his dealing with “Page Six” in the past. A 4.7 New York Times story is asserting that “while the accusations against Mr. Stern [are] serious, it’s the specter — raised by at least three people who said they knew what was on the tapes — that Mr. Stern [has] implicated several celebrities and New York power figures in an undisclosed, symbiotic relationship with ‘Page Six’ that prompted an extraordinary day of full-throated and at times gleeful gossip among those who love, hate and avidly read it. Those who said they know what is on the tape said Mr. Stern named Harvey Weinstein, the co-founder of Miramax films, and Ronald O. Perelman, the chairman of Revlon Inc., as among those who had finessed their coverage on the page. Through a spokesman, Mr. Weinstein flatly denied any improper relationship with the page and its main editor, Richard Johnson.” And Deadline Hollywood‘s Nikki Finke is disputing, based on recent research, whether Harvey’s statement to the Times was entirely candid.