BOOKS: Ex-Hoofer Colyumnist Gets Big Biog

Walter Winchell, scourge of Reds and press agents, was the Big Brother of tabloid gossipmongers

The crime revolved around an American emblem, an epic hero whose exploits were revered by millions. As soon as jury selection began, more than 300 reporters vied for seats on the hard benches in the New Jersey courtroom; witnesses who testified were instantly transformed into national celebrities; columnists and broadcast personalities freely opined to a rapt public on everything from prosecution tactics to the guilt of the accused. The trial, writes Neal Gabler, "was a milestone in the culture. Thereafter, the media would be as much participants in an event as reporters of it, shaping and sensationalizing on a new scale...

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