In 2013, TMZ founder Harvey Levin appeared as a co-host on Kris, the ill-fated daytime talk show hosted by Kris Jenner, matriarch and founder of the Kardashian empire. \u201cI think people have this preconceived notion that we don\u2019t get along,\u201d Jenner said as a manner of introducing Levin, who went onto explain that the two have been \u201cold friends\u201d since 1994, when he was working as a TV reporter in Los Angeles. Jenner, Levin said, \u201chad her tentacles, as she does, in everything,\u201d but especially, at that time, in the O.J. Simpson trial on which Levin was reporting. (Jenner was close with Nicole Brown Simpson.) \u201cI lasered in,\u201d Levin said with a nervous giggle, to which Jenner replied flatly, \u201cYeah, you did.\u201d The two have\u00a0gone on to enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship, with Levin's website helping give rise to the family, and the family providing an ample amount of material for the website, including suspiciously well-sourced exclusives, creating an unceasing feedback loop that has helped make each enormously rich and famous. It is with this relationship in mind that we will attempt to untangle the mess of news regarding\u00a0the apparent cheating scandal involving the at the time very pregnant Khloe Kardashian and her basketball playing boyfriend Tristan Thompson\u2014news that has blanketed gossip websites for days, and gives us a unique peek at how America\u2019s real first family attempts to judiciously control\u00a0its\u00a0narrative, and what happens when\u00a0it appears to briefly let that control slip. It all began on Tuesday, April 10, when the Daily Mail acquired amateur video of Thompson and a then-unidentified woman kissing each other at a party in New York this past Sunday, April 8. Shortly after the Daily Mail\u2019s article, photos appeared online of Thompson and the same woman outside the Four Seasons in Manhattan, where he was staying with his team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, who were in town for a game against the Knicks. Those photos did not appear on TMZ, but a short time later the gossip behemoth wrested control of the news cycle with even juicier footage, posting video from last October taken by a security camera inside a hookah lounge in Washington, D.C. The video shows Thompson hanging out with three women, two of whom eventually engage in mutual groping with the basketball star. A mere nine minutes after publishing that six-month-old hookah lounge footage, TMZ also published the first video of Thompson and the woman\u00a0walking in and out of the Four Seasons this past Sunday. (She was later identified as an Instagram person named Lani Blair; Blair does not appear to be one of the two women Thompson fooled around with in D.C.) That these two incidents took place almost seven months apart but were publicized by TMZ on the same day, only nine minutes apart, is almost certainly not a coincidence. Levin and Jenner are old pals, and Jenner\u00a0is notorious for having complete command of her family's gossip. When it comes to Kardashian family secrets,\u00a0\u201cKris Jenner doesn\u2019t care that you know everything,\u201d Taffy Brodesser-Akner\u00a0wrote\u00a0in a 2015 New York Times Magazine profile of Jenner. \u201cKris only cares that you heard them when and where she decided you should.\u201d Gossip publications have long been known to obtain incriminating material on the people they cover, only to hold it until it can be best used to the publication's advantage. In many cases, they don't ever publish the material, a method known as "catch and kill," a practice that has become more public in the wake of Donald Trump's (alleged) encounters with various women who were not his wife. TMZ, for instance, held a video of Justin Bieber using the N-word for at least four years, reportedly as a manner of forcing Bieber to cooperate with their reporting and appear in their videos. Under\u00a0that logic, it\u2019s possible, if not likely, that TMZ had the hookah lounge footage of Thompson more or less immediately after it happened. (TMZ is, of course, the place one\u00a0would go to sell such a video.) Security camera footage is typically wiped from hard drives after a short period of time, but this video obviously made its way outside of the lounge.\u00a0That it wasn't published until this week suggests that TMZ\u00a0might have been waiting for something. Thompson\u2019s public dalliance in New York provided\u00a0an opening, even if TMZ, and perhaps the Kardashians themselves, were caught flat-footed. The Four Seasons video published by TMZ was not actually taken by TMZ. Instead, it, and the still photos previously published by other outlets, were shot by Splash News, an agency that provides paparazzi footage of celebrities to whichever publications are willing to pay for it, either \u00e0 la carte or by\u00a0subscription. Splash News appears to have first provided the photos of Thompson and Blair outside the Four Seasons to the popular Instagram gossip account the Shade Room, which posted them as an "exclusive," in two separate posts\u00a0on Tuesday. From there, the story was picked up by other publications, with TMZ once again managing to regain a handle on the news cycle by posting the full video footage, which it presumably purchased from Splash. \/\/www.dailymotion.com\/embed\/video\/x481len This process would seem fairly cut and dry\u2014TMZ\u00a0reigning in the news cycle, perhaps with the guiding hand of Kris Jenner\u2014if it weren\u2019t for an Instagram post by Khloe from Monday, which shows her and Thompson, shot by a professional photographer, kissing each other as he holds her pregnant belly. "We are ready whenever you are little mama," reads the caption. The Kardashians, like almost all very famous people, take great care in how they present their relationships to the public. Though their empire is based in part on a constant flow of relationship drama (triggered by a parade of cheating men), Khloe\u2014and by extension the family\u2014seemed to be making a pretty clear statement about the status of her relationship with Thompson. The revelations of Thompson\u2019s cheating make that presentation look, at best, confusing, and, at worst, farcical\u2014an unusual hiccup for a family that has burnished its image into a nine-digit fortune. Given Jenner\u2019s relationship with Levin, it\u2019s more than\u00a0possible that at least some of the Kardashians have known about the video of Thompson canoodling in the hookah lounge for some time. What they might not have anticipated was Thompson being so flagrantly open about\u00a0his romancing of other women\u00a0that the paparazzi (Splash News) and media (Daily Mail, the Shade Room) were able to break the story before Khloe and her family could get ahead of it. (It is also possible that Jenner and the family knew about all of it, and Khloe decided to post photos of Thompson anyway, for whatever reason.) Regardless, TMZ was there to help right the universe. The immediate publication of the hookah bar video helps hammer home the characterization of Thompson as someone willing to cheat on his pregnant girlfriend on multiple occasions. There are now enough potential storylines to fill an entire season of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. TMZ is getting something out of it, too: an IV drip of hour-by-hour news updates. On Tuesday\u00a0afternoon, the site reported that Khloe\u2014who's been staying in Cleveland, where Thompson lives\u2014was having early contractions as she waited to give birth to their child; on Wednesday, it broke the news\u00a0that Thompson would be "allowed in the delivery room."\u00a0TMZ's six most popular articles as of this writing are about Khloe and Tristan. Of course, that was all merely a prelude to the news of the baby's actual birth. Back in February, when the Kardashian family last had a closely-watched birth to herald, Kylie Jenner\u00a0announced the arrival of her daughter on Instagram, and then with a YouTube video, which was picked up dutifully by the major gossip sites, including TMZ. But this time around there was no note to fans or home video footage; instead there was TMZ. "Khloe delivered a baby girl early Thursday morning -- around 4 AM EDT -- at a hospital outside Cleveland," the site exclusively reported, attributing its scoop on one of the year's biggest celebrity pregnancies to "our Kardashian sources."