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There are days when I let myself feel a little better about the future of journalism.

Then I see a link like this one, about Ellen Pompeo’s toes, on TMZ.com, and I want to crawl back under the covers and not come out for awhile.

Oh sure, I get it: Questioning the anatomy of the star of “Grey’s Anatomy.” Can’t wait to find out what kind of “House” (get it?”) Hugh Laurie lives in.

It’s hard to fault a gossip site for trafficking in gossip, but something is seriously screwy when actors have to put out statements denying that they have six toes. “This is exactly how rumors start TMZ. Anything else better to report on, like the facts?” one commenter asked, who clearly has nothing better to do either, inasmuch as he/she was reading — and commenting upon — the post/photographic evidence, or lack thereof.

From an entertainment news standpoint, Harvey Levin is increasingly king of the world. And while I can’t help but grudgingly admire how he’s turned TMZ into a thriving, ridiculously influential enterprise, that concession to reality is leavened by his site’s corrosive influence on the celebrity media culture.

Oh, and for the record, I have five toes on each foot, and one more growing directly out of my skull that’s obscured by my hair. So keep the paparazzi at home.