The battle between celebrity media and California has been a winking-frenemy-like affair since ancient times. But suddenly the gloves are off and the state seems hell bent on taking a sledgehammer to the skull of the Hollywood Press.

And although its easy to sneer at the tabloid/celeb press as an acceptable target for the wrath of anyone, the fact is they are the last thriving arm of media in California, and through their dark corridors may lie the path to media's salvation.

The first major salvo came with that news that the LA Country Sheriff's Department, as part of their investigation into leaks around Mel Gibson's drunk driving arrest, had obtained the phone records of TMZ kingpin Harvey Levin.

Fighting back, Levin declared of the news while speaking to an audience in LA, "It breaks federal law, it breaks state law. "This is like Chinatown. It's disgusting they would do something like this. How do you protect sources? It goes to the core of freedom of the press."

That little completely obscene invasion of privacy is but one front in the war, however. As reported last week here on Defamer, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has all but shackled the paparazzi by passing limiting the ability of paparazzi to stalk at will across the state. The new law outlaws photographing celebrities involved in "personal or familial activity."

Celebrity journalists — the last minority in America acceptable to persecute.