Tag: national enquirer
On Trial For Campaign Crimes, Trump Is Drenched In Tabloid Sewage

On Trial For Campaign Crimes, Trump Is Drenched In Tabloid Sewage

Back in the antediluvian era of American politics, perpetrating dirty tricks was considered proof of bad character and potentially disqualifying for public office, depending on circumstances.

But as with so many other aspects of public life, the rise of former President Donald Trump heralded a steep decline in political ethics and the way that campaigns are run. And now, after nearly a decade of Trump-style politics, the sleazy conduct exposed in sworn testimony at his New York trial is dismissed with a shrug — especially by Republicans who ask nothing better of their leaders.

Leave aside for a moment the dubious practice of paying off women — an adult movie star and a former Playboy model — to ensure their silence about illicit trysts with Melania Trump's husband. (Having promised a spot on his Celebrity Apprentice TV show to porn actress Stormy Daniels, Donald Trump seems to have been paying at both ends.) Evangelical Christians who used to proclaim their indignation about licentious sexuality have discredited themselves thoroughly, which should not surprise anyone who has observed their antics over the past few decades.

What Trump did to silence Daniels and Karen McDougal was unsavory, and his effort to conceal it was probably illegal, but the truly dirty conspiracy involved the smearing of his political opponents.

According to the testimony of David Pecker, his friend and coconspirator who ran the National Enquirer tabloid, Trump and his henchman attorney Michael Cohen promoted the publication of scurrilous lies about his rivals on its front page.

At the same moment that Trump bestowed the nickname "Lyin' Ted" on Ted Cruz, his final opponent for the 2016 Republican nomination, he and his crew were overseeing the publication of outrageous lies about the Texas senator. In spring 2016, the Enquirer featured an absurd story, complete with a doctored photo, claiming that Cruz's father Rafael, an ordained minister, had been consorting with Lee Harvey Oswald just before Oswald assassinated President John F. Kennedy.

Insane as that accusation was, Trump used it to distract Republican voters from criticism of him by Cruz. On Fox News, he declared that "Cruz's father, you know, was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald's, you know, being shot. ... What was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald, shortly before the death? Before the shooting? It's horrible." What's horrible, of course, is that Trump knew he was spouting an invented story, because it had been invented to benefit him.

The Enquirer went on to publish more fabricated tales about Cruz, including a claim that he had engaged in at least five extramarital affairs — again, while the tabloid was covering up Trump's actual and lengthy history of adultery.

After Cruz had been dispatched, and then prostrated himself cravenly to endorse Trump, the Enquirer moved on to smearing Hillary Clinton, a hobby pursued by the disgusting Pecker with gusto for years before Trump entered politics.

"The desperate and deteriorating 67-year-old won't make it to the White House — because she'll be dead in six months," the paper blared, insisting that the Democratic nominee suffered from brain cancer, strokes, alcoholism, multiple sclerosis and various forms of mental illness, all somehow concealed from the public and press. None of those mythical ailments actually afflicted the former secretary of state, who is still alive and well — and fighting to defeat Trump.

Much of the fake news published by the tabloid about Clinton was pitched by Steve Bannon, the Trump adviser who swindled thousands of donors to his "Build the Wall" charity — and only evaded prison thanks to a corrupt pardon. Naturally, Bannon is back and, like Trump, has endured no opprobrium for his amply proven crimes. Instead, he is a powerful influence on the far right and in Republican circles.

Back when Trump and his cronies oversaw the publication and broadcasting of all those falsehoods, he said repeatedly that he had nothing to do with the Enquirer and its raging defamations. He seemed to sense there was some shame in that kind of sick deception. But he and his attorneys no longer need to deny any of it, because on the American right, the worst kinds of deceit are accepted and even acclaimed, while their perpetrator is idolized.

And still, they will lecture the rest of us about "morality."

Reprinted with permission from Creators Syndicate

Joe Conason is founder and editor-in-chief of The National Memo.He is also editor-at-large of Type Investigations, a nonprofit investigative reporting newsroom formerly known as The Investigative Fund, and a senior fellow at Type Media Center. His forthcoming book, The Longest Con: How Grifters, Swindlers and Frauds Hijacked American Conservatism, will be published by St. Martin's Press in July.On

National Enquirer Publisher Fined For Helping Trump Campaign Hide Ex-Mistress

National Enquirer Publisher Fined For Helping Trump Campaign Hide Ex-Mistress

The publisher of the National Enquirer has been fined $187,500 by the Federal Election Commission for payments the tabloid made to hide a story about former President Donald Trump's ex-mistress. The payments were made to former Playboy model Karen McDougal, to buy and then not publish her story, in a “catch and kill" process built to benefit the Trump campaign. The New York Post, reported: “The fine was handed down on May 17, 2021, according to Common Cause, a public advocacy group that sought information on the penalties, which released information on the deal between the FEC and A360 Media on Tue...

Danziger: He’s Very Bad News

Danziger: He’s Very Bad News

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.com.

Report: Prosecutors Probing Alleged National Enquirer Blackmail

Report: Prosecutors Probing Alleged National Enquirer Blackmail

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York are reviewing the conduct of the National Enquirer and its parent company, American Media, Inc., after Amazon founder Jeff Bezos alleged Thursday that the tabloid attempted to blackmail and extort him by threatening to publish his nude selfies, according to Bloomberg News.

The Associated Press has also confirmed Bloomberg’s report.

Bezos said that a lawyer for AMI had formally demanded that he publicly denounce the suggestion that the National Enquirer’s recent coverage of his extramarital affair was driven by political motivation, perhaps because of coverage from the Washington Post, which Bezos owns, about the Trump administration or Saudi Arabia.

AMI and its CEO David Pecker have entered into a non-prosecution deal for their role in the campaign finance crimes carried out by Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former lawyer. Cohen pleaded guilty to the crimes and said in court that Trump himself had directed him to arrange criminal hush money payments.  Trump has a long history of a mutually beneficial relationship with AMI and Pecker.

It’s not clear whether AMI’s reported blackmail attempt of Bezos would violate the law, but if it did, it could nullify the non-prosecution agreement with SDNY and open up the company and Pecker to potential criminal charges.



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