Shocker: Michael Cohen Approved National Enquirer's Trump Stories With Help Of Bigfoot!
The great journalists at the National Enquirer regularly sent advance digital copies of stories about Donald Trump and his political opponents to Michael Cohen, according to a story in the Washington Post, which cited "three people with knowledge of the matter" as sources. Probably Trump was one of them, you know how he is.
WaPo notes that the "unusual practice" reflected the very special symbiotic relationship between Trump and David Pecker, the CEO of American Media, Inc., the lowbrow publisher of the Enquirer and other tabloids, plus the prestigious Us Weekly magazine.
Not surprisingly, the Enquirer's publishers deny anything of the sort ever happened, although the three sources told WaPo the magazine kept sending stuff for pre-approval even once Trump was in the White House. Probably to make sure it always had the best adjectives.
"Since Trump's become president and even before, [Pecker] openly just has been willing to turn the magazine and the cover over to the Trump machine," said one of the people with knowledge of the practice.
During the campaign, "if it was a story specifically about Trump, then it was sent over to Michael, and as long as there were no objections from him, the story could be published," this person added.
Pecker didn't have any comment on the story, but AMI's chief content officer, Dylan Howard, denied any stories went out to Team Trump in advance, and if any such thing happened, it had to be rogue employees. Besides, there was no need to get prior approval from the Great Man, because good journalism was mostly a matter of puffing up Trump anyway:
"We made a very public endorsement of Trump," he continued. "So it wouldn't be out of the ordinary for me to commission stories on his opponents given that we had endorsed Donald Trump. And that's what I did," Howard said. "I didn't do that at the behest of candidate Trump or anyone associated with him. I did it because we were chasing good stories."
And occasionally burying bad stories on Trump's behalf, as one does.
Two of the sources said Cohen would sometimes request small changes. And since the stories were already positive toward Trump, one of the sources s said, the changes simply went further in that direction, for instance, by adding "more flattering cover photos." This is where WaPo's credibility starts to break down, since it is an objective fact that there are no flattering photos of Donald Trump.
Trump suggested stories to Pecker on a regular basis, one of these people said, and had access to certain pieces — including one about Hillary Clinton's health — before publication.
WaPo doesn't specify whether Cohen insisted the photos of Clinton be modified to make her look paler and sicker, however.
The story also goes into a lot of blah-blah-blah about how if it were proven -- perhaps by subpoena in the investigation of Cohen -- that the Enquirer coordinated with Trump during the campaign, that could have constituted a campaign finance violation, but we're pretty sure Donald Trump can pardon tabloid newspapers, easy peasy. Trump had pitched story ideas about himself to Pecker (and to previous Enquirer owners) for years, so why should some little federal laws change anything?
Cheerfully dimwitted former Trump campaign adviser Sam Nunberg simply gushed about how wonderful the National Enquirer's hard-hitting puff pieces were for Trump:
The tabloid "was such a help to Trump during the primary and even the general," said Nunberg, who compared the weekly to a campaign mailer. Mailers are expensive to produce and send to prospective voters, only a small percentage of whom actually open them.
However, "If you get something on the cover of the National Enquirer," Nunberg said, "it's a publication that people pay attention to in the grocery store. You are conveying a message, and it's free media."
The sources said the paper had also communicated with Trump during the Republican primaries, and that Trump had suggested negative stories on other Republicans, including one about Ben Carson botching surgeries. Howard, the Enquirer guy, said that story had come from legal filings, which sure sounds to us like an ironclad denial that Trump could have suggested it in the first place.
In conclusion, when a sleazy real estate guy and a sleazy tabloid love each other very much, don't be surprised if they have a two-headed alien love child.
What's that now? It's your OPEN THREAD.
Wonkette is the way to keep your time in Stupid Hell amusing! Click here to help!
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.