National Enquirer

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Typical yellow pseudo-journalism.
You gotta spin it to win it
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Stop the presses!
We want pictures
of Spider-Man!
Extra! Extra!
I think there’s a very strong chance that David Pecker may end up doing time. It's looking less and less like yellow journalism and more like organized crime.
—Jerry George, former-National Enquirer bureau chief[1]

The National Enquirer is an American weekly tabloid, sold mostly at supermarket checkouts and newsstands. Unfortunately, It also has an online version and a subscription service.[2]


Its roots were in the New York Evening Enquirer, a regular newspaper founded in 1926 by William Griffin, a protégé of William Randolph Hearst. The Evening Enquirer was essentially a dumping ground for Hearst's less-successful ideas that never took root in his flagship papers, and as a result it had a fairly small circulation. In the 1930s and early 1940s, the paper became a vehicle for Griffin's isolationist sentiments and support for the fascist regimes of Germany and Italy. As a result, he was one of thirty people unsuccessfully charged with sedition in a botched 1944 trial for violating the Alien Registration Act of 1940 (a.k.a. the Smith Act) by editorializing against U.S. involvement in World War II.[3]

By 1952, circulation had fallen to 17,000 copies a week. The struggling paper was bought out that year by Generoso Pope, Jr., the son of the founder of New York's main Italian-language newspaper, Il Progresso. Pope changed the paper's name to the National Enquirer and turned it into a tabloid focused primarily on celebrity gossip and gory crime stories, an idea he claimed to have gotten from watching people's reactions to car accidents. Allegations of Mafia ties have long circulated around Pope's tenure running the Enquirer. The paper never discussed the mob in its pages, and it has been alleged, but never proven, that Mafia boss Frank Costello provided Pope with the money to purchase the Enquirer in exchange for promising to list lottery numbers and refrain from covering them.[4]

The Enquirer dropped the gore in the late 1960s in a successful bid to get carried on supermarket checkout stands, pioneering a new distribution method in the process. To compensate, it added sensationalist stories on psychics, astrology, diet woo, UFOs, and related topics. Pope also moved the paper to the town of Lantana, Florida in 1971, where, from then until his death in 1988, he and the Enquirer sponsored the world's largest Christmas tree each year. In 1979, the Enquirer's parent company launched the Weekly World News for the pseudoscience and woo, and changed the Enquirer's focus to mainly celebrity gossip.

The Enquirer was forced to meet better standards when comedienne Carol Burnett sued them over an article which accused her of flamboyant and drunken behavior.[5][6]

Pecker: a real dick

Until 2023, the publisher of the Enquirer was A360media,Wikipedia previously known as American Media Inc. (AMI), which also owns several other gossip tabloids like the Sun, the Star, the National Examiner, and the Globe. David J. Pecker (1951–), the chairman and CEO of AMI until 2020,[7] is a longtime personal friend of Donald Trump, which heavily affected how the Enquirer covered him during his Presidential campaign and later Presidency; see below for more on that.

The extortion and "catch and kill" techniques that the Enquirer practiced under the leadership of David Pecker thoroughly disgusted an anonymous hedge fund manager who controlled a significant portion of AMI,[8] which alone[9] tells one just how immoral the Enquirer is. Due to this, AMI was forced to put the National Enquirer up for sale in 2019.[10] After several years on the market, the National Enquirer was finally sold to the digital media company VVIP Ventures in February 2023.[11]


The National Enquirer is Not A Reliable Source, i.e. it is fake news unless an accidental truth slips in now and then. Keep this in mind when you run across somebody citing the Enquirer as a source, as Mary Stewart Relfe, Stanley Burroughs, and Conservapediaimg have.


The National Enquirer was infamous for its ads over the years, which for some were the main attraction of the paper.[citation needed] These included ads selling "Space Brothers" medallions, which would supposedly cause space aliens to pluck the wearer off the Earth in their UFOs in the event of nuclear war; a mail-order evangelist calling himself "Rev. Dr. John" who would pray powerful prayers for you to be blessed with a new car or bundles of money magically appearing in the mail if you sent him a small donation; vials of magic water from some place where the Virgin Mary had been spotted; and lunatic fringe self-help books like Scott Reed's The Miracle of Psycho-Command Power, in which you could learn to hypnotise lovers and draw them to you with your magic gaze.

2016 election[edit]

The National Enquirer not only likes Trump, but it knows Trump will win.

During the 2016 election, the National Enquirer was all over Donald Trump, to the point of endorsement. This was not just a happy accident in finding a one-man bullshit fake news factory in Trump: no, the CEOs of the Enquirer's parent company (American Media, Inc.Wikipedia) at the time, David J. Pecker, is a personal friend of Trump.[12]

The Enquirer published false stories about other candidates,[13] from Ted Cruz's dad's connections with Lee Harvey Oswald for the JFK assassination (a fake story supported by doctored photos)[14][15] to even Hillary Clinton's connections in Pizzagate. One thing they wouldn't publish, however, was a story from former Playboy model Karen McDougal about her affair with Trump; they paid $150,000 for the story only to bury it and silence her, a practice known as "catch and kill".[16][17]

According to three separate sources, Trump's lawyer/fixer/consigliere, Michael Cohen,[18] was sent advance digital copies of all stories and images related to Trump's 2016 presidential campaign as well as stories related to his political opponents.[19] The pro-Trump dominance of the Enquirer during the election, as well as the catch and kill of the McDougal story, were extremely valuable to the campaign, to the point that it functioned as a weekly campaign mailer — but far more effective — that the campaign did not pay for.[19] The consequence of these shenanigans is that Cohen had his law offices raided by the FBI on April 8, 2018 under a warrant that sought, among other things, all of his records pertaining to AMI, Pecker, and AMI's chief content officer Dylan Howard.[19] Cohen plead guilty of 8 counts of bank fraud, tax fraud, and illegal campaign contributions in August 2018, and has voluntarily agreed offer his cooperation with the FBI.[20]

Perhaps as a result of the fact that the investigation into Trump was starting to look into the Enquirer, the tabloid has notably sharply reduced its Trump coverage in recent months, last putting Trump on the cover in May 2018.[21]

Pecker essentially turned the Enquirer into "a research arm of the Trump campaign", and the documents under which Cohen was criminally charged incicate that Pecker and American Media were "deeply and deliberately involved in the effort to help the Trump campaign", likely violation of campaign finance law.[22] In August 2018, Pecker was granted immunity from prosecution and began cooperating with federal prosecutors.[23]

Its "chief political commentator and correspondent" has been Dick Morris since 2013.[24]

In September 2018, American Media Inc. signed a non-prosecution agreement with the US Southern District of New York in return for cooperating with prosecutors and for admitting to making a $150,000 payment to prevent McDougal's claims from being made public.[25][26]

Unethical journalism[edit]

As Pecker testified in Donald Trump's 2024 hush money trial,Wikipedia Trump wasn't the only person whom Pecker manipulated or suppressed stories for. In 2003, Pecker made an arrangement with Arnold Schwarzenegger to not publish any negative stories during his governor campaign. According to Pecker's testimony, between 30 to 40 women approached his company about alleged sexual relationships with or harassment by the actor; Pecker spent "hundreds of thousands of dollars" to suppress the stories.[27][28] Pecker also testified how he buried compromising stories on actor Mark Wahlburg,Wikipedia and used a compromising photograph on golfer Tiger WoodsWikipedia as leverage to get Woods to sit down for an interview.[27] In a report for the New York Times, journalist Lachlan Cartwright also reported that the Enquirer tried to to "catch and kill" negative stories on Harvey Weinstein's sexual assaults.[29]

Pecker also freely admitted that the Enquirer regularly engaged in the practice of chequebook journalism,Wikipedia where news reporters paid sources for their information. This is considered a flagrant violation of journalism ethics.[14]


Pecker exposing Bezos exposing pecker[30]

In 2019, the National Enquirer was accused of attempted "extortion and blackmail" by Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon and The Washington Post,[31] Following the accusation, journalist Ronan Farrow also reported that the National Enquirer had attempted to blackmail him unless he ceased investigative reporting about the Enquirer and Trump.[32] Bezos' own investigation of the Enquirer indicated that many others had been victims of such blackmail attempts.[31][32] Federal prosecutors are currently reviewing the National Enquirer's behaviour for criminal activity and for whether it violated the terms of the 2018 non-prosecution agreement.[33]

Saudi Arabia[edit]

AMI is Saudi Arabia and Mohammad bin Salman's (MBS) lickspittle and possibly also their illegal lobbyist. In 2018, AMI published 200,000 copies of a thick glossy magazine touting MBS and Saudi Arabia for sale in the US at $13.99 a pop without advertisements.[34] If it turns out to be true that Saudi Arabia either directed or paid for the publication, AMI could be guilty of violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act; suspiciously, Saudi Arabia was reportedly shown an advance copy three weeks before publication.[34][35]


Pine for the good old days of the Enquirer when it was more about Elvis...

The National Enquirer was once considered one of the go-to sources for tabloid gossip bullshit. As lots of people actually like salacious tabloid gossip (even if untrue), in its heyday, the paper sold really well. Circulation was often in the millions.[7] An issue with Elvis Presley in his coffin shortly after he died, for instance, sold 6.9 million copies.[36]

Like the vast majority of tabloids (and newspapers as a whole), the National Enquirer navigated the transformation from print to digital poorly. The Enquirer was first undermined by celebrity gossip websites like TMZ,Wikipedia and then later by the celebrities themselves, who created plenty of celebrity drama on their own via social media.[37][7] During the last six months of 2023, sales of the National Enquirer averaged at just under 56,500.[36]

As the market for celebrity gossip is way different than the market for politics, many former Enquirer employees feel that David Pecker's complete embrace of Donald Trump, and his half-transformation of the Enquirer from a celebrity gossip rag to a wingnut political one, also helped drive the magazine even further into the ground.[7]

As a result of all of the above, the future of the Enquirer looks increasingly uncertain. And when it dies, nothing of value will be lost.

See also[edit]


  1. Former National Enquirer editor: David Pecker 'may end up doing time' by Rachel Frazin (02/09/19 10:58 AM EST) The Hill.
  2. National Enquirer,
  3. Richard W. Steele, Free Speech in the Good War (NY: St. Martin's Press, 1999), 39-42
  4. Pope, Paul David (2010). The Deeds of My Fathers: How My Grandfather and Father Built New York and Created the Tabloid World of Today. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.. ISBN 978-1-4422-0486-7 accessdate=October 23, 2010. 
  5. Burnett v. National Enquirer Inc Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 2, California, Civ. 66447 (July 18, 1983) FindLaw.
  6. Carol Burnett given $1.6 Million in Suit Against National Enquirer by Robert Lindsey (March 27, 1981) The New York Times.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 "Whatever Happened to the National Enquirer?" by Seth Stevenson, Slate, 2020 November 16
  8. National Enquirer expected to be sold imminently as parent company faces pressure by Sarah Ellison & Marc Fisher (April 10, 2019 at 6:12 p.m. EDT) The Washington Post.
  9. Exploring the Dark Side: Are Hedge Funds Evil Entities in Finance? by Jacob Wolinsky (December 1, 2023) Hedge Fund Alpha.
  10. "National Enquirer’s parent company says it’s likely to sell the tabloid ‘in the near future’" by Christine Wang, CNBC, 2019 April 10
  11. "National Enquirer, Scandal-Plagued Tabloid, Is Sold" by Katie Robertson, New York Times, 2023 February 6
  12. Harvey Weinstein and Trump have a mutual friend: The National Enquirer by Callum Borchers (December 6, 2017) The Washington Post.
  13. Cannon, Carl (May 9, 2016). "Trump's tabloid". Retrieved May 15, 2016. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 "David Pecker testimony at Trump trial reveals the seedy underbelly of his tabloid journalism" by Alex Seitz-Wald, NBC News, 2024 April 27
  15. Bump, Philip. "The 50-year-old mystery behind that photo of Lee Harvey Oswald", Washington Post (May 3, 2016).
  16. "National Enquirer Shielded Donald Trump From Playboy Model's Affair Allegation". The Wall Street Journal. November 4, 2016. Retrieved November 5, 2016. 
  17. "National Enquirer Paid to Kill Story of Playboy Model’s Affair with Donald Trump: Report". 5 November 2016. 
  18. Michael Cohen and the Busting of the Trump Crime Family by Jonathan Chait (April 16, 2018 5:40 pm) New York Magazine.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 National Enquirer sent stories about Trump to his attorney Michael Cohen before publication, people familiar with the practice say by Sarah Ellison (June 21, 2018 at 7:19 PM) The Washington Post.
  20. Michael Cohen Pleads Guilty to Eight Counts. The Hill. August 21, 2018.
  21. "National Enquirer Boss David Pecker Tiptoes Away From His Pal Trump as Scandal Swirls and Circulation Drops" by Lachlan Markay, Asawin Suebsaeng, and Dean Sterling Jones (August 2, 2018, 11:58 PM), The Daily Beast.
  22. Trump campaign, tabloid publisher hatched plan to bury damaging stories, Cohen prosecutors allege by Sarah Ellison, Beth Reinhard & Carol D. Leonnig (August 22, 2018 at 8:30 PM) The Washington Post.
  23. David Pecker, American Media Chief, Is Said to Have Immunity in Trump Inquiry by Jim Rutenberg and Rebecca R. Ruiz (Aug. 23, 2018) The New York Times.
  24. Dick Morris Takes Aim at Hillary Clinton From a Tabloid Perch
  25. Re: American Media Inc. (September 20, 2018) U.S. Department of Justice
  26. National Enquirer publisher AMI strikes deal with prosecutors in Michael Cohen probe by Tom Kludt (Updated 5:38 PM ET, Wed December 12, 2018) CNN Business.
  27. 27.0 27.1 "At Trump’s Trial, a Window Into the Golden Era of Tabloids" by Michael Rothfeld, New York Times, 2024 April 27
  28. "Why Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 2003 tabloid deal came up at Trump’s hush-money trial" by Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times, 2024 April 26
  29. "What I Saw Working at the National Enquirer During Donald Trump's Rise" by Lachlan Cartwright, New York Times, 2024 April 3, archived on 2024 April 3
  30. The Story Behind the Instant Classic “Bezos Exposes Pecker” Headline by Eric Lach (February 8, 2019) The New Yorker.
  31. 31.0 31.1 No thank you, Mr. Pecker by Jeff Bezos (February 7, 2019) Medium.
  32. 32.0 32.1 Ronan Farrow says he also faced ‘blackmail efforts from AMI’ for reporting on the National Enquirer, Trump by Allyson Chiu & Kayla Epstein (February 8, 2019) The Washington Post.
  33. Bezos's Story Spurs U.S. Prosecutors’ Scrutiny of AMI, Sources Say by Christian Berthelsen & Jennifer Jacobs (February 8, 2019, 9:31 AM PST; Updated on February 8, 2019, 10:48 AM PST) Bloomberg.
  34. 34.0 34.1 National Enquirer's parent firm asked U.S. if it should register as foreign agent for Saudis. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who has accused AMI of blackmailing him, has questioned whether Saudi Arabia was involved, which the kingdom denies. by Josh Lederman (Feb. 11, 2019, 2:37 PM PST) NBC News.
  35. Mystery grows over pro-Saudi tabloid: Embassy got sneak peek by Josh Lederman & Jeff Horwitz (April 24, 2018) AP.
  36. 36.0 36.1 "The National Enquirer was the go-to American tabloid for many years. Donald Trump helped change that" by David Bauder, AP News, 2024 April 26
  37. "America's print tabloid era is over" by Sara Fischer, Axios, 2023 February 7