After months of denial, American Media Inc and its CEO David Pecker are taking heat for some of the alleged tactics they used to protect Donald Trump during his presidential campaign.
Last week, Pecker was granted immunity to testify at the trial of Trump’s former attorney and fixer Michael Cohen.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Pecker has been cooperating with investigators since being subpoenaed as Cohen’s offices were raided.
The Washington Post reports that AMI employees have also been talking anonymously to the press, revealing more details about the secret deals and strategies the tabloid publisher employs. They include a safe where Pecker kept documents pertaining to their catch-and-kill agreements, including the one involving former Playmate model Karen McDougal.
According to one former reporter, catch and kills became prevalent when Pecker took the helm of the company in 1999, frustrating reporters who were looking for a scoop.
Taking its Trump boosting even further, AMI, at Cohen’s insistence in 2010, began to rally around the now president, hinting at a possible candidacy, noted WaPo. Readers were referred to a pro-Trump website created, in part, with Cohen help.
The National Enquirer also helped to spread Trump’s malicious inquiry into President Obama’s citizenship, printing stories that echoed Trump’s smear campaign. The tabloid would regularly print positive stories about Trump before and during his campaign, while printing negative and outright false stories about opponents, including one about Hillary Clinton that ran on the front page with the headline “Hillary: 6 Months to Live.”
Before coming to AMI, Pecker worked for prestigious publishers like Hachette Filipacchi Magazines, where he launched George and greatly increased revenue, growing the company through aggressive sales tactics, according to Forbes.
Further details about AMI’s involvement in Trump’s candidacy could explain how it manipulated both the media and voters in the run up to the election.
Facebook has long been maligned for the fake news that polluted its newsfeed and is believed to have swayed voters. AMI's withholding vital information from the public, such as hush money payments and possible crimes in connection with those payments, can be just as egregious.
It's also damaging to see the press used in such a nasty and distorted fashion.