Earlier this week, President Donald Trump became embroiled in a scandal that revealed his close friendship with the owner of the National Enquirer, David J. Pecker. That man’s company, American Media, publishes a number of supermarket tabloids like the National Enquirer, Globe, Star, and the Weekly World News, which regularly print stories on human-bat hybrids, alien abductions, and ghosts.
Donald Trump’s ties to Pecker came to light this week when MSNBC show hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski claimed that White House officials had attempted to blackmail the two into apologizing for an earlier comment about Trump by threatening to publish negative stories about them in the National Enquirer.
Trump only furthered this claim when he tweeted today that Scarborough called Trump to stop the publication of a National Enquirer article about him, implying that Trump has influence over what gets published by the company.
The relationship between Trump and Pecker was further detailed this week via a New Yorker interview with Pecker. In the interview, the media mogul directly admitted to using his company to support Trump and attack his enemies. He even claimed that any attack on Trump was an attack on his company because of how close the two are.
Pecker’s colleagues interviewed for the article state that he told them he had deliberately killed stories that painted Trump in a bad light, though he denies these allegations.
It has also been widely reported that Pecker paid a former Playboy model $150,000 to not publish an article wherein she alleged she had had a romantic relationship with Donald Trump during his marriage to Melania.
Trump’s relationship with a man who produces what can easily be described as “fake news” can seem hypocritical given his penchant for accusing media organizations of being “fake news,” but in today’s media cycle it’s easy to forget that the phrase originated to describe mainly pro-Trump coverage on the Internet.
Indeed, the phrase became widespread in late 2016 to describe wildly inaccurate online reports during the presidential election that heavily leaned pro-Trump and anti-Hillary.
In any event, Trump and his camp immediately appropriated the phrase following their win and began to use the term to describe news organizations that paint him in an unfavorable light in their reporting. Now, if Scarborough’s allegations are true, he appears to be using actual fake news to bully pundits into getting what he wants.
Next, check out how Trump’s actions have even drawn criticism from North Korea’s Kim Jung Un. Then, read about the history of political movements with this gallery that shows the militant history of the women’s suffrage movement.