With Michael Cohen headed to the Big House and Roger Stone now in cuffs, we thought it was high time we revisited our series on the National Enquirer to catch up with some of our old favourites and see how they’re all getting on. Here’s three more tales of tawdry tabloid gossip that have somehow turned into internationally significant affairs…
There’s not much that can prepare you for a Yewtree police raid so, when it happens, your best bet is to bring in the professionals. Cliff Richard hired crisis management experts to help prepare him for his first post-raid interviews in 2014 – but he appears to have forgotten some of their sensible advice in the years since. So maybe a little refresher is in order?
When things are running smoothly you may not feel that Hollywood has much of an effect on your life. But when it’s put on hold, terrible things can happen. Thirty years after the 1988 writers’ strike began – and ten years after the 2007 one ended – we unpick the peculiar and profound effect that the Writers Guild of America has inadvertently had on media, pop culture and international politics.
Now that they can’t hack phones or dress up as Arab businessmen to get the inside scoop on celebrities, unscrupulous tabloid reporters have fewer options left open to them. So when they’re not nicking their ‘exclusives’ off Twitter, how are they sourcing their big, blockbuster stories these days?
Russian interference. Piss-tape kompromat. Montenegrin fake news factories. Shadowy billionaires on both sides of the political divide trying to ignite a culture war. There’s been one hell of an elaborate backstory contrived to explain the shock result of the 2016 US election, but a look through the lens of the National Enquirer suggests that some of it may have been a little more straightforward.
The criminal underworld of New York, the closed corridors of Washington, the magazine industry of Florida. They’re all very interesting – no question about that – but these aren’t regular people we’ve been talking about here. For the National Enquirer to cut any sway with millions of average American Joes, things would have to change. They’d have to go corporate. Which is where American Media, Inc. comes into play.
While mob boss Frank Costello gave the National Enquirer a connection to the less-reputable elements of society, in order to become a truly powerful publication it would need someone to introduce the Enquirer to the established corridors of power. Someone with the ear of a senator, an attorney general, a president. Which is exactly what it had in the rather lumpy shape of Roy Cohn.
Since the Harvey Weinstein story broke, dozens of people have stepped up to denounce his behaviour. While it’s undeniably good to hear so many voices united against sexual assault, it’s important to make sure that we don’t wave through everyone that’s lining up to speak out – especially when our own industry is not without its problems…
We’ve never underestimated the power that celebrity and pop culture holds over us, but now that the delicate egos of the A-List are working their way into the actual corridors of power, the media is about to experience an unprecedented assault on its freedom – and from every possible direction.
Few expected Gawker to win its case against Hulk Hogan at the start of 2016 after they published clips from his sex tape, but nobody expected them to get obliterated. Gawker’s bankruptcy started a worrisome chain reaction for press freedom in the States – one which now goes right the way to the top…