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…
We were rather hoping that motherhood would give us a year or two off from the interminable circus of Cheryl Cole’s love life, but no. Here we are again. Like clockwork. Another will-they-won’t-they split story on the cards. So what’s her deal this time? It depends who you ask…
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?
Michael Wolff’s explosive new book on the Trump White House, Fire And Fury, has been making headlines for its rip-roaring details. But as we learned from that David Cameron pigfucking memoir a few years ago, these things are usually sprinkled with a few tabloid tricks to make things sound extra juicy.
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.
Our story starts with American Media Inc’s oldest and most notorious title: the National Enquirer. As the industry’s most sensational scandal rag, the Enquirer is often blamed for setting the grim tone of modern celebrity reporting – but how did it become so influential? And, more importantly, how did the Enquirer’s ties to a botched Mafia hit-job in 1950s New York end up causing a tabloid boom in 1970s small-town Florida?
In the year since he was elected president, Donald Trump has suffered an absolutely astonishing amount of setbacks and scandals, yet nothing seems to have landed a critical blow. But there is one incident that might still cause the whole thing to collapse. It was barely perceptible at the time, but as soon as you start tugging at the thread, a huge story starts to unravel. One that’s been sixty years in the making and deals with one of the strangest forces in US politics today: the story of American Media, Inc.
Celebrity copy approval has become a rather hot topic this week, thanks to the fallout from Clare Balding’s PR people trying to make changes to a interview in Saga magazine. It’s a problem, to be sure – but if you’re going to try to lift the curtain on this sort of bad practice, you really ought to lift it all the way up…