The United States Of American Media, Inc. II: Back On The Radar

Ever since it became engulfed in hush money scandals and attempted blackmail plots, the National Enquirer has caused no end of problems for its parent company American Media, Inc. But now it looks as though the embattled AMI is going to have to fight on another front too. Why? Because the mysterious death of a rather notorious criminal has got people sniffing around his financial history. And that might bring AMI a whole new world of trouble…

Two years ago, we wrote a four-part series on the history of the National Enquirer and the weird inner workings of its parent company, American Media, Inc.

Since then, a number of the key players in that story have found themselves getting scooped up by the FBI:

– Michael Cohen is currently getting his three square meals at the Otisville Federal Correctional Facility because of the hush money scam he ran through AMI to keep tales of Donald Trump’s affair with a Playboy Playmate quiet.

– CEO and Chairman David Pecker had to cut himself an immunity deal with the Feds to ensure his freedom if he spilled the beans about his company’s “catch-and-kill” practices.

– The Enquirer’s Editor-In-Chief, Dylan Howard, put his own immunity deal in jeopardy by trying to blackmail the world’s richest man while his other federal crimes were being investigated.

– And Roger Stone, a man who had used AMI’s stable of magazines to further both his and Donald Trump’s political careers for the best part of 25 years, is currently awaiting trial.

After spending so many years trading in the scandals of others, the National Enquirer has become so toxic that American Media, Inc. has since decided to put it up for sale. But if AMI thinks that being shot of the Enquirer is going to draw a line under all their woes, those thoughts may be a little premature.

Owing to a shocking, unexpected story that’s been in the news this month, the time feels right for us to look at another arm of the American Media, Inc. empire. This time, we’re going to turn our attention to one of the company’s online-only titles: Radar.

And although we’re going to try to write this story in such a way that you won’t need to have read our previous series on the Enquirer to make sense of it, we recommend that you do because the parallels between the two tales are pretty astonishing.

Like the Enquirer, Radar was initially created as a standalone publication – the brainchild of a well-regarded editor who had to rely on the largesse of some rather sketchy benefactors in order to bankroll his passion project.

Like the Enquirer, one of those early benefactors was a rich bully who specifically wanted a stake in the media industry to help steer the press away from stories of his own bad behaviour.

And like the Enquirer, the other early benefactor was a high-society power player, a man who managed to lie, cheat and extort his way into the topmost corridors of power, schmooze his way out of some serious criminal charges, before everything came crashing down in ignominy and disgrace just weeks before his death.

In fact, the only real difference between the two stories is that the primary characters involved in the history of Radar aren’t obscure Mafia-men from the 1950s, or long dead New York lawyers. They’re men whose names you’ll already know.

They’re Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein.

It’s a long and detailed story we’ve got here, one that covers huge swathes of the 21st century so far. So, in order to keep things neat and tidy, we’re going to break it up into chunks and explain it bit by bit.

Part I/ Talk Of The Town

When a huge wave of allegations against Harvey Weinstein hit the headlines in 2017, reports quickly followed about the secret network of journalists and editors he had working for him in the shadows, helping to suppress negative stories. How did Harvey go about getting his gruff, sticky fingers into the print media pie in the first place? Funny you should ask, because it’s a pretty interesting story…

Part II/ A Social Animal

Harvey Weinstein wasn’t the only suspect investor to stump up funds for Radar. Jeffrey Epstein whipped out his chequebook too. But what possible reason could a notoriously secretive billionaire with myriad ties to high society and a rumoured penchant for sex with young girls have for wanting to own a stake in a celebrity gossip magazine?

Part III/ The Coalition

Shortly before they both invested in Radar Magazine, Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein teamed up to make a totally different media acquisition. As part of a larger collective of billionaires, millionaires and other media mavens, the deviant duo tried to buy up New York Magazine. Why? To get its nose out of their business…

Part IV: Art Of The Dyl

Despite the millions of dollars that some of its sketchy, secretive investors had ploughed into it, Radar Magazine failed to take off. But it’s not as if these guys got nothing for their money. Far from it. Being a member of the Radar Investors’ Circle has ended up having a few pretty nifty perks…