Being in bed with Trump has not been good for business at the National Enquirer.
It turns out the National Enquirer's decision to become a work for Trump, attacking his enemies and trying to silence women from his past, isn't paying off financially.
In fact, the Associated Press reports, "The Enquirer’s privately held parent company, American Media Inc., lost $72 million for the year ending in March."
The collapse comes "despite AMI chairman David Pecker’s claims that the Enquirer’s heavy focus on Trump sells magazines," according to AP.
Pecker now finds himself deeply enmeshed in scandals and investigations, after the tabloid served as a conduit for Trump's presidential campaign, arranging payments for women who had affairs with the Republican.
Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Pecker and Dylan Howard, AMI's chief content officer, have received immunity from prosecutors who are investigating Trump's payoffs to the tabloid.
The payments were made so the Enquirer could buy the exclusive rights to the stories of former Playboy model Karen McDougal and adult film actress Stormy Daniels.
Trump’s personal attorney and longtime fixer Michael Cohen arranged for the six-figure payments to the Enquirer, which then never published the damaging stories, using a tactic known as "catch and kill."
AMI also paid a Trump Tower doorman $30,000 for his story about Trump fathering a child out of wedlock, and then made sure not publish it.
Pecker, a longtime Trump ally, has always made sure the Enquirer protected his friend.
"For the better part of two decades, Mr. Pecker had ordered his staff at American Media to protect Mr. Trump from troublesome stories, in some cases by buying up stories about him and filing it away," the New York Times reported this week.
It turns out that when Trump announced his candidacy in 2015, Pecker and the National Enquirer were sitting on a large stash of previously unpublished gossip items about the Republican.
In fact, the sensitive information was reportedly kept in a safe at the magazine.
Instead of putting that information into the tabloid, which could have produced headlines and likely would have increased newsstand sales, Pecker ordered staffers to withhold the embarrassing information.
"That meant that American Media, the nation’s largest gossip publisher, did not play a role during the election year in vetting a presidential candidacy — Mr. Trump’s — made for the tabloids," the Times notes.
In other words, the Enquirer was willing to lose out on sales revenue in order to protect Trump.
And according to the AP, that's exactly what happened—the Enquirer's circulation dropped 15 percent during the presidential campaign, a time when there was intense news consumer interest in Trump.
Covering up for Trump is never good.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.