Even before the major reasons why Donald Trump should not have been seriously considered for the presidency, I had a few that may appear petty but point to larger problems with the guy.
Trump’s inexperience, stupidity, sexism, and racism are all great reasons why the man shouldn’t have gotten farther than the rent-is-too-damn-high guy. But stuff like not paying people who work for him reveals a dishonest person who can’t be trusted. Stealing from his own charity also reveals dishonesty along with corruption because he’s a con man.
His insecurity and pettiness are exhibited by trophy wives, an extremely bad comb-over, and suits that don’t fit despite the fact he’s a billionaire who owns his own clothing line. But one of the kickers for me, as a journalist, is his love for the National Enquirer, a gossip tabloid that pays for stories and is sold at checkout lines next to Weekly World News (which is a much more entertaining read).
Put aside Trump’s penchant for labeling any real news and facts he doesn’t like as “fake news,” and his attacks on the press as “dishonest” and an “enemy to the American people.” Look at the judgement of a guy who believes the Enquirer should have won a Pulitzer and its editor should be in charge of The New York Times.
Trump has a friendship with the Enquirer. Its owner, David Pecker, is a pal. You can count the number of newspapers that endorsed Trump with both hands and have fingers left. The Enquirer is one of them. In addition to the endorsement, the paper would pay for the exclusive rights to stories from women claiming affairs with Trump, only to kill the stories.
Sam Nunberg, an early adviser to the campaign, compared the Enquirer to a campaign mailer. While a mailer was expensive, sent to prospective voters, and hardly ever read, the Enquirer was seen at every checkout line in the nation. Everyone reads the headlines while standing in line. Now, we’re learning those headlines were approved by Trump.
According to three sources with the weekly rag, the paper would send stories, photos, and mock front pages to Trump’s attorney/fixer Michael Cohen for approval. One story sent for approval was on Hillary Clinton’s health with a headline stating she only had six months left to live. Why vote for a dying candidate, right? That was published in September 2015 and in case you haven’t noticed, Hillary Clinton is still alive in 2018.
During the primary, the paper ran stories linking Ted Cruz’s father to JFK’s assassination, and even more unbelievable, rumors of Ted having multiple affairs.
A newspaper can print whatever it wants as long as it’s not libelous. They can publish lies. There isn’t even a law saying a publication can’t coordinate with a campaign. But, if a candidate exerts control over a publication then that can violate federal election laws.
The company that owns the Enquirer said they never sent stories for approval, but they also told us there were multiple women willing to have sex with Ted Cruz.
According to the sources, stories didn’t just go through Cohen. Trump would often have his assistant Hope Hicks contact Pecker (the publisher, not Trump’s little soldier) with story ideas, and would often call the guy himself.
According to one of the people with knowledge of the practice, the sharing continues. The source said, “Since Trump’s become president and even before, [Pecker] openly just has been willing to turn the magazine and the cover over to the Trump machine.”
Federal prosecutors subpoenaed American Media Inc., the Enquirer’s owner, as part of their investigation into Michael Cohen. They probably found a lot of interesting files related to the paper after raiding Cohen’s office, home, and hotel room.
I’m not sure if the paper violated any laws, and I would defend their First Amendment rights, even if they really are “fake news.” However, it goes beyond being a member of the free press and journalism if they acted as an extension of the Trump campaign.
I wouldn’t want to read a newspaper that favors Donald Trump, like the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette which just fired their cartoonist Rob Rogers for drawing Trump cartoons. It’s even worse when the publisher allows Trump to dictate their coverage.
I hate the term “fake news.” If it’s fake, it’s not news. And neither is the National Enquirer.
Watch me draw.
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