Bad people hang out with other bad people. Choir boys don’t run with drug dealers. Dolphins don’t swim with sharks. Donald Trump doesn’t hang out with Barack Obama. Donald Trump hangs out and does business with people who get indicted and go to prison.
Donald Trump hired George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen, and Roger Stone. He admires men like Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, Rodrigo Duterte, Recep Erdogan, and Mohammed bin Salman. Another sleazy individual in the Trump orbit is David Pecker, publisher of the National Enquirer, a sleazy publication.
The business of the National Enquirer is to sell as much sleaze as possible. Its agenda is to expose the worst of us. The people behind the publication don’t care who they destroy in the process. It usually publishes false information. You can only find it in checkout lines next to Skittles and Mars Bars. It’s an impulse purchase. Donald Trump believes the paper should have a Pulitzer Prize and its editor, Mr. Pecker, should be hired to run The New York Times, which he considers “fake news.”
The publication uses its platform to engage in other sleazy activities. It would pay women for their exclusive stories about having sex with Donald Trump, a friend to David Pecker, then they’d sit on the story and it would never be published. This is a practice they call “catch and kill.”
In 2003, the Enquirer signed a $20,000 contract with a woman to get exclusive rights about the story of her alleged extramarital affair with Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was running for governor of California at the time.
In 2015, Harvey Weinstein asked the Enquirer for help in snuffing an accusation about him groping a model. When they couldn’t reach a financial agreement with the woman, they turned to collect personal and damaging information about her and other Weinstein accusers.
Also in 2015, the Enquirer’s parent company, American Media (AMI) paid $30,000 to a doorman at Trump Tower for exclusive rights to his allegations that he overheard a conversation about a child Donald Trump had with a woman who is not his wife but never published an article on the topic.
In 2016, they apparently paid $150,000 to Karen McDougal, a former Playboy Playmate who claimed to have had an affair with Donald Trump. Of course, they never published a story about it. Instead, they published stories about Hillary Clinton only having six months to live…back in 2016 (if you’re a Republican, that was two years ago).
Karma finally caught up to AMI and David Pecker, and they signed an agreement with federal investigators to provide all information on hush payments to help Trump in exchange for witness immunity. Part of the deal is that they’re to disclose all illegal activity to the federal government and stay out of trouble for three years. In case you’re a Republican, last August was not three years ago.
Late yesterday afternoon, Jeff Bezos, the owner of Amazon, The Washington Post, and the richest man in the freaking universe, published a blog on Medium, titled “No Thank You, Mr. Pecker,” accusing AMI and Pecker of blackmailing him. He claims that AMI asked him to make specific false public statements suggesting that there is no evidence of AMIs coverage being “politically motivated or influenced by political forces.” They wanted him to lie his ass off.
Pecker and AMI made two mistakes. They put it in writing, and they were messing with the richest man in the freaking universe.
The publication had already exposed Bezos’ extramarital affair, thus ruining his marriage. Bezos hired an investigator to discover how the Enquirer acquired private texts between him and his special lady friend. Now, the publication has possession of dirty selfies Bezos took and were threatening to publish them unless…Bezos and his investigator would publicly lie and say the Enquirer wasn’t politically motivated. You know, working in the interest of the president of the United States.
Donald Trump hates Jeff Bezos. He hates The Washington Post. He hates Amazon. He calls the newspaper the “Amazon Washington Post.” He has asked the Post Office to increase postage to hurt Amazon. Let me remind you, AMI and Pecker, were friends and maybe still are, to Donald Trump.
In his blog, Bezos wrote, “My ownership of the Washington Post is a complexifier for me. It’s unavoidable that certain powerful people who experience Washington Post news coverage will wrongly conclude I am their enemy.” In case you’re anyone who is not Jeff Bezos, “Complexifier” means it’s complicated.
Bezos’ marriage is already ruined. Now, the worst thing the Enquirer can do to him is to publicly embarrass him by showing all of us his sexting. Are people going to stop shopping on Amazon because they saw Bezos junk? I don’t think so. I’m expecting an order of Pop Tarts to arrive today.
Will people stop investing and doing business with the guy because of the shame? Of course not. The worst thing that can happen to Bezos from this is that people will laugh at him until they forget about it.
Bezos called them out, published the letter they sent describing each photo they had, thus exposing himself in the process and taking away all leverage from the goons attempting to extort him. Oh yeah, he also exposed those people to federal investigators because, in case you’re a Republican, blackmail and extortion is not legal. It’s especially dangerous if you signed an agreement with a federal prosecutor.
Again, in case you’re a Republican, let me explain; In their agreement with federal prosecutors, AMI and Pecker disclosed illegal activity they were involved in. If they violate the agreement then the prosecutors can charge them for all the information they gave up. They wanted to expose the junk of Bezos, but instead, they delivered to prosecutors their own balls on a silver platter.
Bezos is not an angel. He was having an affair. Bad, Bezos, bad. But, this is a man who has helped save American journalism. And, did I mention the Pop Tarts? He’s also a guy who didn’t roll over to sleaze merchants attempting to blackmail him. Bezos explained in his blog, “Any personal embarrassment AMI could cause me takes a back seat because there’s a much more important matter involved here. If in my position I can’t stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can?” By standing up to Pecker of pecker pics, Bezos has stood up for everyone.
Bezos also wrote, “These communications cement AMI’s long-earned reputation for weaponizing journalistic privileges, hiding behind important protections, and ignoring the tenets and purpose of true journalism. Of course I don’t want personal photos published, but I also won’t participate in their well-known practice of blackmail, political favors, political attacks, and corruption. I prefer to stand up, roll this log over, and see what crawls out.”
Maybe in this situation, you don’t want to use the term, “roll this log over,” but Bezos is doing the commendable thing.
This can be a win-win for all of us. Bezos can help take down the National Enquirer and the sleaze merchants behind it, make it a “complexifier” for Donald Trump and his other assorted minions, and we never EVER have to see the photos of Bezos’ stuff.
Then, we can all roll this log over.
You can purchase a signed print of this cartoon.
Watch the video.