The American Media Inc. (AMI) has released a statement responding to the allegations made by Jeff Bezos, the owner and founder of Amazon, about recent investigative journalism published by The National Enquirer. The statement begins with acknowledging that “American Media emphatically rejects any assertion that its reporting was instigated, dictated or influenced in any manner by external forces, political or otherwise.”
In the statement AMI reaffirms their commitment to fair and honest reporting citing specifics of their coverage in which Bezos’ private activities were divulged. According to the statement “At the time of the recent allegations made by Mr. Bezos, it was in good faith negotiations to resolve all matters with him”. Additionally, AMI states that “any agreements (AMI) had with Mr. Bezos have been completely broken off” and as a result, following his accusations and claim for further information on AMI’s sources and intent of their investigations, AMI is now publicly releasing documents supporting its investigation into how Bezos’ affair was discovered.
Jeff Bezos vs. The National Enquirer: How a Tabloid Tale Escalated, and Exploded
The National Enquirer has long been known for sensationalist headlines and tactics. Throughout its long history, the tabloid has been notorious for its salacious stories about celebrities and high profile figures.
So, it’s no surprise that when Amazon founder and billionaire Jeff Bezos recently accused the Enquirer of extortion, the country raised its eyebrows.
Let’s look at the National Enquirer’s long and complicated story.
The National Enquirer’s History of Controversy
The National Enquirer is no stranger to controversy. The tabloid has been home to various sensational stories since its founding in 1926, many of which have come under fire from public and press alike.
Headed by David Pecker since 2011, some have argued that The National Enquirer has become overly critical and shocking when it comes to covering celebrities and the issues that surround them. Media critics have regularly criticized the tabloid for presenting questionable reports without fact-checking them first and making aggressive inquiries into the lives of celebrities.
In recent years, The National Enquirer has made headlines for alleged practices such as “catch-and-kill”—paying individuals for exclusive stories only to not report on them—and strong arm tactics related to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s recent divorce settlement with his wife Mackenzie. Moreover, certain reports suggest that relationships between Pecker and President Donald Trump may have facilitated some or all of this controversy.
Despite criticism by some members of the press and public, The National Enquirer remains popular among readers who value their often tell-all stories about famous people’s lives. Its history – one tarnished by controversy – stands testament to the publication’s often dubious tactics while providing context on its coverage today.
The National Enquirer’s Role in the 2016 Election
The National Enquirer has had a storied history, and its influence on popular culture has been both beloved and reviled. However, the tabloid’s role in the 2016 election cycle was particularly polarizing. The Enquirer was accused of engaging in “catch and kill” tactics, which involved purchasing potentially damaging stories and then burying them, as well as hush money payments to secure derogatory information about President Donald Trump’s political opponents.
At the same time, the publication is credited with raising public awareness around certain issues connected to the election. In August of 2015 it published a story on Trump’s criticism of John McCain’s status as a war hero — sparking an uproar among those who felt it was an unwarranted attack on a revered American service member. Additionally, it shared exclusive details about Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while serving as Secretary of State—which became central to her electoral opposition.
Most recently however, The National Enquirer appears to have flipped sides in keeping with its owner David Pecker’s relationship with President Trump: It ran numerous negative stories about possible Democratic presidential contenders for 2020 in the months leading up to the election. These articles were considered biased coverage that may have swayed public understanding towards Donald Trump’s reelection campaign. Jeff Bezos’ allegations against AMI (the parent company of The National Enquirer) suggest that these accusations may be true — further expanding our understanding of just how far tabloids will go to shape public opinion during such an important political moment.
Jeff Bezos’ Allegations
After Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos made allegations against The National Enquirer’s parent company, American Media Inc. (AMI), accusing the tabloid of extortion and blackmail, the controversy has exploded. In response to these allegations, AMI has denied any improper conduct and alleges that Bezos and his team have used false and unsubstantiated accusations to divert attention away from the embarrassing details of his personal life.
Let’s examine the situation and how it has escalated over the last month.
Jeff Bezos’ Allegations Against The National Enquirer
Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, recently accused American supermarket tabloid The National Enquirer of extortion. In an explosive blog post on Medium, Bezos alleged that the tabloid had threatened to publish intimate photos of him unless he publicly stated that the publication’s reporting was not politically motivated.
In response, The National Enquirer released a statement denying Bezos’ claims. The statement claims that the publication had acted legally and offered them to “to achieve [their] journalistic objectives,” and further reiterated their denial of any political motivation or criminality on their part. They suggested that there could have been “another, unspecified” motive for Bezos to indicate the potential involvement of external influences in the situation.
The organization also defended its relationship with American Media Inc., which owns the newspaper, stating that it entered into a settlement with AMI when its former Chairman David Pecker left in December 2018. AMI subsequently announced that it would no longer engage in business practices such as “catch-and-kill” or “checkbook journalism”. According to The National Enquirer’s statement, this decision was entirely independent and unrelated to any allegations made against them by Jeff Bezos.
The National Enquirer’s Response to Jeff Bezos’ Allegations
In response to Jeff Bezos’ recent allegations regarding The National Enquirer and its parent company, American Media Inc., the publication released a statement on February 8, 2019. The statement said:
“American Media believes fervently that it acted lawfully in the reporting of the story of Mr. Bezos. Further, at the time of the recent allegations made by Mr. Bezos, it was in good faith negotiations to resolve all matters with him.
Notwithstanding, American Media has decided to promote factual accuracy and causation, including concerning its reporting on Mr. Bezos. As part of that commitment, it will carefully review its editorial processes surrounding all assignments for stories relating to individuals and treat any figure with fairness and balance throughout our journalistic endeavors.”
At the same time, American Media publicly acknowledged its mission as an independent journalistic organization: “We firmly believe that critical truth-telling journalism plays an important role in our democracy and serves an essential function for our readers.” This statement appears intended partly to address Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ accusations of “extortion and blackmail” against The National Enquirer’s parent company and partly to reassure readers about The National Enquirer’s commitment to fair reporting practices.
The National Enquirer’s reputation has been under fire since Jeff Bezos’ allegations against the publication went public. The Amazon founder’s claims have sparked a media circus as people try to make sense of what happened and what the aftermath of the incident looks like.
Let’s explore the National Enquirer’s response and the current implications of this tabloid tale.
The Fallout from Jeff Bezos’ Allegations
In January 2019, Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos accused National Enquirer publisher American Media Inc. (AMI) of attempting to extort him by demanding he publicly declare that the company’s reporting on his personal life wasn’t politically motivated. Bezos detailed the allegations in a sensational blog post, including emails from AMI threatening to publish explicit photos of him if he didn’t comply with their demands.
The story quickly became a media sensation and unleashed a wave of scrutiny on AMI and its owners, leading to calls for federal investigations into the company’s practices. The fallout was rapid and dramatic:
- AMI admitted it had engaged in a “catch-and-kill” practice with women alleging affairs with President Donald Trump.
- As part of an agreement with federal prosecutors, AMI agreed not to commit any crimes for three years.
- The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York investigated possible campaign finance violations.
- Several longtime staffers at the National Enquirer resigned amid reports they were complicit in carrying out orders from David Pecker, CEO of AMI.
The story has also spotlighted tabloid journalism practices more broadly, raising questions about how far is too far when obtaining information when there are perceived political aims involved. As increasing attention is paid to such stories — particularly ones that affect powerful people — it’s essential for media outlets to take extra precautions when dealing with sensitive information about individuals so this type of incident is avoided in the future.
The Impact of the Allegations on The National Enquirer
In the wake of Jeff Bezos’ explosive allegations against The National Enquirer, the publication has faced intense criticism and scrutiny deriving mainly from its perceived violation of journalistic ethics. Bezos accused The Enquirer of engaging in “extortion and blackmail” by threatening to publish embarrassing information unless he agreed to their demands.
The immediate allegation has had profound implications for The National Enquirer, owned by American Media Inc (AMI). Several companies have pulled their advertising for the publication, and several distinguished members of the journalism industry have condemned it’s relationship with Bezos.
The National Enquirer released a statement following Bezos’ post saying they had acted in good faith throughout their investigation into his personal life but still had not received a response from him as promised when they approached him on Sept 5th 2019. In response, CEO Elkan Abramowitz claimed that AMI stood firmly behind the work of its reporters and editors who investigated within ethical guidelines.
Bezos assertion must still be proved in court if it is to hold any legal merit. Still, its impact on The National Enquirer may already been substantial as evidenced by numerous subsequent boycotts and condemnations against it. Although much may still depend on future developments in court proceedings, these events could mark a significant turning point for struggling publications such as The National Enquirer as politicians and citizens demand higher standards from media outlets today than ever before.
The National Enquirer stands by its story and its original reporting. Our review of the documents, testimony from numerous sources, and journalistic standard practices all confirm the published facts.
Despite ongoing scrutiny and blistering public criticism, The National Enquirer seeks to look forward into the future. With our focus ever on accuracy in journalism, we stand by our principles and believe that our team conducted themselves with the proper level of integrity throughout this difficult situation.