Here are 5 ways the National Enquirer helped Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016

Here are 5 ways the National Enquirer helped Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016
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On Wednesday, December 12—the same day President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael D. Cohen, was sentenced to three years in federal prison—federal prosecutors for the Southern District of New York revealed that American Media, Inc. (publisher of the National Enquirer) had admitted to its role in hush money paid to Playboy model Karen McDougal during Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. One of the crimes that Cohen pled guilty on August 22 was campaign finance violations, and prosecutors said in an official statement that a $150,000 payment to McDougal was made “to suppress the woman’s story so as to prevent it from influencing the election.” AMI has admitted the payment was made “in concert with” Trump’s campaign.


Founded in 1926, the Enquirer has been specializing in tabloid sleaze journalism for 92 years—and during the last presidential election, the Enquirer was a consistent, unwavering ally of Trump. Here are five of the ways in which the National Enquirer helped the Trump campaign in 2016.

1. The Enquirer had a ‘catch and kill’ agreement with Trump supporters

In tabloid journalism, a “catch and kill” agreement is one in which the publisher agrees to pay for exclusive rights to negative stories but suppress them—and in 2015 and 2016, according to federal prosecutors, AMI CEO David Pecker had such an agreement with Trump’s allies, including Cohen. The Enquirer would look for negative stories on Trump and pay for exclusive rights to them (that’s the “catch” part) but would not publish the information (that’s the “kill” part). 

2. AMI paid Karen McDougal $150,000 in hush money

In June 2016, two of the main people at AMI, Pecker and Vice President/Chief Content Officer Dylan Howard, informed Cohen that Karen McDougal was trying to sell them a story on her alleged extramarital affair with Trump in 2006 and 2007. And Cohen asked them to go ahead and purchase the story, offering to reimburse them. In August 2016, American Media offered McDougal $150,000 for the story it had agreed to suppress.

3. The Enquirer kept quiet about Trump’s alleged affair with Stormy Daniels

In 2016, AMI was also aware of Trump’s alleged extramarital affair with adult film star Stormy Daniels—and helped Cohen suppress that information as well. Daniels was paid $130,000

4. The Enquirer defamed Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio to promote Trump

Even before Trump received the GOP’s presidential nomination in 2016, the Enquirer did everything it could to boost his campaign—and that included defaming Trump’s rivals in the Republican primary, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina. On September 23, 2015, the Enquirer published an article describing Fiorina as a “homewrecker” with a “druggie daughter.” And on December 31, 2015, the Enquirer ran a nonsense article with the headline “Sen. Marco Rubio’s Cocaine Connection.” But the most outlandish GOP-related article that the Enquirer ran during the primary was the one linking Cruz’ father to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

5. The Enquirer repeatedly published false stories on Hillary Clinton

After Trump secured the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, the Enquirer eased up on other Republicans somewhat in order to devote more space to attacking Hillary Clinton—and one bogus story after another was published on the Democratic nominee. In 2016, the Enquirer reported that Clinton had terminal lung cancer, suffered two strokes and had “gained 103 pounds and was eating herself to death.” Of course, if Clinton had gained that much weight in 2016, the mainstream media would have noticed. But then, factual information has never been the Enquirer’s strong point. 

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