On or shortly before February 17, Trump buddy David Pecker becomes the new owner of the National Enquirer, a paper best known in its early days as a source of pro-fascist propaganda before it was bought with mafia money.
In the 1950s, the paper was bought from its original owners by Generoso Pope Jr. with funding from Frank Costello and the Luciano crime family. Costello provided the financing for Pope to buy the paper, and in return Pope agreed to never report about the mafia’s activities.
Pope turned the paper into such radical sensationalism that the mayor forced the previous owner to resign from New York City’s Board of Higher Education. The paper even published made up stories about mothers cooking and eating their children.
In the late 1960s, the National Enquirer moved away from cannibalism towards stories about celebrities and the occult (like QAnon) so that Pope could convince supermarkets to sell the paper.
After Pope died in 1988, the paper jumped around a couple times as media companies were bought up by conglomerates. The National Enquirer found its home at American Media Inc., of which David Pecker is the CEO. Other key players at AMI are Roger Altman, Leon Cooperman, and Anthony Melchiorre.
Pecker remains the head of the National Enquirer until AMI sells it to Hudson Group in 2019.
Under Cover, p. 246, by John Roy Carlson
The Deeds of My Fathers: How My Grandfather and Father Built New York and Created the Tabloid World of Today by Paul David Pope
Photo: Robert Couse-Baker