The National Enquirer is not just another tabloid rag peddling false pop-culture drivel, it’s also an element of an orchestrated media strategy by the Trump propaganda machine. David Pecker, the CEO of the Enquirer, is a longtime friend of Trump, and Editor-in-Chief Dylan Howard has assured skeptics that this hasn’t changed the content of the “publication.” We would beg to differ.
Bet you don’t remember the former Playboy model Trump had an affair with. That’s okay, we didn’t either. That’s because The Enquirer paid her $150,000 for exclusive rights to the story, and used that to… do nothing. Seriously, they paid $150,000 for a major story and then did not publish a word of it. Not only that but by buying the rights, the Enquirer ensured that no one else would publish it either.
The Enquirer is an important part of the Trump outreach strategy. Much like Trump, it is widely thought of as disseminating “alternative facts” and “fake news,” making them perfect bedfellows. The Venn diagram of the audiences that they appeal to overlaps to the point that it is very nearly a circle. And that’s important. Because the people who are part of the regular readership of the Enquirer are willing to overlook the blatant lies and buy into the ludicrous brand of news that it is selling. The same can be said for Trump supporters.
By some coincidence, a week after Melissa McCarthy skewered White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on SNL the Enquirer is running a story slamming her over alleged massive weight gain and marital problems. The Enquirer takes a run at her image and credibility without even mentioning SNL, “mammoth-again Melissa McCarthy is caught in a fast food nightmare [...]” This is accompanied by candid shots of McCarthy taken at wildly unflattering angles.
The Enquirer also takes more general shots at Trump’s political opponents. In this week’s issue alone there is an article detailing “Obama’s Secret Plot the Steal Back the White House,” one claiming that a “Cocaine Bust Rocks Obama Farewell Bash,” and an ad for a commemorative President Donald Trump talking portrait figure. While these may sound more like rambling nonsense than any sort of political propaganda, they are part of a larger narrative put forth by the Enquirer to undermine Trump’s enemies and to reinforce the strength and validity of the Trump administration. These are only a few in a long stream of attention grabbing headlines and blatantly false articles aimed at the Obama’s and others who have openly voiced their displeasure with Trump, like McCarthy.
And so, in spite of the fake news, the vicious attacks on the character of beloved politicians, and the bizarre lionization of the 45th president of the United States, many Americans turn to the Enquirer as their primary source of news.
We’ll keep on reading so you don’t have to.