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Hearon writes: "Journalist Ronan Farrow said tabloid publisher American Media Inc. sent him blackmail threats over his reporting on President Donald Trump and the National Enquirer."

Jeffrey P. Bezos. (photo: Blue Origin)
Jeffrey P. Bezos. (photo: Blue Origin)


Ronan Farrow Says National Enquirer Attempted to Blackmail Him for Reporting on Trump

By Liza Hearon, Reader Supported News

10 February 19


Farrow’s allegation comes after the Amazon CEO accused tabloid publisher American Media Inc. of blackmail and extortion.

ournalist Ronan Farrow said tabloid publisher American Media Inc. sent him blackmail threats over his reporting on President Donald Trump and the National Enquirer.

Farrow tweeted about the “stop digging or we’ll ruin you” efforts shortly after Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, in a bombshell blog post on Medium, said AMI CEO David Pecker threatened to publish embarrassing photos of him if he didn’t stop investigating the company.  

Farrow has written extensively about AMI’s “catch and kill” practice, in which the publisher buys stories in order to bury them, and how such measures benefited Pecker’s pal, Donald Trump, in the 2016 presidential campaign. AMI has entered into a non-prosecution agreement with federal prosecutors in New York and is cooperating in the investigation into its payment to former Playboy model Karen McDougal to suppress a story about her claimed affair with Trump. 

Farrow also tweeted a reference to a New Yorker story he worked on about how the same editor Bezos was dealing with ― AMI chief content officer Dylan Howard ― was sharing reporters’ information with disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein to help him combat sexual misconduct accusations.

AMI said in a statement Friday that it will investigate Bezos’ claims and determine what action to take.

“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,” the company said. 

Investigative journalist Ted Bridis said on Twitter Thursday that Associated Press reporters working on the Trump-National Enquirer story had been warned that AMI private investigators were digging into their backgrounds, though he “never saw evidence of this” and it didn’t affect his reporting. 

Daily Beast Editor-in-Chief Noah Shachtman also tweeted that his publication and a member of staff had been threatened by AMI attorneys over their stories reporting that Bezos’ investigator, Gavin de Becker, suspected that the leak of Bezos’ personal texts to the National Enquirer was politically motivated.

De Becker, in an interview with The Washington Post published Feb. 5, said the leak appeared meant to embarrass Bezos, owner of the Post and a frequent target of Trump’s criticism. 

Bezos, in his blog post, alleges that Howard threatened to publish intimate photos if the Amazon founder didn’t cease his investigation and make a statement that AMI’s coverage wasn’t politically motivated.

Bezos and his wife MacKenzie Bezos announced their divorce about a month ago, just before the Enquirer published a story that included personal texts that said Bezos was having an affair with former TV anchor Lauren Sanchez.

Bezos published the email exchange with AMI, concluding: “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.”

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A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

 
+26 # DongiC 2019-02-10 14:04
AMI is a disgusting tool used by disgusting people like Donald J. Trump. It's amazing how many of these low lifes Trump draws to his administration and himself. It's like watching a replay of Dante's Inferno. What's under the log Bezos alludes to? Something smelly and slimy, that's for sure.
 
 
+7 # Caliban 2019-02-10 22:49
I think I read somewhere that JB's girlfriend was a Fox News reporter.

FOX NEWS?!

If this is true, then our buddy Jeff of the Washington Post really should have known better.
 
 
0 # harleysch 2019-02-10 15:39
Well, at least no one is blaming Putin and the GRU for the reports on Bezos -- at least, not yet!
 
 
+8 # Caliban 2019-02-10 22:32
Interesting thought, #harleysch. Who hacked into Bezos' private photos and texts? Maybe that's where we find the GRU.
 
 
+3 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-02-11 11:46
The source is Bezos' girlfriend's brother, Michael Sanchez, at least according to the Daily Beast. I don't know his motive. Maybe it was blackmail, too.

Most people on the level of Bezos and Pecker are blackmailers. Bezos blackmailed the whole nation with his idiotic search for a new Amazon headquarters. He told communities that he would not move there unless they paid him billions of dollars. They all were willing to pay, and by allowing Bezos in to ruin the lives of the people who lives in those cities. Bezos used threats to make cities raise their bribe payments.

I don't feel sorry at all for Bezos. He is a world class pecker and so he might as well be published in the National Enquirer. Too bad the Washington Post won't publish the photos. But it never publishes the truth.
 
 
0 # Thomas Martin 2019-02-13 21:09
"Bezos blackmailed the whole nation with his idiotic search for a new Amazon headquarters." Your use of the word "blackmail" here is simply wrong (look up definition of the word), and gratuitous - also, please, stop using your derogatory reference to Bezos. This's in the interest of our having a civil and constructive discussion.
 
 
+19 # elizabethblock 2019-02-10 17:09
Someone - I forget who - commenting on the CBC said this might be the end of the National Enquirer.
Is anyone going to mourn it? No, I didn't think so. (Well, maybe supermarket owners!)
 
 
-16 # tr4302@gmail.com 2019-02-10 18:32
Porta mi via, Jesu! Ironic that the lead-in to this piece was a plea from Marc Ash for donations to RSN onlt to get this drivel. I
suppose there is some merit to acting as a mediator of sorts for a playground spat but
when neither party is bound by or respcts any ethical standards? You never negotiate with terrorists Reagan advised before he did the Iran-Contra ploy. Return to decent journalism, please.
 
 
+1 # economagic 2019-02-10 21:33
Yeah, I got red-thumbs a couple of days ago for similarly dismissing this "playground spat" between two filthy rich celebrities with little or no morals.
 
 
+5 # LionMousePudding 2019-02-11 02:38
WTF with "Bezos alleges that [AMI] threatened..." as if we did not have 100% proof because we have read the correspondence ourselves? Really, the word "allege" is used inappropriately about 75% of the time.
 
 
+6 # Robbee 2019-02-11 08:49
Ronan Farrow Says National Enquirer Attempted to Blackmail Him for Reporting on Trump, Liza Hearon, Reader Supported News, 10 February 19

- when a gangster like pecker meets a mob boss like dickhead? we ask -

"how do they find each other?"

the answer? they give off the same predator vibe!
 
 
-1 # NAVYVET 2019-02-13 06:59
I am tired of Ronan Farrow's career as a "journalist". We don't seem to have the mind-set any more to recognize narcissists. Haven't read anything by him where he wasn't the star of the story.
These reporters claim to imitate the Progressive Muckrakers of 120 years ago, but I scent the nastier odor of Hearstian Yellow Journalism and Faux News.
 

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