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How David Pecker’s National Enquirer went to any length for a story

  • Street: 84 Weemala Avenue
  • City: Kings Plains
  • State: Arkansas
  • Country: Australia
  • Zip/Postal Code: 2799
  • Listed: Nisan 28, 2024 12:57 pm
  • Expires: 975 days, 8 hours

Description

They were known as the ‘FOPs’: the friends of Pecker. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Simon Cowell, Harvey Weinstein and, of course, Donald Trump were among the chosen few who avoided having lurid stories rained down on them courtesy of the National Enquirer.

They were the untouchables, who used their money, influence and flattery to get into former company CEO David Pecker’s good graces – thus avoiding having their garbage surveyed, their lovers followed, and their peccadillos exposed.

But if you weren’t a friend, then all bets were off. There was nothing – within the law and sometimes skirting it- that wouldn’t be done to bring in a story.

‘He’s the biggest star f***er you’ve ever met,’ a former staffer who worked at the tabloid for more than 20 years told DailyMail.com.

‘He’s a failed Donald Trump. He picks the wrong people and much like Trump, he’s loyal to no one.’

Donald Trump was among the ‘FOPs’ or ‘Friends of Pecker’ who avoided having lurid stories rained down on them courtesy of the National Enquirer

Enquirer publisher David Pecker testified in Donald Trump’s hush money trial this week about the tabloid’s ‘catch and kill’ practices

Former staffers who worked at the tabloid for more than 20 years told DailyMail.com about the lengths the tabloid would go to for a story

Pecker and his close friendship with Trump has been back in the headlines this week thanks to the former publisher’s scene-stealing appearance at the 45th President’s ongoing hush money trial.

But while that friendship exposed the tabloid practice of ‘catch and kill’ – buying up a story only to keep it quiet for the benefit of a Pecker pal – insiders say that was just the tip of the iceberg.

‘What’s shameful is a lot of what we did was just good old-fashioned reporting but this stuff with Trump has smeared it,’ another insider said.

‘There used to be an ounce of respect [for the Enquirer] but it’s not there anymore.’

‘Pecker, 72,  ‘is the biggest star f***er you’ve ever met,’ a former employee said. ‘Much like Trump, he’s loyal to no one’

Founded in 1926, the Enquirer has a long history but exploded into a phenomenon in the 1970s courtesy of Elvis Presley whose death was lavishly covered by the magazine and included a photo of the late singer in his coffin.

By the 2000s, once Pecker, now 72, was on board, it was known for its showbiz exclusives but also ran scores of political stories, many lurid and most exposing politicians’ sexual activities.

Famously, one was an 18-month investigation into John Edwards, the 2004 Democratic vice-presidential nominee, who was forced to admit, after the Enquirer ran exclusive after exclusive, that he was having an affair with filmmaker Rielle Hunter who he had hired to make video for his campaign.

Despite initially claiming the story about the affair was ‘completely untrue, ridiculous, false’, Edwards was eventually caught visiting her at the Beverly Hills hotel, where he was nabbed at 2:40 am when a team of Enquirer reporters chased him into a public bathroom.

Celebrities would find themselves on the end of all night watches. Chris Hansen, the star of To Catch A Predator, was exposed in 2013 when reporters slept in a car outside NBC anchor Kristyn Caddell’s home to get a photo of him leaving and thus proving that the pair had been having an affair.

Another to fall foul of the Enquirer’s stable of snappers was Jeff Bezos whose affair with Lauren Sanchez was exposed in the magazine – leading to an expensive divorce for the Amazon boss.

But while those stories were produced by ‘good old-fashioned journalism’, others were brought in by more dubious means.

The Enquirer exploded into a phenomenon in the 1970s courtesy of Elvis Presley whose death was lavishly covered by the magazine and included a photo of the late singer in his coffin

John Edwards, the 2004 Democratic vice-presidential nominee, was forced to admit, after the Enquirer ran exclusive after exclusive, that he was having an affair with filmmaker Rielle Hunter who he had hired to make video for his campaign

Infamously, the magazine also ran a deathbed photo of Whitney Houston’s daughter Bobbi Kristina – paying $140,000 to a ‘family friend’ for the image

Among the tricks employed by reporters working for the Enquirer was the art of the garbage search – scouring through celebrities’ trash in the hopes of finding something juicy or going through the waste following a high-profile wedding looking for a program or anything that would bring in a scoop.

‘We crashed weddings all the time,’ one former staffer told DailyMail.com. ‘We’d get a job as one of the waitstaff or go through the trash bags.

‘For Angie Harmon’s wedding to Jason Sehorn, an Enquirer photographer hid in the attic of the church the overnight and took pictures of the ceremony.

A similar tactic was employed at Conan O’Brien’s 2002 wedding to Liza Powel in Seattle

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