Times-Herald (Vallejo)

Tabloids National Enquirer, Globe sold

- By Michelle Chapman

The National Enquirer, the scandal-plagued tabloid that engaged in “catch-and-kill” practices to bury stories about Donald Trump during his presidenti­al campaign, has been sold.

VVIP is buying the National Examiner and another tabloid, the Globe, from magazine publisher a360 Media in an all-cash deal, although exact financial terms were not disclosed.

In December 2018 the parent company of publicatio­ns including the National Enquirer, Us Weekly and In Touch admitted to engaging in a journalist­ically dubious practice known as “catch-and-kill” in order to help Donald Trump become president.

Federal prosecutor­s revealed at the time that they had agreed not to prosecute American Media Inc. for secretly assisting Trump's campaign by paying $150,000 to Playboy model Karen McDougal for the rights to her story about an alleged affair with Trump.

The company then intentiona­lly suppressed McDougal's story until after the election.

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, also accused the paper of attempting to bribe him in 2019 with embarrassi­ng “below the belt” photos sent to his girlfriend.

American Media sold the National Enquirer and some other publicatio­ns in April 2019 to James Cohen, former head of the airport newsstand company Hudson News. However, the transactio­n was never completed.

In August 2020 David Pecker stepped down as CEO of American Media. At the time, American Media Inc. was being taken over by Accelerate­360, a logistics firm based in Smyrna, Georgia.

Under Pecker, the National Enquirer for years buried potentiall­y embarrassi­ng stories about Trump and other favored celebritie­s by buying the rights to them and never publishing.

The Federal Election Commission fined a360 Media $187,500 in June 2021 for squashing the McDougal story.

The FEC said the publisher's “payment to Karen McDougal to purchase a limited life story right combined with its decision not to publish the story, in consultati­on with an agent of Donald J. Trump and for the purpose of influencin­g the election, constitute­d a prohibited corporate inkind contributi­on.”

VVIP Ventures is a joint venture between digital media and content technologi­es holding company Vinco Ventures Inc. and ICON Publishing.

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