Scandalous: The True Untold Story of the National Enquirer (2019) Movie Script

I think you need to look
at the Enquirer...
in terms of the realm
of popular culture...
rather than in the realm
of journalism.
I think this is a bad time
not just for the press...
but it's a bad time for the truth.
Lantana, Florida, population 7,126,
according to the last census.
An undistinguished
South Florida town on US One
about ten miles
south of Palm Beach, Florida.
An unlikely place, you'd think,
to be the home
of one of America's most successful
publishing enterprises
and yet Lantana, Florida
is the home of the National Enquirer.
Generoso Pope Jr.,
a transplanted New Yorker
godfather of this magazine,
journal, newspaper.
Gene Pope was a force of nature.
He knew what he wanted to do,
and it was that paper
and he wanted to sell the most papers
of anybody in the world.
Generoso Pope
very cleverly identified
a way to communicate
with mass-market America.
How he communicated it
was studied by others
adopted by others,
which set the stage
for what was to come.
And you know as well as I do
that there are allegations...
that Mafia money
has been behind the Enquirer
- since the beginning.
- Right. I've heard, I've read that.
Generoso Pope Jr.
was the son of Generoso Pope.
Gene Pope was born into privilege.
His father owned Il Progresso
an Italian-language paper
in New York.
Because of that, he was a huge
political figure in America.
Gene was a child prodigy
in many ways.
I mean, at 16, he was helping
to run Il Progresso.
His father became one of
the most powerful guys in New York.
He pretty much controlled
the Italian vote.
Along the way, he became
a made guy in the Mafia.
When his father died,
Gene was the heir apparent
to taking over the newspaper
his father owned.
Il Progresso was not the kind of
newspaper he wanted to do.
He wanted to form a newspaper
in his own image
just like his father had done it.
He wanted to buy
the New York Enquirer
which was a crappy little paper,
mainly racing and sports
but he needed 75,000 to buy it.
Believe it or not,
Gene Pope's real godfather
was The Godfather, Frank Costello
who was a big guy
in the mob obviously.
That's where he got the money,
and it was an interest-free loan.
Why? Because he was like family.
It's a very Italian thing.
And that was the start
of the Enquirer.
He immediately put
the word "National" on it.
He envisioned
publishing mounds and mounds
and mounds of National Enquirers.
He was looking for something
to sell more copies.
One day, he was driving
on one of the New York highways
and there was an accident ahead,
and everybody slowed down.
They're all rubbernecking
and they're looking
at the side of the road.
And he looked at the crowd,
and he saw all these people
staring at a really gory scene.
He went, "My God,
nobody's doing pictures of that."
He suddenly realized
"This is what I have to do.
I got to make a gore rag."
And what he did is that
he went to the police department.
He basically got first dibs
on the photography
of these horrible accidents,
and that's how it started.
I got to tell you,
when I first saw it
sometimes it was hard to pick up.
But circulation went up dramatically.
It took off, but it was
a little uncomfortable.
He realized that gore
was only gonna take him so far.
Circulation peaked at one million
but he dreamed actually of 20 million
which, of course, was insane.
By the mid-'60s
many, many people
were moving to the suburbs
so they weren't stopping
at newsstands, and the idea was
"We've got to get it
in front of more people."
Well, where are the people?
There is madness in the marketplace.
Just listen to this.
We zeroed in on supermarkets
as the one area where I suppose
some member of every family unit
in the United States
comes once a week at least.
He wanted to be in racks
at the front end
of every checkout counter
in the United States.
People told him, "Great idea,
but you can't do this.
A gore paper, how could that
get into supermarkets?"
People would throw up just at a time
when they were about
to buy milk, you know?
It was totally impossible.
So we drastically in one fell
swoop eliminated all the gore.
From the moment he started,
he never stopped playing with it
trying to change the format
to find the winning formula.
In came headlines like these.
Celebrity news.
- Gossip items.
- Dogs.
- Pets.
- Diets.
Medical oddity stories.
Psychic stories.
I happened to discover that
Jimmy Carter had once seen a UFO.
Gee-whiz stories.
We did one
on making cars out of lobsters.
We had some guy called up wanting
to know where he could buy one.
Our headlines, our pictures,
our front page, and all of them
had to be a triggering mechanism
to get people's attention first
and if they liked what they saw,
they bought it.
Generoso Pope really
understood the psychology
of the average American person.
He used to call the reader
of the National Enquirer
Missy Smith in Kansas City.
She was the standard
by which every story
in the National Enquirer was judged.
The basic American woman.
She was somebody
who had family values
who loves stories, loves celebrities
and wanted to know essentially
that celebrities suffered, too.
Mrs. Smith goes to the beauty parlor
talks to her girlfriends.
They're all chatting
about celebrities.
Dolly Parton is depressed
or Elizabeth Taylor got fat again
and can't find love.
She would go, "Oh".
And have to read all about it.
We were Missy Smith in Kansas City.
- I guess I'm a little nosy.
- We were Missy Smith in Yonkers.
They can't print something
in there that's not true.
- We were Missy Smith everywhere.
- I just enjoy the headlines.
She was our boss.
She could make or break us.
Missy Smith has had
a long week at work.
She gets her National Enquirer.
She goes home. She has a bath.
She has a glass of wine
and she sits down and enjoys herself.
I feel a great sadness...
that I will not be here
in this office
working on your behalf
to achieve those hopes
in the next two and a half years.
The Enquirer was a nice window
to look through
a pleasant place to go after
the harsher news in the real world.
Guns, ammunition, explosives
and at least one pipe bomb.
I don't think Pope
wanted the outside world
to spill over into the Enquirer.
Our philosophy, I guess you'd call it
is basically that,
in all the other media
the people are getting
all the bad news today.
They're getting swamped with it,
inundated with it
and I think they've
just about had it.
I think they're searching
for something that's gonna tell them
there's a good side to life.
Everything isn't bad.
Pope was the conservative man.
Was he a Republican or Democrat?
- I never knew. I could never tell.
- He was a Democrat.
I never knew him
to be anything but that.
But he wasn't somebody
who was interested in getting elected
or having a hand in Washington.
That wasn't his bag.
Because he came
from a rich Italian family
which was Mafia-related
the only connection
to politics they had
was they owned the politicians.
We were into country and flag.
Most of our readers
were proud to be American.
We did not attack the US government
because our readers believed
in the US government.
I mean, we weren't
the conscience of the world.
We were interested in stories
that would sell paper.
The National Enquirer
was a place where
you know, facts were not important.
What was important was eyeballs.
The universe that is described
in edition after edition
of the National Enquirer is a...
non-existent universe
in terms of reality.
It's always been fake-ish.
In other words,
there was a nub of truth
to most of the stories that printed.
We would sensationalize
that germ of truth
to make it very palatable
and very desirable to the reader.
We used to call
that exploding the nub.
Things were exploded.
You'd just take a story,
and you make it more interesting.
You don't change the facts.
You just sensationalize it.
That's what tabloids do.
Generoso Pope decided
that he wanted to move
the Enquirer out of New York.
And in 1971, we moved to Florida.
He wanted to be on the ocean.
And once he was here, he never left.
He had the wherewithal to go
anywhere in the world he wanted.
He preferred to sit in Lantana
and let the world come to him.
Walking into the Enquirer office
at that time
was through a beautiful,
tropical garden.
And you walk in
to this gigantic newsroom
which is buzzing...
editors who bent over their desks
and calling all over the world.
Is this overseas
from Melbourne, Australia?
Well, we have some questions
on that UFO story.
Everybody's typing.
Everybody's furiously on the phone.
It was a...
like a journalistic beehive.
Controlled chaos.
- It really was.
- Rotary phones and ashtrays.
Cigarettes and cigars everywhere.
God knows why we didn't
all have lung cancer
but it was a place
that got your adrenaline going.
It was such a great vibe.
It was so exciting.
It was so crazy, and you just thought
"Maybe I want to be a part of this."
The city room has a decidedly
Fleet Street accent.
I have but a moment
to reach Henry Green.
And why do you liken Hoover
to a European dictator?
Okay, John. This is story 207.
Pope likes London journalists
schooled in scandal
and the various successes
of the British penny press.
Oh, those papers
had the most saucy stories
and they didn't spare
any details at all.
They went for the jugular,
and he said
"I got to have me those guys.
That's who I want on my paper."
British reporters
were a lot more aggressive
a lot more capable
of doing unorthodox things.
Number one under Gene Pope
is Iain Calder.
By age 25, I'd worked on three papers
including the biggest paper
in Scotland.
That's where I really
learned this craft.
Iain Calder had worked
on the Glasgow Record
and was used to chasing fire engines
and doing a lot of,
kind of, scurrilous stuff.
People were slashing
rival reporters' tires
cutting people out on the doorstep.
Calder came from that background.
Every story you went out on,
you were under pressure
to get something better
than the guy next to you.
It was cutthroat competition.
You had to have cunning,
charm when it was needed.
You had to talk people
into being in a paper
they didn't want to be in.
We didn't take no for an answer.
But we're guys who were raised
on checkbook journalism
underhand tactics,
but we were not scumbags.
We were pretty good journalists.
And we, of course,
are checking to see
whether you have any information
on the situation.
All the information
I have at this time
- is the following.
- Okay.
We would run circles
around most American reporters.
They just didn't have it.
Some of them did.
Some of them developed it
but only under our tutelage.
I was looking for,
like, UK type reporters
and the only reason I needed them
was I couldn't find
great reporters in America.
We were in an uphill battle
to try to get them to come
and work for the Enquirer.
The reputation of the Enquirer
was terrible.
I honestly thought,
"Would it be easier to tell people
I was in prison or a mental hospital
for a couple years?"
When I first joined the paper,
it was kind of a joke, really.
We thought they were kind of tacky.
I went to Harvard to become a writer
and as my mother said, "No way.
You can't go from Harvard
to the National Enquirer."
The prospect of writing
for a national audience
was pretty thrilling.
I mean, even though
it was the National Enquirer.
But the reality was different.
These people are promising
to triple my salary
and send me around the world.
I need to be...
a little bit reckless.
Generoso Pope owned
the National Enquirer lock,
stock, and barrel.
He had a fortune, so he didn't care
what expenses racked up
chasing down stories.
If you could get his curiosity going
then you're gonna be doing it
and using his money.
You didn't have to ask
to hire a plane or a boat
or a house or anything else.
You just did it.
The owner would hand
them bags of money
and they were on
a private jet to Paris.
- Maui.
- Monaco.
Puerto Vallarta.
Vilcabamba. We're staying in
a luxury hotel, got the penthouse.
What about a temple
of snakes in India?
"Can you get out today to Hong Kong?"
The world was our oyster.
That was the marvelous thing
about the Enquirer.
The range of stuff was terrific.
It was more than
any newspaper or magazine
that I had worked for ever offered.
Within the first two years,
I was making as much as Ben Bradlee
was at The Washington Post
and I thought,
"Man, that guy's underpaid."
One thing about the atmosphere
in the newsroom
at the National Enquirer
is you would have frivolity
and that sense of energy going on
but when Generoso Pope
walked through that newsroom...
everyone picked up a phone
and started talking like
they were doing an interview.
There was a tension
whenever he entered the room.
It was best if you didn't engage
with him until he knew you.
Couple of times he barked at me,
I nearly jumped out of my skin.
You suddenly realized
that you're dealing with somebody
who's 100% ruthless.
He was a terrifying figure.
You didn't talk to Mr. Pope,
and he didn't talk to you.
After I'd been there about six months
I was walking down the corridor,
and he was walking towards me.
He looked down at me
and said, "Hi, David."
I thought, "Oh, Jesus.
He knows my name. This is very bad."
We were instructed
not to look him in the eye.
He never once looked me in the eye
the entire time I worked for him.
He would look at his desk
or look at the floor.
Gene Pope was ambitious and driven,
and when he wanted something
he was like an express train
going 100 miles an hour
and if people, that he hired,
weren't taking him there
they were gone.
There was no job security
at the National Enquirer.
He would pit every editor
against each other
and we would vie
for the number-one spot.
It was brutal.
It was brutal.
If you were somebody that got results
and you got page ones and big stories
well, you might be good for a week.
Everybody lived in terror of Friday
because, on Friday,
it was usually a bloodbath.
At the end of the week,
we'd lock up the paper
and people would all gravitate
out to go have a drink.
Pope got tired of everybody leaving
so he decided to bring in this huge
catered event every Friday night.
- Turkeys, full hams.
- Shrimp.
And a full ice-cream-sundae bar.
And all the booze
you could possibly drink.
Beer, wine, everything.
Of course, all of us
would all get very drunk.
Pope would sit
in the middle of the newsroom
smoking his cigarettes.
But somebody would be fired
before that dinner was over.
It was the Friday night massacre
and this was ruthless.
Security would just come
to a reporter's desk
escort them out of the building
and hand them a paycheck
on the way out.
You never knew
who was going to survive Friday.
Goodbye, Florida living.
Goodbye, big paychecks.
Goodbye, amazing expense accounts.
It all went out
the window in a flash.
It was all about the story.
Get the story and don't come back
until you have it.
The National Enquirer at its zenith
was a spy network.
You couldn't go into hospital
without somebody calling the Enquirer
because they were all getting paid.
We might have a stories
from your sister
your brother, your boyfriend.
It was important to know
the hairstylist.
Some of them were bitter,
angry, jealous.
Envy was a very key factor.
In Hollywood, it was amazing
how many people were prepared
to sell out the stars
they worked for.
Someone in your PR office,
someone in your lawyer's office
someone in your agent's office.
And the agents
double-dipped all the time.
That's, like,
standard operating procedure.
The average snitch
with just a silly little tip
would be getting 300 bucks.
If the tip made the cover,
it was more like 5,000
6,000, 10,000.
We're talking about big bucks.
I mean, you... you were
not supposed to pay for news.
You know,
when I was at the New York Post
you would pay for photos,
but that's very different.
A lot of outlets do that.
You do not pay for information.
The mainstream media went after us
saying we paid sources.
We said, "Yes, we do."
Listen. If they've got
the information
they should be paid for it.
When I started at the
National Enquirer as a reporter
I didn't know very much
about the world
and one of the great heartaches
of my experience there
was to see that if you were famous
if you were rich,
if you were a celebrity
that people in your orbit
would undoubtedly
one day betray you for money,
and the thing that shocked me
was that it was always
the people close to you
who would betray you the most.
I had a story about Bob Hope
and it was about
all of his philandering
and some of his mistresses
and all this
so I...
I wrote it up. I submitted it.
Mr. Pope got it, and he said to me
I don't think America wants
to know this about Bob Hope"
and he killed the story.
Mr. Pope killed the story.
There had to be some advantage
that they would get out
of killing a story.
There's a scandal?
There's a negative story?
Oh, in exchange,
we'll do Bob Hope at home.
We'll make a deal with you
to do nice stories
and you'll cooperate with us,
and we'll take beautiful pictures
and all that other stuff
will go away.
And then you'd have an ongoing
relationship with them.
It's like getting them on the hook
and then they have to keep giving
you these positive stories.
It's protection money,
and that's how the Mafia works.
We were the only people
that celebrities had to fear
if they did something wrong.
They had to worry about the Enquirer
knowing 'cause we knew
I wouldn't say everything,
but we knew a heck of a lot.
And there were
several people with him
and we don't have
the information yet as to who...
Some of the things
that we did to get a story
blurred the lines of legality,
I would say.
I mean, I've done dirty tricks.
Oh, my Lord.
Phones were bugged by private
detectives employed by the Enquirer.
People's mail
was sometimes being read
taken out of letter boxes
and opened and resealed and...
and what have you.
Was there things that were done that
were questionable, outright illegal?
I've loved him for nine years!
Elvis was everything
to an Enquirer reader.
Elvis Presley could make
or break a whole tabloid.
It could make or break
a whole tabloid reporter's career.
Elvis Presley, the longtime
King of Rock and Roll, is dead.
An autopsy report released tonight...
The emperor,
the pope of rock and roll
died last Tuesday at the hospital...
Tomorrow, Elvis Presley will be
buried after a private funeral.
I was in the office in 1977
when Elvis died.
The news broke about five o'clock
in the afternoon
and by 5.45, there were six of us
on a Learjet heading for Memphis.
There was one extra bag on the plane
and that bag contained
$50,000 in cash.
By 5.00pm, the crowd
numbered more than 70,000.
For many, it was all just too much.
Friends tried to comfort fans
who'd waited 20 hours
to pay their last respects.
All I feel is just hurt.
I hurt all over.
When we got to Memphis, we took over
the entire floor of a Holiday Inn.
Booked up every room in the hotel.
We had fax machines going
and photocopying machines.
Yeah, we turned the hotel
into a newspaper office.
And they put out the word
that if anybody has got anything,
we'll pay them.
And that cash rapidly
started to be distributed
to various sources in Memphis.
We bought up almost everybody.
The huge crowds have become
steadily bigger throughout the day.
The families say they want
the funeral to be quiet
to be dignified,
and to be a family affair.
Pope had a very strange mentality.
He wanted to know all the ins
and outs of people's deaths.
Before the funeral,
Elvis Presley's body
dressed in a white dinner jacket
lay in a copper coffin for people
to see though not photograph.
Cameras were not permitted.
The perfect Enquirer photo,
nobody else had it.
It had to be a one-of-a-kind.
It had to tell a story unto itself
and it had to be something
that everybody wanted to see.
The right photo could bring
the phenomenal amount of money
depending on how right it was
so what's the ultimate picture
that you're gonna get of Elvis?
Elvis in the coffin.
That was an operation
that was highly secret
went on for days and days and days.
It was a white cortege,
a white hearse
and ten white Cadillacs.
Elvis loved Cadillacs.
He had a dozen himself.
So all the relatives were in line
at his casket to bid him farewell.
We dressed up a portly,
older British gentleman as a priest
and he was in line.
He got to the casket.
And underneath his robe,
he had a little miniature camera.
But he couldn't get high enough
to get the picture
so we didn't have that.
One of our photographers saw Elvis'
cousin going to a local bar.
And he followed him in
and as the guy's standing there,
he says to him
"How'd you like to make
a lot of money?"
"Oh, I'd love to, mate."
He said, "If I gave you a camera
could you get a picture
of Elvis in his coffin?"
Unfortunately, it didn't work
the first couple of times
and he had to make excuses to go back
and pay his respects
over and over again.
The first picture is a picture
of the guy taking the picture.
He had turned it
'round the wrong way.
Second one...
picture of the chandelier.
I go, "Oh, my God."
The third one was just brilliant.
It was the perfect page one picture.
We sold 6.9 million copies that week.
People were stealing copies.
This was so huge.
Mary Jane buys the paper.
She gives it to mom.
Mom gives it to niece.
Niece gives it to her husband.
There were 25 million readers a week.
The Enquirer had so much mail
that they had their own
ZIP code, 33464.
Thousands and thousands
of letters a day.
We were bigger than Time magazine.
We were bigger than Newsweek.
We sold more copies than anyone else.
This is your favorite magazine,
the National Enquirer.
- Here we go again.
- Iain Calder on dirt.
At the National Enquirer,
we uncover more dirt than anyone
except possibly this Hoover cleaner
with attached tools and hose.
It may even get more dirt than we do.
When we had a major front page
and it sold really well
I maybe had ten minutes of euphoria.
Then I would remember I had
to find a great front page
that was gonna sell four
and a half, five million copies.
So every single week, it just went on
and on, and on like that.
When his body was found last week
police said John Belushi
at the age of only 33
had died of natural causes
- and that there was no foul play.
- When somebody dies, it's like
"Okay. Let's bad-mouth them
as much as possible.
Let's put it in the Enquirer."
John Belushi dying was a big story
but we always wanted to do
the story behind the story.
That's what sold papers.
So I picked two
really great reporters.
Tony Brenna and I,
who was my partner in that.
I think Haley was
a very competent journalist...
even by Enquirer standards.
I was in Lantana in March
when he died at the Chateau Marmont.
We wanted to know
what happened that night
and there was this mystery woman
whose name wasn't released.
They called her Cathy Silverbags
because she sold drugs
out of a silver purse.
Cathy Evelyn Smith listed
her profession as backup singer.
Police questioned
but then released her.
So Smith, a 35-year-old
rock and roll groupie
went home to Toronto.
We then went up to Canada
to find Cathy Smith.
We spent about ten days
in a hotel room.
And the story came in, and I say
"You know, this woman is saying
that she killed John Belushi.
She should not be saying it."
I said, "I want that headline."
I said, "Go back and get her to say
'I killed John Belushi, ' on tape."
So we spent the next week
partying with her.
We ran up an enormous hotel bill
and had a great time
and became her best friends.
And she didn't want to say it.
Tony had a tape recorder going.
I had one going. She would say
"Yeah. I... We were responsible
for his death, but I...
- We can't say that."
- I said, "Oh, c'mon, Catherine.
Let's get this over with. You killed
the guy, under any circumstance.
You shot him up with heroin
and cocaine, and he died"
and she said,
"Well, if you want me to say that
- I killed him."
- Turn off the tape.
And click.
You know, Brenna turns his tape off.
I leave mine running.
So I ended up taping her...
confessing to the murder.
So anyway, they got her to say it.
We ran this front-page story
"I killed John Belushi."
It's the murder confession.
It's all the details.
She was John Belushi's
Florence Nightingale with a needle.
Well, it's not something
Cathy Smith is going to say.
It's not something most people
are gonna say
but you say, you know
"You were sort of like
a Florence Nightingale with a needle.
That's what you're saying."
She says, "Yeah. That's right."
She's being fed a quote.
That's how it works.
We knew that what she was saying
was gonna be self-incriminating
and that she would probably
be arrested for it, and she was.
So the prosecutor's office went nuts.
In an Enquirer article,
written by Brenna and Haley
Smith appears to confess
to injecting Belushi
with a fatal dose
of heroin and cocaine.
And for the next six months,
I was in front of a grand jury.
I mean, this was the first time
that National Enquirer reporters
had to show up by subpoena
to a grand-jury murder investigation
on a major celebrity.
It was stressful.
Actually, my marriage fell apart.
Tony's fell apart first, I followed
pretty much right behind him.
I felt that we had crossed
the line on that story.
We had...
gone too far in becoming her friend
and I felt we had sold her out
and I felt that particularly
so when she actually went to prison.
John Belushi's story
would be one of the occasions
that got to be...
ethically challenging.
Becoming a famous celebrity
is a trade-off.
You want the public to admire you.
That's not free... that's not free.
You have to give, in return,
some access to your life.
What you give up is anonymity.
I had a contact in Las Vegas
who tipped me off
that Cosby was keeping a girl.
And she was a showgirl.
He bought a house for her
and he would go up to Vegas
and visit her.
So I ordered a stakeout,
a photographer we had in Vegas
and he caught Cosby
going into the house
coming out of the house with the girl
kissing her at the door, all of this.
And I had a couple
other contacts of mine
who were able to confirm this story.
I wrote it up,
gave it into my editor.
Mr. Pope saw the story, and he said,
"She's got to go and call Cosby."
This was the time
that he was America's dad.
He had The Cosby Show on television.
I'd been on the set many times.
I interviewed
all the other people on there
and I thought, "Oh, my God.
If I have to call Cosby up now."
They said, "You got to call him,"
so I called him
and he, of course, said
"What's the name
of your executive editor?"
And I told him, and he said,
"What number can I reach him?"
I gave him the number.
He said, "Thank you very much,"
and he hung up.
He proceeded to call Iain Calder
who cut a deal with Cosby
to kill my story
in exchange for a couple of
sit-down interviews
with any reporter
except Barbara Sternig.
And that was kind of the end of
my relationship with The Cosby Show.
For a long time,
we killed stories about Bill Cosby.
I got some stories.
Little starlets who were on his show
they would call in, you know
"He did this. He did that."
I would go to my editor
and I would put a lead
in about the story
and it gets approved or not approved.
I never heard about it again.
It was never seen again.
You ask about it, and we'll say,
"We'll get back to you"
but you learned, at least for me
early on, I was brand-new.
I'm still trying to prove myself...
You didn't push it.
I was making trades that would
make our readers happier
but I had to make that decision myself.
What's the better stories?
We were keen on any story
that would sell papers.
There's a sort of nasty little
characteristic that people have.
They... get a little jealous
of success.
They want to see somebody
taken down a peg or two.
It's like in ancient Rome, okay?
They cheer them when they are famous
and they cheer them
when they're doing well
but when things go wrong,
they give them the thumbs-down
and say, "Good riddance.
To hell with them."
I intend to seek the presidency
of the United States in 1988.
The Enquirer, for a long time,
didn't touch politics
because Generoso Pope
didn't think politicians sold.
But politics became
another form of celebrity
and that's where
the Enquirer got into it.
You can't underestimate
the significance of Gary Hart
to the National Enquirer.
We weren't interested
in doing stories
about potential presidential
candidates and politicians, per se
unless there was some,
really, other story.
Gary Hart was young.
He was good-looking.
He was from out west,
had friends like Warren Beatty
and a lot of other Hollywood stars
and the thought was that
he was gonna win
the Democratic nomination.
He was a meteor.
The Miami Herald came out
with their story
a romance between these two people.
Why is The Miami Herald engaging
in Enquirer type shit, you know?
And I thought,
"Well, why don't we try to see
what we can get a piece
of this whole action
and this Gary Hart thing
the Herald has got?"
All I can say is,
a picture is worth a thousand words.
He basically challenged the press.
He said, "If you think
I have a girlfriend, go for it."
Come on. That's the perfect setup
for being on
an Enquirer front-page story
is good-looking,
sexy, lying politician.
Did I do anything immoral?
I absolutely did not.
He went on television.
He said, "It's not true.
It's absolutely not true.
We know it's not true"
and he had his wife
by his side who stood by him.
And when Gary says,
"Nothing happened..."
nothing happened.
I mean, everybody knew
he'd had a thing with this girl
but nobody had the proof.
We discovered through
one of his neighbors
that he had gone down
to take a boat ride out of Miami
and he had a girl with him.
We swept through
that wharf for five days
trying to find somebody
with knowledge of it.
We had contact with a freelancer
who knew this photograph existed
and we came to an arrangement.
It's $87,000
and we owned worldwide rights
to that photo forever.
I couldn't have created
a better picture.
I couldn't have sent a photographer
out with instructions
and had him come back
with something better than that.
That changed the face
of American politics.
Gary Hart had an excellent chance
of becoming president
and that just destroyed
his political chances.
I don't really want
to comment on that.
Dukakis took his place.
Read my lips. No new taxes.
No chance against George Bush,
so George Bush became president...
and his son became president later.
We changed the course
of history with that.
Now, did we do well or not?
I... That's not my problem.
My problem is, we got the story.
The Gary Hart story
busted down the privacy wall
just smithereens,
just knocked it down and said
"We're gonna know
everything about everyone"
because it sold more papers.
I think it's important
to journalists...
as to how they go after the story
as to what they see themselves.
Are they news gatherers?
Are they private eyes?
Are they voyeurs?
Mr. Pope died in 1988.
Then there was a limbo period
where things
were just kind of very tense...
and everybody was thrown
into a state of complete uncertainty.
"What's gonna happen?
Will the paper keep going?"
Certainly, it was not going to go
on the way Mr. Pope ran it
because Mr. Pope owned
100% of the newspaper
and he got what he wanted
the way he wanted it.
He had built a world
in which he was God
and it was a small world
populated by adoring figures
and people who would do
anything at his command.
Basically, we're giving
the public a little hope
a little hope that life
isn't all as bad as it's portrayed.
We like to tell people
that their problems are solvable.
There are solutions.
Things aren't quite as bad
as they might seem.
We lost our identity...
after Pope died.
We forgot who we were.
We had so many changes
of ownership and leadership
every one of them
wanting to change something.
The Enquirer had a perfect formula
and in my opinion,
they should've been left alone.
Is it entertainment
or is it information?
I think it's both.
And I think a good newspaper
is a combination of
entertainment and information.
One of my concerns is that it dilutes
the news-gathering process broadly
and that in the long run,
it affects me because...
my publisher or Jack's publisher says
"Oh, look at this stuff. It's hot.
It really sells.
Don't you think
you ought to be moving
a little more away from this boring
Sino-Soviet Summit stuff?"
You're forgetting something.
There's nobody in this room
who doesn't deal in tragedy.
Nobody in this room...
How do you think America
found out about Jessica Hahn
- and Jimmy Swaggart?
- But that's not trash. That's...
that's a great story!
Why don't we just acknowledge
that's what it is.
The very first time Donald Trump
made a large presence
on the cover of the National Enquirer
was the Marla Maples years.
We got a picture of Donald
on the ski slopes with Marla Maples
and his wife, Ivana,
all in the same frame.
Titillated America.
There was heartache and betrayal
and he's cheating,
and they're on ski slopes
and he's bringing the mistress
and the mistress is
in the hotel room over here
and the wife
is in the hotel room over there.
It's a great story, right?
Everybody loves it.
This Marla Maples-Donald Trump story
was occurring at the same time
that Nelson Mandela
was being released from his years
in the South African gulag.
An event of tremendous importance
to the world.
This was the purest example
of the movement
from tabloids
into the mainstream press.
And it also tells us something
about Donald Trump
and his rise through
the sensationalist press.
The biggest tipster ever
in the business was Donald Trump.
He would call the tabloids
in New York
to drop gossip items about himself.
Right. Okay.
He's had pseudonyms
where'd he call and pretend
that he was a spokesperson.
He really wanted to be a star.
We recognized that Donald Trump
had value to the National Enquirer
because he could sell newspapers.
He's a very, very good
snake-oil salesman
and he fit very well
with the Enquirer.
Our readers liked him, so we put
a gentleman in charge of him
and the gentleman's name
was Larry Haley
and Larry's job was basically
to keep track of Donald's love life.
I was offered the use of his plane
from West Palm Beach to New York
and back on the weekends
comps at all the hotels, you name it.
Never took one of them.
Only thing I ever took from him
was a can of Diet Coke
at a party at Mar-a-Lago.
I think that I probably
was being looked at
like a public-relations operation...
for him, you know.
Just by manipulating
our interest in his celebrity.
And it was the constant,
6.00am phone calls.
You know, I started feeling
very quickly
that I'm working for this guy,
but I'm not being paid by this guy
and I had to remind him
I don't work for him.
Trump married Marla
and the two Enquirer reporters
were VIP invitees at the wedding.
I'm happy and excited,
and it's the wedding of the century.
- It'll be good.
- Thank you, Robin.
Everybody in the country
believes that maybe
their relationship could work
if this relationship will work
you know, with all the things
that they've gone through
and I think this will work.
- Okay.
- I give it four months.
I was there that night.
I was confronted by Marla Maples
and she was telling me that
she had gone after Donald and got him
and she was Mrs. Trump.
I said, "Well, I can't argue
with any of that"
but, you know, basically,
she disliked me greatly
because of a lot of the stuff
we revealed about her.
But Trump never got upset.
Even when they were married
as long as it wasn't about him,
he was okay.
He would throw Marla
under the bus in a second
to not have a bad publicity himself
and did more than once.
The Donald-Marla affair
had everything
money, power, a blonde bombshell
combined with catchy headlines
and family feud.
Are you two back together?
Well, we are right now,
aren't we, hon?
He was a guy we wanted stories from.
At the same time, he was studying
how we took things
put them into headlines
and sold them to this
common-man audience.
He wanted to use us as a microphone
to a different group of people.
The American public starts
to become emotionally attached
and wants to see what's happening
next with this particular celebrity
and he had crossed that line.
People now wanted to know
about Donald Trump.
We've always had in this county
a kind of seamy
underside of the news business.
Tabloids. You know,
there's nothing new about it.
And our agenda at newspapers
and magazines
is increasingly these guys' agenda.
But we all have the same boss.
It's the public, and if we continue
this Columbia School
of Journalism rhetoric
this rag rhetoric which says
"People should...
shouldn't be reporting that.
They shouldn't be jamming this
down people's throats."
- My God, let the public decide.
- It's also very...
Let the public decide!
You're looking down your nose
at the public.
The public has a right to know
what it wants to know.
Now, your point's well-taken, but...
We don't all have
to be porn publishers.
All right. But why...
No, I don't think that it's porn
to publish a story
about Tonya Harding
or Michael Jackson.
Whoever wants to put that out there
to sell papers
what's wrong with it?
Because if the lowest
common denominator
is gonna drive
the journalistic market
- we're in big trouble.
- Connie Chung...
Let him finish.
I'll come back to you, Mike.
But let me finish.
Something has tipped.
People come out and criticize us.
They call us lowlifes of journalism,
give us obnoxious anecdotal names.
We didn't care,
and I still don't care.
We were very good at what we did.
Steve Coz has been with the
National Enquirer for 13 years now.
A little more than a month ago,
he was promoted to executive editor.
When Steve took over
as editor in 1995
it was just new blood
willing to listen to new ideas.
Steve Coz brought the National
Enquirer out of the Stone Age.
And he brought a lot
of credibility to the paper.
He didn't look like
a scruffy, old guy
with a cigar
hanging out of his mouth.
He was Ivy League,
dresses in his little polo shirts.
He looks polished.
You could have gone to Time magazine
and seen somebody
who looked just like Steve Coz.
You know, he went to Harvard,
but he wasn't that button-down.
He reminded me of, like, a guy
who'd been a part-time
bartender in Nantucket.
Old-timers from the UK,
yes, I think we all grinned a bit.
We said, "My God, we're working
for a schoolboy now", you know?
The Enquirer, for the most part,
was all white people.
They had no minorities. They were
these old Brits and old white guys
who didn't see women
or minorities of any importance.
We had to go in and fight our way.
He encouraged diversity.
He encouraged
out-of-the-box thinking.
He was a person who knew
that growth depended on...
coming of age.
I was brought in to help visualize
what black readership
would like to see.
It opened up the playing field
of who we could go after.
It's not the just
the same people all the time.
- Yeah!
- And Oprah Winfrey
made the difference.
She went across all color lines.
Women bought the Enquirer more
than anybody, and women loved Oprah.
Oprah was on the cover, gosh,
at least once or twice a month.
Oprah sold a lot of papers.
Whitney Houston sold a lot of papers
not because of her talent
but because of her drug use.
She became front page.
Somebody like Michael Jackson
broke all stereotypes
all color lines, everything.
Everybody loved Michael.
But we started hearing
a lot of stories.
We have family members that called,
close family members that called
and told us
what was going on with him.
So we were able to bring in,
stories that nobody else had.
I think the Enquirer has become
an emblem and a symbol
for some people of a certain type
of journalism in this country.
I think it is important to note
the National Enquirer
has also gotten
some stories really right.
The newspapers used to say,
"Yeah. You get exclusives
but if we were up against you,
mano a mano,
we would beat the hell out of you."
Well, okay. OJ Simpson was the test.
On 911 tapes just released last night
OJ Simpson could be heard
screaming about a 1993 article
in the National Enquirer.
Enquirer editors say, they have been
following abuse allegations
against the former football superstar
since 1989.
Los Angeles police have been talking
to former pro football star
OJ Simpson today
after the death of his ex-wife
and a 26-year-old man
early this morning.
When the Simpson murders occurred,
we knew this was a seminal moment
for the National Enquirer.
We already had huge networks
in place in the celebrity community
and this occurred in the middle
of one of our networks
so, we immediately put
every last resource into it.
While the Los Angeles Times
has four reporters
working on the OJ Simpson story
the National Enquirer
has a team of more than 20.
We were at the crime scene
before the coroner arrived there.
We brought in freelancers.
We went to every
single photographer we knew in LA
and told them that we would pay them
any amount of money
for any photographs
they thought were relevant.
We spent easily over
a million dollars in source
and photographic money.
The Enquirer's tentacles
were amazing in those days.
From Florida all the way to LA,
we were all involved in that story.
Homicide detectives expanded
the restricted area
around Nicole Simpson's
townhouse today.
Nicole's father, Louis,
and one of her sisters also arrived
and removed some personal
We had a reporter who was
in really tight with Nicole's family.
He was dating both the daughters.
We had other people who had
contacts with the Goldman family
including Ron Goldman's mother
who lived in St. Louis.
We also had a network into some
of OJ Simpson's fellow athletes
and, don't forget,
OJ Simpson's friends.
We had a very good working
relationship with the police.
We had moles
in the prosecutor's office
and we had jailhouse sources,
as well.
We knew what he was saying.
We knew where he went
to the bathroom.
I mean, we had everything.
We had it totally wired
from beginning to end, and it sold.
Everyone in the country
was riveted by this.
Now the National Enquirer is
competing with the mainstream press
often beating rivals to the punch
on big headline stories.
A lot of the details
that have later turned up
in Newsweek
or on other television shows
have first been reported
in the Enquirer.
Our stories showed
more details on that crime
than any other publication.
We were constantly on it.
It was like a soap opera.
You just stay on them,
and anything you heard today
"What's going on with him now?"
It was a story
that riveted the nation.
It was one of the first
cable-news national melodramas
so people were glued
to their television sets
and the National Enquirer,
was a paper version of a TV.
People had to follow them.
It was impossible to ignore them.
The Enquirer's Coz says, not only
do readers love their OJ articles
but their commitment to coverage
has brought new respect.
This is a fascinating,
interesting story.
The conventional press is basically
come into the tabloid territory
and they've come to appreciate us.
The Bruno Magli makes shoes
that looked the shoe
that they had in court
that's involved in this case.
I would have never worn
those ugly-ass shoes.
Enquirer reporters
were digging out material
that the establishment press
had missed.
There was a key moment where evidence
and the existence of it was broken
by the National Enquirer.
It had to be followed
by most of the major publications
in the country.
A kid from Boulder sends me
this Polaroid picture
of this washed-out, chain-link fence
and this tiny, little stick
figure way in the back
and he says,
"Maybe you can blow this up
and see if OJ's
wearing the murder shoes."
Something that the investigators
during the murder trial had not done.
Finding the Bruno Magli shoes
on OJ's feet was a mission
and every single person
in the newsroom
was involved in that to some degree.
OJ said, "I never wore
those ugly-ass things."
So we spent three months
and tens of thousands of dollars
hiring every sports photographer
we could
to go look
through their old negatives.
Every photographer
who shot every NFL game
that OJ had been at,
we called one by one
slowly but surely,
all of them and asked them to look.
Larry Haley found the guy.
About a thousand cops were trying
to link the shoes with OJ Simpson.
Mainly, they were trying to do it
through finding a purchase.
They were right there in Buffalo.
And there wasn't just one of them.
There was a whole frame of OJ Simpson
walking on the sidelines
where you can see
that sole that left the footprints
in blood around Nicole Brown's head
right there on that picture.
It was... it was like
finding the Holy Grail.
It was so exciting.
It was like we really did something
now that made a difference.
OJ Simpson and his attorneys,
when we ran that
were saying that we made this up
that we put the shoes
on his feet, right?
Three other photographers had
pictures from the same game of OJ
wearing the same shoes.
We also had 33 other pictures
taken in two different locations
one in Pittsburgh where he
was getting his shoes shined
after a sideline commentary
in the basement of the hotel
across from the stadium.
That image was used as the major
evidence against OJ Simpson.
It won the Goldman family
and Nicole's family
the civil trial...
because OJ was found guilty
based upon that photo of him
in the Bruno Magli shoes.
Those "ugly-ass shoes"
changed the Enquirer immensely
because that's one of the times
that the mainstream media
had to give us credit,
because they were there.
You know, if you just kept
plugging away
if you kept digging,
you would have found them, too.
The mainstream guys
suddenly saw it, "Uh-oh.
We wish they'd stayed with UFOs."
The establishment press
finally had to admit
that they were being beaten
by a sleazy supermarket tabloid.
Any newspaper in America
would like The New York Times
to call them the bible
of a major story like this.
Walter, did you put
Steve Coz and the...
and the National Enquirer
among the 25 most influential
figures in this country?
The Enquirer has broken
a lot of stories.
They've changed a lot of the ways
they do their reporting
and their fact-checking.
They've become more respectable
and I think it began to seep in
for better and worse
into the mainstream press
what the tabloids do.
So, it... it could have been
for worse too.
You could be influential for worse.
The line between tabloid
and mainstream journalism
has become blurred.
You know, everyone talks about
the mainstream press
versus the National Enquirer
but you remember
the National Enquirer is
the best-selling weekly in America
so who's defining mainstream?
OJ Simpson caused the wheels of
traditional journalism to fall off.
That... that's the moment
when traditional journalism
begins this fast slide
into tabloidism.
As a parent,
I want to protect children
because I brought the children
out here for a holiday,
and we'd really appreciate the space.
I understand that.
We've had 15 cameras
following us today.
The National Enquirer
was on this incredible roll.
We had OJ Simpson,
the JonBent story, Cosby.
We had all these great stories.
And then in 1997
we have a cover out
on the stands which says
"Sex-mad Di, 'I can't get enough.'"
We didn't have the first pictures
of she and Dodi together...
on the boat.
Another paper had gotten those
so, we bought the second set
of pictures of she and Dodi
on the boat, and published them.
Probably biggest mistake
we ever made unknowingly.
We closed on a Friday night
and we ran it pretty small
on the side...
and that paper went to press.
And Di died that night
in the car crash.
The car was traveling extremely fast
in an attempt to escape
the attentions of the paparazzi
who were on motorcycles or scooters
for reasons we don't yet know.
The accident happened late at night
in a road tunnel in Paris.
An unconfirmed...
source from the Press Association
is that Diana,
Princess of Wales, has died.
Steve was immediately called by CNN
and all this,
everybody wanted to comment
because they were all saying
the paparazzi were chasing them.
But because of that headline
on the cover
the Enquirer was pulled
from every newsstand in America.
The Enquirer headquarters in Lantana
was besieged by crowds
and crowds of people accusing us
of killing Princess Diana.
The real cause of her death was
the drunken driver of her limousine
but it was enough
to get everyone believing
that it was
the National Enquirer's fault
and we lost circulation.
This is not a time
for recriminations but for sadness.
However, I would say
that I always believed
the press would kill her
in the end...
but not even I could imagine
that they would take
such a direct hand in her death
as seems to be the case.
It would appear that every proprietor
and editor of every publication
that has paid for intrusive
and exploitative photographs of her
encouraging greedy
and ruthless individuals
to risk everything
in pursuit of Diana's image
has blood on his hands today.
Princess Di is dead,
and who should we see about that?
The driver of the car, the paparazzi
or the magazines and papers
who purchase these pictures
and make bounty hunters
out of photographers?
Then it got very personal.
A-listers, like George Clooney
for example
and others pointing fingers
and saying
"Steve Coz, you have
blood on your hands.
You're a murderer.
You killed the Princess."
And as for you, Mr. Coz,
and your colleagues
the Princess of Wales is dead,
and you have gone on television
and you have washed your hands,
and you have placed blame
and you have deflected responsibility
and yet I wonder
how you sleep at night.
You should be ashamed. Thank you.
Mr. Clooney, will there be questions?
I'm not going to, thank you.
To blame one institution,
i.e. the National Enquirer
for the paparazzi
on the planet is ridiculous.
The paparazzi started and existed
before the National Enquirer existed.
The thirst...
for private knowledge
about the celebrities
is what fuels the paparazzi.
We were, you know, award-winning
journalism for four years
and now suddenly we were blamed
for Princess Di's death
and I personally was blamed.
The National Enquirer
and their ilk believe
they have a right
to intrude on your privacy
and to... and to make
your private life public.
Does it sell newspapers?
Does it sell magazines?
Of course it does, but what are
we doing to ourselves with that...
and what are we doing
to these people?
Because they are
th e National Enquirer
they flirt constantly
with the danger of libel suits.
Several times a day,
Executive Editor, Steve Coz
consults with the paper's lawyer
a man by the name of David Kendall
who also represents
the President of the United States.
We break stories.
We go after newsmakers.
We don't care if they're politicians
or celebrities.
We cover newsmakers that we think
Americans want to read about.
When are the reports about
an official's personal life valid
and what is the impact on the public?
What did I say to you guys?
We're not coming back. Move back.
Have the media gone nuts
in covering this story
or is this one of those cases where
there is no such thing as too much?
The Enquirer getting the scoop
just weeks after rocking
the establishment press
by breaking the story
of what it called
"Jesse Jackson's Love Child."
We didn't go after them.
We didn't promote them.
We didn't stand up for them.
We didn't say,
"Oh, vote for this guy"
or, "He's a good guy,"
or, "He's a bad guy."
They went out, and they did things
like cheat on their wife
and have affairs
with interns or whatever.
And that's something
that we reacted to
'cause that's something
people wanted to read.
We didn't say, "Oh, he's a Democrat.
He's a Republican.
We're not gonna get this one.
We'll leave him alone."
Believe me,
if we had had George Bush doing blow
we would've done it.
That changed when management
That changed
when David Pecker took over.
Two of the nation's liveliest tabloid
the National Enquirer and the Star
are being taken over by new owners
who want to extend the well-known
titles beyond the supermarket.
The first time I encountered
David Pecker
was when he arose to the head
of a French media company
called Hachette Filipacchi.
At that time, they had Car
and Driver and Woman's Day.
His most famous magazine
was when he backed JFK Jr.
in George magazine.
George is a magazine
that understands that culture
is more powerful than politics.
The traditional lines
between Democrats
and Republicans are disappearing.
The magazine they'll turn to
for a fresh
non-partisan perspective
will be George.
David Pecker insisted that he had
to have pictures of himself
in with JFK Jr.
He definitely knew he was latching
onto something bigger
than himself then.
Pecker's a man who want
to drive around in limousines
wants to belong to the best clubs
and wants to be known
as a celebrity himself.
David Pecker was not a journalist.
He was brought into media
because of his financial acumen.
People would call him a bean counter
for want of a better word,
a financial guy.
In the cultured, highbrow world
of media moguls...
he was seen as more of a scrappy,
"born in the Bronx" kind of guy.
I think he probably always felt
something of an outsider
because of that.
He always wanted to be
a little grander than he was.
He is a short guy
who wanted to be taller
and one of the ways you get taller
is by being a friend
of powerful people
and doing them favors,
or you do it by savaging people
and making people fear you,
and he's done both.
David Pecker had designs
on this machine
called the National Enquirer
early on.
He bought the paper in 1999
and the plan was to create
a media company to rival Time...
something to be at the forefront
of mass media in America.
That was his goal, and he stated
it right out of the gate.
He wants to go
to an advertising-driven vehicle
and polish up the tabloids,
make them slicker
make them more New York.
He wanted to sort of drag
this tabloid empire upscale.
Well, people aren't buying
the National Enquirer to be upscale.
The whole idea was a bad idea.
He really never wanted to learn
what this animal was, that was us.
The assets in the Enquirer
were the people who worked there.
And then came the job cuts.
You know,
he immediately slashed staff.
Expense accounts
were being scrutinized.
Budgets were slashed.
There was less content
and more filler.
With the Enquirer, David Pecker knew
he had a way to reach Middle America
flyby America, supermarket America.
Maybe not as influential
as it was years earlier
but it was still a pretty
healthy company when he took over.
In 2001, David Pecker
built his AMI building
which was always his dream.
And that was pretty quickly
followed by 9/11.
And that was a confluence of events
that changed everything
pretty drastically
all at the same time.
The FBI is searching the site of
the first deadly anthrax attack.
That building
is in Boca Raton, Florida.
It houses the company,
American Media Incorporated
which publishes tabloid newspapers,
including the National Enquirer
The building was sealed off
so that the FBI and the CDC
can search the facility,
looking at packages
and mail that may have been
delivered to the building.
You know, the whole world
was in trauma over 9/11.
And to have a trauma hit like that
a month later close to home
where the man you sit next to dies...
it was terrifying.
The man who died of anthrax
was a photo editor there.
The man exposed to the disease
worked in the mail-room.
There was a huge national fear
that anthrax
was gonna spread across the country
and there's a particular fear
that you could contract anthrax
through employees
of the National Enquirer.
Within a week,
we ran a page-one story
"Bio-Terrorism Attack,"
that this had occurred to us.
Why would they attack American Media?
Why would they attack
the National Enquirer?
Well, it's quite simple.
It's a piece of Americana.
It's a populist,
patriotic American magazine
and that's what I believe
is why we were attacked.
Do you fear, though
a tremendous loss of business?
Yes, Larry, I do.
The World Trade Center was attacked.
The Pentagon was attacked
and American Media was attacked.
You, American Media
publisher of these many tabloids
- were targeted.
- I think so, yes.
And does the Bureau think that?
Have the police thought that
or this a David Pecker thought?
This is a David Pecker thought.
I feel that we had
a bioterrorism attack here.
Management decided that
we needed to be more "patriotic."
That was the word was used.
And to support the war effort
that was coming
you know, we needed to show
that we were strong.
People love to have
patriotic stories on the front
and I think that they had
found another nerve
that they were hitting
on the readership
by doing these post 9/11 stories.
We must have put out probably
five special commemorative editions
that were slicker and glossier...
'cause remember, at our bones,
we're patriotic.
Our readers believed
in the US government
just like they believed in America.
What a greeting. Wow.
Thank you.
From a bodybuilding career
I have gotten
a large female following.
You know, you have situations
where women absolutely, like
take their clothes off
in front of you.
Like, this woman
just took off her clothes
and stood there naked,
and she says, "Take me."
Yeah, baby.
I mean, sometimes, it takes
a little bit of respect away
that one has for women.
Oh, hey. I gotta do that.
I first met Arnold Schwarzenegger
in 1987.
I was part of the team that covered
his marriage to Maria Shriver.
Arnold wasn't the least bit
about interacting with the press.
He brought Maria out of the church
on the steps
and posed for photographs.
He was eating up the press
and we had never encountered
a celebrity like that.
So there was always a lot of
goodwill toward Arnold.
Let's stretch again. Come on.
All right. And let's do some jumping.
Come on, now,
and twisting back and forth.
Oh, I see some sexy bodies
out there twisting. Wow!
But the downside
was Arnold was a womanizer.
We've had stories, you know,
on the sets of movies
where he harassed women all the time.
He can't even deny it at this point.
I mean, he didn't drug people
like Bill Cosby did
to my knowledge, but he...
he was out there constantly,
you know, cheating on his family.
We would catch him from time to time
and that didn't deter him
until he developed
political aspirations.
On the big screen, he's currently
trying to save the human race.
In real life, he's happy
to limit himself
to the 36 million people
of California.
I'm going to run for governor
of the state of California.
So, just as the campaign
was gearing up
the reality was
what are we gonna do with
all these stories about affairs
and his cheating on Maria?
And David Pecker corralled
all the bad stories
and assured him
that during the campaign
he had nothing to worry about.
At the time, the American Media
was making very
highly leveraged deals
for things like
the Joe Weider publications.
Muscle and Fitness magazines
that featured Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Arnold, by this time
was on the board of directors
at American Media.
He was in charge of several
of the publications.
So Arnold came along
with the furniture.
Arnold was family at that point
and he and David Pecker
became close friends.
Arnold Schwarzenegger
had become forbidden fruit.
He was taken off the menu
because he'd made friends
with the management
and if you went
against the management
you were out of a job.
Which brings us to the concept
of catch and kill.
There had been stories done
on Arnold having an affair...
with this young actress.
He was seeing her off
and on for ten years...
a woman by the name of Gigi Goyette.
Approximately two years
after the story
was released in the National Enquirer
we got a call from American Media
and they were interested
in the rights to my...
life story, specifically,
my story with Arnold.
And I met Jerry George.
It was a summer afternoon.
We sat down at the table
and he pulled out
a yellow envelope...
legal envelope
with a three-page contract in it.
We proposed to her that if she
sold us the rights to her story...
we, ultimately, would develop them
in terms of a book
and possibly a television movie.
And he was, like...
kind of buttering me up.
Like, "This is gonna be great.
We're gonna do a book-signing tour.
You'll go all over the country."
"Trust us.
Sign the rights to your story over.
We'll take care of you."
David Pecker decided to buy up
her life story, all rights
and American Media took the contract
put it in the safe, closed the door
and never moved any further
on that project.
They didn't want to publish my story.
They didn't even wanna
see the story. They didn't care.
- That was not their intent.
- And I was part of it.
Not my proudest
professional moment...
but I was the editor on that
and I executed the contract with her.
Unbeknownst to me,
it was to silence my story
from ever hitting the stands
Arnold Schwarzenegger
was running for governor.
If you work hard
and if you play by the rules
this country is truly open to you.
You can achieve anything.
The public didn't think
that the National Enquirer
had a point of view.
They thought the Enquirer's point
of view was, "Cover everybody.
Hold truth to power."
But I don't think...
people expected them
to be burying stories
as part of their political agenda.
The public was, in a sense, deceived
into not seeing the point of view
that was really driving
a lot of the agenda.
I find it very interesting
that the same thing
that happened
to me with American Media
also happened with Stormy Daniels
and Karen McDougal.
The McDougal story
never ran in the tabloid.
Cohen says he worked with
Pecker to bury it...
This is about
the most powerful people
in the country having the ability
to silence and change
the news narrative at will.
And I think that the public
should know that, and...
and, look, I'll defer
to the election-law experts.
They say that
this is worth scrutinizing.
Normally speaking, news organizations
don't get information
in order to bury it.
That's what's different here.
You're talking about
silencing women...
and being involved in silencing
women with hush payments.
That is a whole...
different order of magnitude
that I had never heard of before.
I don't know how many
of these there are.
Those are the ones we know of
but certainly,
these were relationships
that helped powerful figures
maintain their image.
And I know some people who work
at the National Enquirer
and they are good, solid reporters.
It's just that when they veer
into other areas
like trying to overtly help
a candidate win the presidency
that is something different.
When you're talking
about the Enquirer
and you're talking about
what happened with Donald Trump
it is the ultimate corruption.
The idea that you would kill a story
to help the aspirations
of a politician
a businessman,
to make money, whatever
it is as corrupt as anything
you can do as a journalist
as corrupt as you can be.
David Pecker saw Trump
as somebody he should buddy up to.
You know,
"Hey, we're both New Yorkers.
We both have operations in Florida."
David Pecker was known to bump
into Donald Trump in the airport
and hitch a ride
on his private jet back to New York.
They were sort of fellow travelers.
Pecker liked Donald Trump's style.
I think Donald Trump
liked the ability
to be in a publication
that people were reading
and there was a symbiosis there.
Both of them had something
that the other needed
wanted, craved...
and then it grew from there.
David Pecker brought...
a silent editor
with him to the Enquirer
and it was Donald Trump.
Trump could not only control
coverage of his own life...
but he could also offer up
story ideas on his enemies
and he did so frequently.
It's obviously been
a very rough-and-tumble week
between you and Donald Trump.
A salacious story about you was
published in the National Enquirer.
Unsubstantiated stories
about Ted Cruz
including allegations
of marital infidelity
and the baseless claim
that Cruz's father worked
with Lee Harvey Oswald
in the Kennedy assassination.
There was a picture on the front page
of the National Enquirer,
which does have credibility.
Trump spread those stories
to bash his Republican rival
all while claiming
he had nothing to do
with the tabloid
behind the allegations.
The National Enquirer
carved out a stake
in the Trump candidacy
pretty early on.
Which meant that a lot of material
that they put out...
was suddenly influencing opinions.
And, you know,
the National Enquirer in its history
has never endorsed a presidential
candidate until Donald Trump?
The first time I realized
that the National Enquirer
had become partisan
was years after I left
when I walked into
my local supermarket
and I saw the cover,
and I had to do a second look.
It was a huge story
that said how Donald Trump
is gonna make America great again.
That is so foreign to anybody
who worked at the National Enquirer.
That concept that
is a page-one story, is ludicrous.
And at the same time
every time you saw Hillary Clinton
on the cover
she was either all alone,
on her way to the hospital, dying.
And that's when I went, "Uh-oh.
Something's going on here."
Today, the National Enquirer
is selling about 150,000 copies
200,000 copies.
So you might ask,
why does the National Enquirer
have any relevancy in today's world?
There's a very
simple reason for that.
The National Enquirer,
when you think about it...
is the most perfectly placed piece
of propaganda in America
that is seen by...
a hundred million people a week
probably more.
It's right there in your face.
It's like buying a banner ad
on a highway
except the highway happens
to be the conveyor belt.
So if you have a political message,
it's a great place to put it.
I think the thing that people
don't realize
is just how creepy...
the operations are.
I don't think any of us
will ever know what really happened
between David Pecker and Donald Trump
and the deals that were made,
and the thousands of deals
that are made every day
by the powerful.
In early 2018, American Media
published a tribute magazine
to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.
We'll make it a glossy, and we'll put
the prince on the cover.
And it will be a one-time-only deal
and we'll rack it
at Walmart for... $13.
And we'll make Saudi Arabia
look like paradise.
Won't the Saudis like that?
David Pecker was no fool.
He knew that there was a Saudi
sovereign investment fund.
Perhaps American Media was hoping
that they would get a slice of it.
The theory and the speculation
was everywhere
that there was ulterior
motives on this
that it was not a straight-up,
"Hey, here's a pop figure
that will sell like Brad Pitt
or Angelina Jolie or the Kardashians"
but they were giving him
that treatment.
I don't think it resonated
with Middle America, though, so...
why were they doing it?
- What is going on here?
- I don't know.
I mean, the two leading theories
seem to be that
AMI is either
doing the Saudis' dirty work
President Trump's dirty work
or a combination of the two.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos
accusing the National Enquirer
of blackmail and extortion.
It is a shocking,
a deeply personal post
just published online.
AMI attempted to extort
and blackmail Bezos
by threatening to release
compromising photos
and texts between the billionaire
and his alleged mistress.
Claims of extortion, blackmail
coming from the world's richest man.
This publication
by the National Enquirer
might have been politically motivated.
Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post
which the president regularly pillories
for its coverage.
We have ten photos of you
Jeff Bezos, sexual in nature.
In some ways,
all publicity is good publicity.
Look at all those cameras.
There's also a really bad stench
to this thing.
Trump is trying to take out Bezos Bear
with a far-reaching secret conspiracy.
They messed with the wrong guy.
And they have found that out.
This story is the stuff
that tabloid dreams are made of.
What the hell happened?
The Enquirer got overtaken by...
mainstream media, who out-enquired
the Enquirer in the end
and I think that's where we are.
The Enquirer's been out-enquired.
A lot of people used to understand
the line between...
some of the things
the National Enquirer does
and what the mainstream press does
and I think that people's
understanding of that has shrunk.
I think it has eroded
and I think that that
has all contributed to a bad cycle.
It's almost impossible
in our culture today
to have a fact-based debate.
We cannot agree on the facts.
That is a terrible place to be.
Sometimes we are guilty of
enjoying things we shouldn't enjoy...
of talking about things
we shouldn't be talking about
of claiming something as a fact
when it's not a fact.
So in that sense, we are really
children of the National Enquirer.
A South Florida holiday tradition
is under way tonight in Lantana
at the headquarters
of the National Enquirer tabloid.
NewsCenter 7's Don Dare
is live in front
of what they call the world's
largest Christmas tree.
Don, you really think
it's the world's largest?
I believe it is, Sally.
The tree is 126 feet high.
That's 12 stories...
In many ways...
I want to defend
this kind of journalism
because it has a place.
In other ways, there's a very
shameful aspect to it, as well.
There was distortion...
and there was the degrading
of the basic journalistic spirit.
I'm not happy about what I did,
but I'm not that unhappy, either.
I look at this now,
and I'm thinking, "Man, oh, man.
How did we get a tabloid subject
who's now President
of the United States?
And do I have any shame in this
or potential guilt of my own?"
You know,
this is the world of tabloid.
Who the hell knows?
You're not planning strategy.
You're not planning a world game.
Hell, you're just trying
to get a page one
that will sell in the next week.
what can I say?
I was a journalist.
Translator: IYUNO