Former National Enquirer Reporters Blast David Pecker
It seems there is honor amongst thieves, ethics amongst tabloid reporters.
Tony Brenna, an old hand at the National Enquirer, had this to say about the current situation (via Facebook):
“Having worked on and off for the National Enquirer for the past thirty years, like everyone else I’m disgusted by the actions of CEO David Pecker and his odorous partner, Dylan Howard. The pair, attached to Donald Trump’s rear end in the vain hope of a big reward, is now twisting in the wind from America’s most disloyal president’s backside. Like all fools sucking up to Dirty Donald, they’re mired in the legal swamp in which he wallows. Didn’t these supposedly canny tabloiders know the hazards of treating the richest man in the world like some trashy Hollywood star? Didn’t they know Jeff Bezos is a man with the cojones to get into a pissing match with a couple of cowardly skunks.
Couldn’t they imagine that, with a personal fortune of $130-billion, Bezos could buy and sell tin-pot publishers like Pecker, a sleazy operator who (like Trump) destroys almost everything he touches? Several magazines have gone out of business under him. He is to publishing what the captain of the Titanic is to pleasure cruising. He’s fired talented people, hired morons. The Enquirer’s circulation has plunged under him – from a once six-million-weekly under Generoso Pope, its founder, to a pathetic 250,000 weekly under Pecker, its destroyer.
Now with Pecker and his inept editorial slimeball Dylan Howard in trouble with the law again, I’ve been harking back to my days on the National Enquirer. When I started there in the 1970s, it was an exciting place to work. It paid the highest salaries in journalism. It sent staff all around the world in search of scoops. Of course this was the era of brilliantly-gifted Generoso who reintroduced tabloid journalism (for good or bad) into America after a long hiatus from earlier days. I’m not saying the Enquirer was innocent under Pope; it made some serious mistakes that drew lawsuits. But it was run like a real newspaper with a staff of pros. They were drawn from leading newspapers in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, the U.S. and Canada. These guys would run through brick walls to get a story – especially if they wanted to keep their jobs.
In contrast to stingy Pecker (an accountant-turned-publisher), Pope (the son of an Italian media chieftain with Mafia connections) spent a fortune on his stories. It didn’t matter whether it was a human interest piece or a show business blockbuster. He put reporters on the Concorde to sit near movie stars. He based his best men in LA to provide unrivalled Hollywood coverage. He gave an annual Palm Beach Celebrity Ball and made friends of the stars – even as staff wrote scabrous stories about them. He sent journalists to Africa, Asia and Europe to get the stories with what he called the gee whiz factor. A great many of those stories were blockbusters, frequently beating the establishment press. And he paid big bonuses to writers and reporters when they achieved. Pecker has made his people take salary cuts while he fed at the best restaurants, belonged to exclusive clubs and earned over $2-million annually.
In the halcyon days on the Enquirer, we published material leading to the arrest of murderers. We got the drug pusher who fed John Belushi lethal narcotics arrested and jailed. We broke most of the major revelations about OJ Simpson – even finding the salesman who sold him the knife he’s alleged using to murder his ex-wife. We got the picture of Elvis Presley in his coffin that sold eight million copies – causing a frenzy of people kicking over newsstands to get it. And there were hundreds of medical breakthrough stories – all vetted by establishment doctors and medical associations. There was also extensive Enquirer coverage of foreign and domestic disasters.
Yes, there were exclusives on Tinseltown scandals– and a whole menu of other addictive material. It ranged from plastic surgery exposes, to diets, to keeping your pets healthy. Pope wanted a newspaper that you couldn’t put down – and all for 25 cents a copy. Not the near five bucks Pecker charges for his anemic, lying Enquirer.
I unreservedly enjoyed the glory days of the National Enquirer – a publication I was once proud to work for. If it had been any other paper, Enquirer reporters and editors would have won the Pulitzer Prize several times over. Generoso had the best staff in the world – also the best paid, most traveled and most tenacious.
David Pecker, who has minimal hands-on experience in journalism, fired all the people who made the Enquirer a success. He filled their places with mostly lesser journalists desperate for jobs in a dying print market – and saved money firing red-hot freelancers who’d made the paper a supermarket success for three decades.
Instead, Pecker encouraged his staff to make it all up: hence the ass-kissing stories about Donald Trump when he was campaigning. It was the reason for dozens of vicious lies about Hillary Clinton – who to Enquirer readers became a pervert, the unhealthiest woman in the world. According to Pecker’s paper she was dying of a different disease every week, when not selling children as sex slaves. You can be sure Gene Pope’s spinning in his grave. An executive like Pecker wouldn’t have lasted a week in the ‘old’ Enquirer.
It’s not even a shadow of the paper I worked for. Nor is David Pecker a publisher who could hold a candle to Pope. Generoso made enemies, but also many friends. All who worked for him – and I was one of his Roving Editors, with a world-wide brief – miss him terribly. He certainly wasn’t a man who would kiss up to Saudi princes who butcher journalists. I’m told that’s what Pecker did for financing to save his business. Sadly, I’m now rooting for the richest man in the world to torpedo my former employer, and make Pecker look like the little prick he is.
As for Dylan Howard, he’s reportedly a sexual harasser of women, and certainly a master of rabidly unethical journalistic behavior – for which he’s been in trouble here and in Australia. Most of my former tabloid colleagues won’t shed tears of sympathy if both groveling Enquiroids land in the slammer. Let’s hope they land in the cell next to their crooked idol, Donald Trump, the cheesiest President to ever sit in the Oval Office.