Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson) is asking the nation’s largest supermarket chains to stop selling the National Enquirer following reports that the tabloid’s owner used it to spread false information as part of an alleged blackmail scheme involving Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
“Just as none of you would sell a contaminated food product, I know you would never dispense other agents of sickness to the tens of millions of customers who walk through your aisles every day. Misinformation makes our society sick and the National Enquirer tabloid is a primary purveyor of it,” Pascrell wrote.
Pascrell says that David Pecker, whose company, American Media Inc. (AMI), owns the National Inquirer, “acted as the unofficial arm of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, maintaining a near-complete flow of negative publicity aimed at Mr. Trump’s opponents.”
Recent events make clear that the tabloid is a purveyor of fabricated news and possibly a vehicle in furtherance of illegal extortion, blackmail, and other crimes,” Pascrell said. “In the interest of your millions of customers, this tabloid should be removed from all your store shelves.”
Pascrell said that Pecker’s plot to buy the rights to stories that might have damaged Trump’s candidacy was the target of a Department of Justice probe that led pecker to gain immunity from prosecution in exchange for his agreement to testify before a federal grand jury.
Pecker admitted to paying $150,000 to hide a story on Mr. Trump’s alleged extramarital relationship to protect the then-presidential nominee.
Bezos, who is also the publisher of the Washington Post, claims that AMI threatened to blackmail him before publishing salacious stories involving Bezos’ private life.
Twice in former Gov. Chris Christie’s tenure as the state’s chief executive, once in 2013 and once roughly three months before the end of his second term, the State Investment Council poured hundreds of millions of dollars into a Chatham-based investment firm that bought out the media company headed by Pecker.
Pecker served as part of Christie’s New Jersey finance leadership team for the former governor’s 2016 presidential campaign.Pascrell to supermarkets 2019