For the past 20 years, the circulation of the National Enquirer supermarket tabloid has dropped significantly — from 2.2 million in 1998 to 244,000 in 2018.
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos made waves last week by writing a blog post on Medium in which he accuses the National Enquirer of extortion, citing several emails threatening to publish delicate private photos of him in case he doesn’t publicly rebut allegations that the Enquirer’s reporting (including the previous publication of private messages of Bezos) is “politically motivated or influenced by political forces”.
The National Enquirer had recently come to fame for its role in a so-called catch-and-kill scheme involving President Trump. The tabloid’s publisher AMI entered an immunity deal with the Department of Justice after admitting to buying former Playboy model Karen McDougal’s story of an alleged affair with Donald Trump on behalf of the latter’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, only to bury it so as not to hurt Trump’s presidential campaign.
While AMI may have gotten away with dishing out hush money on behalf of a then-presidential candidate, it may not get off that easily this time around. “If in my position I can’t stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can?” Bezos asks in his blog post, undoubtedly referring to the unlimited resources at his disposal to fight AMI and the National Enquirer. After seeing its circulation drop by roughly 90 percent over the past two decades, picking a fight with the richest man in the world may be the final nail in the infamous tabloid’s coffin.
This information originally appeared at statista.com, a content partner of The E.W. Scripps Company, which owns this digital product.