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Bezos Accuses 'National Enquirer' Owner Of Extortion
Support for this NPR podcast and the following message. Come from Yahoo. Finance live, eight hours of free. Live streaming news without cable or a subscription. Tune in for the news. You need about your money accessible wherever you go. Amazon's CEO Jeff Bezos is going punch for punch with the National Enquirer and its parent company. AM I in a post on the blog site medium last night, Basil's accused the inquires owner David pecker of trying to blackmail him. Bazo writes, quote, rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail. I've decided to publish exactly what they sent me despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten and quote now those also implied that he was being targeted because he owns the Washington Post, which has been dogged in its reporting about President Trump. I do just want to note here that Amazon is a funder of NPR. Let's turn out to NPR's early. Berliner hiree David so reminding the Enquirer had already published some personal text messages about Basil's. But I mean, it sounds like the. Had a lot more on him. That's right. They said they had a lot more and these of photos in particular were lewd sexually suggestive pictures of selfies of Jeff Bezos and Lawrence Sanchez. The woman that he was allegedly having an extramarital affair with and bazo said that he was threatened by AM I because of this investigation that he launched into how the National Enquirer came into possession of these personal tax and photos. Okay. So he was investigating with a suspicion that there might have been some political motivations that in this first publication of those tests messages, and he saying the inquirer was saying stop this investigation, or will publish more, and he actually published some emails that he says are from the parent company of of the inquirer. What exactly they say? Yeah. This is quite extraordinary illegit. Bezos, says okay, you're going to publish these photos of me. I have these emails from A M I officials, and here's what they say. And it's clear from these emails if they are from AM, I that they want bazo. They're eager for owes to stop investigating this league. One of them proposes some terms to Basil's that to end the dispute it says, it will agree not to publish any of texts or photos in return basis would have to say that am is coverage of his affair was not politically motivated. The other Email describes the suggestive photos in some graphic detail. This is apparently intended to convince Basil's to back off them. But yeah, as you mentioned basis in his post suggests there's a political motivation here what let's talk about the politics and the possible political motivation was that's what makes this story. Even more extraordinary all the players here. Yeah. Exactly. I mean, these are plot twist reminiscent of John Grisham novel. But in some way, they're more sensational. You have Jeff Bezos the world's richest man, the founder, the CEO of Amazon, and the owner of the Washington Post, and then there's David pecker, the head of am, I and pecker isn't just a publisher. He's been a longtime ally of Donald Trump, you know, as you may remember, the National Enquirer acknowledged paid some. Some hush money to a former playboy model. Karen McDougal who said she had an affair with Trump. Now, she was paid hundred and fifty thousand dollars a right during the two thousand sixteen political campaign so much going on here. I'm including as you mentioned basis ownership of the post, which he says is a complex afire for him. That's not a word. We use it often. What did he mean? Yeah. I don't know. What exactly what that word means by he'd I I don't know if it's any word you use? But but but what he says basically is that? Yes. Owning the Washington Post can be complicated you get into conflicts. But he also says that he is very proud of owning the post and that you know, it's a critical institution with a critical mission. And he says his support of that mission is something that he'll look back on when he's ninety years old and reviewing his life and be very proud of AllState still. We don't want to connect to many dots. That shouldn't be connected, but so many interesting players here with a lot of influence. It's just an extraordinary story. NPR's berliner. Thanks so much. You're welcome David. This message comes from NPR sponsor. Comcast business. Business has always been driven by innovators. That's why Comcast business is helping you with technology that provides better experiences. Comcast business beyond fast.
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Jeff Bezos takes on the National Enquirer
From the newsroom in Washington. Hi, there is the mayor versa. Lang with the Washington Post or bring on. Jennifer johnson. This is post reports I'm Martine powers. It's Friday February. Jeff Bezos versus the National Enquirer a breakout. Hip hop classic and the job that prepared Nancy Pelosi for the speakership. On Thursday night. Jeff Bezos, the world's wealthiest man published in unusual post on the website medium. It was titled. No, thank you, Mr. pecker. He was calling out businessman. David pecker CEO of the company American media, which owns the National Enquirer and basis claimed in part that the National Enquirer was trying to extort and blackmail him, according to basis the Enquirer claimed to have intimate photos and texts he sent a woman that he was seeing and that pecker would publish those photos unless basis abandoned his claims that the inquires expose about his extramarital affair was politically motivated full disclosure basis is the owner of the Washington Post. And this you'd it first began with that Enquirer story that published last month. It was an unusual national choir story, it was twelve pages jumping off the cover. It had the text of text messages between Jeff Bezos and his girlfriend it had photographs of them in public places at restaurants on tarmacs of the story was essentially pitched as Amazon founder and Washington Post owner caught in secret love nest kind of thing. Mike Fisher has been reporting on the spat between basis and American media. For awhile in retrospect, Jeff Bezos, and his investigators believe that that inquire investigation was not just a simple gossip story. But in fact, was a politically motivated hit job that stems from a long running battle of words between President Trump and Jeff Bezos now all of this has seemed like prime tabloid fodder. It is a shocking if deeply. Personal post just published online with embarrassing pictures. I which are detailed Aaron great detail. He puts it all out there. You saw the news last night. And you thought what? Oh my God. Have these guys note learned anything? Initially. It was a classic gossip story. But then it turned out to have by various accounts, a lot of other strange ramifications. So it brings in not only the richest man in the world. But potentially the president the United States are certainly people around him it brings in the foremost purveyor of gossip journalism in the country, and it brings in some strands of the Russian investigation and the twenty sixteen campaign. So it's a complex and utterly bazaars. Set of circumstances throw. This all started with a National Enquirer story that was published about a month ago and was the result of a month long investigation. What exactly was that story about the national choir spent by their count, four months trailing Jeff Bezos and his mistress Lawrence Sanchez as they met in surprisingly, public ways and places and carried on their affair and the Enquirer in class. Iq tabloid style was running to airports and following them to restaurants and taking surreptitious photos of them. And all the things that tabloids. Do why do they think that it's a political hit job there investigator who is kind of the private eye to the stars guy named Gavin de Becker has been running security for Jeff Bezos for a couple of decades. And he was put on the case. And he rapidly concluded that the intimate texts between bazo sent his mistress were not hacked, but rather had been essentially given or handed over to someone and the someone that they have centered on in their investigation has gone, Michael Sanchez. He's the brother of Lauren sensuous girlfriend and the belief in the base camp is that Sanchez working somehow in cahoots with people who are very close to President Trump or word during the campaign people at Roger stone and Carter page came up with. The idea of having the National Enquirer investigate basis for political reasons. So what has that investigation found so far so Basil's investigation concluded there was no hacking. Michael Sanchez is the subject they're mainly looking at and the expose on the affair was intended to hit back on behalf of Trump or triple in Trump world against bazo who they see as an enemy because of his ownership of the Washington Post, the president has repeatedly conflicted bazo Amazon and the Washington Post three separate entities, but obviously all part of bazo world. I have respect for Jeff Bezos. But he bought the Washington Post to have political influence, and I gotta tell you we have different country that we used to have this is owned as a toy by Jeff as who controls Amazon Amazon is getting away with murder tax was he's using the Washington Post for power he owns Amazon he wants political influence. He bought this paper for practically nothing and believe me, if I become president odu, they have problems. They're gonna have such. Japan out that the reasonable turn it of theory to this promulgated by Michael Sanchez, the mistress's brother. He believes that this is all bazo security. I gained Becker trying to cover for his own failure to keep that affair private. And Becker says that was my job. I never was in charge of that bazo, send girlfriend went wandering around the world on their own and I wasn't involved. And so how how is the National Enquirer responding to all of this? There was an extensive back and forth between the basis camp his investigator and people at the national choir from the very beginning about the inquires plans to write their expose in the first place. So both sides were in deep discussion there were actual negotiations. And if you recall basis, tried to preempt the Enquirer story by putting out his own tweet saying that he was going to be divorcing his wife, and that was his way to try to defuse the rigid Enquirer story. That was in early January and the ensuing weeks in January. There were other news organizations that were hot on the heels of this story about possible political motives for the Enquirer's investigation, and when the Daily Beast website began asking questions about some of these political connections connections between Michael Sanchez and people around the president. That's when the National Enquirer started heavily lobbying against such stories. They sent threatening letters they had their lawyers call they not just the Daily Beast, but other news organizations when we here at the post began reporting a story about this. Similarly, they tried to wave us off from basis explanation of things that why would they be upset about the idea that they were politically motivated well because they're two top executives. David pecker and Dylan Howard had come to a non prosecution agreement with. Federal prosecutors federal prosecutors looking into the twenty sixteen campaign had if recall the whole catch and kill scandal in which the Enquirer would buy stories from women who accused President Trump of having had sexual relationships with them. And they would then kill those stories never run them. And the national choirs executives had come to an agreement where they said they would cooperate with the feds and give over any information and not take part in any criminal activities for three years. And there's a very famous example of that catch and kill tactic. Right. Right. So former playboy playmate Karen McDougal who alleges that she had a sexual relationship with President Trump back before he was president. She sold her story to the National Enquirer, which never printed it on behalf of President Trump, and it has come out in some of the investigative documents that indeed the national choir had a habit a policy of helping out Donald Trump. They had a symbiotic. Relationship where he gave them various stories and they took care of him. So that win some of the women who accused him of misdeeds came along. They would buy the story and keep it quiet. According to the Jeff Bezos theory of what's happened in his case, a similar kind of dynamic was at work where pecker was looking for a way to help the president. The president was also helpful to pecker they have this ongoing relationship, despite the fact that pecker has been talking to federal prosecutors, and this all comes out, and what is really ever marketable blog post that Jeff basis post online like in the first person that essentially accuses the National Enquirer of trying to extort him. Right. So our story appears on Tuesday and right around the same time. There's this back channel that we didn't know about between basis and the executives at the national choir including one of their lawyers. So they were essentially pulling out all the stops trying to put the g. Back in the bottle and stop the story from getting out there and many different places. And so they apparently eventually concluded that rather than fighting this piecemeal as each news organization. Tried to do the story they would go to the source himself basis and try to get him to back away from his own storyline about where their investigation came from that connection between the Basil's case and the previous relationships between the Enquirer and President Trump is something that the Basil's camp is pushing hard as their theory of this case there are alternative theories. And we have circumstantial evidence that backs up the base those case in some fashion. But there is no smoking gun. There is no documentary evidence of any Trump role or even role of the people around the president. So what's going to happen now? Well, any number of things can happen. Certainly deaf basis has now opened himself to a rather miserable. Couple of years in which he could conceivably be a key prosecution witness were there to be a case against either the Enquirer or people around Trump were theoretically involved with this. And so he has not seen the end of this in any way for the inquirer. It means world of trouble for their executives who had made a deal with federal prosecutors. And now, certainly those prosecutors are examining what these executives have done and seeing if there were any violations of that deal. On friday. Packers company said it would launch its own investigation into the allegations from basis in a statement, the company wrote American media believes for vely that it acted lawfully in the reporting of the story of Mr. basis further at the time of the recent allegations made by Mr. basis, it was in good faith negotiations to resolve all matters with him. For the past two years. Jeff edges has been reporting on a song just a single thong. Walk this way, not the rigid version that Aerosmith did in the nineteen seventies. But the version that run DMC recorded with Aerosmith's leader, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry in nineteen eighty six. And that song didn't allot of big things. It was a huge hit it revived Smith's career. And it created a whole new audience wrap. This was the first rap song that was played on mainstream radio that might sound insane today. But until nineteen Eighty-six hip, hop was basically on college radio stations and really not a central part of what was popular culture, and it became the first rap song to crack the top five of the billboard hot one hundred many people say that the idea for the song began in nineteen eighty six with a white kid from New York now, legendary music producer. Rick Rubin will Rick Rubin at that time was just outta NYU and really wasn't famous yet. I had produced ELS stuff and beastie boys stuff at that time and Rueben thought that a crossover between Aerosmith and run DMC could be a way to make rap more commercially successful, and frankly. More palatable for white people. It would illustrate people that rap music is actual music because people who didn't listen to rap music thought it was not music at that time. So it was more of a a learning to people to understand what hip hop was. That was the purpose of it there two reasons why at that time hip, hop wasn't part of our culture, one is cynical view. Which is that it was music. That was created by African American kids in neighborhoods that were very very different from all the folks who were programming radio stations who tended to be either white men or powerful older African Americans who in many ways didn't appreciate the culture. They were saying coming out of those hip hop clubs. So if you had black artists on MTV at the time, they would be people like Billy ocean or Franklin or Michael Jackson. You wouldn't have hip hop because it was considered just a. A completely different format. It wasn't rock. Aerosmith that point was really struggling. They're considered washed up by that point in the nineteen seventies. There was no American rock band bigger than Aerosmith. For Aerosmith walk. This way was a key song. It was on toys in the attic. Their third record which came out in nineteen seventy five. Don. Then shown by the late. Seventies are starting to struggle. And then Joe Perry quits the band in nineteen seventy nine that's when things really follow apart. It's not until they come together again in nineteen Eighty-four that people think they can maybe try to make a comeback. But even then after they put out, you know, their first comeback record that came out nine hundred eighty five it's considered a big failure by nineteen eighty six when they're asked to do this song they needed it way, more than run DMZ it so run DMC was made up of Joey Simmons, and Darryl mcdaniels. They were the seas. And then you had jam master Jay on the turntables run. Dmc was already. The first rap superstars no question. I think what Rick Rubin wanted to do at this point. He wanted to turn them into something else. He wanted to turn them into basically pop superstars instead of selling one or two million records. He wanted them to sell four five six million records will. Run DMC. They really didn't even know who heiress with was. They knew that sample the walk this way sample, which is the drumbeat bump. Back day, we rock on. Beginning punch, scratchy this. Is. That part that was like, a staple of hip hop. Sometimes they would use the Qatar. They'd let that riff come in. You know? No. That was okay. But they never met anyone here Steven Tyler if you as a DJ let it get to Steven Tyler choice, you were a bad DJ. So Rick Rubin said to them. Hey, guys. We're going to do this song by Aerosmith and want you to hear this. And so he gave them the record gave a notepad and a pen. And he said, okay, listen to this go home and write down the lyrics, and let's see where this goes. So they went home, and they listened to it. And they thought this is the worst thing we've ever heard they actually called it hill. Billy can we use that word. We can't you beep it, can you beep it. Each other. Yes. Run dmc. When into that studio, not really knowing who Aerosmith was an Aerosmith went into the studio, not really knowing who run DMC and these guys were professional musicians. Imagine the general public. I mean, there were a whole swats of America suburbia, basically white kids who had no idea. What hip hop was. The day they recorded with unlike any other recording session we had. So there was a tiger there and TV news with their and they had a camera crew there filming it is still. Believable south here. So this was already a little bit weird. You had Tyler Perry coming in and sort of standing around and recording and run and Darryl sitting on a couch. Eating burgers goes on. So it wasn't like they came in the studio and everybody like immediately got to work, but you're watching these guys working, and you see two sides really that don't understand what either of them do. So you see jam master Jay showing Tyler and Perry how he used walk this way. And basically, he's showing them how run DMC would use walk this way in the club. Like when they were recyling live the beat ends. He stops the raccoon and goes onto the other record and Tyler impera just kind of watching which fee. They look kind of stone faith, which is because they're confused a little bit. Why do they keep playing the insure? What's the purpose of? I don't know if they actually clicked in that. Hey, these guys don't care anything about our lyrics or guitar solo whatever they care about the jumpy. And then on the other hand you've got Perry playing. The walkaway lick over and over and over and Tyler again, he's a showman. He's trying to participate. He's wrapping over it. On the other side you run. Indeed. And they are not taking it seriously there at the microphones they're holding their little scribbled copies of the lyrics and their goofing off. Fitted his job. Is the best show? And then you've got Rick Rubin who's trying to keep everything together. And he told me that it was very very uncomfortable. Because what he knew is what nobody else knew he knew that. While everybody was pretending that they knew each other like each other. He knew that both sides had no knowledge of each other. We loved it. Big fans favorite group. You know? DNC? Yeah. We've heard them late this style because electric guitar, and you know, and finally, yeah. Calmer you. So when I found out about this. It was like, you know, really excited. He can tell. The whole. It was very awkward. It was just awkward. People just think about how important the song is in the end. They leave the studio not knowing it's going to come out. But everything that came after it. It's it's incredible. When you think of it, I mean, you MTV wraps was not on the air until after walk this way. Like in living color. Our senio now story fresh principal air. Basically what I'm talking about is suddenly it up was part of everything. So this really was the gateway song to what became our culture. Jeff address is the national arts reporter for the Washington Post, his new book out the ski, and it's called walk this way, run DMC Aerosmith, and the fun that changed American music forever. And now one more thing speaker Nancy Pelosi became an instant Meam at the state of the union when she directed in exaggerated clap at President Trump. We must reject the politics of revenge resistance and retribution and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation compromise and the common good. Arms hands thrust way forward. Head tilted just so even Pelosi's daughter tweeted about it quote. Oh, yes. That clap took me back to the teen years. She knows. And she knows that you know, and frankly, she's disappointed that you thought this would work. But here's a clap hashtag, you tried it. Whenever you see similarities drawn between politicians political tactics. And their parenting style is usually being said about a woman, and that's not fair powerful men are rarely asked to opine about child rearing. But in this case Pelosi embraces, the idea that parenthood forged her as a politician, and she talked about that to post reporter Ellen McCarthy who writes about parenting. She had five children in six years. Boom, boom, boom, boom. And if you can even imagine what that's like it crazy. Right. And so she had to sort of rise to the occasion and turn on this next level of efficiency and time management and organization that really shaped who she was I. So John's and efficient in the use of time and will into delegate to the children responsibilities. I've never somebody saying to me once when I went to congress. I'm usually was going to go someplace Majia this for your children folding laundry in the dryer taking into the room. You know the way that her career developed. She was a stay at home. Mom, more or less for fifteen full years. It wasn't like she was parenting and developing these skills with an eye on leadership. It's just that it was happening simultaneously. And so that when she did get into a position of leadership. She knew what it was like to pull together disparate parties to find consensus among people who aren't inclined to come to consensus. And of course, she learned to do all of it on very little sleep. And one of the things that she told me that she actually gets less sleep now than she did when she had five children under six which I thought was pretty amazing and terrifying. Polisi herself has pointed to her parenting experience as something that helps her deal with opponents, including President Trump Nancy's the situation where it's not easy for her to talk right now. And I understand that. Please don't characterize that. I bring this. Leader of the house. Democrats just wanna big victory when other people in the room with him get flustered or match his level of anger frustration. She seems to be able to keep her cool. And she said that she would tell her own children, ignore it ignored that behavior. Right. If one of them were sort of taunting the other and that that is the tactic. She takes with him says something that is. Events to me or something. Yes. I'd be might Trump. Right. Dr. Dr don't take the ends up. That's his Trump says that we didn't don't the offended by a mort. It's his from Vic the bit of Dante. They never. Yeah. But that's usually too. You know, it's really important to her that we as a society, elevate parenting and see it as what she calls. A plus I now call the house to order on behalf of all of America's children. Not oh, you know, that person has been out of the workforce because they chose to stay home with their children or that person is apparent until they're not going to be as available twenty four hours a day. You know, she really sees it as something that could be instructive to professional. Don't let anybody diminish for one moment. Vented? One of the most challenging things people can do this. You're not babysitting. Raising a child. So this is not just about the care and feeding and the driving and the entertaining into transfer values or showing children at lovingly toward each other. It's a decision decide this is how it's going to be and it is opposite. Opposite. That's how speaker Nancy Pelosi talking to post reporter Ellen McCarthy. That's it for today's show. Our fiftieth episode of post reports, and we'd like to get feedback from you or listeners about what we're doing well and how can improve. So we're asking you to take our survey at post reports dot com slash survey. And should only take about five minutes. Our executive producer is madly Cassica, our senior producer, Matt Kellett. Our producers are Alexis de out Rena Florez, Lena Muhammad, Maggie penman, Jordan, Marie Smith and Ted Muldoon who composes original music and does sound design for the show. The post director of audio is just all I'm Martine powers will be back on Monday with more stories from the Washington Post.
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I'm not sure many people have purchased your toothbrush over a million people have purchased. A quip electric toothbrushes, certified platinum across the country. It's available. Get clipped dot com slash explained. G E T Q U I P dot com slash E. X P L A N E D. It starts at twenty five dollars. In your first set of refills is F R E E. Peter Kafka, your executive editor of Recode host of the Recode media podcast. Jeff Bezos, kind of broke the internet last night with with a blog post. Why is his blog post so much more than a blog post? You don't usually have the world's richest man writing about as dick pic. But that's what happened last night. He also accused the National Enquirer of trying to extort him with that dick pic photo. It's fun to say dick pic on the air. And also, there's a Donald Trump element. So that that that will break the that will break the internet for you. You can find those elements. That'll do it. So there's a lot of elements to this blog post where where does one begin? If you want to go all the way back. I guess you go back to January when Jeff Bezos announced via Twitter that he was divorcing his wife of many decades. That's followed by National Enquirer story, saying, hey, Jeff basis had a long running affair for its current cover story that hit newsstands today. The tabloid seemingly spared no expenses to expose what they say is face owes is extra marital affair with Lauren Sanchez. We have photos. We have texts. Here's a lot of them that story blew up for a couple of days. Tabloid claims at tracked him across five states and over forty thousand miles according to the Enquirer basis, as lawyer told the publication that it was widely known that he and his wife had been long separated. The texture of the kind of texts you send someone you're having an affair with which are mildly embarrassing. But it makes it clear they're having an affair the Enquirer in its reporting says we have photos, by the way, and some of them are so racy we can't show you them, which the timer. Everyone's sort of ignored. And now as now as much more relevant. Yeah. This story kind of like receded into the background. But I guess we all should have taken note that like you probably don't wanna fuck with the richest man in the world in quite this way. Right. It's pretty interesting. And on the other hand, you might say if you're the richest man in the world, you know, one real you learn early honest, you don't fight with the press. And especially if this is an affair. This is an embarrassing to you just sort of hope it all sort of goes away. And I think that's what people thought was going to happen cut to week or two ago. We start seeing stories I in the Daily Beast, and then the Washington Post saying Jeff Bezos through his private security guy is pursuing possible reasons why the story would have gotten out and suggest. Getting that Donald Trump is somehow involved in this which is something that a lot of us thought initially right away of the national choir is linked to Donald Trump. Maybe this hit job the inquirer said, no, no, no, no. This isn't Trump related. We went after the story because it's about the world's richest man having an affair, which by the way is perfectly logical argument of the Enquirer doesn't have a lot of credibility discuss that. But that seemed fairly reasonable enough. At this point. We know that Jeff Bezos isn't going to let this go. He's hired an investigator to look into it who's the sky that he hired. This is his in-house sky. Gavin de Becker other famous people use them he is running an investigation and telling the press he's running an investigation trying to figure out how this stuff got out to the National Enquirer, which seems both gain both reasonable and conspiratorial because the people you would start with our Jeff Bezos and the woman he's having an affair with. And in most cases, you would expect that the investigation will end up concluding that one of them sent those photos or someone they shouldn't have. And that's how they got out. But at this private investigator is telling people including the Daily Beast and eventually the Washington Post, which Jeff Bezos own see how this gets twisty that he is considering the the idea that maybe someone Trump related as involved. Maybe Roger stone is involved. It gets quite complicated and sort of hard to believe in overly conspiratorial, accept that. Maybe there's some truth to it. Right. Right. And I guess hiring a PI to investigate the National Enquirer sounds kind of like using the national enquirers tactics against it. How does the National Enquirer respond to that? I can't remember if they said anything publicly, but they're line has been this is a great story. We went after it. We went after it because it's a great story. I think it was telling that Dylan Howard who runs the national inquiries chief content officer for American media. He was one of the bylines on the Jeff Bezos story. That's the equivalent of, you know, mardi baron running his by line on a giant Washington Post story, mardi barons, the editor of the Washington Post. That's kind of extraordinary it is assigned sort of like the Enquirer takes this very seriously or is very proud of the story. So then, of course, last night Jeff Bezos post this blog post in response to these threats. He's receiving that the National Enquirer is going to post a dick pic and other picks of him. You know, what in his in his boxer briefs or something like that? What does Basil's exactly? We say in his blog post on medium. So basil says look I've been extorted. The inquirer is parent company. American media run by David pecker have been trying to extort me what they want me to do is to say that. I don't have any reason to believe there's any connection between their story about my affair, and any political influence, I Donald Trump, but I'm not gonna say that. But I am going to publish the text of the emails. They've sent me threatening to release these photos, basically, I have the receipts and I'm going to print them. And what did the Email say? So there's a series of emails threatening emails saying, essentially, we want you to come out and say that you have no idea that that there's any political motivation behind the story. And when you do that will essentially agree to bury these dick picks. And there's a the most incendiary letter is the letter from Dylan Howard chief content officer of American media listing the content of the ten photos, dick Votto or some other photo that suggests oral sex other stuff that's embarrassing to regular people. Let alone billionaires basically like here's here. Here's what we have on u we're sending to you on February fifth. We think the Washington Post is about to write a story about the possible political motivations for this leak you own the Washington Post, and this is the reason we're sending this out today. And by the way, the Washington Post did run that store on February fifth. I mean, this is where it gets kind of conspiracy theory, adjacent, right? You've got like the world's richest man, the world's most powerful, man. One of the best newspapers in the world. One of the most successful tabloids in the world, it's like a movie waiting to happen. How exactly does bays owes make this connection between himself the Washington Post, and then the National Enquirer American media, it's parent company and the president of the United States. So that's that's the tricky part. And Jeff Bezos is smart, and he has Mark people who work with him. And they don't exactly connect the dots. But they lay out the dots. And allow people like you and me to connect them in his medium post, which is quite lengthy. He only mentions Donald Trump by name four times. And basically saying look the National Enquirer and Donald Trump have a relationship. It's documented in court, and that's the relationship between care McDougal. Yes, we're the national. Inquires been sort of acting as both promoter of Donald Trump, and and someone publication that it's explicitly killing stories that portray him in an unflattering light. Right. It's also facts that Donald Trump has had a problem with the Washington Post's coverage and with Amazon general right kind of leaves it out there. And then we have to do the rest of the connecting ourselves. Because again, he doesn't have any early. Sees not presenting any solid proof here that the choir was doing what it did on behalf of Trump or to please Trump, but he certainly allows us to infer that. And so the just the big picture inference is the Enquirer published these texts that Basil's was sending his girlfriend because it would please the president that they were hitting Jeff Bezos that way right bazo does not say that out loud. Here's one of the things he said, my ownership of the Washington Post is a complex financial for me. Right. Great word. It's unavoidable that certain powerful people who experience. Washington Post news coverage will wrongly conclude. I am their enemy Donald Trump is one of those people obvious by his many tweets. Right. So he lays that out. He doesn't say. And thus he has asked the inquirer to do this. He never says that explicitly. So we've heard from like, basically the entire internet about how it feels about this story. But how is the National Enquirer responded since he published his blog posts last night this morning minutes before it came to talk to inquire put out American media. Put out a statement in short. It says we didn't do anything wrong. We're sure of that said we are going to investigate this. It's the kind of statement you put out the gives yourself allude bit of wiggle room. If eventually you want to come out and say mistakes were made, but their position is we're fine. We're good. What do you think happens next on all this good? What? You know, the the traditional model for a scandal. Like, this is lots of people who don't want to write about the story because they find an unseemly or they're worried about invading someone's privacy. Now have reason to go after the story again, right? Jeff Bezos, his essentially giving you permission to write about Jeff basis as dick pic again, which we all did. And so we'll chase the story for a while. And I imagine there is other stuff that will come out that there other emails that will come out. I don't know what the Enquirer can do to sort of attack bays story. But again, the the big sort of looming thing here is this isn't just a fight between a really rich person and a tabloid paper. This involves the president United States, and and intimations that this newspaper was working on behalf of Donald Trump directly or because it thought it would help him to take down someone he's politically opposed to that's potentially a very big deal. We're not there yet. But that's the storyline that I think is gonna most compelling over the next few days. A peek inside the national enquirers vault. That's next on three explained. Hello from Brooklyn to admit. I'm in Manhattan right now. I gotta go. No, come back. This week you joined a million other people and now have a quick toothbrush because I sent you one because you kept asking, but you didn't immediately use it have you used it yet use permit Turkoman with how did it go? It would great did all the work for me. And you do have we should remind listeners who may have missed that. You do have a broken wrist as well to wrinkle. Remember that I have broken wrist in use my non dominant handrail, but you know, the cliff caught a little bit rationing there since it vibrating. Yeah. Was it sensitive like they say, you're and I feel good about it. I'm gonna go to the dentist soon. Again. She's going to be oppressed teeth. I feel like using differently with a little pulses play win. They move sections of your mouth, that's helpful. Probably probably actually my popular refers time in years mother. Happy ending get clip dot com slash explained for anyone who doesn't have a podcast fairy godfather out there. Yeah. I'm gonna try to products and things that I need to works. You probably get a mattress a point. Yeah. I can get another on my car metros. Two X export. I'm Diana Moskovitz. And I'm senior editor with deadspin. And deadspin you written about the national choir. This isn't the first time Trump has been linked with the National Enquirer tabloid, right? Remind me what happened back in December. Right back in December. That was when prosecutors let it be known that American media Inc. Which publishes the national choir headed, mid it had coordinated with Donald Trump's presidential campaign to pay a playboy model one hundred fifty thousand dollars in essentially hush money. And that was Karen McDougal. Yes. And that then is putting trubs inner circle closer to these coordinated hush payments. And what's key in this case is that this is during ongoing presidential campaign. The Enquirer says, they're doing this thing with Jeff Bezos for for journalistic reasons, they wrote to him that will publish these dick picks of you. And. And selfish view. If you don't back off our brand what's the tabloids history with with actual journalism been like through the years? I think here's good to differentiate that we're talking about basically when David pecker has owned the National Enquirer, and at least Packer, we've got documented cases that other. Journalists have uncovered of them doing this thing called the catching kill the catch is where you get something. Very embarrassing could be in this case dick picks. It could be people coming forward saying they've had affairs with you. We've had cases where it's been people talking about crimes or women have come forward and said they've been sexually assaulted by very famous people. And so they get that. And then instead of publishing it we get to the kill which is whether than go to that person. And then some sort of bartering happens or a celebrity has given them access or spoken to them for a story in return for the kill so catch and kill other famous examples of this or doing. Never get to find out what they are because they're killed when the that I know very well involves Bill Cosby with his two trials for sexual assault. in that case. We know what happened was that? When women started to come forward saying they had been drugged and raped by him one of the women who came forward, but farrier went to the national quieter. She told her story, she even took a light detector test for them. I was more concerned for my safety. And for people to believe me since I didn't have photos of Mr. Cosby myself, and then instead of published her story, the national choir goes to Bill Cosby, and they kill the story. Bet story doesn't actually come out. But you have to find other reporters to tell it, but return for them sitting on her story, Bill Cosby gives them this exclusive sit down interview, which he actually uses to bash the first woman who came forward. Andrea Constand just calls her liar accusers were doing all this for money, but National Enquirer doesn't exclusive interview with Bill Cosby on among other things discrediting the alleged victim and top of Bill. Cosby? Also settling with her financially. American media did have to reach a financial settlement with her in regards to what they publish Bill Cosby saying about her. I was trade off worth it to them. I mean, they kill a good story to get what Bill Cosby bashing some women is that kind of calculus that national enquirers making all the time. It's tough to say how often they make it. But even just with this story recently with Jeff Bezos now other reporters, including Ronan Farrow have come forward that they had similar. We could call it a threat made toward them. It's enough that we've seen it come up with Arnold Schwarzenegger. It's been reported that they soft pedaled their coverage of him leading up to his run for governor in return for access it came up with Tiger Woods. They sat on possible early report of what of his affairs in return for him giving access to another one of their locations and speaking of run Farrell, I it came up of his Harvey Weinstein reporting as well Weinstein gathered ammunition, turn to old allies and tried to dispense favors to keep his own dirt out of the headline that isn't insight into that world at its. Very heavily heavily guarded world. So when you do get to see how it works it just overs up your eyes to see. Oh, that's what's going on. That's how this works. Okay. Just to make a distinction here. There's a difference between the straight up blackmail, kind of extortion that you're hearing about with Ronan Farrow, and Jeff Bezos and the kind of catch and kill that. You're talking about with with Bill Cosby and Tiger Woods, right. Like TMZ? Does that kind of thing of her? Right. I mean with TMZ if you read stories all them, you'll see sometimes people talk about this legend, this idea of TMZ vaults, and it's filled with embarrassing things that intern gets celebrities to cooperate with them does the National Enquirer vault to back in August. When reports were first coming out about federal prosecutors were looking into with the national choir and am I they reported that the magazine did have a safe which contain documents about hush money payments at various damaging stories it had killed as part of cozy relationship with Donald Trump as well as catch. Kills with other celebrities as well. It's like you have a pretty good sense of how the National Enquirer works. Did. You learn anything from what happened last night with Jeff Bezos. I really basic level. It's shows how power works, and I also feel like this is really important to talk about especially now where after me to an after the Harvey Weinstein story, and even after you know, there's just refresh reporting with people like Brian singer. You would always people all white people speak out. And I think it's important to show the ways in which there are very powerful mechanisms in place that keep people from speaking out. There are women without a who have got to publications with stories about powerful people and publications this case in the national choir keep them from getting out, you know, how many types don't we know about? That's what I wonder what all the things we know about it's come out years later. Right weinstein. We've found out about years later, Cosby decades later, you know, Schwarzenegger, it came out later after the election. And I think that's why it's easy to oh my gosh, so salacious it's so silly ha dick picks. But this is how powerful people are allowed to operate in this country. You know, you could just pay a certain amount of money. And this really embarrassing story about you will just go away. That's just so wild and has the National Enquirer sort of met its match in Jeff Bezos. Maybe what the richest man in the world who who instead of playing ball with them just published their emails to the entire world. It's basically talking about celebrities businesses at that. And he might arguably be richer and more powerful than just about all of them except for Donald Trump. And that certainly seems to be the case here where he just felt like, you know, I don't have to. Play ball. He felt like he could put it out there and whatever damage it might do his reputation. It would be still worse for the other side that I think he felt like he could do that. With a lot of other people have it. So yeah, it could be that they just finally dealt with what I don't have to put up with this. I think I'm more powerful than you. I'm going to show you people how this works. Diana Moskowitz is a senior editor at deadspin. I'm Sean Rama's firm, and this is today explained. Thanks to toothbrushes for supporting the show this week. And like so many times since we launched almost a year ago. We appreciate that over a million people have shown their appreciation for the quick by purchasing. It you can do. So at get quip dot com slash explained. That's GT Q IP dot com slash explained. The coupe starts to twenty five bucks. I refills is free in another thing before we go for the weekend pivot, a podcast from CARA Swisher, and Scott Galloway to people who know a whole lot about tech is worth checking out this week there, wishing a happy est birthday to Facebook as Facebook celebrates its fifteenth birthday care and Scott invite a couple of their friends over to talk about how they all really feel about the platform. It's funny, and it's inciteful pivot.