Saturday, December 15, 2018

Public’s Right To Know & Journalism Suffer In Cohen-Trump National Enquirer Scandal

President Donald Trump is making all the headlines with his former lawyer and bag man, Michael Cohen, getting three years in a federal prison for lying to Congress, evading taxes, and campaign finance violations.  But what is being missed here, aside from the possible impeachment or criminal indictment of a sitting president, is that free speech and honest journalism were shafted.

In a deliberate effort to make sure candidate Trump wasn’t harmed by a story of sexual impropriety involving Trump and a Playboy model in one case, and Trump with porn star Stormy Daniels in another, Trump paid to have stories squashed. 

The National Enquirer, though a tabloid rag is still part of the news media, and its actions to not only ignore a credible story but to purposely pay for its rights and disallow anyone else from running it, are despicable and unethical.  They should join Cohen in prison, and rot away. Instead, they got immunity to cover their criminal liability – in exchange for dropping a dime on the president.

Think about what just happened.  We know there’s yellow journalism out there, where certain media outlets skew the facts of a story to editorialize a position that is not fair and balanced.  We also know many media outlets will purposely cover or ignore a story because of advertiser demographics and the political proclivities of the media outlet’s ownership.  But did we ever imagine that the media would knowingly and willingly act in concert with the subjects of a potential bombshell story to make sure that no one else could ever tell it?

In the entertainment industry – film, TV, music, and theater – companies can buy options to stories that they never turn into a product.  They pay huge sums to retain these rights, often with the intention of acting on them only to find out circumstances change down the road.  But some companies may actually buy the rights with an intent to kill a story from being told.  They fear a competitor will get it.  Or they simply don’t wish for the story to be told.

But this isn’t Hollywood or Broadway.  This is the news media – the fourth estate – the checks and balances to the rich and famous.  When the public is deprived of the truth by manipulative criminals, it can’t make informed decisions or act in their best interest.

Who knows how often this happens.  Checkbook journalism is frowned upon anyway.  What if people lie and spin a story in hopes of getting paid to tell it?  And what if we have someone with a true story that gets paid off to silence it?

The government should have imprisoned members of The National Enquirer and to take a stand to protect the media and the First Amendment.  That was the real story.


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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

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