The National Enquirer’s parent company, American Media, is still searching for a buyer willing to take over the beleaguered supermarket tabloid, but the son of the paper’s creator doesn’t think it’s worth the trouble.
Paul Pope, whose father, Generoso Pope Jr., made the National Enquirer the scandal-obsessed publication it is today, said that he thought purchasing the business on behalf of his family, but now considers it unsalvageable.
“It’s sad to see what my father created through his blood, sweat and tears going away, but I don’t see any other way,” Pope told The New York Post on Tuesday.
He later told The Wrap: “When I stepped back and did the 50,000-foot-view and I really analyzed this, I don’t think there is any way — even if they gave the paper away — I don’t think it can be resurrected.”
American Media, which owns a number of other tabloids and magazines, announced plans to sell the title earlier this month after coming under fire for allegedly blackmailing billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
In February, Bezos accused the National Enquirer and American Media CEO David Pecker of threatening to publish nude photos if Bezos did not quit investigating the publisher. In response, Bezos exposed the tabloid’s slimy tactics himself over social media.
American Media had previously found itself in hot water last year when it was revealed to have played a role in covering up President Donald Trump’s alleged affairs during the 2016 election. Pecker, an ally of Trump, has a long history of buying the rights to unflattering stories about him to prevent them from getting out in a process called “catch and kill.” In 2016, he helped coordinate a payoff of $150,000 to former Playboy model Karen McDougal to keep quiet about an alleged affair with Trump.
American Media managed to avoid deep legal trouble by cooperating with federal prosecutors in Manhattan who were investigating campaign finance violations during Trump’s bid for the presidency. The company’s correspondence with Bezos, however, could upend that non-prosecution agreement if prosecutors determine that the company broke the law.
American Media says it is mulling a sale of the National Enquirer because it is refocusing on other parts of its business. It may also sell two other brands, the Globe and the National Examiner.
James Cohen, whose own father started the Hudson News chain, is now reportedly the National Enquirer’s leading bidder.