Tabloid Valley: Supermarket News and American Culture


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One Maya tribe even buried their dead with tortillas so that the dogs eaten as dinner during life would not bite the deceased in revenge. For centuries tortillas have remained a staple of the Mexican diet, but the rich significance of this unleavened flatbread stretches far beyond food. Today the tortilla crosses cultures and borders as part of an international network of people, customs, and culinary traditions. In this entertaining and informative account Paula E. Morton surveys the history of the tortilla from its roots in ancient Mesoamerica to the cross-cultural global tortilla.

Morton tells the story of tortillas and the people who make and eat them--from the Mexican woman rolling the mano over the metate to grind corn, to the enormous wheat tortillas made in northern Mexico, to twenty-first-century elaborations like the stuffed burrito. He established a grading system to assure the quality and quantity of their work. If writers did not measure up, he fired them. Pope anticipated sociological changes in the s and 60s.

People moved to the suburbs. They no longer bought their paper at a newsstand or small grocery store. Pope conceived the idea of selling the Enquirer at supermarkets.

Tabloid Valley - Supermarket News and American Culture (Hardcover)

He had to tone down the carnage on the cover to sell his tabloid in a marketplace where women shoppers predominated. He diversified the content. The tabloid featured stories about celebrities, especially new TV personalities. Yet the Enquirer remained true to its heritage. Supermarkets proved a tough market to enter until Pope hired blond movie star, Jane Mansfield, to promote the paper at a convention of supermarket executives.

They had only two points of contact, when a clerk rang up the sale of the tabloid at the cover price and when they remitted the agreed upon fee for the Enquirers they sold. Pope moved the publication to Florida in after his mob connections warned he could get hurt if he stayed in New York Connolly para.

More likely, the cost savings effect of nonunion labor and favorable backhaul freight rates to distribute his tabloid nationally also figured in his decision. In the 90s, the supermarket tabloid business went through a period of rapid consolidation. David J. Pecker, born in , was the son of a bricklayer from the Bronx. He became chairman, president, and chief executive officer of the company.

AMI now owns every tabloid on the rack in the supermarket, except for People. Hackett worried that a company that controls so many different magazines with an estimated readership of 38 million people has unprecedented power to influence the electorate. Pecker portrays the image of a bon vivant, but at heart, he is a clever bookkeeper trying to stave off further losses in an overcrowded and declining magazine sector. The Enquirer sold an average of 4.


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Today, one can read celebrity gossip at TMZ. The Enquirer is overpriced in a competitive marketplace. The future was obvious in turning around troubled media companies: restructure through bankruptcy, slash staff, and force each member of those remaining do the work of three or four people. The lurid headlines of the National Enquirer attracted the attention of shoppers in one Florida supermarket, Publix. It found the covers so offensive, and they ordered them covered Sorentrue 1.

A tabloid headline focuses on who did what, forsaking the why for development in the story itself. Every cover features a picture, a headline telling the story as unambiguously as possible, and a sub-headline called the money line. The May 7, , edition of the Enquirer featured the stern visage of President Trump. Of the seven stories, six were less than words long Trump, the Royals, and Heidi Klum lead the list in the Spring of Like most newspapers, there are actually three headlines on the front page: a banner or skybox, the main story, and a footer.

The issue date June 4, , contained a story on facts about the presidents. Each issue contains ads, a tremendous amount of gossip about A and B list celebrities, news, games cross words and puzzles , health watch, market place, psychics and New ID oddities, horoscope, a giveaway, and pet vet. The most common and largest ads are for weight loss products, including a weight loss recliner.

There are an equal number of ads for collector dolls. Impulse buyers can even purchase one with a birth certificate. Other popular products for sale include commemorative coins and memorabilia, including a cat dressed in a Marine Corps uniform or a Queen Elizabeth statue.

This celebrity gossip magazine touts products designed for seniors especially life-alert bracelets, easy to read computers, and simple phones. Other ads tempt readers to purchase antique model cars, nonsnoring bracelets, and male enhancement products. The Enquirer executives pride themselves on knowing their audience. The writers for the tabloid stoke the anxieties and feelings of inadequacy of their readers with gossip, guilt, and victimization.

Paula E. Their website stated that the average age of readers is If they bought the Enquirer on impulse, they can afford to purchase a direct mail order item advertised in the tabloid. He sees them as representatives of the emerging post-truth era, reliant on their own beliefs and indifferent to the facts accepted by the mainstream. He also views them as a pre-truth group, drawn by arguments based on emotional appeal able to spread its message by word-of-mouth and other organizations to main stream newspapers.

The Enquirer appeals to buyers with stories of celebrity extramarital affairs, surgeries, sudden weight losses and gains, and, increasingly, Donald Trump. There are 37, supermarkets in America, with an average of 10 checkout stands. Each one has a wire rack displaying the Enquirer and other AMI magazines. According to an industry study, American households make an average of 1. Every customer passes by the checkout stand, which means even people who never purchase a tabloid absorb the ambient headlines, and those headlines can shape their view of the world.

Enquirer writers are well paid and consider themselves some of the best in the business. Their writing is easily understood with the patois of the streets. Some say the best way to read it is to leave your logic at the door. Note the headlines and read the stories twice; first to observe the emotional impact on the target audience and second how well the story is written.

The story of this friendship began with a prominent real estate developer in New York in the 80s and 90s who developed a fondness for celebrity gossip. The publication gave glowing coverage of Trump before and during this campaign. It ceased shortly before the FBI subpoenaed Pecker in The Presidential candidate received only a few newspaper endorsements, one of them from the Enquirer. Both the Enquirer and the president ignore facts and indulge in outrageous self-promotion. Trump loved the weekly publication with national reach. Donald liked being flattered, and David thought Donald was the king.

Pecker has no strong political views and a fascination with celebrity Toobin Trump often acted as a source for the publication. Pecker wields great power through his multiple magazine properties. Toobin noted that the friendship has lasted for decades and the publisher boasts about helping his friends No challenger to Trump was safe during the primary.

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When asked about it, Trump said he did not know if it was true, but he did read it in the Enquirer , which had a good reputation. Far-right publications, talk show hosts, and Trump operatives picked up stories from the Enquirer. The cover picture showed her apparently on the verge of death. Former president Barack Obama and his family were subjects of disparaging stories. One alleged that the Obamas were divorcing. The Enquirer signals who is out of favor with the president.

Nancy Pelosi D over the wall with Mexico. They paid for stories, but did not print them, thus gaining leverage over the celebrities involved. Pecker suppressed negative coverage of Arnold Schwarzenegger. In return, the Enquirer would not publish a story about their relationship. Pecker helped his friend by keeping damaging information from the public. Pecker kept files containing negative stories on Donald in a safe. Pecker probably did not destroy this treasure trove of malicious gossip figuring that it might provide written insurance in times of adversity Rutenberg and Haberman 1.

The magazine counter-attacked with a flurry of vicious articles. One questioned why Maddow did not attend gay parties and another reported a feud between Maddow and Megan Kelly over Tom Brokaw. Such petty second-hand gossip is largely irrelevant; however, a seemingly insignificant event soon threatened to involve the president of the United States in the commission of a felony. He asked for her telephone number and they soon began chatting on the phone.

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Their first date was dinner in a private bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel. As she was getting dressed to leave, Trump offered her money. Both relationships continued through McDougal claimed she had intercourse with Trump dozens of times from June to April Trump flew McDougal to public events, but hid the fact he paid for her travel so as not to leave a paper trail. He introduced her to members of his family and took her to his private residences. Eight years passed. The public would have forgotten the story of these two affairs, except for the fact that Donald J.

Trump was considering a run for the Presidency of the United States. Pecker promised to endorse Trump for president, run favorable stores on his political adversaries, and pay for negative stories about Trump, but not publish them. Pecker further agreed that he would allow Cohen preview stories for content and ensure the magazine used the most favorable photographs of Trump. The next month, she hired Keith Davidson, a Hollywood celebrity lawyer, who represented both adult-entertainment star Stormy Daniels who also claimed she had an affair with Trump and Shera Bechard, a playboy bunny, who had an affair with the Republican finance chair.

Davidson later felt compelled to appear on television in an effort to repair his tarnished reputation. AMI paid for exclusive rights to her story. The contract required her to keep quiet about any relationship with a married man. Afterward, Cohen reported that Pecker repeatedly asked for compensation from Trump, until the president notoriously tight-fisted with his money paid him through Cohen. As far as Stormy Daniels, Pecker refused to pay money to a porn star. However, without corroboration, the story soon died out. Had the NDAs not worked, coupled with the October Access Hollywood tape, they might have made a difference in the campaign, especially on the issue of character.

McDougal, a Republican, voted for Trump. She contacted a well-known first amendment lawyer, Ted Boutrous, who renegotiated the contract to allow her to respond to legitimate inquiries about Trump without fear of penalty. Trump paid him by check over the course of the year for the Daniels NDA. The former Playmate charged Davidson did not explain to her that allowing her to write stories for AMI did not mean they would publish them.

She argued Davidson, Cohen, and Pecker conferred without her knowledge to protect the president. The suit claimed her payout amounted to an illegal corporate contribution intended to influence the election.

McDougal revealed telling details about her affair on the Anderson Cooper show aired 3 days after she filed her suit. She expressed affection for Donald Trump who, she said, was always a gentleman and paid her compliments. She recalled Pecker invited her to lunch after she signed the NDA and thanked her for her loyalty. She realized too late that he did not want to help her and had lied to her.

She said Davidson promised her millions of dollars. She signed the NDA, not for the money, but a chance to transition from modeling to writing. She expressed regret for the relationship and apologized to Melania. They sized computers, tapes and files from his office, home, and storage sites. She anticipated working again with the National Enquirer. AMI agreed to everything they promised in the original nondisclosure agreement.

They offered to publish five additional McDougal health and fitness columns. In her show on April 18, Rachel Maddow tried to make sense of it all. She could not understand why McDougal settled when her lawyer was on the verge of obtaining documents and depositions that further implicated the president. We do not know her goals. At about the same time, Federal authorities subpoenaed evidence from Pecker and offered him limited immunity for his testimony. Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to eight counts of tax evasion, bank fraud, and campaign finance charges on August 21, US District Court.

AMI denied any wrongdoing, while also saying its cooperation with investigators would not extend beyond its constitutionally protected status as a news organization. Pecker fulfilled his settlement with McDougal. AMI stipulated that failure to keep their part of the bargain left them open to prosecution for any and all crimes they had admitted to under this agreement. This development is unprecedented for a magazine that constantly advocates freedom of the press. However, the alternative is unthinkable.

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The fines for campaign finance violations could put the Enquirer, already struggling for economic survival out of business. Cohen pleaded guilty in the Southern District Court of New York to lying to Congress about how long discussions involving a proposed Trump Tower in Moscow extended into the campaign. Special Counsel Robert Muller, who brought the later charge, recommended that Cohen serve sentences for both crimes concurrently. However, Robert Khuzami of the Southern District of New York in a page sentencing memorandum that the serious nature of his offenses and the need to promote respect for the law warranted a substantial sentence Khuzami Sentencing.

Judge Pauley chose a sentence on the stronger side of the sentencing guidelines observing, Mr. Congressional Committees issued subpoenas for Michael Cohen to appear before them soon after Cohen canceled testifying voluntarily because of threats to his family from President Trump. Pecker reached a plea agreement with the Federal Government, which granted him immunity from prosecution providing he committed no other crimes for 3 years. Although articles in the Enquirer praising Trump ceased, Pecker could not help expressing his loyalty to Trump in other ways.

The Enquirer would not publish the photos, if Bezos called off his investigation of how the incriminating emails and photos were obtained and publicly stated that he believed the actions of the Enquirer were not politically motivated. If the agreement is nullified, Pecker and AMI could face prosecution for other crimes, which they have admitted. Bezos wrote that the Enquirer could not intimidate him and could publish the photos.

A spokesman for the Enquirer denied all these charges. The report also charges that a financially failing Enquirer published the Bezos expose to curry favor from Saudi investors. She asked for and received the names of AMI executives that might provide information on these documents to the Committee. Clearly, the election fraud crimes connected with the coverup payments to Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels will continue as subjects of investigation by a Democratic Congress.

The Federal Court scheduled Cohen to report for prison on May 6, Whether he can reduce his 3-year prison term by further cooperation with the Courts and Congress or incur further criminal liability is open to conjecture. The history of the Enquirer showed the development of a highly skilled specialized magazine that developed a market for their product in supermarkets. Their long time practice of paying for tips tarnished their journalistic reputation from its beginning as a New York tabloid.

Presently, their profits and circulation are declining as a result of the increased price of the magazine and competition from television programs like TMZ. This, as charged in Dr. David Pecker understands these market dynamics. He uses a computer program that details which celebrities sell magazines and the design of the all-important front page. Pecker has taken advantage of the decline in the tabloid market to consolidate celebrity and fitness magazines under the control of American Media Incorporated AMI.

President Trump thought Pecker was the most likely candidate to take over Time magazine. The friendship between Pecker and Trump continued over decades. It involved convenience, style, and mutual interests. The messages of both are short, easy to read, and designed to elicit an emotional response. Both men are brash and utilize name-calling, conflict, and division. Both employ the argot of the streets of New York. Their friendship blossomed at boozy parties featuring Playboy bunnies once AMI took over distribution of that magazine.

Once Pecker violated campaign finance laws, the story just kept going.

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It quite possibly is more dangerous than the alleged Russian collusion for Trump because it implicates him directly in committing a felony. Congress knows where to find him, and prison authorities will deliver him to the proper venue for his testimony. Most Americans are familiar with the National Enquirer. Many times, its writers scooped the mainstream press. It is ubiquitous, seemingly in every supermarket in the United States.


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  5. Its garish headlines call out to the public. One reason the Enquirer is worthy of scholarly investigation is because of its unwavering support of President Donald J. Trump before and after his election. Trump lacked the endorsement of the mainstream press. He relied on a few select media outlets to broadcast his message to the American people. The President loves and respects the Enquirer and has a long relationship with the tabloid. It was the first national publication to endorse his bid for the Presidency.

    It published articles written by the candidate himself. David Pecker, is a loyal friend, willing to pay money to buy and kill stories detrimental to Trump. The electorate must read critically, from more than one source. Informing the electorate takes time and patience.


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    The press should foster discourse, not anger and resentment. Incivility is a toxic virus. Americans can avoid this disease only by listening, accepting, and respecting one another.

    Tabloid Valley: Supermarket News and American Culture
    Tabloid Valley: Supermarket News and American Culture
    Tabloid Valley: Supermarket News and American Culture
    Tabloid Valley: Supermarket News and American Culture
    Tabloid Valley: Supermarket News and American Culture
    Tabloid Valley: Supermarket News and American Culture
    Tabloid Valley: Supermarket News and American Culture

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