Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO and owner of the Washington Post, is accusing American Media Inc. (AMI), the parent company of the National Enquirer, of “extortion and blackmail.”
In a Medium post published by Bezos on Thursday, he accused AMI of threatening to release embarrassing photos and text messages of him and a woman the National Enquirer claims he is having an affair with.
On MSNBC on Thursday night, Washington Post reporter Manuel Roig-Franzia floated the theory that AMI could be trying to seek revenge on Bezos for critical coverage of Donald Trump in the Post, the newspaper he owns.
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) February 8, 2019
Manuel Roig-Franzia said:
Where things get very sticky is some of the public statements that have been made by the Jeff Bezos security consultant Gavin de Becker. He has suggested that there is a possible political motivation behind the publication of those text messages. And the reason for that is that the National Enquirer has had a history of doing some things that are helpful to President Donald Trump and the theory that potentially those text messages could have been published by the national enquirer as some way of getting back at Jeff Bezos for his ownership of the Washington Post were floated by his security consultant and also not as floated privately but also discussed publicly and that is clearly bothered the National Enquirer in their responses to us when we began doing our reporting, they vehemently denied that and they seem to continue to do that in their correspondence directly with Bezos.
MSNBC’s Joy Reid added, “The implication there is that the Enquirer wanted to intimidate Jeff Bezos into somehow influencing the reporting at the Washington Post in Donald Trump’s favor.”
Trump has frequently attacked Jeff Bezos and The Washington Post
It’s no revelation that Donald Trump isn’t a fan of Jeff Bezos or the Washington Post. He frequently attacks both of them on Twitter.
What adds an extra level of intrigue to this development is the connection between Trump and AMI, the parent company of the National Enquirer that is now trying to extort one of the president’s enemies, Jeff Bezos.
AMI, of course, spent years protecting Trump through a practice called “catch and kill” in which they would buy and bury unfavorable stories about the now-president, particularly as it related to his extramarital affairs.
Though Washington Post reporter Manuel Roig-Franzia noted on Thursday that the National Enquirer denies any suggestion that this is connected to Donald Trump, it wouldn’t be farfetched to wonder, especially given what we know about this president.