Wednesday, December 19, 2007

CLINTONITE OWNS NATIONAL ENQUIRER


October 11, 2007Read More: Newspapers (Ben Smith Politico.com)
The Clintonite who owns National Enquirer
The political world has been holding its nose for the last twenty-four hours while peering at the weekly tabloid National Enquirer, which published a story yesterday alleging that presidential candidate John Edwards had an extra-marital affair.
"The story is false," Edwards told reporters in South Carolina today, according to a reporter who was there.

What the tabloid's readers, in politics and out, may not know is that a key owner of the Enquirer is a prominent New York investment banker and one of Hillary Clinton's key backers, Roger Altman. Altman was an official in the first Clinton administration, and his name is often mentioned as a possible Clinton Treasury Secretary.

The investment boutique which Altman founded and chairs, Evercore Partners, bought a controlling stake in American Media, which publishes the Enquirer, in 1999, which it still holds with a partner. Evercore's president, Austin Beutner, sits on American Media's Board of Directors, according to Evercore's website.

A spokesman for American Media, Richard Valvo, said in an email that Altman has "no involvement in editorial, ever." He said that Evercore owns 20 percent of the company through an investment fund. Altman didn't respond to an email seeking comment or to a message left with his secretary.
American Media has also published lurid and negative stories about the Clintons since its acquisition.

Yesterday's National Enquirer story was mirrored by a pair of stories in the Huffington Post -- whose public face, Arianna Huffington, is a harsh critic of Clinton. The Huffington Post stories implied that the Edwards campaign was concerned about its relationship with a film-maker, Rielle Hunter, who had shot web videos for Edwards. The stories stopped short of directly suggesting the candidate had a relationship with her, something Mickey Kaus made explicit on Slate yesterday.

"The MSM seems to be strenuously trying to not report it," Kaus wrote, and indeed, aside from a disapproving link to Kaus's item on the website of the New Republic, and gleeful coverage on the gossip blog Wonkette, the story has mostly stayed out of the old-line press. But it's unclear whether that reluctance is the result of Clinton-era neurosis about the topic of sex, or a less fraught sense that there simply isn't much to report here, particularly in the case of a candidate who lacks the media wattage and poll numbers of his rivals.
The Enquirer story cites anonymous emails from the un-named woman allegedly involved to another un-named source.

But Hunter reportedly issued a disgusted denial of the stories earlier today, via a spokesperson quoted by the veteran blogger Jerome Armstrong on MyDD (Armstrong emailed Politico that the spokesman was her lawyer, Robert Gordon):
The innuendoes and lies that have appeared on the internet and in the National Enquirer concerning John Edwards are not true, completely unfounded and ridiculous....When working for the Edwards camp, my conduct as well as the conduct of my entire team was completely professional.This concocted story is just dirty politics and I want no part of it.
[Story updated with comments from American Media and Edwards.]
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