There are scandals and crimes bigger than embarrassing texts from a married man to another woman, as bad as those are. One of them is extortion. Jeff Bezos has dropped a neutron bomb on the National Enquirer and its ownership, which apparently objects to the Washington Post’s coverage of its political relationships, writing:
I was made an offer I couldn’t refuse. Or at least that’s what the top people at the National Enquirer thought. I’m glad they thought that, because it emboldened them to put it all in writing. Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, I’ve decided to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten.
. . . If in my position I can’t stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can?
In the AMI letters I’m making public, you will see the precise details of their extortionate proposal: They will publish the personal photos unless Gavin de Becker and I make the specific false public statement to the press that we “have no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AMI’s coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces.”
If we do not agree to affirmatively publicize that specific lie, they say they’ll publish the photos, and quickly. And there’s an associated threat: They’ll keep the photos on hand and publish them in the future if we ever deviate from that lie.
Lucky for the National Enquirer that it doesn’t have a good name to lose.