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$30,000 rumor? Tabloid paid for, spiked, salacious Trump tip

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But four longtime Enquirer staffers directly familiar with the episode challenged Howard’s version of events. They said they were ordered by top editors to stop pursuing the story before completing potentially promising reporting threads.

They said the publication didn’t pursue standard Enquirer reporting practices, such as exhaustive stake-outs or tabloid tactics designed to prove paternity. In 2008, the Enquirer helped bring down presidential hopeful John Edwards in part by digging through a dumpster and retrieving material to do a DNA test that indicated he had fathered a child with a mistress, according to a former staffer.

The woman at the center of the rumor about Trump denied emphatically to the AP last August that she’d ever had an affair with Trump, saying she had no idea the Enquirer had paid Sajudin and pursued his tip.

The AP has not been able to determine if the rumor is true and is not naming the woman.

“This is all fake,” she said. “I think they lost their money.”

The Enquirer staffers, all with years of experience negotiating source contracts, said the abrupt end to reporting combined with a binding, seven-figure penalty to stop the tipster from talking to anyone led them to conclude that this was a so-called “catch and kill” — a tabloid practice in which a publication pays for a story to never run, either as a favor to the celebrity subject of the tip or as leverage over that person.

One former Enquirer reporter, who was not involved in the Sajudin reporting effort, expressed skepticism that the company would pay for the tip and not publish.

“AMI doesn’t go around cutting checks for $30,000 and then not using the information,” said Jerry George, a reporter and senior editor for nearly three decades at AMI before his layoff in 2013.

The company said that AMI’s publisher, David Pecker, an unabashed Trump supporter, had not coordinated its coverage with Trump associates or taken direction from Trump. It acknowledged discussing the former doorman’s tip with Trump’s representatives, which it described as “standard operating procedure in stories of this nature.”

The Enquirer staffers, like many of the dozens of other current and former AMI employees interviewed by the AP in the past year, spoke on condition of anonymity. All said AMI required them to sign nondisclosure agreements barring them from discussing internal editorial policy and decision-making.

Though sometimes dismissed by mainstream publications, the Enquirer’s history of breaking legitimate scoops about politicians’ personal lives — including its months-long Pulitzer Prize-contending coverage of presidential candidate Edwards’ affair — is a point of pride in its newsroom.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, the Enquirer published a string of allegations against Trump’s rivals, such as stories claiming Democratic rival Hillary Clinton was a bisexual “secret sex freak” and was kept alive only by a “narcotics cocktail.”

Stories attacking Trump rivals or promoting Trump’s campaign often bypassed the paper’s normal fact-checking process, according to two people familiar with campaign-era copy.

The tabloid made its first-ever endorsement by officially backing Trump for the White House. With just over a week before Election Day, Howard, the top editor, appeared on Alex Jones’ InfoWars program by phone, telling listeners that the choice at the ballot box was between “the Clinton crime family” or someone who will “break down the borders of the establishment.” Howard said the paper’s coverage was bipartisan, citing negative stories it published about Ben Carson during the Republican presidential primaries.

In a statement last summer, Howard said the company doesn’t take editorial direction “from anyone outside AMI,” and said Trump has never been an Enquirer source. The company has said reader surveys dictate its coverage and that many of its customers are Trump supporters.

The company has said it paid McDougal, the former Playboy Playmate, to be a columnist for an AMI-published fitness magazine, not to stay silent. McDougal has since said that she regrets signing the non-disclosure agreement and is currently suing to get out of it.

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Coronavirus live updates: Israel locks down again ahead of High Holidays; EU strikes vaccine deal with Sanofi, GSK

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The coronavirus has infected more than 30.2 million people globally as of Friday, killing at least 946,685 people so far.

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Economy is showing positive signs, but banks will feel the brunt

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Principles of ‘green chemistry’ could have a big impact in the future

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Used in everything from the detergent that washes our clothes to the toothpaste that keeps our mouths clean, chemicals play an integral role in society. 

While it’s hard to imagine life without them, if not used in a responsible way their effect on the natural world – and us – can be harmful.

The European Commission has stated that some chemicals “can severely damage our health or the environment,” while the World Health Organization has previously estimated that exposure to selected chemicals resulted in the loss of 1.6 million lives in 2016.

It’s against this backdrop that the notion of “green chemistry” comes into play. In relatively simple terms, the United States Environmental Protection Agency has defined it as “the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use or generation of hazardous substances.”

The EPA goes on to explain that the idea of green chemistry relates to a product’s entire life cycle, which includes everything from its design and production to utilization and disposal.

Paul Anastas is the director of Yale University’s Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering. Speaking on the latest episode of CNBC’s Sustainable Energy, he explained how he became interested in the subject.

“When I was a young chemist, I looked around at all of the technological miracles that chemistry produced,” he said. “And then I looked at the other side of the equation – all of the unintended consequences of pollution and its effect on the environment and on human health,” he added.

“So green chemistry is really a way of keeping all of those technological miracles, those innovations, without all of those unintended consequences.”

Anastas, together with John Warner — a chemist who is now president and chief technology officer of the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry — co-authored the book “Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice,” a key body of work in the field.

First published in 1998, the book lists 12 principles of green chemistry, one of which focuses on the prevention of waste, a subject that Anastas expanded upon when speaking to CNBC. 

“Waste, we need to recognize, is a man-made concept,” he said. “In nature, there is no waste: every time a waste is generated, an organism evolves to use that waste as a feedstock.”

He added: “And so, we think about how to do the same thing in industry, how you either prevent or avoid waste, or utilize whatever waste in a valuable way.”

With attitudes regarding pollution and the environment shifting in recent years, many governments and businesses are emphasizing their commitments to sustainable practices.

But while actions need to match words and there is clearly a long way to go, Anastas sought to emphasize the changes that were being made.

“I simply cannot name an industry sector that isn’t using green chemistry,” he said. “Everything from pharmaceuticals, to plastics, everything from … cosmetics to the way that we generate, store and transport our energy,” he added. “Now, I’m not going to say that companies are doing it systematically or in all of their products, but great strides are being made.”

When it comes to the production of chemicals, there is some serious work to be done, however. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), in 2018 direct carbon dioxide emissions from primary chemical production hit 880 million tonnes, a jump of almost 4% compared to 2017. The IEA goes on to describe the chemical sector as being “the largest industrial consumer of both oil and gas.”

Anastas was asked how easy it would be to lower the use of energy in chemical production by applying the principles of green chemistry.

“We’ve forced chemicals to do things they didn’t naturally want to do,” he said. “So we’ve heated them up, we’ve put them under pressure and we’ve tortured them to obey and become the things we want them to become,” he added.

“But it’s not just the quantities of energy that’s important, it’s the character and the nature of energy that we use: it needs to be renewable and non-depleting, and nontoxic, and not polluting.”

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