Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough are not the first Donald Trump foes to be targeted by the National Enquirer. Over the last two years, Gossip Cop has made note of several other stories that attacked Trump's enemies.
On Friday, Scarborough claimed White House aides tried to blackmail him by threatening that the National Enquirer would publish unflattering articles about him and Brzezinski unless they apologized to the president for criticizing him in recent months on "Morning Joe." Trump himself tweeted the opposite, claiming Scarborough called him asking to get a story squashed. The MSNBC host in turn tweeted that Trump was lying, and he has the phone records to prove it. For its part, the National Enquirer says, "We have no knowledge of any discussions between the White House and Joe and Mika about our story, and absolutely no involvement in those discussions." (See full statement below.)
But it is worth noting that the supermarket tabloid has published negative stories about others who have clashed with Trump, including Megyn Kelly, who famously incurred the real estate mogul's wrath during a presidential debate. In May, a National Enquirer cover story falsely claimed Kelly was "hiding" a "$1.4 million plastic surgery transformation." The gossip magazine, however, had no hard evidence to support its claims, and its references to Kelly's "troubled past" were not actually about her, but rather her sister Suzanne.
Similarly, just days ago, the National Enquirer's sister publication Star ran a cover story that misleadingly announced, "Megyn Kelly: Cheating, Lies & Arrests! Her Darkest Secrets Revealed." But for the most part, the "secrets" revealed didn't directly involve the former Fox News host. Like in the aforementioned National Enquirer article, they were primarily about Kelly's sister. But the piece was still packaged to make it seem to consumers that the journalist was covering up big scandals.
The outlet also went after Trump's presidential rival, Hillary Clinton. Most notably, two months before the election there was a cover story in September that sensationally claimed Clinton had "deadly health conditions." With a seemingly photoshopped picture of Clinton on its cover to make her appear ill, the publication erroneously alleged she was suffering from or had suffered from muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's, liver damage, brain damage, seizures and strokes.
Former president Barack Obama was also the subject of a number of disparaging stories, including one that fat-shamed his wife Michelle Obama and another that wrongly alleged last fall the Obamas were splitting up after leaving the White House. And before Trump made his wire-tapping allegations against his predecessor in March, the National Enquirer ran a cover story in February that claimed Obama was secretly trying to get Trump impeached. The article appeared to have no merit.
But while the tabloid has been running negative and untrue narratives about his enemies, Trump has championed the magazine. In fact, last July, when Trump claimed the National Enquirer was a "respected" publication, we did a commentary pointing out why we disagree with that categorization. And months later, Gossip Cop's annual tabloid tally for 2016 showed that the outlet was our worst offender of the year for fake news. We busted the magazine 335 times over the 12 months.
Given some of the aforementioned stories from the last few months, it seems likely the National Enquirer will be a top offender again when 2017 comes to a close. Whatever the tabloid's relationship with Trump, the outlet maintains it didn't do anything wrong with Brzezinski and Scarborough. See the full statement below.
"At the beginning of June, we accurately reported a story that recounted the relationship between Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, the truth of which is not in dispute. At no time did we threaten either Joe or Mika or their children in connection with our reporting on the story. We have no knowledge of any discussions between the White House and Joe and Mika about our story, and absolutely no involvement in those discussions.
Gossip Cop has determined this story is accurate to the best of our ability.