Given the relentlessness of its cheerleading for Trump during—and after—the campaign, it’s a bit of a surprise that The National Enquirer doesn’t have White House press credentials yet. But it’s working on it, as American Media, Inc., the company that owns the trailer-park equivalent of The National Review is making another step towards mainstream respectability (in the tabloid world, anyway) by buying out Us Weekly.
BuzzFeed covers the purchase as part of an extended profile on Enquirer CEO Dylan Howard, who has the Enquirer’s famous paparazzi photo of Elvis in his coffin framed on his office wall and probably sizzles when you sprinkle holy water on him. Howard sees the publication’s turn towards hardcore Trump support—often in the form of shrill anti-Clinton attacks—as simply playing to his populist base.
“Regardless of what my political persuasion is, I did something the mainstream media didn’t do,” he tells BuzzFeed. “And that was poll the readers. That’s why we endorsed Donald Trump. Never once did he fall below 60 percent with our readership. He got as high as 80 percent. So as an editor, I was duty-bound to create content they wanted.” He has no interest in joining up with the “alt-right” buffoons at Breitbart, however, given that his particular variety of buffoon gets less than 6 percent of their news online.
So how does all this tie in with the favorite magazine of people who are bored at the airport? As BuzzFeed points out, keen newsstand observers may have noticed that Us Weekly has begun featuring more pictures of the Trump clan on its cover in recent months, in an apparent attempt to differentiate itself from the more traditional celebrity-focused People. More importantly, though, Us Weekly has a younger, more affluent readership, a strong social-media presence, and strong ties to celebrities thanks to its “cooperative” editorial philosophy, all things that The National Enquirer lacks.
So while Howard promises that we won’t start seeing calls to jail Hillary Clinton in the pages of Us Weekly, as the line between politics and celebrity grows ever more blurry, you may start seeing pictures of Jared and Ivanka going out for gold-plated ice cream or whatever as part of Us Weekly’s publicist-friendly “domestication” process. In other words, “Oligarchs—They’re Just Like Us!”