American Tabloid*

In one quick blow The AP updates James Ellroy’s 1950’s noir as contemporary political sleaze.

National Enquirer hid damaging Trump stories in a safe

WASHINGTON (AP) — The National Enquirer kept a safe containing documents on hush money payments and other damaging stories it killed as part of its cozy relationship with Donald Trump…

Tabloid press, check. Hush money, check. The language of sex, violence, and absolute corruption, check, check, and check.

Cozy relations between yellow journalism and the powerful elite: check and mate.

Anyone familiar with L.A. Confidential will recognize here Ellroy’s smut digging Sid Hudgens, always Off the record, on the QT, and very hush hush.

And our noirish present exceeds this snapshot, the ghosts of L.A. Confidential haunting our national headlines. Trump’s reported hate-hate relations with the FBI; his distrust of intelligence and the spooks who gather it; rampant innuendo of ties to foreign agents; mimicking intonations of American mob bosses; an affinity for lawyers, lawyers, lawyers. All this leaps from the pulpy noir of Ellroy’s ‘50’s and 60’s L.A. quartet.

From the AP:

Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty this week to campaign finance violations alleging he, Trump and the tabloid were involved in buying the silence of a porn actress and a Playboy model who alleged affairs with Trump.

Court papers in the Cohen case say Pecker ‘offered to help deal with negative stories about (Trump’s) relationships with women by, among other things, assisting the campaign in identifying such stories so they could be purchased and their publication avoided.’

The Journal reported Pecker shared with prosecutors details about payments that Cohen says Trump directed in the weeks and months before the election to buy the silence of McDougal and another woman alleging an affair, porn star Stormy Daniels. Daniels was paid $130,000, and McDougal was paid $150,000…

…In July, Cohen released an audio tape in which he and Trump discussed plans to buy McDougal’s story from the Enquirer. Such a purchase was necessary, they suggested, to prevent Trump from having to permanently rely on a tight relationship with the tabloid.

‘You never know where that company — you never know what he’s gonna be —’ Cohen says.

‘David gets hit by a truck,’ Trump says.

‘Correct,’ Cohen replies. ‘So, I’m all over that.’

This last raises hairs. Chills blood. Implicit violence voiced by the man who would be king. Dark turns in our bleak political landscape, an assassination plot, an egomaniacal deep state figure, America’s most turbulent days—both ahead and behind.

Ellroy’s puppet-master was J. Edgar Hoover, the ultimate influencer and keeper of all sins, a Trump-Pecker cocktail. His hoods are Sam Giancana and Mickey Cohen, a John Gotti slash Michael Cohen barmix. Ellroy gives us flawed yet honor-bound cops and hoods and spiffy lawmen, from Kemper Boyd to Pete Bondurant to Ward Littell, evoking figures from today’s headlines like Peter Strozk, Rod Rosenstein, and Michael Avenatti.

To say nothing of the obvious femmes fatale, parallel universe Playboy bunnies.

Question: is Ellroy’s mafia-slayer Bobby Kennedy up to snuff as Robert Mueller?

Stay tuned, dear reader, and find out. For me the pleasure will be reading it all in newsprint.

Because I like my crime pulpy.




*This essay represents apolitical speculation comparing current events with literary license. It doesn’t necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the author’s employer.







Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s