New York Times: Pro-Trump Media Doesn't Have First Amendment Protection

The media isn't just making war on the 2nd. It's also at war with the 1st.

We've gotten plenty of lectures from the media about how Trump's criticism of CNN is somehow a threat to the First Amendment. But here's the New York Times suggesting that the National Enquirer doesn't enjoy First Amendment protection.

And in the Trump era, A.M.I.’s flagship tabloid, The National Enquirer, has taken a decidedly political turn, regularly devoting covers to the president’s triumphs and travails with articles headlined “Trump’s Plan For World Peace!” and “Proof! FBI Plot to Impeach Trump!”

Since the early stages of his campaign in 2015, Mr. Trump, his lawyer Michael D. Cohen and Mr. Pecker have strategized about protecting him and lashing out at his political enemies...

Much as the media did with Obama. Ben Rhodes gave an interview in the New York Times in which he discussed manipulating the media.

Now the tabloid company has been drawn into a sweeping federal investigation of Mr. Cohen’s activities, including efforts to head off potentially damaging stories about Mr. Trump during his run for the White House. In one instance, The Enquirer bought but did not publish a story about an alleged extramarital relationship years earlier with the presidential candidate, an unusual decision for a scandal sheet.

It's unusual in the same way that the Los Angeles Times burying the Obama-Khalidi tape is.

The media buries negative stories about Obama all the time. And media barons have always backed political candidates and coordinated with politicians. If the New York Times wants to open this door, it will end Freedom of the Press.

But, as usual, the rules are different for the right than the left.

The federal inquiry could pose serious legal implications for the president and his campaign committee. It also presents thorny questions about A.M.I.’s First Amendment protections, and whether its record in supporting Mr. Trump somehow opens the door to scrutiny usually reserved for political organizations.

A search warrant federal prosecutors in New York served to Mr. Cohen this week requests, among other things, all communications between him, Mr. Pecker and Dylan Howard, the business’s chief content officer. The company was in touch with Mr. Cohen, The New York Times previously reported, as it pursued its deal to acquire the rights to a former Playboy model’s story about an affair with Mr. Trump.

If the media really wants to throw open that door, 99% of its political reporting is an in-kind contribution to various Dem committees and candidates.

Take its recent, "Opinion | Watch Out, Ted Cruz. Beto is Coming" piece.

Here's how it begins. "Count me among the swelling ranks of the infatuated. I, too, have been Beto-struck. I have seen the alternative to Ted Cruz — Lord knows we need an alternative to Ted Cruz — and he's a peppy, rangy, toothy progressive with ratios of folksiness to urbanity and irreverence to earnestness."

That's not an editorial, it's a campaign ad. And should count as an in-kind contribution to the Beto O'Rourke campaign.

If the New York Times really wants these new rules, it should have to live by them.