National Enquirer Said
Launched By Mafia Money
By Ben MacIntyre

The National Enquirer newspaper was originally bankrolled by a Mafia Godfather, according to the son of its founder, who ensured in return that the muck-raking tabloid did not rake too deeply into the activities of the New York mob.
Generoso Pope Jr, who turned the Enquirer into a bestseller in the early 1950s, was partly financed by Frank Costello, the powerful Mafia boss known as the "prime minister of the underworld".
In return for start-up cash from Costello and regular interest-free loans thereafter, Pope ensured that the word "Mafia" never appeared in the pages of the paper and even published an exposé of a mayoral candidate who was threatening to clamp down on organised crime, according to his son, Paul Pope.
"I always say this story is like The Godfather meets Citizen Kane," Mr Pope said.
When the time came to repay the Mafia's loans, Pope's assistant would go to a barber's shop in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel and hand an envelope of cash to Costello's bagman and enforcer, known to history only as "Big Jim".
Costello regularly held meetings in the same barber's shop with J. Edgar Hoover, when the mobster provided invariably accurate racing tips for the former FBI director.
Hoover allegedly took a forgiving approach to Costello's crime operations because the mob boss had arranged for him to arrest another racketeer, Louis "Lepke" Buchalter, with the columnist, Walter Winchell, standing by to provide the requisite media coverage.
Costello is also believed to have organised "protection" when Joe Kennedy, the father of John F. Kennedy, the future President, was running bootleg whisky from Canada to the West Coast during Prohibition.
If Costello was a classic gangster, then Generoso Pope was the prototype American tabloid editor. "Under Pope's command, every reporter was given a wad of money to buy information and to keep sources from talking to competing media," Mr Pope, who is writing a biography of his father, said.
The editor was careful not to forget who had come up with $25,000 to buy the paper. When Costello was running a numbers racket, a form of illegal lottery, the Enquirer would publish the numbers.
Today the National Enquirer offers its readers a steady diet of Mafia stories, but in its earlier incarnation Pope's censorship was rigorous. When he spotted the headline "The Mafia is a Myth" in an edition of the newspaper, he stopped the presses and pulped every copy that had been printed, knowing well that the Mafia was not only a reality, but his principal benefactor.
In 1957, Costello entered the lobby of the Biltmore Hotel after a Turkish bath and was shot by a 20-stone gunman allegedly in the pay of rival boss Don Vito Genovese. Costello, then 65, miraculously survived. The National Enquirer did not even cover the story.
Generoso Pope graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and worked for the CIA before buying the New York Enquirer (which became the National Enquirer) in 1952. The paper was sold for $418 million when Pope died of a heart attack in 1988.