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Inside ‘The New Kingdom,’ AMI magazine that reads like Saudi propaganda

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  • In the spring of 2018, National Enquirer publisher American Media Inc. created a 97-page magazine praising Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the kingdom.
  • AMI owner David Pecker is an ally of President Donald Trump. The 97-page issue features five photos of Trump. 
  • David Pecker, AMI, and Saudi Arabia are currently at the center of a possible hacking scandal involving Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. 
  • Bezos’ affair with Lauren Sanchez — featuring revealing photos and texts — was detailed in the National Enquirer January 2019 issue. 
  • It remains unclear how AMI got some of the photos it used in the Enquirer story.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

There’s no telling how or why American Media Inc. decided to print a nearly 100-page glossy magazine praising Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — because the company wouldn’t comment to Insider — but it’s definitely weird. 

The issue, which has no photo credits or critical commentary on the Crown Prince or kingdom, was published in March 2018. That’s the same month that MBS invited Amazon’s Jeff Bezos to dinner, according to a timeline created by UN human rights experts. 

It was at that dinner, on April 4, that MBS and Bezos exchanged numbers. On May 1, a video file was sent from MBS account to Bezos through WhatsApp. A research firm established with “reasonable certainty” that the video’s downloader infected Bezos’ phone with malware.

Eight months later, the National Enquirer tabloid — a property of AMI — exposed Bezos’ affair with Lauren Sanchez by publishing the Amazon CEO’s intimate texts in a January 2019 issue.

Bezos responded by crafting a February 2019 blog post hinting that he suspected Saudi involvement in the Enquirer’s sourcing of the affair story and photos. The Saudi government had grown to dislike Bezos because The Washington Post, which Bezos owns, published work by Jamal Khashoggi and later investigated his murder.

At this point, there is no clear link between the malware reportedly installed on Bezos’ phone and how the photos and details of the affair ended up being published in the tabloid. Other theories involving Lauren Sanchez’s brother Michael as a possible source have since cropped up, too.

Still, questions still remain on why American Media Inc. would publish such a glowing ode to the kingdom of Saudia Arabia and its crown prince.

Insider obtained a copy of the publication and has excerpted several pages of the strange Saudi Arabian sponsored content below.  

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