Huh? Newspaper Owner Jared Kushner Claims He Left ‘Media and Public Perception’ to Others
Jared Kushner delivered a statement from the White House lawn following his interview with members of the Senate Intelligence Committee regarding his 2o16 meeting with a Russian lawyer who promised damaging information on Hillary Clinton.
Kushner — who married a very famous man’s daughter, has graced the front page of countless magazines, and now serves as a senior White House adviser — said in his remarks that he is “not a person who has sought the spotlight.”
“First in my business and now in public service, I have worked on achieving goals, and have left it to others to work on media and public perception,” he continued.
That line should also strike as particularly odd, given the fact that as a young man, the real estate scion bought the New York Observer, and then used the newspaper to attack his foes and bolster his public image.
Kushner purchased the Observer, a weekly paper covering New York’s elite politics, media and real estate scenes, in 2006 at the tender age of 25. The son of real estate magnate, Kushner was still at college when he was reportedly gifted the paper as a $10 million graduation present.
As Politico notes, Kushner bought the salmon-colored weekly in part as an attempt to rehabilitate his family name: his father, Charles Kushner, had just been jailed after he tried to blackmail his brother-in-law by hiring a prostitute to lure him into a hotel room, and then sent a tape of the encounter to his sister.
After Kushner took the helm of the Observer, “people in that world saw the paper’s editorial resources devoted to pushing Kushner’s agenda or settling his scores,” per Politico.
He went after the New Jersey Star-Ledger, which unearthed and reported on his father’s corruption, ordering an an Observer hit piece on the paper.
Then, Kushner became locked in a feud with New York real estate developer Richard Mack over Kushner’s $1.8 billion building at 666 Fifth Ave., which left his company buried under a mountain of debt.
Bitter over the battle with Mack, Kushner pushed Observer reporters to pursue a source who claimed to have dirt on the developer. Despite Kushner’s consistent attempts to have hit-piece drawn up on Mack, Observer reporters were unable to find anything of worth — Foster Kamer, one of the unfortunate reporters pushed to write the hit piece, described the story as “plainly bullshit.”
Brian Thomas Gallagher, who worked as deputy editor of the Observer during Kushner’s ownership, told Politico he thought Jared’s experience with his father “turned him into a person who was determined to operate in much the same way but just be quieter about it.”
“He saw how poorly his dad was treated in the papers, and the Observer was his tool or a house organ for his real estate company,” Gallagher said.
In other words, Kushner saw the Observer as an instrument to shape media coverage and public perception of his company and personal brand.
And as his Donald Trump’s candidacy for president ramped up in 2015, Kushner worked with Observer editor-in-chief Ken Kurson to dole out warm and fuzzy coverage his father-in-law.
Now in the White House, Kushner has maintained a low public profile, only speaking (very softly) before a camera on two occasions. But that doesn’t seem to have stopped him from waging a covert war in the press against his White House rivals, with a number of reports hinting at Kushner’s predilection for planting negative stories about White House strategist Steve Bannon, among others.
[image via screengrab]
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