Analysis & Comment

Opinion | Jeff Bezos vs. The National Enquirer

To the Editor:

Re “Bezos Accuses Tabloid Owner of ‘Extortion’” (front page, Feb. 8):

In 1824 a London publisher, Joseph Stockdale, wrote to the Duke of Wellington and threatened to publish the memoirs of Harriet Wilson, a courtesan past her prime, if the duke did not pay to suppress the story. The duke responded, “Publish and be damned.” As did Jeff Bezos when The National Enquirer threatened to publish photos of his extramarital affair.

Both Stockdale and Wilson ended badly — Stockdale ruined by libel suits brought by other aristocrats, and Wilson ending her days in obscurity. The duke was not harmed and eventually became prime minister. Perhaps David Pecker, The Enquirer’s publisher, should ponder history.

Lawrence N. Rappaport
Avon, Conn.

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