It will be protested that Enquirer parent American Media Inc. isn’t a journalism company but an entertainment company, or that decisions not to publish are somehow different than decisions to publish, or that because actual money changed hands, this somehow doesn’t amount to real journalism.
Yet First Amendment law has advanced in America on the basis of sketchy outlets such as Benjamin Bache’s Philadelphia Aurora and Jay Near’s Saturday Press. Near v. Minnesota was the precedent for the Supreme Court’s decision allowing the New York Times to go ahead and publish the Pentagon Papers.
Even “respectable” press companies routinely hire sources as “consultants” or on-air contributors, pay them for photos, or fly them to New York and put them up in fancy hotels. If a German book publisher pays James Comey a million dollar advance for a negative tale about President Trump, is that a campaign contribution to Congressional Democrats?