Jared Kushner Reportedly Ordered Article About Adam Silver to Be Deleted

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistAugust 7, 2018

FILE - In this May 18, 2018 file photo, White House adviser Jared Kushner speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington. On their current Mideast tour, senior Trump administration officials Kushner and envoy Jason Greenblatt are getting a close-up view of towering obstacles to their yet-to-be-released blueprint for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. They met Tuesday, June 19, 2018 with Jordan's King Abdullah II, acknowledging the talks only after the fact, and are expected in Israel toward the end of the week. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
Susan Walsh/Associated Press

In 2012, Jared Kushner reportedly ordered a number of articles that were "critical of his friends and real estate peers" removed from the newspaper he owned and ran at the time, the New York Observer, according to Steven Perlberg of BuzzFeed News.

Among those stories was one written about NBA Commissioner Adam Silver:

"The disappearing act included more mundane fare: a 2012 story about Silver purchasing a $6.75 million apartment in a tony New York City building, the kind of item that privacy-conscious famous people often try to keep out of the real estate press. Silver and Kushner are friends, and the NBA commissioner praised Kushner in a 2016 New Yorker article for helping the league find space for a retail store."

"That Kushner, a newspaper owner of all people, would participate in an administration that labels news media the enemy of the people, is an affront to the very notion of the freedom of the press and an utter betrayal of those who worked hard and in good faith for him at the Observer," Austin Smith, who worked for the Observer Media Group, told BuzzFeed News. Smith said he deleted articles at the behest of Kushner, who stepped down from the paper in 2017 to join the White House as a senior advisor.

The publication's former editor, Elizabeth Spiers, told Perlberg that she wasn't aware the practice was happening and that Smith had no choice in the matter since he wasn't an editorial employee.

"If I had known about it, Jared and I would have had a big problem," she said. "Jared's such a coward. Went directly to Austin because he knew I wouldn't do it."

Covertly deleting stories to protect friends is generally considered an unethical practice in journalism.

Kushner's ties to the NBA go beyond his apparent friendship with Silver. In the spring of 2017, Philadelphia 76ers principal owner Joshua Harris reportedly was "advising Trump administration officials on infrastructure policy," according to Jesse Drucker, Kate Kelly and Ben Protess of the New York Times.

In those meetings, he and Kushner also reportedly "discussed a possible White House job for Mr. Harris."

Then in November, Apollo Global Management—which Harris co-founded—made a $184 million to Kushner Companies to "refinance the mortgage on a Chicago skyscraper." According to Apollo spokesman Charles V. Zehren, Harris wasn't involved in that loan process.