ANTHRAX SCARE SPOOKS TABLOID READERS

Consumers Fear Paper Itself May Be Contaminated

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The tragic mystery surrounding the anthrax contamination of American Media's offices took a bizarre turn today as panicked consumers, terrified they may contract the disease from the company's tabloids, flooded supermarkets with calls.

"People are afraid to pick up [the titles]," said a top industry executive who had been in touch with American Media CEO David Pecker today.

The executive said people feared that "if they go into stores they're going to contract the disease."

Calling the CDC
Mr. Pecker was taking the extraordinary step of contacting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta in order to get the agency to issue a statement reassuring consumers that anthrax contamination from such sources was impossible.

American Media's offices in Boca Raton, Fla., remained closed as authorities continued their investigation.

American Media publishes the National Enquirer, The Star, and The Sun.

No printing in Florida
A spokesman for American Media said he was aware of consumers' fears, and reiterated they were in no danger. The spokesman added that American Media's titles are printed at "half a dozen locations across the country, none of which are in Florida."

Mr. Pecker did not return a call seeking comment.

Last week a photo editor for The Sun died from the disease. Another employee tested positive for anthrax spores, although he exhibited no symptoms. A spokesman today denied a New York Post report of a third employee being contaminated.

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