"Closing the book", Gawker releases data on traffic and posting statistics

Illo: Rob Beschizza

Josh Laurito offers a fascinating look at the internals of a top-flight blog. Gawker, bankrupted by the Hulk Hogan lawsuit verdict and having sold off all its blogs (except Gawker.com itself) to Univision, is to cease publication this week.

Since it’s not totally clear to me what will happen to the site’s archives or how long I will have access to data about the site, today seems like a good time to jot down some of the numbers we have about our writers, our community, and posts.

Read the rest

Daily Mail reporter poses on Syria front lines with assault rifle

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British tabloid newspaper The Daily Mail posted a photo of reporter Mark Nicol on the Syrian front lines posing with an assault rifle. This is bad for numerous reasons, but the main one is that it casts western reporters as mercenary participants and invites summary execution upon capture.

Hope you can shoot straight, Mark! Read the rest

President Obama’s “Wild White House Orgy!” and other tabloid stunners

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Farewell, Nick Nolte. We’ll miss you.

We loved you in ’48 Hrs’ and ‘Down and Out in Beverly Hills.’ You were masterful in ‘The Thin Red Line’ and ‘Cape Fear.’

It’s sad, but at the age of 75 you’ve lived a good life, enjoyed your share of drink and drugs, and earned three richly-deserved Academy Award nominations.

But now it’s time to go.

A month ago the 'National Enquirer' gave you four weeks to live, and now your time’s up. A good actor knows when to leave the stage. I know you’re looking hale and hearty, but the ‘Enquirer' equates your unkempt hair and occasional disheveled attire with mental decay and imminent death, and their team of highly trained medical correspondents couldn’t possibly be wrong could they? I know you have a new TV series, ‘Graves,’ debuting in October, but the ‘Enquirer’ wants you in a grave of your own. II know you wouldn’t want to make liars out of the good and decent folks at the ‘Enquirer.’ I’m sure your fans can trust you to do the right thing.

The good news, Nick, is that you won’t be alone in the morgue. Jack Nicholson is also on his last legs, according to the ‘Enquirer,’ which claims ‘Dying Jack’s love child fights for $400 million fortune.’ Nicholson allegedly fathered a daughter in Denmark 35 years ago, and his “face would light up” whenever she was around, though he never publicly acknowledged her. But now Jack is at death’s door - or at least, his family is reportedly "worried about his cholesterol" - and that’s always the cue for a good old fight over a star’s fortune. Read the rest

Univision to buy Gawker for $135m

Illo: Rob Beschizza

Univision won the auction for Gawker Media with a $135m bid, reports Peter Kafka.

... the auction is a disappointing conclusion for Gawker Media owner Nick Denton, who founded the company in 2002. Last year, as rival media companies like Vice, BuzzFeed and Vox Media (which owns this site) were raising money at increasingly high valuations, Denton was arguing that his company was worth $250 million or more.

The price was depressed by the circumstances of the sale: a $140m award against it after publishing a Hulk Hogan sex tape and losing the subsequent lawsuit, which was secretly funded by vengeful billionaire Peter Thiel. Though experts generally expect Gawker to prevail on appeal, it was forced into bankruptcy by the penalty and the only other bidder was Ziff Davis, at $90m.

This weds Gawker to The Onion and Fusion in the Univision website stable; The Onion is very much its own thing, but Fusion's web presence is quite similar to Gawker itself and one wonders will it blend? Read the rest

Alex Jones shouting "NEVER!" for an hour

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The conspiracy-minded talk host, boiled down to the essentials and taken to infinity. (Original clip via @immolations)

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Important man's African-American colleague wins Olympic medal

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At the Olympic games in Rio, The Mercury News reports that top U.S. swimmer "Michael Phelps shares historic night with African-American."

The subject of The Mercury News's unspecific racial disinterest is in fact Stanford junior Simone Manuel, who not only has a name and is neither Phelps' sister or wife, but is the gold medal winner in the 100-meter freestyle event.

The Mercury News later apologized for its "insensitve headline." Read the rest

Ferocious bipedal dog-like beast prowling American forests! says tabloid

bloids21111

You know the National Enquirer doesn’t believe its own story that it has found child beauty pageant murder victim JonBenet Ramsey’s killer when it relegates the story to a sliver at the bottom of its cover, and concludes that based on the alleged murderer's purported diary “authorities need to take a closer look at him as a potential suspect.”

People magazine doesn’t hesitate to devote its cover to JonBenet, promising “new twists in a 20-year mystery,” yet after police have reviewed more than 1,400 pieces of evidence, probed more than 140 suspects, and generated more than 50,000 pages of documents, “the case remains unsolved.” New twists? CBS is filming a TV series on the case, and JonBenet’s brother Burke is being interviewed by TV’s Dr. Phil next month. In other words: nothing new.

The Enquirer continues its assassination of “Crooked Hillary” Clinton, devoting this week’s cover to “Clinton’s secret health crisis.” Evidently she has suffered a “mental breakdown,” and is “eating herself to death,” having allegedly gained 103 lbs since announcing her candidacy for the White House. Her supposedly ravenous appetite for food, prescription drugs and alcohol have “caused her butt to balloon at least 20 inches in the three weeks since the Democratic National Convention, reports the Enquirer. You have to admire the Enquirer’s intrepid reporters, who each week must surreptitiously slip a tape measure around Hillary Clinton’s thighs, tracking every fluctuation in her adipose tissue. That’s investigative journalism at its best. As if that wasn’t bad enough, “she’s covering up a brain injury,” and dealing with her husband’s medical collapse “as dying Bill battles Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s” diseases, the Enquirer claims. Read the rest

Tabloid warning: "Children with soulless black eyes terrorize residents foolish enough to let them in"

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What’s in celebrity handbags this week? Is it lip gloss and sunglasses? Car keys and chewing gum? We’ll never know, because Us magazine this week deprives us of its weekly feature ‘What’s in my purse?’ which gives “celebrities" aspiring to rise to the D-List the opportunity to fill their tote bags with healthy snacks they’d never usually eat, products they’re paid to promote, and books they’d like to be seen reading. Has Us mag run out of celebrities? Has this window into stars’ private lives become too intrusive? Or could it be because every "celebrity” purse carries the same dull, predictable contents week after week? And why have we seen inside dozens of celebrities’ purses yet never encountered a single one with any condoms, soiled Kleenex, or medication for their bipolar disorder? They can’t have dropped the feature because there’s too much real news, because that’s one thing sorely lacking in this week's celebrity magazines and tabloids.

O.J. Simpson attempted a jail break, scooping out a shallow trench beneath the razor wire surrounding Nevada’s Lovelock Correctional Center, claims the Globe, which says that he was caught red-handed. It’s hard to imagine that one of the most recognizable inmates in the US prison system would try to escape under the eye of 213 prison guards and CCTV into a flat expanse of desert without any accomplices outside to help him flee, yet that’s what the Globe would have us believe. Or maybe he was just walking too close to the fence, and tripped? Read the rest

How a cooked Assange quote ended up media gospel

Julian Assange. Image: Reuters.

Wikileaks, the clearing house for state secrets, seems more about founder Julian Assange's grudges these days: especially the one for Hillary Clinton. Much fuss was made over a quote—that he had "enough evidence" to guarantee an indictment of her—that was widely attributed to him. It turns out, though, that the quote doesn't check out: most point to a mangled interview on the UK's ITV where it isn't even said. Jesse Singal set out to track down a source that no-one bothered to verify. It's a surprisingly tantalizing and teasing journey, but the tl;dr seems to be that the quote was originally fabricated by the blog Zero Hedge. Read the rest

Deep-fried Oreos, beer ravioli, chocolate-covered bacon are tabloid favorites

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The lost continent of Atlantis has been discovered, and the grammatically-challenged National Examiner reveals: “descendants of Atlantis still roaming the streets today.” It’s probably too late for Atlantians to be accredited to compete in the Summer Olympics, but Atlantis survivors will be delighted to know that their homeland isn’t a mythological fiction after all - which is more than can be said for much of the offerings in this week’s tabloids.

Former kidnap victim and 18-year prisoner Jaycee Dugard faces a “new nightmare” and “desperate fight to protect her kids” after learning that her abductor may be eligible for early release . . . in 2036, at the age of 85. That’s actually when kidnapper Phillip Garrido would become legally eligible for parole, but since he was sentenced to 431 years behind bars, the Enquirer’s fears may be slightly overblown.

That’s equally true for Amal Clooney’s “secret pregnancy,” as the Enquirer claims: “George Clooney’s wife hoping a baby will save their rocky marriage.” Has she announced her pregnancy? Of course not! “Insiders have exclusively claimed” that she is expecting, which in reality means that a recent photograph of Amal showed her with the merest hint of a paunch, and in the mythical world of the tabloids that’s as good as a pink + on a pregnancy test strip.

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have “Split!” according to the Enquirer cover, though inside the report backtracks to claim only that they “are on the brink of a nasty divorce.” Why? Because Rita allegedly threw a fit over her wardrobe selection at a photo shoot. Read the rest

Roundup of newspapers that illustrated Hillary Clinton's nomination with pictures of her husband

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The excuses for this come prepackaged: it's what was on the photo wires, his was the great speech of the night, it illustrates a moment of transition in politics, etc. Read the rest

100 yard-long kraken surfaces near Antarctica, and other tabloid stunners

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“It’s war!” screams the cover of Us magazine.

Forget Iraq and Afghanistan, Syria and Nigeria. It’s Kim Kardashian vs Taylor Swift that has Us mag so excited, after the reality TV queen called the singer a “f--king liar.”

People magazine also gets in on the war reporting as Kim and Tay’s “feud explodes” after Kim videoed husband Kanye West asking Swift’s permission to include a song lyric saying they might have sex - but failed to tell Taylor that he was going to call her a “bitch" that he made famous. Therein lies the philosophical difference that evidently is the pop culture equivalent of assassinating the Archduke of Austro-Hungary.

The Globe is preoccupied with another battle-front: “Queen Kate’s War With Di’s Brother!” Ignoring for a moment the fact that Kate is neither Queen, nor will she be even when HRH Queen Elizabeth pops her royal clogs, Duchess Kate is supposedly outraged that Diana’s brother, Earl Charles Spencer, is renting out his stately home - and Diana’s last resting place - to well-heeled tourists. for up to $40,000- a-night. Perhaps the Globe is forgetting that Buckingham Palace is currently open to visitors until October 1 for a mere 37 pounds (about $49)?

A “Top Secret GOP Convention Plot” to ensure that Donald Trump wins the presidential election is exposed by the National Enquirer. I’m not sure how secret a “convention plot” can be when it’s being televised live every day, but the Enquirer nevertheless reveals Trump’s “7-Step Plan to destroy Hillary.” This supposedly involves the GOP exposing seven dark secrets about the Democratic candidate and her husband, including Hillary’s alleged “lesbian shenanigans,” her spell in an Illinois mental hospital “following a nervous breakdown caused by Bill’s cheating,” Bill’s illegitimate love child with an ex-lover, exposing Monica Lewinsky’s secret diaries, and Hillary’s secret pact to divorce Bill if she loses the election. Read the rest

Demonic possession on the rise in America, and other tabloid stunners

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Dark smoke rings hover in the sky over Zurich, Leamington Spa in England, and even Disneyland.

Are they naturally occurring air vortices, or thermal microbursts as some meteorologists believe?

Of course not.

“They came from another dimension!” explains the National Examiner, whose crack science team reports: “Some believe they are UFOs or a sign of some supernatural presence.”

That’s about as logical as everything else in this week’s factually-challenged tabloids and celebrity magazines.

“Hillary failed secret FBI lie detector!” screams the National Enquirer’s front page, claiming that she failed to tell the truth about sending military secrets on her private email server. Pot, meet kettle. Hillary Clinton never took a polygraph test when testifying before the FBI. Rather, the Enquirer simply fed audio of some of her public statements through a purported stress detector, which I’m guessing came with its own decoder ring, cape and mask when you send $2.99 and ten cereal box tops. It was a “secret” test because nobody except the Enquirer knew she was taking it, raising forensic science to new levels.

Just as former ‘Friends’ star Jennifer Aniston was publicly raging this week against tabloid intrusion, lies and the perpetuation of unrealistic body images, the Enquirer obliged by reporting “Aniston’s boob job to save her rocky marriage . . . “ Declared Beverly Hills dermatologist Dr Susan Evans: “Jennifer’s breasts look much fuller than they used to.” Because a plastic surgeon just won’t do. It takes a certified dermatologist to determine if mammary glands look larger. Read the rest

It’s summer, so let the tabloid body shaming begin

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It’s summer, so let the body shaming begin. The National Enquirer brings us four pages of “Celebs with Cellulite,” and Us magazine assaults us with six pages of “bikini diet tips,” which lamentably forget to include the genetic code for readers to reverse-engineer themselves to look like Gigi Hadid. People magazine sends mixed messages, offering two pages of hard-bodied stars splashing about in the ocean, along with eight pages of celebrities cooking dishes of dubious health benefit such as brown sugar bacon, honey-pepper cast-iron biscuits, and spaghetti with meatballs.

But don’t lose too much weight for the summer - the National Examiner warns that country singer Dolly Parton is 89 pounds and “wasting away."

Comedy veteran Carol Burnett “Tells all before she dies!” screams the Globe, which is good, because it’s probably easier than telling all after she dies. What does she tell? Nothing to the Globe, which is going to have to wait with the rest of us for the publication of her memoir later this year, though that doesn’t stop the Globe speculating that Burnett was saddened by her daughter’s drug addiction. Seems like a stretch to me. What parent wouldn’t be proud of their child’s drug addiction?

With all the chaos surrounding Brexit, I must have missed the abdication at Buckingham Palace and Prince Charles’ refusal to accept the crown, because the Globe splashes its cover with: “Queen Kate’s Reign Begins - and she’s pregnant with twins!” Ignoring for a moment the fact that Kate Middleton remains Duchess of Cambridge and has not been named Queen, reports of her pregnancy with twins have been circulating since April, so she should be showing a considerable baby bump by now if it were true. Read the rest

Which photos of Alton Sterling did the media use?

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There's something different about Fox News's coverage of Alton Sterling, killed by Baton Rouge cops who held him down and shot him in the back.

Can't quite put my finger on it. Read the rest

Humans and robots are on a collision course for a war, says Examiner

bloids21111

When you’re attacked by an alligator, the National Enquirer has some great advice for you: “Run!”

That’s just one of the really useful survival tips in this week’s helpful tabloids.

Don’t drive - “driving can be hazardous to your health,” the Enquirer claims, noting a medical study that found motorists who drove more than an hour daily were on average six pounds heavier.

“Sleep for health,” advises the National Examiner, which also offers “10 ways to beat menopause” and how to live with “losing a limb.” Is this a problem among their sedentary readership, or has Oscar Pistorius bought a life-time subscription?

But what’s the point of staying healthy, since the world will be ending soon?

“Humans and robots are on a collision course for a war that could break out by the middle of the century," according to the Examiner, which cites experts ranging from a Canadian novelist to Stephen Hawking. Maybe now is a good time to make sure that robots have a five-day waiting period before buying guns - or might the NRA object to that?

The Globe continues its obsession with fat-shaming celebrities who dare gain an extra ounce or two. Candice Bergen is branded a “blue whale,” Jeff Bridges is “fat and sassy,” country singer Blake Shelton is suffering “fat shame” about his “soft belly and man-boobs,” and actress Tara Reid sports a “belly bulge.” “Diet lowers cancer risk” and “teen pounds are lethal,” state two articles on the Globe’s health page, all of which makes me hunger for People magazine’s recipes this week for eggs Benedict, strawberries & cream parfait, and apple rhubarb scones. Read the rest

Parasites are threatening to “destroy the human race” and other tabloid shockers

bloids21111

Parasites are threatening to “destroy the human race,” claims the National Examiner, which coincidentally is what this week’s tabloid magazines also appear to have in mind.

Just like the Examiner's “evil bugs” with “the power to turn us into zombies,” the tabloids try to burrow into our brains with their latest mindless worm-like ravings.

Comedy legend Robin Williams’ death “is now a murder probe” claims the Globe, reporting that the case has been re-opened as “cops probe brutal murder!”

But read the story and you learn that the case has not be reopened by police; it’s merely Globe’s rent-a-quote “investigators” speculating wildly, accompanied by a disturbing photo purporting to show Williams’ corpse with horrific strangulation marks around his neck. This is the same discredited photo which in 2014 was proven not to be Williams after being traced back to a Spanish website specializing in strangulation. But that hasn’t stopped the Globe reprinting the image, even with its own caution: “the authenticity is in question.” No kidding.

Happy marriages simply aren’t allowed in the tabloids’ version of Hollywood. Jennifer Aniston’s marriage is “in crisis” because husband Justin Theroux is away filming in Australia, claims the Globe, and John Travolta’s marriage to Kelly Preston is heading toward a $275 million divorce, claims the Enquirer, which for years has repeatedly floated this story questioning the actor’s sexuality, in the forlorn hope that one day it may be proven right.

“Hillary will never be President!” screams the Enquirer’s cover, accusing her of treason for leaking US intelligence, bribery for accepting a $145 million Russian “payoff” to the Clinton Foundation, and conspiracy for the Benghazi attack. Read the rest

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