Safer sex with aliens, and other tabloid stunners


“Fight off the zombie hordes!” cries a full-page ad in this week’s ‘National Enquirer,’ featuring a hand-crafted and hand-painted shattered human skull with a bloody axe embedded in its cranium.

It’s a Halloween decoration that makes a pleasant change from the truly frightening usual ads offering ceramic angels, silver pendants to show how much you love your granddaughter, and life-like Princess Diana figurines.

But it’s also the perfect gift for ‘Enquirer’ readers who by now may be fearing a zombie invasion as the inevitable outcome of this year’s presidential election if “crooked Hillary Clinton” wins the Oval Office, having been fed a diet of panicked warnings by the magazine. This week the ‘Enquirer’ does its bit to ramp up the fear level with “the explosive story that will change the election,” bringing us ten pages exposing “24 years of cover-ups and crimes” by Hillary. A “hitman” for Hillary tells the ‘Enquirer’ how he was allegedly ordered to destroy Bill Clinton’s sex victims, bribe reporters to hide the truth, hide her sleazy affairs and pay hush money to hookers. Alas, none of the allegations is backed by anything that rises to the level of proof, or has corroboration from any additional sources than its unnamed “Mr. Fit-It."

“Hillary’s Plot to Kill Monica!” is a great headline spread over two pages, but the article includes not one mention of a plot to assassinate former White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Claims that the White House was doing its own investigation on Lewinsky are hardly new or surprising. Read the rest

Weekly tabloid roundup


Michelle Obama is exposing Hillary Clinton’s secret sex life and financial dealings, Bill Clinton plans to live in Arkansas “to study young interns,” Prince Charles’ wife Camilla has branded William and Kate “lousy parents,” Playboy magnate Hugh Hefner is a dying recluse, Goldie Hawn “needs rehab to survive,” and Angelina Jolie “lusts for lesbian love - and drugs!”

What do these lurid stories in this week’s tabloids have in common? They cling to the barest gossamer thread of reality - a thread that grows more frayed with each week’s reports.

“Backstabbing Obama destroy Hillary,” screams the Trump-loving ‘Globe’ cover story, ignoring the small detail that the Clintons’ finances have been dissected in numerous public investigations and public tax filings, and allegations of her sexual proclivities have been long ago and repeatedly aired in depth. There’s little dirt that the Obamas could offer the Republicans - as if they’d want to - that hasn’t already been revealed.

If Hillary wins the White House, husband Bill plans to live in a “Little Rock love shack” - actually, his Presidential Library - where he has transformed his apartment into “a Hugh Hefner-style playboy penthouse” where he aims to seduce women, claims former Republican political strategist Dick Morris in the ‘National Enquirer.’ Bill reportedly plans “to build a swimming pool on the roof of his library . . . to have naked pool parties the way JFK did at the White House.” Seems like fair and balanced reporting to me, despite the complete absence of supporting facts. Read the rest

Debate: Trump admits paying no taxes, denies sexually assaulting women, says Hillary is the devil


By millionaire presidential candidate Donald Trump's standards, the second debate was a success. Hillary Clinton was cagey and tense, leaving him free to blather on incoherently and bicker with the moderators when they told him to stop. Her supporters are left to wonder why she's such a cautious closer. His are left to drown themselves in the joy of bullshit—and hope that it buries a brutal news cycle for their man. Read the rest

Tabloids report on breaking news, decades after others reported it


The latest news - from decades past - seems to be the theme of this week’s tabloids.

“Trump’s Tax Returns Revealed” screams the 'National Enquirer' cover, promising that “Hillary’s ugly smear campaign falls apart!” But The ‘Enquirer’ has only obtained the Republican presidential candidate’s tax returns for 1975 to 1977, almost three decades out of date. To learn that he paid an average of $23,977 in federal taxes over those three years is scarcely relevant to the questions hanging over Trump today. But for the ‘Enquirer,’ that’s good enough to exonerate Trump of any question of tax avoidance.

The “sinister plot” behind the famed meeting between President Richard Nixon and Elvis Presley a staggering 46 years ago is “revealed” by the ‘Globe.’ If they had bothered to read Nixon aide Egil ‘Bud’ Krough’s 1994 book ‘The Day Elvis Met Nixon,’ however, they would have read the same story: that Elvis wanted the US government to condemn The Beatles. As Krough said: “Presley indicated that he thought the Beatles had been a real force for anti-American spirit.” It’s sweet to see a vaguely accurate story in the Globe for once, even if it’s four decades late.

The ‘Globe' continues digging into history by declaring (for the umpteenth time) that it has “proof” that Prince Charles “murdered Diana!” Having already decided that the Queen ordered Diana’s body exhumed and demanded a new autopsy - demonstrably false - the publication now reports on details of the non-existent coroner’s report, allegedly proving that Charles had his wife assassinated. Read the rest

Evolution of Verse is a poetic VR experience


Even if you don't have a VR headset, Chris Milk's Evolution of Verse hints beautifully at the future of immersive entertainment. Go fullscreen, don headphones, and get close! Read the rest

ISIS is under attack from UFOs -- and other tabloid stunners


What do crystal bracelets inspired by Michelle Obama, a John Wayne commemorative beer stein, a viagra substitute, a Life Alert alarm, and mustache hair remover - for women - have in common?

They’re all ads in this week’s 'National Enquirer,' whose demographic appears to be aging frail bearded Democratic women and alcoholic men with erectile dysfunction. That might begin to explain the tabloid’s dubious connection to reality, and why Donald Trump is reportedly “very close” to ‘Enquirer' chief executive David Pecker, even writing several pieces for the rag during his presidential campaign: they share an equally tenuous relationship with the truth.

Angelina Jolie’s divorce from Brad Pitt dominates this week’s tabloids, but only the ‘Enquirer’ boasts “world exclusive first photos” of Brad entering a hotel just weeks ago with ex-wife Jennifer Aniston, exposing their “secret rendezvous.” But look hard at the “world exclusive” photo - single, not plural as the ‘Enquirer' promises - and you’ll see in tiny print the words: “Photo Recreation.” In other words, the Enquirer has a world exclusive photo of two lookalikes shown from the rear entering a hotel, and no photos of Pitt and Aniston together anywhere. Because it probably never happened.

Trump’s pal Pecker is also CEO of the ‘Globe’ tabloid, which this week carries ads for a ‘Granddaughter, I Love You’ “heirloom” music box (though it won’t become an heirloom until you pass it down to your beloved granddaughter), Count Cat-ula figurine (a vampire cat, of course), and portable oxygen tank “that will never weigh you down.” The ‘Globe’ shares the same scant relationship with the truth as the ‘Enquirer.' Its cover revisits the 20-year-old murder of infant pageant queen JonBenet Ramsey, in headlines screaming: “JonBenet Dad’s Confession to Cops!” Did John Ramsey really confess to killing his daughter? Read the rest

How low will America’s tabloids stoop to derail Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign?


Just look at this week’s ’National Enquirer’ cover, breathlessly billed as “The story that will doom Hillary.”

Under the heading “World Exclusive,” the headline screams: “Bill Groped Me On Campaign Jet - and Hillary Did Nothing!”

Campaign flight attendant Cristy Zercher is horrified that Bill Clinton allegedly hugged her from behind and placed a hand on her breast. On another occasion she claims to have opened the plane's toilet door to find Bill standing with his fly unzipped, though exposing nothing.

The cover photo of Hillary Clinton’s campaign plane leaves no doubt that Hillary is sex-fiend Bill’s enabler-in-chief.

I almost hate to mention it, but there are just one or two minor details of this ground-breaking story that I’d like to take issue with.

Like the fact that this “world exclusive” first appeared in the 'Star' tabloid in March 1998. That Zercher’s harassment allegedly occurred on Bill Clinton’s campaign plane 24 years ago - not on Hillary’s current campaign jet. And even Zercher confessed that the reason Hillary “did nothing” was because she was asleep at the time of the alleged incident. Let’s note that much of Zercher’s new “world exclusive interview” appeared word-for-word 18 years ago. We’re not supposed to recall that Zercher was interviewed by the Washington Post in July 1994 and never mentioned being harassed by Bill Clinton, saying only that he had flirted with her. Is it churlish to point out that TV news show ‘Inside Edition’ ran a two-night special on Zercher’s claims in April 1998, and revealed that she not only flunked a lie detector test, but “failed miserably,” according to show spokesperson Jan Murray. Read the rest

Trump's supposedly going to denounce birtherism. Will the media wash his hands for him?

Illo: Rob Beschizza

Millionaire presidential candidate Donald Trump was a vocal birther—someone who insinuates Barack Obama was not born in the United States—until at least 2014. Today, he's supposedly going to denounce this position for good, following some recent equivocation on his part.

Adds Trump: "We have to keep the suspense going."

This sort of statement enrages liberals because it reminds them of how easily Trump manipulates the political media's hunger for a horse race—especially now he's neck and neck with rival Hillary Clinton in national polls and there's no sign of them realizing he understands them better than they understand him.

The fear today is of equivocating headlines such as "Trump, Clinton trade accusations on Birtherism," allowing him the plain lie of a she-did-it-first controversy.

But days of Trump benefiting from a smarmy rehabilitation narrative, when the most nakedly racist dogwhistle in American politics is still glistening with his saliva, is what's almost too much to bear. Here's Josh Marshall:

Accusing his opponent of whatever he is accused of is one of the three key tools in Trump's media arsenal, used over and over again to amazing effect (the others: "I'll tell you tomorrow" and "Something's going on.") Journos are defensively, cynically attached to a supposedly objective voice from nowhere that conceals editorial judgment in the framing of subject matter, and Trump's been doing well since Hillary switched her focus to the "Romney moderates" most influenced by it. Read the rest

Rogue planet hurtling toward a collision with Earth and other tabloid stunners


It’s hard to be disturbed by this week’s tabloid revelations that Hillary Clinton is dying, Robert Wagner has been arrested for murdering Natalie Wood, and Tom Hanks’ marriage is imploding in a $355 million divorce battle, when the 'National Examiner' reveals that a “phantom planet” is heading our way and will “destroy Earth.”

You’d think that might be big news, but the end of the world doesn’t even merit a mention on the Examiner’s own cover, instead devoted to “The Royals Nobody Knows,” with the revelation that Prince William and wife Kate will “drag the dusty old royals into the modern world.” Not that there will be a world left for the royals to enjoy, if the Examiner’s crack scientific reporting team is correct in its analysis of a “new video of a rare blood moon” which supposedly shows that “a rogue planet is hurtling toward a collision with Earth.” The ‘Examiner’ seems unconcerned that the video doesn’t show a hidden planet, which doesn’t exist in reality and has been widely debunked in all but the most paranoid corners of the interwebs.

It’s about as realistic as everything else in this week’s tabloids, however, which seem to have given up even attempting a semblance of accuracy.

“Robert Wagner Murder Arrest!” screams the ‘Globe’ cover, with a photo of the actor in handcuffs. Search hard, and you’ll find in tiny print the word: “Dramatization.” Search within, and you’ll find that Wagner has not even been arrested - that’s simply what the ‘Globe’ believes should happen, as it refuses to stop beating this long-dead horse. Read the rest

"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 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


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


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


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

Read the rest

Important man's African-American colleague wins Olympic medal


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


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"


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

More posts