We may be living in a "post-truth” culture where feelings trump facts (and Trump ignores facts) but the tabloids have been living there for years, and this week’s tabloid flights of fantasy are no different.
“Drugs tearing Keith & Nicole Apart,” claims the ‘National Enquirer’ in an exposé about Nicole Kidman and husband Keith Urban - except the story is about an alleged former drug dealer’s “fears” that Urban is “teetering on the brink of a devastating relapse.” In other words Kieth is still straight and sober as far as the Enquirer knows, and a dubious source who admits not seeing Urban for 15 years is worried. Post-truthism at its finest.
As is the ‘Enquirer’ exclusive proclaiming: “Prince Harry Cross-Dressing Disaster!” Has Britain’s most politically incorrect Royal taken to fishnets and stilettos? No such luck. Though the ‘Enquirer’ claims that Harry is “caught in a shocking cross-dressing scandal,” actually it’s his girlfriend, American actress Meghan Markle, whose “brother" is revealed in photos wearing a dress and fake breasts. Actually it’s Markle’s mustachioed half-brother, and the photo clearly shows he’s wearing the dress for a lark, not as some lifestyle statement. There’s no scandal, and no way that Prince Harry is somehow entangled in it.
“Drugs Driving Kanye Insane!” screams another ‘Enquirer’ headline, claiming that the singer's hospitalization for “exhaustion” was sparked when “sky-high on booze and a cocktail of drugs.” Based on what? A source claims: “He’s got big problems!” True, but that doesn’t necessarily make his breakdown drug-related. Where are the facts? Read the rest
The Denver Guardian
looked enough like a real news site to convince legions of Facebookers that its fake news about Hillary Clinton was worth sharing. The anonymous creator reused an old handle in an early posting there, though, allowing NPR to track him down to the LA suburbs.
Jestin Coler, 40, weasels at first, claiming it's all an attempt to "highlight the extremism" and show "how easily fake news spreads." But he's soon boasting of a business operation that brings in five figures a month from ads.
Coler's company, Disinfomedia, owns many faux news sites — he won't say how many. But he says his is one of the biggest fake-news businesses out there, which makes him a sort of godfather of the industry.
At any given time, Coler says, he has between 20 and 25 writers. And it was one of them who wrote the story in the Denver Guardian that an FBI agent who leaked Clinton emails was killed. Coler says that over 10 days the site got 1.6 million views. He says stories like this work because they fit into existing right-wing conspiracy theories.
"The people wanted to hear this," he says. "So all it took was to write that story. Everything about it was fictional: the town, the people, the sheriff, the FBI guy. And then ... our social media guys kind of go out and do a little dropping it throughout Trump groups and Trump forums and boy it spread like wildfire."
As with other fake news hucksters, Coler says he also targeted liberals and lefties too, but found that they didn't fall for it the way others do. Read the rest
How fast things move! Here's us, suggesting that media people stop using the cutesy term "alt right" to describe Sieg Heiling white supremacists. But they're already moving onto panel discussions on whether Jews are people. Read the rest
What are we coming to when the ‘National Enquirer’ accurately reports Donald Trump’s speech promising reforms in his “first 100 days” in office? They even add, in giant print on the front page, "in his own words” - because they know how rare it is for anyone quoted in the ‘Enquirer’ to actually be quoted correctly.
Of course, the Trump-supporting rag can’t resist gloating, putting it all beneath the cover headline: “We Told You So!”
How long can it be before the New York Times is reporting on Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie’s divorce, or Prince Harry’s latest girlfriend? Oh wait -- they’ve already done that.
But the ‘Enquirer’ can’t maintain its facade of accuracy for long, plunging headlong into a series of highly dubious fact-free zones. Princes Harry’s girlfriend, American actress Meghan Markle, is reportedly enduing a “Nude Photo Horror!” But it’s typical ‘Enquirer’ wishful thinking. Markle evidently told a humorous anecdote about skinny-dipping in a New Zealand lake one day in 2012, only to find that pranksters had stolen her clothes. “She’s panicked that the photos will be published,” raves the mag. Except there are no photos. Never were. There’s no suggestion that a single photo was snapped. No nude photo horror. No panic.
Actress Jennifer Garner is saving her troubled marriage to Ben Affleck by having a baby, reports the ‘Enquirer,’ for at least the second time this year. This is based on a photo that shows Garner is a loose-fitting shirt. Just like the photos of her six months ago in a loose sweater, when they also swore she was pregnant. Read the rest
The New York Times opposes president-Elect's Trump's appointment of Breitbart executive Steve Bannon to a top White House role. In an editorial titled "Turn on the Hate," they quote him at his own word--and challenge Republicans on their sudden accommodation with a man who says he's a Leninist that wants to destroy both political parties and the State.
Read the rest
Mr. Bannon is in some ways a perplexing figure: a far-right ideologue who made his millions investing in “Seinfeld”; a former Goldman Sachs banker who has reportedly called himself a “Leninist” with a goal “to destroy the state” and “bring everything crashing down.” He has also called progressive women “a bunch of dykes” and, in a 2014 email to one of his editors, wrote of the Republican leadership, “Let the grassroots turn on the hate because that’s the ONLY thing that will make them do their duty.” ...
But most Republican officeholders have so far remained silent. Some have dismissed fears about Mr. Bannon. Other Republicans have praised him, like Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, whom Mr. Trump announced as his chief of staff on Sunday, and who said Mr. Bannon could not be such a bad guy because he served in the Navy and went to Harvard Business School. Some saw the pick of Mr. Priebus as evidence that Mr. Trump would not be leaning so much on Mr. Bannon. But don’t be fooled by Mr. Priebus’s elevated title; in the press release announcing both hires, Mr.
Reading recent coverage of Donald Trump's friends on the far right, it struck me that even when people pander to the idea Western culture's wellbeing is inseparable from European ethnicity, they somehow avoid being called white nationalists or supremacists by journalists. Read the rest
Jeff Bezos, founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Amazon and the proprietor of the Washington Post, is on president-elect Donald Trump's political hitlist.
Will this supplication save him? Is the "I, for one" reference to the classic Kent Brockman quote intentional? Read the rest
Now that all that election nonsense is behind us, let’s get back to what really matters in the world: Prince Charles has seized the British throne in a palace coup, Michael Jackson is having his first grandchild, Tom Cruise has a "$1 billion Doomsday bunker,” and U.S. Special Forces have killed a 15-ft tall red-haired giant in Afghanistan.
It’s business as usual in this week’s factually-challenged tabloids, getting back to the truly important world issues: the love lives of the stars. As the nation draws together in a spirit of post-electoral reconciliation, so the tabloids are hoping that shattered celebrity couples will reunite: The ‘National Enquirer’ claims that Gwyneth Paltrow wants to “get back with rocker ex” Chris Martin, and also that Drew Barrymore “pleads with her ex to come back.” Love is clearly in the air, as the ‘Enquirer’ reports that Madonna’s son Rocco is picking a new mate for his material mother, Prince Harry wants to show American actress girlfriend Meghan Markle his mother’s grave because it is his “most cherished place on Earth” (and what girl can resist a romantic trip to a cemetery?) and singer Mariah Carey is recovering after being dumped by fiancé James Packer by partying all over town with a “new boy toy” - though at 33 years old, dancer Bryan Tanaka may not take kindly to such a characterization.
And let’s remember: The ‘Enquirer’ was one of the most vocal supporters of Donald Trump, so if they got that right then maybe the rest of their stories aren’t the vacuous drivel they at first appear. Read the rest
Consumer site Extreamist confirms what many suspected: Netflix has sharply reduced its streaming library titles
by over 50% from an estimated 11,000 in 2012 to about 5,300 today. Read the rest
As Country Joe and the Fish once sang: “There ain’t no time to wonder why, whoopee, we’re all going to die.”
That’s the cheering message at the heart of yet another week of dispassionate, balanced and fair political reporting from the ‘Globe.'
“World War 3,” thunders its cover. “Doomsday if Hillary wins the White House.”
Better duck and cover if you plan to vote for Mrs. Clinton, warns the mag.
“Russian nukes ready to launch,” a headline screams. But hang on a sec - Russian nuclear weapons have been ready to launch for decades. Nothing new there. Oh, but there is, says the ‘Globe’ - “Clinton gave Putin Nuke That Can Wipe Out Texas!” As if she had a spare H-bomb laying around, and handed to Putin on a visit to Moscow while he gave her a set of nesting dolls and a bottle of vodka. The worst deal ever, as Donald Trump might say. Russia had enough nuclear weapons to wipe out Texas and the rest of the nation long before Clinton approved the sale of a U.S. uranium mining company, giving Russia access to 20 per cent of the uranium mined in America. And Clinton was only one part of the approving committee, which included the Secretaries of Defense, Homeland Security, Commerce, Energy and the Treasury. And Clinton could not have stopped the sale if she wanted to - only the President could make that decision, while she was merely Secretary of State. But as far as the ‘Globe’ is concerned, Hillary Clinton is responsible for all the world’s evils, and gleefully reports: “Clueless Hillary would trigger World War 3 if she wins presidency.”
What’s the solution, you wonder? Read the rest
We’ve come to a pretty pass when the ‘National Examiner’ report that “Frozen Zombie Killers Coming to Life” is actually one of the more accurate stories in this week’s tabloids.
Never letting the facts get in the way of a good story, the ‘Globe’ cover hails its “world exclusive” story: “Whitney Houston Exhumed!” Hardly surprising it’s a world exclusive, since the late singer has not been exhumed, as we learn inside the ‘Globe,’ under its pleading headline: “Dig Up Whitney’s Body!” Evidently “legal experts” are calling for her exhumation to prove that Houston’s 2012 drowning death was murder. Except their “legal expert” is actually a tame “Hollywood private eye."
Rachel Ray now reportedly weighs 277 pounds and has been ordered by doctors: “Diet or Die!” according to the serial fat-shaming ‘Globe,’ whose cover screams that she is “Eating Herself to Death!” At least she’s a celebrity TV chef, so she should have fun doing it. Did the ‘Globe’ team of highly-trained medical reporters put her on a scale, or hack her latest cholesterol test? Of course not. They simply eyeballed it, like “I Guess Your Weight” hucksters at a county fair. And they found a doctor "who has not treated her” to warn: “The excess pounds she’s now carrying bring the definite possibility of high cholesterol, diabetes, heart failure or even cancer.” What about hypertension, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, breathing difficulties, infertility and sleep apnea? Why not throw the whole medical dictionary at Rachel Ray, because she’s no longer rail thin? Read the rest
“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
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
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
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
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
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