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
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
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
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
Last June, the Economist ran this chart: "Lies, Damned Lies, and Directives," which documents decades of flat-out lies about EU regulations that were published in the tabloid press (many invented by the UK's post-Brexit foreign minister and Trumpian hairclown Boris Johnson, whose press colleagues considered him most reckless confabulist on European matters in their ranks).
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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