Vladimir Putin's "American love slave tells all," President Trump "can foil Mueller's dark mission," and "sex romps rock White House," in this week's fact-challenged tabloids.
Politics has always been show-business with consequences, and this week's tabloids are no exception.
The 'National Enquirer,' which brings us its "Political Sex Scandal Hall of Shame" – All Stars include Bill Clinton, John Edwards, and the irrepressible Anthony Weiner – reports that "President Donald Trump has been rocked by a sleazy sex scandal after a top aide was caught cheating on his wife – with a hottie younger than his own daughters!"
While trying to fathom how the term "hottie" was exhumed from 1950s porn magazines, what's most remarkable is that the Trump-loving 'Enquirer' would expend an ounce of ink criticizing their beloved Commander in Chief. But of course, that's not what they're doing. This "shocking revelation" is allegedly about former election campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who Trump is desperately trying to put in his rear view mirror, having been exposed for links to Russia, and attending Donald Trump Jr's infamous meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, hoping to find dirt on Hillary Clinton.
It's clearly another indication of how Trump can turn on his former aides, that Manafort's alleged infidelity "romping with his 33-year-old mistress in the bedroom he shares with his wife" can become fodder for celebrity-hungry 'Enquirer' readers.
'Enquirer' political columnist Dick Morris claims that special counselor Robert Mueller "has shown he is determined to bring Trump down, and will stop at nothing." No hyperbole there, Dick? Just the facts? "Originally hired to investigate possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin to fix the U.S. election, he is now using his unlimited power, money and staff to go far back into the president's past to find grounds for impeachment." And why is that a problem, Dick?
"More is at stake than party politics here," he explains. "The ability of the people to select their president and the office of the president itself are in play." Oh, right.
Meanwhile the 'Globe' sticks it to Russia's Vladimir Putin with a dubiously-sourced and unverifiable report claiming to interview his former mistress. Allegedly rendered flaccid by German beer, Putin would pop Viagra and "the pills would turn him insatiable," says the "36-year-old blond bombshell," who claims she "was the kinky Kremlin kingpin's playmate from 2012 to 2014," enjoying trysts in Paris, Moscow, and across Europe.
The 'Globe' does not reveal her identity, but allegedly tracked her down "with the help of a CIA informant." Not a CIA agent, but an informant. How hard would it be for any unscrupulous individual to contact the 'Globe' claiming to be a CIA informant, offering an unidentified blond for interview purporting to be Putin's alleged lover? And would the 'Globe' scrupulously verify her story before publishing? That seems unlikely, which is why this story is on page 44, and not on the cover. And why is she called Putin's "love slave?" Why not just his lover?
Back in the (un)real world, the 'Globe' reports that Prince William and wife Kate are "taking charge" of the British Royal Family (they aren't); that serial killer Ted Bundy was "a sociopathic monster" (shocker!); and that a haunted mansion ghost has been "caught on camera" (or it's a hazy white smudge on the lens.)
The 'Enquirer' reports that John Travolta piloted a "gay orgy jet" (or maybe he just flew ten male friends to Africa); that Princess Diana's grave in Althorp Park is empty and she was secretly buried in nearby St Mary's Church (a well-worn conspiracy theory trotted out for the approaching 20th anniversary of her death); and morning TV show host Kelly Ripa says: "I Quit!" (according to the cover, though the story inside claims to the contrary that she hasn't resigned, but "she's ready to walk" if Ryan Seacrest is treated as the star of her show.)
'Us' magazine tells us that it's "wedding bells" for country singer Miranda Lambert, while 'People' magazine devotes its cover to Lauren Conrad telling "How Love Changed Me," and I honestly couldn't care less about either.
Fortunately we have the crack investigative squad at 'Us' magazine to tell us that Leighton Meester wore it best, designer Betsy Johnson's "favorite animal is the ostrich," 'Sharknado 5: Global Swarming' actress Cassie Scarbo carries a "little guardian angel stone," headphones and concealer in her Fjallråven Kånken handbag, and that the stars are just like us: they eat at McDonald's drive-throughs, go through airport security, and sip on Starbucks. Fascinating, as ever.
The 'Examiner' once again offers the most accurate yet unlikely news: "A research project to implant microchips in people's heads has been approved for the federal government – to allow telepathic communication." While another word for "telepathic" might be "wireless" via wi-fi or bluetooth, the story about DARPA's Neural Engineering Systems Design wing is broadly correct: research is underway on brain implants to interface with neurons governing sight and sound. The research hopes to gain greater understanding of the neurology of brain function, but there's always the hope that an interface could in years to come be used therapeutically, and perhaps eventually for communication between the brain and an outside source. Who wouldn't want the entire content of the 'National Examiner' beamed directly into their brain?
Onwards and downwards . . .