Is President Trump feeding stories to the 'National Enquirer'?
The magazine boasts an "exclusive" story this week claiming that the Pentagon has developed a space laser that "could zap North Korea off the map" by focusing the sun's energy into a "beam of pure destructive power."
At first glance it's just another fact-challenged 'Enquirer' sci-fi fantasy, and yet the magazine does have unprecedented access to President Donald Trump, who is on the record saying the rag deserves a Pulitzer prize, and cited its dubious stories on the campaign trail.
It's not inconceivable that this 'Enquirer' story was planted by Trump himself, echoing his threat to engulf North Korea "with fire and fury like the world has never seen."
But even if the story came from the Oval Office, it's likely to be as accurate as the rest of the 'Enquirer' offerings this week. America obliterating North Korea doesn't even merit inclusion on the 'Enquirer' front page, which is devoted instead to these gems: Julia Roberts' divorce "turns nasty," NBC's Megyn Kelly has been "fired," and 95-year-old actress Betty White is "battling crippling illness." Unsurprisingly, none of these claims are supported by the stories inside.
How has Julia Roberts' divorce turned nasty? It hasn't, since there is no divorce. The 'Enquirer' claims that the actress's' husband Danny Moder is "furious" about Roberts' "romantic reconnection" with her 'Pretty Woman' co-star Richard Gere. "Kiss destroys 15-year marriage," reports the mag, displaying an incriminating photo of Roberts and Gere bussing lips. But it's not what it seems: the embrace was the pair's greeting on TV's 'Today' show in 2015 – a public, innocent and friendly greeting, not a passionate clandestine lip-lock. Is Danny Moder divorcing his wife because he suddenly saw a rereun of his wife greeting an old friend on TV two years ago? Yeah, right.
"Megyn's out!" screams the 'Enquirer' headline – except as viewers can tell, Kelly is still on our screens. And the 'Enquirer' story concedes she hasn't gone yet, but merely claims: "NBC's ready to kick her off 'Today.'"
Betty White was "forced to make a desperate dash to her doctor's office after collapsing at home," the 'Enquirer reports. But aren't desperate dashes made to hospitals? Trips to one's doctor are usually less than life-threatening.
But White is fortunate to have the medical expertise of New York internist Dr Stuart Fischer, who admits never treating the actress, but insightfully informs the magazine: "This is likely the result of arteriosclerosis." She could have saved herself a desperate dash to the doctor and just phoned the 'Enquirer.'
The 'Globe' continues its almost weekly Royal soap-opera, claiming that the Queen has "changed her mind – once again" – and decided to cut out son Prince Charles and bequeath the crown directly to grandson Prince William. Apart from the fact that the Queen can't just give the throne to anyone she likes – there's a legally established line of succession – she supposedly made this decision in anger after learning of Charles' alleged love child. What's more, the 'Globe' claims "Prince Charles' illegitimate son is real successor." Okay, take a deep breath. Firstly, Charles' alleged love child was first reported by the 'Enquirer' in 2000, so this is not news to the Queen, or anyone in tabloidland. Secondly, alleged love child Jason was born in 1984, almost two years after Prince William's birth – so Jason wouldn't be first in line for the throne even if he were recognized as Charles' son and heir. It's a 16-year-old story, and it's laughable to report that "the love child scandal has outraged . . . Charles dying 91-year-old mother."
'Us' magazine devotes its cover to its exclusive story revealing that Prince Harry's love, TV's 'Suits' star Meghan Markle, finally met the Queen earlier this month. "It went well," says a source. "It'll no doubt be the first of many encounters." And on the basis of that uninspiring tid-bit, 'Us' mag spins out four pages plus its cover. The mag also promises us the story of Katie Holmes and Jamie Foxx: "The truth behind their secret romance." After years of privately dating, "they're going to start going public," reveals an unnamed source. Or maybe that's just what happens when paparazzi catch you walking hand-in-hand along a Malibu beach.
'People' magazine devotes its cover to an interview with Angelina Jolie, in which she reveals: "I'm a little bit stronger." But that's pretty much the only words she says about her personal life and break-up from husband Brad Pitt in an interview that otherwise reads like a series of questions submitted and answered by email.
Jolie steals the cover from Hillary Clinton, who merits a three-page profile on the launch of her latest memoir, having reportedly "found peace in yoga, chardonnay and silliness with her grandkids." Freed from the tyranny of daily pantsuits, she says: "It's liberating!"
Fortunately we have the crack investigative team at 'Us' mag to tell us that Cindy Crawford's daughter Kaia Gerber wore it best, that Fred Armisen wishes "avocados were illegal," that actress Melissa Rauch carries sunglasses, hand lotion and chewing gum in her Henri Bendel bag, and that the stars are just like us: they do yoga, feed parking meters, pump gas, take taxis, and buy produce. Earth-shattering, as ever.
Leave it to the 'National Examiner' to bring us the delightful story of alien mummies found in Peru – five bodies that appear more reptilian than human, according to researchers. X-rays of the alleged 1,500-year-old mummified remains supposedly disprove claims that they were fake models, but the authenticity of the remains, and their questionable provenance, leave many questions unanswered, with the entire enterprise reeking of a money-making hoax. Of course, the 'Examiner' can't resist taking the story a step too far, claiming that "Archaeologists suspect living ETs are still guarding tomb." Because what alien race wouldn't watch over the tomb of loved ones for 1,500 years?
Onwards and downwards . . .