Truth bears little relation to this week’s big tabloid exclusives, which give fake news a bad name.
“Surrounded by traitors!” screams the National Enquirer cover. “Donald & Melania Fight Back!” No, they don’t. The official magazine of the Oval Office complains at length about the “backstabbers” attacking Trump, but then offers no instance of Trump or Melania hitting back. It’s just a paranoid rant that sounds like it could have been dictated by Trump himself.
“Prince Harry’s love child wrecks wedding!” proclaims the Globe cover, and it’s true that an illegitimate child could throw a spanner in the works of Harry and Meghan Markle’s coming nuptials. But this soufflé of a story cites an unnamed woman and her unnamed child and their unnamed lawyer supposedly writing privately to Kensington Palace. Despite the appalling lack of detail, the rag manages to include a photo of a red-haired four-year-old “chip off the old block,” without actually stating the obvious: that it’s a random red-haired child, and not Harry’s. Yet another story conjured out of thin air that somehow eluded the massed Royal press pack in London.
Desperate Housewives star Teri Hatcher is “homeless” and “living in van!” states the Enquirer, with photographic evidence of the actress sitting outside her vehicle sipping tea and reaching for a book by the beach in Malibu. The Enquirer tries to duck the minor detail that this “homeless” actress still owns her $7 million Los Angeles mansion, and maybe just enjoys hanging in her retro VW van at the beach for a few hours. In related news, I’m homeless and living on a stool inside a Starbucks in Los Angeles.
In a “world exclusive,” the Globe reveals that “two new witnesses” heard Natalie Wood’s “dying screams!” The witnesses turn out to be the same ones who told their story in publications worldwide back in 2011. I suppose the Globe can call it a “world exclusive,” because no other publication is about to rehash such old news.
More in the I’ll-believe-it-when-I-see-it column from the Enquirer: Jennifer Aniston asks Brad Pitt to be her baby daddy (as if); Prince Charles orders a $100,000 facelift for wife Camilla (too little, too late); Branch Davidian leader David Koresh is alive, having left a dead imposter behind and escaped the cult's conflagration (presumably by slipping past hundreds of FBI and ATF agents and 400 reporters, and having a body double given the same dental work as himself); and child beauty pageant poppet JonBenet Ramsey was killed by two men (says the rag that previously claimed she was killed variously by her parents and brother).
“Oswald didn’t kill JFK!” screams the National Examiner, which reports that a “hi-tech study of bullet fingerprints shows he really was a patsy!” This is a typical wishful-thinking tabloid story, inspired by the merest sliver of fact: a British company, West Technology Forensics, announced in late February that it has developed a technique for pulling latent prints off old bullet casings. Though the technique has never been used successfully on any evidence more than 20 years old, MailOnline.com reported that the forensic technique could be used to solve old crimes which “might include the 1963 assassination of President Kennedy.” Well, that’s good enough for the Examiner, which in the space of a week decided that the FBI dug out the shell casings left behind by Lee Harvey Oswald at the Texas School Book Depository, ran tests and found his fingerprints were not on the casings. Yet scientists admit the new test only works 68 percent of the time, so the absence of Oswald’s prints proves nothing other than the flights of fancy to which the Examiner can rise.
People magazine brings us the Parkland school shooting survivors who “have to speak for those who died,” tells the coming out story of a collection of LGBTQ athletes, actors and others, and relates the dramatic story of a prep school sex assault victim. But just when you’re about to mistake it for a serious magazine, People devotes its cover to “The Bachelor Betrayal!” (just the same as the last Bachelor betrayal) as walking cardboard Arie Luyendyk admits “I made a huge mistake . . .” Then the mag devotes a staggering 34 pages to Oscar coverage of gowns, jewelry, and Hollywood vacuousness.
Fortunately we have Us magazine’s crack team of investigative reporters to tell us that Keira Knightley wore it best (and still ended up looking like a waiter at the Ritz), that Christina Hendricks loves knitting, “especially cable-knit sweaters,” that TV’s former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay carries Advil, lipstick and keys in her YSL purse, and that the stars are just like us: they take taxis, shop for food, and hit the makeup counter. Revelatory, as usual.
The most useless story of the week appears in the Enquirer, under the headline: “How to Save Yourself from Dementia!” It suggests that readers get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly, eat fish and avoid artificial sweeteners. But the reality is, if you’re reading the Enquirer, you’re probably already well on your way to dementia anyway.
Onwards and downwards . . .