Not all is as it seems in this week's dubious tabloids, as ulterior motives and hidden agendas mark a couple of the more notable stories.
Why does the National Enquirer attack recent Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Ronan Farrow as a "hypocrite" allegedly "covering for pervert uncle"? Farrow's uncle John – actress Mia Farrow's brother – was reportedly jailed for 25 years in 2013 for sex abuse, but the Enquirer makes journalist Ronan its target by claiming "he's remained silent about his uncle."
Apart from the fact that this is not the sort of family news anyone would shout from the rooftops, why would the Enquirer choose to attack an otherwise respected journalist?
It's a pre-emptive strike because Farrow is considering making the supermarket tabloids his next target, exposing the nefarious methods they use to dig their dirt. It's a warning shot over his bow, and doubtless not the last.
"Trump Fixer's Secrets & Lies" is the Enquirer cover story, inside promising "Trump Fixer Tells All!" But the president's personal attorney Michael Cohen doesn't "tell all," in fact he doesn't tell anything to the Enquirer. It's yet another politically-motivated Trump-fawning feature painting Cohen as the villain and Trump as an innocent bystander, in anticipation of the president cutting all ties with his former mouthpiece.
"Some are questioning Cohen's role," the Enquirer reports, "alleging blackmail, threats, hush-money payoffs – and even collusion with Russia!" The only thing the story lacks is a slug at the bottom proclaiming: "Donald Trump Endorses This Message."
"What Comey Didn't Reveal In His Book!" screams a headline on the cover of the Enquirer, promising fresh revelations about the former FBI chief. But inside the rag . . . nothing. The only mention of Comey is in a small gossip column tidbit about 5ft 7in George Stephanopoulos allegedly needing a "booster seat" to appear taller when interviewing 6ft 10in Comey on TV. It's one of those headlines that an editor announces at the start of the week because they want to attack Comey, and a sub-editor forgets to remove from the cover layout when the Enquirer fails to come up with something new.
Another story that clearly didn't work out – but didn't stop them publishing it anyway – is Us magazine's piece blurbed on its front cover: "First Lady Melania Doing It Her Way." Inside, in the magazine's "Hot Hollywood" section, a page is devoted to Melania under the headline: "Can She Trust Him?" Ignoring for one moment the question of why a political marriage should be reported under "Hot Hollywood," the story gives no explanation of how Melania is doing anything "her way," and does not even attempt to address the question of "Can she trust him?" presumably because the answer is blindingly obvious. "It's not an easy time for her," says an unnamed pal, again stating a truth that the American republic holds to be self-evident. This looks suspiciously like one of those stories where the magazine receives damning inside information about a relationship on the verge of a break-up, and though they can't confirm it on the record, decide to run with something anyway because they know the story is going to break sooner or later.
Thankfully the tabloids continue to give us their usual inspired interpretation of events this week. Singer Carrie Underwood, injured in a fall, has had a "face fix miracle" claims the Enquirer (it's called cosmetic surgery); Trump has passed a lie detector test proving he did not collude with Russia (according to an Enquirer voice stress expert who has never met the president); Meghan Markle stormed out on Prince Harry and fled home to America after learning he had invited two ex-lovers to their wedding, reports the Globe (though she appeared to be in America for passport purposes and quickly returned to Harry's loving arms); and the "Clintons killed kids to protect drug racket" (a great Globe headline, but a story based on an unreliable source who did not witness the killings which have been linked to a drug ring by conjecture rather than evidence).
Fortunately we have the crack investigative team at Us mag to tell us that Jamie Chung wore it best, that Paula Patton is 5ft 8in "but I think I'm 5-foot-9," that Lindsay Price carries her sauna membership card, sons' Hot Wheels cars and "Youth + Beauty tea with 14 beautifying herbs" in her Mara Carrizo Scalise tote, and that the stars are just like us: they shop for food, buy fresh flowers, ride bikes and take lunch breaks. Kudos to the squadron of paparazzi who photographed celebrities picking up "doggy doodie" including Alec Baldwin, Sam Rockwell, Gavin Rossdale, Jennifer Lawrence, Katherine McPhee, Joanna Krupa and TV's Bachelor suitor Arie Luyendyk, Jr. That's a heck of a lot of crap.
Onwards and downwards . . .