It would be an exaggeration to say that every story in this week's tawdry tabloids is a fabrication. It just feels that way. And "exaggeration" would be the polite way to describe many of this week's tabloid offerings.
Murdered infant pageant queen JonBenet Ramsey's brother "Burke Solves JonBenet Case!" screams the National Enquirer cover. No, he doesn't. He simply says, for the umpteenth time, that it wasn't him.
"Camilla Divorces Charles on his 70th Birthday!" proclaims the Globe front page. No, she hasn't. Charles' wife reportedly screamed that she will "never forgive" the Royal heir for "throwing her in psycho ward." Since she was never put in a psych ward in the first place, perhaps her inability to forgive is understandable.
Brad Pitt's "Divorce Tell-All!" under the front page headline "Exclusive Interview" might be more plausible if they even pretended to have spoken with Pitt. Can you have a "tell-all" when you don't speak to the man in question? Instead, the Enquirer claims to have interviewed a "family friend" who offers unsubstantiated speculation that Pitt would have been happier staying with first wife Jennifer Aniston because she was "normal" and "cute." Normal like any other actress earning $1 million a week when they wed? Can't argue with that.
The Globe adds to Pitt's pity party by reporting: "Brad Dumps Jen Again!" Only one minor quibble: Pitt and Aniston have not been dating again, so dumping her again is just a tabloid dream.
Royal mom-to-be Meghan Markle AKA the Duchess of Sussex dominates the covers of both People and Us magazines, with predictably gushing over-excitement at her pregnancy announcement. "Meghan Markle: Why I Can't Wait To Be A Mom!" raves Us mag. But they don't have an interview with Markle, indeed no quotes from her at all, least of all saying: "Why I can't wait to be a mom!"
People mag tells readers of Meghan's "Baby Joy!" claiming that her pregnancy is "surprising even their close friends and family." They might be the only people on the planet who are surprised. Royal-watchers have been speculating since before the couple tied the knot in May that 37-year-old Markle would try to get pregnant as quickly as possible. It's a surprise to absolutely no one. If your best "Palace insider" tells you that the Royal family were surprised by Markle's pregnancy, it's time to find a new Palace source.
Meghan's father gets the tabloid treatment in the Enquirer, which reports that Thomas Markle Sr's "Hooker & Drug Scandal Explodes!" Following up on an earlier story, the rag recaps: "In a blockbuster exclusive published in last week's National Enquirer, sources said Meghan's dad, 74, insisted that although he visited sex clubs, he never paid prostitutes for sex and admitted only to the 'occasional sniff of cocaine.'"
But loyal tabloid readers will recall that sources made no such claim against Tom Markle Sr last week. They said only that he went to the Playboy Club in Manilla in the 1970s and 80s – a chauvinistic showcase of female sexual objectification, no doubt, but hardly a "sex club," as the Playboy Clubs were upscale bars and restaurants, among the tamer offerings of Far East fleshpots. The Enquirer alleges that Thomas Sr told son Thomas Jr about his trips to Thailand where "You can get two women for the weekend for 50 bucks." But telling your son about underpaid and tragically exploited sex workers in Thailand is not exactly the same as admitting to frequenting them himself. But who needs facts, when innuendo is enough?
That's all the Enquirer needs for its story under the headline: "Tom Jones Groomed Girl As His Plaything!" The Enquirer runs the story under the proud banner: "First To Know." Which seems a little less impressive when the story tells us that the Welsh singer had this alleged relationship 24 years ago, in 1994. Twelve years after Jones broke off his romance with Nicole Hall, she killed herself, the Enquirer reports, implying that she ended her life as a result of breaking up with the singer over a decade before. One wonders why they even bothered. Perhaps they've had this story since Hall killed herself in 2006, and have been waiting all these years for a quiet news week to finally run it.
Fortunately we have the crack investigative team at Us mag to tell us that Kendall Jenner wore it best, that Shaquille O'Neal is "always the first to know when it starts raining" (because he's so tall), that journalist and blogger Catt Sadler carries a miniature bottle of Casamigos tequila, rosewater mist and a protein bar in her Michael Kors purse, and that the stars are just like us: they go bicycling, go shopping, and talk on the phone. Those kooky celebrities! Who knows what they'll do next? "They multitask!" exclaims Us mag, above a photo of actress Liv Tyler with one ear to her mobile phone while she sips a beverage from her glass. Mad skills.
Onwards and downwards . . .