The Mueller Report is conspicuously absent from this week's tabloids, despite landing with ample time for their deadlines. It's a measure of how far the Trump-loving propaganda rags have publicly distanced themselves from the White House that their front covers aren't screaming "Total Exoneration."
No doubt that has something to do with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York's continuing investigation into the National Enquirer catch-and-kill policy of buying incriminating stories about Trump and suppressing them, with Enquirer publisher and Trump pal David Pecker cooperating with prosecutors. As headlines go, "Total Exoneration" would be about as accurate as much of this week's fact-challenged tabloid offerings.
"Royal Family Disowns Harry & Meghan — Banished to Malta by Fed-up Queen," proclaims the front page of the Enquirer. That's doubtless news to the Royal couple, who have spent the past six months renovating Frognall Cottage in Windsor, England, where they plan to move in shortly. Perhaps they'll turn it into an Airbnb rental once they're in Malta?
"Scott Peterson Death Row Pardon!" declares the Globe cover's report on its favorite convicted killer. "Gloating killer dances with joy," the rag reports, which seems unlikely since he hasn't been granted a pardon, and is unlikely to ever receive one. The story is inspired by a wildly inaccurate reading of California Governor Gavin Newsom's newly-issued moratorium on the death penalty, which affects Scott Peterson along with 736 others on the state's Death Row. And while the moratorium is morally and judicially welcome, it has little practical effect in a state where the last execution was more than 13 years ago because of repeated legal challenges. Peterson remains on Death Row, and remains sentenced to death.
The Globe brings us "Proof Meghan is a Gold Digger!" The Duchess of Sussex is "believed to have secretly penned" an anonymous online blog titled The Working Actress, in which she allegedly admitted to seeking success as an actress to become wealthy. Because wanting to make a good living is evidently proof you're a gold-digger. And because belief is the same as proof. Which is why there is a God. QED.
"Suicidal pilots — Why EVERY American should be afraid to fly," reports the Enquirer, citing "a recent National Institute of Mental Health study" that found commercial pilots suffer depression at a rate more than double the general population. Flying "is now a game of Russian roulette," reports the rag: a metaphor that implies that one in six flights will end with the pilot pulling the trigger and crashing. Bon voyage.
That "recent" study was published in 2016, and while nearly 13% of commercial pilots admitted to signs of depression, the reported suicide rate among pilots remains very low. A Malaysian Airlines pilot reportedly intentionally crashed his flight into the ocean in 2014, and a German pilot committed suicide by plane in 2015, prompting the report. But with around 76,000 flights in U.S. skies daily, the number of suicidal pilots who have brought down commercial planes in America in the past 40 years stands at zero. How's that for Russian roulette?
Singer Gwen Stefani "Begs Pope For Annulment!" reports the Enquirer, only days after reporting that she had already married singer Blake Shelton and was pregnant. This is the same Enquirer that reported she was pregnant with Blake's child in September 2017. That's one heck of a gestation period. If Stefani actually went to her diocese requesting an annulment, the bishop would refer her petition to a panel of canonical judges for approval; her request is unlikely to reach all the way to the Vatican, let alone to the Pope, who everyone knows is more of a Katy Perry fan.
Us magazine brings us news we can use: "Get J. Lo's Perfect Body!" Yes, you too can look just like the singer-dancer-actress, if you follow just a few simple exercise tips. It's probably a mistake in editing, but Us seems to have missed out the part of the story where it explains how to get J. Lo's DNA and turn back the clock, without which no one will ever look like her.
Fortunately we have the crack investigative team at Us to tell us that Jasmine Sanders wore it best, that Real Housewife of NYC Luann de Lesseps' favorite fast food is KFC, that Pretty Little Liars star Sofia Carson carries throat pastilles, throat spray and moisturizing masks in her Chanel boy bag, and that the stars are just like us: they work out at gyms, ride bicycles, feed parking meters and relax poolside. Don't they ever have any work to do?
For the best headline of the week it's hard to beat the Globe, which brings us: "I Was Swallowed Whole By a Whale!" The story even comes complete with a photograph of scuba diver Rainer Schimpf with his head and torso wedged in the side of a 50-foot Bryde's whale's mouth, like a stray leaf of cilantro. The whale's throat isn't big enough to swallow a human, however, and within two seconds Schimpf was flushed out of the whale's mouth — so he was never swallowed whole, or even half-way, or even actually "swallowed" at all. And there's a photo of Schimpf in the whale's mouth in waters off South Africa to prove it. Who are you going to believe: the headline that tells you he was swallowed whole, or your own eyes which can see most of his body hanging out of the cetacean's mouth? Globe editors clearly choose the headline, every time.
Onwards and downwards . . .