They put the hype in hyperbole. They put the tat in overstatement. They put the mountain in molehill.
This week's tabloids put the retch in stretching the truth, with sickening disregard for the facts.
What is "Destroying Hollywood?" According to the Globe, it's the Michael Jackson child molestation scandal, in which superstars Barbra Streisand and Diana Ross both expressed support for the late pop idol, only to buckle under savage criticism and emphasized their sympathy for any victims of pedophilia. Or, as the Globe puts it: "Hollywood A-listers at each other's throats over kiddie scandal." Despite the fact that no A-listers (or B-, C-, or D-listers) have publicly attacked them. Evidently it's the end of Hollywood as we know it. Tragic.
"My Life in Scientology Hell!" is the "explosive" exclusive dominating the cover of the National Enquirer, claiming that Tom Cruise's daughter Bella is "breaking her silence for [the] first time." Bella actually spoke out in official Scientology promotional materials about her joy at completing training to become an auditor, which would be really useful at tax time if only it meant she'd studied accountancy, rather than the Scientology version of "auditing," which enables her to help "train" new recruits.
I'm not one to carry water for this divisive cult, but it's depressing to see the Enquirer twist Bella's words so egregiously. She wrote of her training, including "hard work . . . a lot of effort . . . meltdowns and running to the bathroom to have . . . an episode. Suddenly everything began to make sense." That's hardly "My life in Scientology hell" — though plenty of others have made that claim with good reason.
You might reasonably expect pistols at dawn and flame-throwers to be blazing as the Globe cover screams about the "Family At War!" Except the family in question are Donny and Marie Osmond, who have announced the end to their Las Vegas residency after 11 successful years. They've been performing together for more than four decades, and Donny says they have "a bond that will never be broken." Sure sounds like Armageddon to me.
Facts are facts, however, so it's hard to argue with the photographic evidence accompanying the Globe story under the headline "Demonic Spirit Attacks Baby!" Michigan parents were reportedly horrified when their newborn daughter's face was scratched in the crib — despite the fact that any pediatrician will tell you that babies can scratch their faces if their fingernails aren't properly trimmed. Logic apparently dictated that it must have been a paranormal attack. Ghost-hunters set up cameras in the baby's room, and captured an image of a "ghostly male" gliding past her crib. And the photo of a shadowy smudge in a darkened room leaves no room for doubt: it's as clear as a panther hiding in a coal mine, as plain as the nose on the Invisible Man's face: that's one heck of demonic smudge. Or an electrical glitch in the camera.
You pays your money, you takes your choice. Given a full week to digest President Trump's proclaimed "total exoneration" by the Mueller Report, the tabloids again avoid the topic entirely, making it clear that the days of being a White House mouthpiece for Trump's vainglorious chest-thumping are receding in the rear view mirror.
You can't fault the Globe for almost getting one story right, topping its front page: "Divorce Court Ruling: Charles & Camilla Marriage Illegal!" The Globe correctly points out that the Marriage Act of 1836 allowed non-religious marriage to take place in England for the first time — with the exception of the Royal Family. In the days before Prince Charles wed Camilla in 2005, it was widely reported that the couple were technically breaching the Act — though it proved no impediment to their union.
So the Globe has done well to discover this story only 14 years late. Of course, the Globe takes the facts a giant leap too far, by claiming that Charles has parted from his wife, and is "off the hook in $217 million divorce." Sadly for the Globe, there has been no divorce filing, and no divorce court ruling in Charles' favor. The rag's belief that Camilla "could end up behind bars if she doesn't go quietly" is just wishful thinking.
Exaggeration is hardly the word to do justice to the Globe headline on its health page: "Breakthrough: New Toilet Seat Prevents Heart Failure!" No, sitting on this state-of-the-art commode won't repair damaged heart valves or unblock arteries. It will allegedly monitor the user's heart rate, blood pressure and blood oxygenation levels — but it won't prevent anything. Because it's a toilet seat. Sitting on it twice daily in the event of shortness of breath won't save you.
The Enquirer claims that Osama Bin Laden's niece is "Hiding Out As Rocker!" and frequenting sex clubs in Australia. It's worth noting that Bin Laden had 22 siblings and several hundred nieces and nephews, so they're hardly a rarity. And can a rock 'n' roll guitarist who performs with her band on public stages truly be said to be "hiding out"?
Us magazine joins in the fun of stretching the truth with its cover story on the college admissions scandal, reporting on actors Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin "Lies, Tears & Jail Time." Whoa — hang on there. It might be a tad premature to talk about their "jail time" when they haven't even faced trial yet. What did Lori say when directly asked about her fears of being jailed? "I just can't comment right now." Exactly.
Duchess of Sussex Meghan's coming Royal birth also merits a cover mention in Us mag: "All the Delivery Details." The story reveals that Meghan will probably not deliver her child at the Royals' favored St Mary's Hospital in London, but will most likely give birth "outside of London." And that's it. That's ALL the details of the delivery. In-depth reporting at its best.
Fortunately we have the crack investigative team at Us to tell us that Amal Clooney wore it best, that life coach Tony Robbins wears size 16 shoes, that Kristin Cavallari carries a confidence-inspiring crystal, a body spray that "smells like Christmas," and toothpicks in her Hermes bag, and that the stars are just like us: they carry their own luggage, eat on the run, and snap photos. So inspirational.
The week's most entertaining story appears in the Enquirer, whose repeated boast atop pages is: "First To Know." The Enquirer proves this yet again with its story about actor Nicolas Cage obtaining a marriage license, planning to marry his makeup artist girlfriend Erika Koike. The Enquirer appears to have been the last to know that Cage and Koike tied the knot on the same day that they obtained their marriage license, and the last to know that four days later Cage filed for an annulment. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, if you're writing for the Enquirer.
Onwards and downwards . . .