They try to scare you with tales of a dangerous world, make you feel that evil forces are conspiring against you, belittle the successful and scorn the elites, trade in untruths and so often get it wrong.
This week the 'National Enquirer' front page is devoted to the "Atlanta Fire Bomb Terror," choosing to focus on the arson of a Wendy's hamburger joint during recent protests that grew violent, rather than on the police shooting of Rayshard Brooks that precipitated such an outpouring of anger.
"Who are these women and who do they work for?" asks the 'Enquirer,' explaining that two women were caught on camera appearing to torch the restaurant.
Fueling the theory that "War In The Streets" was being fomented by antifa groups with no interest in peaceful protests, the 'Enquirer' claims "authorities are desperately trying to determine if the violence is the result of an organized effort to bring down the government and destroy the United States.'
Which hardly seems to be the case now that police have arrested one of the women, Natalie White, who Rayshard Brooks identified as his girlfriend on a police body-cam video moments before he was shot to death.
White, aged 29, now out on $10,000 bond, admits to being outside the Wendy's – the scene of Brooks' arrest – as it burned, says her attorney, Drew Findling. But he claims to have additional video footage showing that the restaurant was ablaze long before White arrived at the scene.
Whatever her involvement, if any, in the blaze, the girlfriend of a slain police victim does not exactly qualify as an organized effort to bring down the government.
The second woman seen at the burning restaurant, hidden beneath a black hat and face-mask, has yet to be identified.
The 'Globe' delves into international geopolitics with equal abandon, setting its sights on North Korea.
The rag breathlessly reports: "After ruthlessly master-minding a plot to murder her tubby brother and replacing him with a body double, the bloodthirsty kid sister of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is now calling the shots for the enslaved Communist nation!"
This 'Globe' fever dream is based on a comparison of photos of Kim Jong-un from 2019 and his recent public appearance, in which he appears virtually unchanged, though the rag found a "renowned plastic surgeon" to opine: "This is an entirely different person."
As if anyone looks the same in two photographs from different angles, let alone taken a year apart under different lighting conditions.
Did you notice America being torn apart lately?
Forget endemic racism, police brutality, presidential incompetence and a mounting pandemic death toll.
It's America's film and TV stars who are destroying the nation, according to the 'Enquirer,' which reports: "Hollywood Hypocrites Tearing America Apart!"
Has the masked Atlanta arsonist been identified as Angelina Jolie? Meryl Streep?
No. The threat to the nation is evidently much, much more dire.
Chelsea Handler and Jessica Chastain allegedly shared on social media an old video of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan discussing racial oppression, prompting "likes" from Jennifer Aniston, Michelle Pfeiffer and Jennifer Garner. The 'Enquirer' points out that Farrakhan has been condemned for homophobic, sexist and anti-Semitic hate speech, and calls out the stars for "Hollywood Hypocrisy!" But is this "tearing America apart"? Is the fabric of American society really that fragile? Or is the 'Enquirer' simply hate-mongering again?
Attacking the privilege, entitlement and innate nepotism of Britain's inbred royalty is a long-honored tabloid pastime, and this week is no exception. Yet once again the tabloids seem to be making it up as they go along.
"Henpecked Harry's Mother-in-Law Moves In!" reports the 'Enquirer.' "Runaway Royal is a Laughingstock."
Meghan's mum Doria Ragland – by all accounts an intelligent, caring and loving woman, a social worker and yoga instructor who would make any son-in-law proud – has reportedly moved into the Beverly Hills mansion that Harry and Meghan are borrowing or renting from movie mogul Tyler Perry.
It's an eight-bedroom, 12-bath, 25,000 sq. ft. Tuscan villa set on 22 acres, so it's not as if they're squeezed in tight and living cheek-to-jowl – if the story about her moving in is true in the first place.
With the pandemic raging and Harry and Meghan self-isolating with infant son Archie, it's hardly surprising that they might want Ragland to stay over for a few days, or even weeks.
But Ragland has a Los Angeles home of her own, and Harry and Meghan are house-hunting for a full-time residence in California, so they're not going to be staying at Perry's home indefinitely. There's also a substantial difference between a mother-in-law visiting, compared with her moving in.
But the Enquirer' appears to be gratuitously harsh in reporting that Ragland's move has made Harry "the punch line to every mother-in-law joke featuring a henpecked husband" according to an unnamed "royal insider."
The only people making such jokes are sitting in the offices of the 'Enquirer.'
The 'Globe' can't let go of Prince Andrew's involvement in the Jeffrey Epstein pedophile sex ring, so in the absence of any real news this week brings us a wildly speculative story under the headline: "Andrew's Royal Pain!"
The rag reports: "Dying Queen Elizabeth is under pressure to strip her disgraced son Prince Andrew of his honorific title 'His Royal Highness' for his involvement in the Jeffrey Epstein sex scandal."
The chances of the Queen publicly signaling her displeasure in such a way at a time when Andrew is under fire seems slim, and it's more wishful thinking from the 'Globe.'
'Us' magazine devotes its cover to the Cain and Abel clash between Prince William and brother Harry, under the headline: "Two bombshell books expose brothers' feud. Who's To Blame? As Harry lashes out again, William finally snaps: 'I'm done.'"
So – who's to blame for the brotherly rift of Biblical proportions?
"Sibling rivalry, the pressures of royal life and warring wives," according to 'Us.' Yet this fraternal breach seems out of date, as the brothers have reportedly had some measure of rapprochement since their father, Prince Charles, suffered COVID-19, and the duo have reportedly resumed relations.
'People' magazine also devotes its cover to a Royal, reporting: "Princess Kate Steps Up – The Pressure to be Perfect." It's largely a rehashing a recent Tatler story about Duchess Kate's alleged dismay at being left with a surfeit of royal responsibilities after Harry and Meghan fled the UK – an article Kate disagreed with so passionately that she has promised to sue. An unnamed source tells 'People' that far from loathing the added responsibility, Kate "is relishing the role more than ever." But Sarah Gristwood, author of 'Elizabeth: The Queen and the Crown,' tells the mag: "She'd have to be superhuman not to feel the pressure." Right.
The 'Globe' cover features disgraced Hollywood royalty: "Michael Jackson – New Autopsy Secrets Revealed!"
Apart from bruises on his knees and shins (perhaps to be expected as he was rehearsing dance routines for a coming series of shows) and injection marks (from taking anesthetic propofol to tackle insomnia) the most surprising details – if accurate – are that the gloved one had "a wig glued onto his balding noggin," and "his eyebrows were tattooed black as was the front of his scalp, apparently to blend his hairline with the wig."
Might this give us hope that we will one day discover that Donald Trump's eyebrows and scalp were tattooed orange to match his wig?
Thankfully we have the crack investigative team at 'Us' magazine to tell us that Jennifer Lopez wore it best, that actor Rob Riggle's "favorite meal" is baked bacon and cheese sauce on toast, and that the stars are just like us: they play golf, read books and walk the dog. Scintillating, as ever.
Onwards and downwards . . .