As circulations fall and newsstand sales hit pandemic lows, tabloid headlines are writing checks their stories can't cash.
"Epstein's Chilling Prison Confessions!" screams the cover of this week's 'National Enquirer. "Cellmate breaks silence! Prince Andrew and Bill Clinton's worst nightmare."
But neither Prince nor former President will lose any sleep over this revelation.
Billionaire pedophile and suicide Jeffrey Epstein's alleged former New York jail cellmate – an ex-cop awaiting trial for four murders, which hardly makes his testimony unimpeachable – reportedly claims that Epstein revealed . . . shock, horror . . . that Bill Clinton never touched any of Epstein's harem of girls.
"Epstein claimed Clinton never went with any of the girls he knew," the cell-mate wrote in a letter to a friend.
As if that ground-shaking "confession" wasn't enough, the supposed cell-mate also has this to say about Prince Andrew, also implicated in the under-age sex scandal: absolutely nothing.
Though the headline promises that "Cellmate says perv spilled his guts about Andrew," it's clear from the story that this "confession" includes not one word on the Royal rogue.
The cell-mate cop also claims that Epstein feared that powerful forces wanted him dead, and then paradoxically offered the ex-cop $3m to kill him. It only makes sense in the twisted logic of the tabloids.
"Fears For Sick Shut-In Cher!" reports the 'Enquirer.' The singer has been staying at home and keeping away from friends – just like millions of other Americans self-isolating during the pandemic. But to the 'Enquirer' that makes her an "ailing diva living like an invalid." Aren't we all?
Singer Justin Bieber's wife "Hailey Takes Break From Needy Bieber!" claims the 'Enquirer,' oblivious of the fact that the married couple are currently happily enjoying a tropical vacation together, having recently returned from a retreat at the five star Amangiri resort in Utah.
"Bruce Ditches Hollywood For Idaho Paradise!" reports the 'Enquirer," oblivious of the fact that Bruce Willis has owned a large estate in Idaho for decades and spends months there each year even without a pandemic.
And of course the 'Enquirer' can't ignore the British Royals, this week bringing us the highly dubious claim: "Meghan Buying Mom A Royal Title!"
"La-di-da Meghan" is allegedly upset that Prince William's in-laws may be getting Royal titles while her own mother, Doria Ragland, does not. Stretching credulity beyond its limits, the 'Enquirer' claims that Meghan will buy Doria a title for her birthday in September, when a "Ladyship of the Manor" title could be sold by the Manorial Society in the UK, or alternately she will make Doria a "countess or a lady" of some small European principality, which allegedly "sell titles over the internet for around $100!" You can almost hear them making this up as they go along.
The 'Globe' continues its hard-hitting geopolitical coverage by devoting its cover to "The World's Most Dangerous Woman!" – Kim Yo-Jong, who the rag insists has taken control of North Korea after the death of her brother Kim Jong-Un. They are of course oblivious to the fact that Kim Jong-Un showed up in public this week for a ceremony to mark the 26th anniversary of his dynasty-founding grandfather's death – an appearance that the 'Globe' will next week doubtless attribute to the body double who they claim is making appearances while Kim Yo-Jong is "threatening to nuke America and its allies," ordered a "computer war" on the global economy, and runs a "counterfeit ring and organized crime gang." That's one busy woman.
The 'Globe' has finally figured out who is to blame for Prince Andrew's entanglement in the Jeffrey Epstein sex scandal, reporting: "Queen Made Andrew A Monster!"
The Prince's alleged hedonism and bad judgment are supposedly the result of pampering by the Queen, who made sure Andrew was "spoiled rotten!" As if life in Palaces, 24-hour bodyguards and international travel on the taxpayers' dime isn't pampering enough.
Duchess Kate and Duchess Meghan are once again facing off like hair-clawing cat-fighting soap divas in the 'Globe' story "Kate & Meghan's $10m Showdown!"
Duchess Kate has reportedly "issued an ultimatum" to Meghan: "Shut your mouth or you and Harry will lose your $10 million royal allowance."
Since William and Kate don't control the royal purse-strings this reeks of wishful thinking. Kate allegedly phoned Meghan to discuss a rapprochement between Princes William and Harry, but "Meghan was so arrogant, Kate finally exploded." Right. That happened.
Why is it that the biggest news stories are always buried deep inside the tabloids? You have to get to page ten of the 'Globe' for the literally Earth-shattering story: "The End of the Earth Is Near!"
Noting a catalogue of recent disasters: "deadly diseases . . . giant dust storms . . . devastating quakes . . . insect swarms . . . economic ruin . . ." the 'Globe' concludes that "the biblical End of Time prophecies have come true this year," citing the Book of Revelation and Nostradamus. Fair enough – you can't argue with science.
Talking about headlines making empty promises, you'll be hard-pressed to find more of a fact-free vacuum that this week's cover of 'Us' magazine, with the headline: "Jennifer Aniston, Finally, In Her Own Words."
Except not a single one of those words has been shared with 'Us' magazine. Aniston is allegedly writing a memoir, which gives 'Us' free rein to speculate on what she might discuss in her book – Brad Pitt, TV series 'Friends,' Brad Pitt, her lack of children, Brad Pitt – but gives us no idea what she actually might say about any of it. It's a one-sentence story about Aniston writing a memoir stretched across four pages and the cover. Bravo.
'People' magazine devotes its cover to the tragic loss of Broadway star Nick Cordero to COVID-19, and in a separate story reveals that Duchess "Meghan Speaks Out" – though of course, she hasn't. Her attorneys have simply stated in court papers that she felt "unprotected" by the Palace when the British media were piling on in their criticism of her every move. Both Buckingham Palace and Kensington, as Meghan is doubtless aware, have a well-established policy of not commenting on media reports (except on very rare occasions) because doing so tends to inflame the story and keep it going.
'Us' mag interpreted this same story in even more partisan terms: "Palace Tells Meghan: We Won't Help You!"
Thankfully we have the crack investigative team at 'Us' mag to tell us that Emily Ratajkowski wore it best (it's worth noting that Emily seems to wear an awful lot of clothes that can be found on the backs of others, and I wonder if she does it deliberately knowing that she hasn't lost a 'Who Wore It Best?' match-up yet?), that actor Peter Gallagher "can speak gibberish in any number of languages," and that the stars are just like us: they walk their dogs, cook, garden, drink coffee and eat sweets. The fact that they smile while doing it suggests that they are not entirely oblivious to the paparazzi lenses.
It's never too early to buy a "Great Pumpkin Illuminated Halloween Tree" (only four payments of $33.75 plus shipping and handling) or a "Nightmare Before Christmas Welcome Sign Collection" ($36.99 each plus shipping and handling) as advertised in this week's tabloids.
But who could resist the special figurine offered in the 'Globe' of "Melania Trump, a Vision of Bridal Elegance!"
This "Melania Trump Wedding Day Keepsake" figurine is "an impressive 9 1/2" high" and made of some undisclosed material with "the look of fine porcelain," a wedding dress that "sparkles with 40 Swarovski crystals," and a genuine fabric tulle veil.
All for just three payments of $33.33 plus shipping and handling.
And it's incredibly life-like: the small smile on the figurine''s face is as frozen as the real one's.
Onwards and downwards . . .