This week's offerings certainly make it seem that way. They are losing readers, losing money, and long ago lost whatever slender shred of credibility they may once have had.
American Media Inc, owner of a stable of publications including the 'National Enquirer,' 'Globe,' 'Star' and 'Us Weekly,' has around $400 million in debt, and in June agreed a deal with lenders to skip interest payments until 2023.
But surviving the pandemic, recession, and a rapidly aging demographic will be a tall order when the rags give us stories with the nutritional value of breathairianism.
The 'Enquirer' devotes this week's cover to the 1994 murder of O.J. Simpson's ex-wife Nicole: "Just found! Evidence jury didn't see. Jealous O.J. Killed Nicole Over These Sizzling Photos!"
The 'Enquirer' publishes a photo of Nicole sitting topless on the shoulders of then-boyfriend Brett Shaves in a swimming pool during a romantic getaway in Mexico in 1993, along with other more innocent photos of the couple – evidence that O.J.'s murder trial jury did not see because they were irrelevant. There is no evidence that O.J. ever saw these photos of his ex-wife and her boyfriend, or that the photos would have provoked him to murder.
Would it be churlish to mention that the 'Enquirer' published the same poolside photo in its October 3, 1995 issue?
A staggering quarter century later the rag has the audacity to run the headline: "Explosive Special Report. New Evidence Found 25 Years After His Trial."
Tabloid journalism at its finest.
At least the 'Enquirer' attempts to be more up-to-the-minute with its story: "Elvis Grandson Suicide: Chilling Final Moments Caught On Tape!"
No they weren't.
Home security cameras recorded the sound of "an apparent gunshot" off camera, said a coroner's officer who watched the tape. There were no cameras in Ben Keough's bedroom recording the tragic scene when he shot himself. His "final moments" were not caught on tape.
The 'Enquirer' has previously plumbed the depths of pseudoscience with dubious voice stress analysts purporting to determine whether celebrities were lying when they made public statements, and has given unreliable polygraph tests to witnesses to "prove" they are telling the truth, but the rag sinks to a new low with this week's story: "Numerologist Says Kelly Clarkson Divorce Doesn't Add Up!"
A numerologist tells the tabloid that 'The Voice' coach "made a mistake" filing for divorce in June because it was her "Personal Month of 2" in her "Personal Year of 5."
Says numerologist Glynis McCants: "I tell clients to NEVER end a relationship in a 'Personal Year of 5,' because they end up regretting it." Ye gods and little fishes.
The rag boasts an "Enquirer Exclusive" for its story about Prince Harry's wife: "Meghan's Secret Fight With Depression!"
Meghan publicly admitted that dealing with social media criticism "was almost unsurvivable," and now that this story has appeared in literally hundreds of publications worldwide, the 'Enquirer' calls it an exclusive. That's sure to win back readership.
In keeping with its campaign to invoke fear of a collapsing America among its readers, the 'Globe' devotes its cover to an "exclusive": "Inside Militia Plot To Kidnap Two Governors!"
Ignoring for a moment the fact that the militia group only briefly discussed kidnapping Virginia Governor Ralph Northam before focusing their efforts on Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, it's intriguing to see the 'Globe' writing about right-wing extremism for a change, rather than Antifa and Black Lives Matter as the greatest threat to the American Way of Life.
The 'Globe' fails to mention that the FBI considered the threat to Northam so weak that the Governor was not even briefed on any potential threat, according to a state official interviewed by ABC TV.
"Queen Demotes Humiliated Camilla!" proclaims the 'Globe.'
Prince Charles' s wife is allegedly horrified that when her husband finally ascends to the throne she will be known as the Princess Consort and not the Queen Consort.
This unquestionably earth-shattering information was revealed in March and widely confirmed in May this year, but the 'Globe' has finally awoken to the news. Bravo.
Actress Tatum O'Neal's personal ordeals receive the sensitive and compassionate treatment one has come to expect from the 'Globe,' with its story: "Suicidal Tatum Locked in Psycho Ward" (
Tatum reportedly reunited recently with her estranged father, actor Ryan O'Neal, ending a 17-year feud, and days later was found threatening to jump from a balcony of her Los Angeles home in September. She was placed under a psychiatric hold, according to TMZ, or as the 'Globe' so delicately puts it, police whisked her away to "an L.A. loony bin." "Did reunion with dad Ryan push her over the edge?" asks the 'Globe.' The tabloid' hasn't the faintest idea, but relishes throwing the question out there, caring and considerate to the last.
Stablemate 'Us' magazine devotes its cover to "Valerie Bertinelli's Untold Story – Love, Loss & Staying Strong."
The former 'One Day at a Time' star paid tribute to ex-husband Eddie Van Halen in an Instagram post that the mag reports, but it's not as if she's given 'Us' a single quote about love, loss, or staying strong. Unnamed sources simply rehash her turbulent marriage to the rocker, and her well-documented battles with her weight.
'People' magazine also devotes its cover to love, loss and staying strong, with a feature on Broadway star Nick Cordero's wife Amanda Kloots: "Widowed by COVID-19 – Life After Tragic Loss." Mawkish grief porn, as 'People' does best.
Thankfully we have the crack investigative team at 'Us' to tell us that Suki Waterhouse wore it best, that 'The Conners' star Emma Kenney "could literally eat macaroni and cheese every day for the rest of my life – and would be content about it," and that the stars are just like us: they ride bikes, take subway trains, dine out, and get temperature checks before entering a hotel. Who knew?
Bringing us the latest in breaking news, the 'Globe' reports: "Philadelphia's famed Liberty Bell, cast in 1752, misspells the word Pennsylvania." It's true that the bell is emblazoned with the name 'Pensylvania," but that was an accepted alternate spelling of the state's name at the time, and this unfortunate spelling variation has been reported – more than once – in the intervening 268 years.
Onwards and downwards . . .