One of these weeks the tabloids will come up with a cracking exclusive story that will have the world's media chasing them.
This is not that week.
Instead it's a week that proves the pitfalls of writing for a weekly publication about events that will have happened after going to press, but before appearing on newsstands.
So we see the 'National Enquirer' report on the coming "Inauguration Day attacks in Washington and all 50 states" which failed to materialize, and on dying big cat illusionist Siegfried Fischbacher's "Sad Last Days," published after he had already died.
Equally frustrating are this week's non-existent stories that command space in the tabloids.
"Pregnant Meghan Ditches Harry!" proclaims a cracking exclusive in the 'Globe.' How did the combined firepower of Fleet Street's finest Royal reporters miss this one?
They didn't, of course. The 'Globe' is guessing that Meghan is trying to get pregnant, since it's known that the 39-year-old Duchess suffered a miscarriage last year and wants a second child. We're still waiting for the twins that the tabloids have promised us she was expecting two years ago.
But why would a pregnant Meghan flee her new $14 million home in Montecito, California? She grabbed baby Archie and stormed out in anger after Prince Harry decided without consultation that they would return to Britain in June to celebrate the Queen's 95th birthday and Prince Philip's 100th birthday, the 'Globe' claims.
"She bolted to the home of a celebrity friend, vowing her two-year marriage was over," says an unidentified "well-placed source," who seems strangely happy to reveal every intimate detail of the Royals' conversation but can't bring themselves to name Meghan's "celebrity friend." Right.
Equally reality-free is the 'Enquirer' report: "Kanye Shocked By Gay Sex Scandal!"
Unsubstantiated online gossip – always reliable, never wrong, one naturally assumes – has suggested that Kanye West had sex with two male beauty influencers. Both influencers have categorically denied the allegations, as has Kanye, but the 'Enquirer' has fun airing the claims nonetheless.
"Kim & Kanye's No Sex Divorce!" is reported in the 'Globe,' but seriously, what divorce is filled with sex? The 'Globe' claims the duo haven't been intimate for two years, according to unnamed sources who presumably have their entire home bugged and have spent a very disappointing two years listening only to the sound of crickets emanating from their bedroom every night.
For a completely fact-free scandal we need look no further than 'Us' magazine's cover story: "Brad's Baby Drama," suggesting that Brad Pitt has impregnated recent girlfriend Nicole Poturalski.
"Blindsided four months after fling," screams the cover. "Will Pitt need to take a DNA test?"
Poturalski has been photographed appearing to show a slightly "fuller figure" than usual, prompting tabloid alarm that it "could be a baby bump." Or it could be monthly bloating, or an unflattering camera angle, or perhaps she's just gained a little weight. But no, if it looks like a baby bump, it's obviously a baby. Right?
The headline over the four-page inquisition is "What Does Brad Know?" but the real question is: 'What does 'Us' magazine know?' The answer is: surprisingly little.
Poturalski may or may not be pregnant; Pitt may or may not be the father (since she's still in an open marriage with her long-time husband); and the whole piece is wildly speculative.
"Ivanka Family Feud Explodes!" the 'Globe reports. "Blindsided by sister-in-law Karlie Kloss' shocking attack."
What shocking attack was that? In case you missed it, Kloss posted on social media: "Accepting the results of a legitimate democratic election is patriotic. Refusing to do so and inciting violence is anti-American."
This is clearly a savage and malicious unprovoked attack on Ivanka, because to who else could it possibly refer? The fact that Ivanka is not mentioned is apparently besides the point if you're a 'Globe' editor.
The 'Enquirer' and 'Globe' both devote their cover stories to the mob attack on the US Capitol on January 6, which they just missed including in their last edition thanks to early deadlines, despite publishing after the assault. Both rags blame right-wing extremist groups for the attack, absolving President Trump of any blame despite being the man who ordered the mob to gather, march, and act with force to prevent Joe Biden being ratified as the next president.
"Conspiracy Exposed!" screams the 'Enquirer' headline. "White Supremacists Caused Capitol Riot!"
Yes, doubtless there were white supremacists among the mob, but they came from such diverse groups and from such varied parts of the country that it's hard to identify a sole unifying conspirator beyond the president. And how did those "attacks in Washington and all 50 states" on inauguration day work out?
"Neo-Nazi Assassins Ordered Capitol Coup!" reports the 'Globe.' Apparently Trump doesn't qualify as a neo-Nazi assassin, as the rag is apparently referring to other extremist groups.
The number of times that Trump was mentioned in the five-page 'Enquirer' story: Zero.
The number of times that Trump was mentioned in the two-page 'Globe' spread: Zero.
Clearly, Trump had nothing to do with the riots whatsoever.
The tabloids have been reporting on George Clooney's imminent divorce from wife Amal ever since the duo tied the knot six years ago, and it hasn't happened yet. But that doesn't stop the 'Globe' from trying: "Clooney $570M Divorce Ultimatum! Livid Amal explodes after George asks parents to move in."
George Clooney must have had a good year: just 18 months ago the 'Enquirer' said the couple were heading for a $500M divorce." Now's it's a $570M divorce. That should ease the sting.
On the more bizarre end of the tabloid spectrum, the 'Globe reports: "Rap Queen's Cat Runs Out of Lives!"
But Azealia Banks's cat was already dead and buried when she allegedly dug it up and boiled it, so her former feline had long ago run out of lives. Why is the 'Globe' making out she's some crazed cat killer? She's just a perfectly normal cat grave-robber who likes her dead pets well-boiled. It's media intolerance like this that stops exhumed cats being mentioned in inspirational Inauguration Day poetry.
'Us' magazine gives up a chunk of its cover to a titillating Hollywood scandal: "Married To A Monster – Armie Hammer's Wife Breaks Her Silence." But after such a large cover display, the story inside takes up a mere two paragraphs, and worse yet, doesn't include a single quote from Hammer's wife Elizabeth Chamber. An unnamed source claims that Chambers "was horrified" and "living in a nightmare" after Hammer was accused of fetishizing rape and cannibalism. But that's hardly breaking her silence; it's not even dropping it and chipping her silence, which remains pretty much intact.
'People' magazine devotes its cover to a husband-and-wife decorating team: "Dream Home Makeover's Shea & Syd McGee – Flat Broke to Design Superstars!" Could. Not. Care. Less.
But Syd McGee does become an early front-runner for the 2021 Award for Most Terrified Fake Grin on a Magazine Cover.
Fortunately we have the crack investigative team at 'Us' mag to tell us that Lili Reinhart wore it best, that Joe Biden's "biggest vice is chocolate chip ice cream, no mint" (on as list compiled from past interviews – as if the 46th President of the United States would sit to tell 'Us' "25 Things You Don't Know About Me"), and that the stars are just like us: they ride bicycles, walk their dogs, pump gas, donate to charities and sip drinks. Tabloid journalism at its finest.
Onwards and downwards . . .