Hearsay, rumor and innuendo won't stand up in a court of law, but they are the lifeblood of the tabloids, which need only the merest molehill of a story to build a mountain of speculation.
And if you search hard enough, you can find smallest fraction of a fact buried beneath the wild imaginings in many of this week's offerings.
Fact: In the Jeffrey Epstein pedophile sex scandal, Spencer Kuvin, the attorney for several Epstein accusers, reportedly told the MailOnline: "I do not think Ghislaine Maxwell will get out of jail alive. I just have a gut feeling. I think she knows way too much."
It's just one man's speculative opinion, but it's enough to fuel the 'National Enquirer' cover story: "Epstein Madam Will Die in Jail! Targeted By Deep State Killers."
Kuvin didn't suggest that the Deep State would send assassins to kill Epstein's former right-hand woman, but that's a small leap of the imagination for the 'Enquirer,' taking an attorney's "gut feeling" and transforming it into a certainty in the tabloid.
Fact: BBC Radio One DJ Chris Stark recently revealed that Prince William enjoyed recording a podcast with him so much that they drank beers together for a couple of hours longer than planned, and he allegedly missed his next scheduled appointment.
Harmless enough, you might think, but that's the inspiration for the 'Enquirer' headline: "Prince William's Tippling Has Kate Red In The Face!"
The Palace has firmly denied that William missed any meeting due to his boozing, which the 'Enquirer' acknowledges, but the rag runs with the story regardless, using it as the springboard to claim that "stressed-out Prince William is boozing to take the edge off . . . and it's put him on a collision course with wife Kate." Right.
Fact: 'Die Hard' star Bruce Willis refused to cover his face with a mask on a recent public outing, which many people viewed as potentially dangerously antisocial and selfish behavior, but which the 'Enquirer' has decided is a sign of "early memory loss."
But Willis hadn't forgotten his mask: it was hanging around his neck, visible in every photograph. He just refused to put it on. It wasn't a question of memory loss, but rather a question of celebrity entitlement run amok: an incident for which Willis later apologized,and perhaps wishes he could forget.
For good measure, the headline drags in Willis's ex-wife: "Bruce's Bad Memory Jogs Demi's Concern," as if it's Demi Moore's problem now that Bruce has lost his mind. Indeed.
Fact: The Queen's second cousin twice removed, the Earl of Strathmore, Simon Bowes-Lyon, aged 34, recently pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a woman at his ancestral home in Scotland last year, and has been placed on the UK sexual offenders registry pending sentencing.
The 'Globe' naturally finds a way to link this incident to Prince Andrew's alleged entanglement with Jeffrey Epstein's under-age sex slave ring.
"New Royal Sex Crime!" screams the 'Globe' cover. "Queen's Cousin Guilty in Attack on Beauty, 26! Drunken monster broke into bedroom as she slept."
But though Simon Bowes-Lyon committed the attack, it's Prince Andrew who will suffer the consequences, claims the 'Globe.'
"Bowes-Lyon's appalling crime feeds into the narrative that the royal family is filled with perverts and pedophiles," reports the tabloid. "This makes Prince Andrew's denials about his involvement with that [Epstein] girl even harder to swallow," according to an unidentified "palace courtier."
It's an interesting leap of logic, but one also wonders: In what narrative is Britain's royal family all perverts and pedophiles?
Speaking of questionable behavior, actor Armie Hammer has been battered in recent days by the revelations of former girlfriends accusing him of expressing sexually fetishized desires for cannibalism and the bodily mutilation of his loved ones.
While it's impossible to know to what extent Hammer may have been merely fantasizing, or perhaps intended to enact his desires, it's intriguing to note the 'Enquirer' headline: "Armie's Cannibal Lust Isn't Normal!"
Which begs the question: What type of cannibal lust IS normal?
'Us' magazine devotes its cover to the scandal, making it clear where the rag stands on the issue of cannibalism: "Armie Hammer's Twisted Double Life – Worse Than Anyone Knows.'
Anyone? Really? If it's worse than anyone knows, then by definition nobody knows how bad his alleged perversions actually are. What 'Us' probably means is: Worse Than You Know, Because You Hadn't Really Cared Enough To Find Out In The First Place.
Ex-girlfriends cite creepy text messages sent by Hammer, expressing his desire to "eat" one lover (decidedly open to interpretation), and break another lover's rib and consume it. (The 'Globe' cited another woman who claimed that Hammer told her he wanted to "cut off one of your toes and keep it with me in my pocket.")
But since Hammer has evidently not consumed any of his girlfriends – with or without fava beans and a glass of Chianti – nor eaten their ribs or amputated their toes, these revelations might be considered a lot less worse than anybody – or most people – might know.
Fact: Eight years ago California physician Dr Forest Tennant wrote a medical paper speculating that Elvis Presley may have been suffering from an autoimmune disease triggered by a blow to the head.
The 'Globe' revives this 2013 report under the headline: "Autopsy secret revealed after 43 years – What Really Killed Elvis!" calling it "new findings," under the immodest banner: "Elvis Presley Death Mystery Solved!"
But there has never been any mystery why Elvis died: his autopsy in 1977 concluded that he died from "hypertensive heart disease" that would have killed him even if his body wasn't awash in a cocktail of drugs. Yet Dr Tennant's speculative report was not an "autopsy secret revealed after 43 years," and didn't solve any mystery. It simply raised an interesting – and unprovable – possibility to Presley's medical history.
Fact: Music producer Phil Spector discharged a gun into the ceiling during a recording session with John Lennon.
This nugget of rock 'n' roll history, repeated thousands of times by media outlets worldwide in the 48 years since it happened, is the subject of a two-page spread in the 'Globe' to mark Spector's death: "Psycho Phil Spector's Blood Lust Exposed!" under the banner: "Celebrity News." Because after almost half a century, it might still be news to the 'Globe' editors.
Fact: Most people do not know what The Queen is really like, despite endless fictionalized depictions in film and TV,and notably 'The Crown.'
But that doesn't stop 'People' magazine from giving up its cover to the 94-year-old monarch under the headline: "What the Queen Is Really Like."
Don't imagine that this thinly-disguised clippings job will offer any insights into the true nature of Her Royal Highness. She wakes daily to the BBC's Today program, goes to chapel once a week, rides her ponies, and chats regularly with horse trainer Monty Roberts, we are told.
The Queen has a sense of humor and likes to laugh, even at herself, apparently. To support this revelatory exposé, 'People' mag reminds readers that the Queen laughed at herself in 1981, and again when playfully striking model poses when being photographed in 2011. As if laughing twice in 40 years is evidence of who the Queen really is.
Thankfully we have the crack investigative team at 'Us' mag to tell us that Camila Coelho wore it best, that HGTV star Tarek El Moussa "was a straight-C student" at school (though one suspects grade inflation was at work there), and that the stars are just like us: they ride public transportation, perform house repairs, and grab take-out meals. The excitement of celebrity lives never ceases to amaze.
The 'Globe' reports that accused ax murderer Lizzie Borden's "blood-soaked house in Fall River, Mass.," is up for sale for $2 million. While it's true that the home – now a bed and breakfast establishment – is on the market, it's not exactly blood-soaked, as the gore from the hatchet slayings of Lizzie's parents Andrew and Abby Borden in 1892 was cleaned up quite some years ago.
But while the 'Globe' actually scores points for carrying an otherwise accurate story that actually qualifies as news, buyers should note that the $2 million price tag does not include Lizzie's ax.
Onwards and downwards . . .