Facts? Who needs them when they get in the way of a good story?
That's the lesson from this week's tawdry tabloids, which use a smattering of facts like seasoning in a recipe: employed sparingly they add flavoring, but there's no nutritional value there.
"Meghan & Harry Sell Out Andrew To Feds!" screams the cover of the 'National Enquirer,' claiming that Prince Andrew's deepest, darkest secrets of his shenanigans with billionaire sex slave ring purveyor Jeffrey Epstein have been revealed to the FBI by his nephew Prince Harry and his American Duchess wife.
No, they haven't. Harry and Meghan haven't even spoken with the FBI about Andrew, as the story eventually admits. And even if they did talk to the FBI, what could Meghan and Harry possibly know of Andrew's private peccadilloes, since he has publicly denied any impropriety and almost certainly protested his innocence to his own family.
Does anyone at the 'Enquirer' honestly envision Andrew sitting the Queen and Harry down at Buckingham Palace and saying: "Let me tell you all about the under-age sex slaves I've been seeing" . . .?
"Harry and Meghan have nothing to lose by selling out Andrew," says an alleged "high-level palace source." Except they would have everything to lose by ratting out Uncle Andy, burning every bridge they might have had to find a way back into the British Royal Family if they ever want to return to the bosom of the family one day.
Epstein's Girl Friday and right-hand-woman Ghislaine Maxwell, currently behind bars awaiting trial for her alleged role in his sex ring, is the subject of the 'Globe' story: "Maxwell's Judge Throws Away The Key!" No he hasn't. She's simply been denied bail. Again. She can have the key to her jail cell if she's acquitted at trial. She's not even been convicted, let alone sentenced to life imprisonment.
'Us' magazine devotes its cover to Prince Harry, hailing him as "The Billion Dollar Prince – Breaking The Royal Rules Again."
No doubt Harry would love to be worth a billion dollars, but he's not even a tenth of the way there, and it seems to be 'Us' mag breaking the rules of mathematics in the process.
While it's true that Harry recently signed a $100 million production deal with Netflix – a mere ten per cent of a billion dollars – he will only get to keep a small fraction of that, because much of that fortune has to be spent on actually producing films and TV show. Netflix didn't just give him $100 million because they feel guilty about how he's been only a minor character in their TV series 'The Crown.'
'Us' also tells readers "Why Meghan will never return to England," which is stretching the facts like Mr. Elastic on a hot day in the Gobi desert. Meghan is not accompanying husband Harry on a trip to the UK in July because she's pregnant and avoiding pandemic travel, but that's hardly saying that she will "never return."
Equally fact-challenged is the 'Enquirer' story: "Hollywood Hackers Loot $100M! Stars Played For Patsies!"
Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Lady Gaga, Robert De Niro and Adam Sandler are all named among the celebrities who suffered data breaches in 2020.
But when Europol arrested eight phone-hacking British nationals in February for stealing $100 million in cryptocurrency from US celebrities, the law enforcement agency explained that the victims – who remain unidentified – were all sports stars, musicians and social media influencers.
Kim, Kanye, Gaga, De Niro and Sandler were victims of hacking last year which placed rogue promotions for cryptocurrency sales on their social media sites, but there's no direct link suggesting that they were among those whose cryptocurrency was hacked in the UK in an entirely separate series of crimes.
"Pals Want Windy Wendy To Squelch The Belch!" reports the 'Enquirer' on the gastric emissions of "Windbag Wendy Williams." The TV chat show host is allegedly burping and passing gas on air because of her "fast food diet and lack of exercise!" claim unnamed insiders. Sounds like a lot of hot air.
The 'Globe' cover is dominated by perennial tabloid favorites Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's long-running divorce and custody battle.
"Brad Pitt Betrayed!" proclaims the front page. "Nightmare testimony about Rage & Abuse!" "Booze made him a monster!" yells a headline that might be better suited as a tag-line to the new movie 'Godzilla vs. Kong.'
Jolie has reportedly filed new "bombshell papers in L.A. Superior Court saying she and her children want to testify their life was the pits." You can bet that bad pun isn't anywhere in court documents.
"Chevy Chase Lucky To Be Alive After Heart Surgery," reports the 'Globe.' Isn't everyone lucky to be alive after heart surgery?
The 'Enquirer' tells readers that Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie is "Broke & Busted! Penniless Presley Owes $60M." That's according to Presley's own divorce attorney who claims she is deep in debt, and that the $100,000-a-month she receives from Elvis's trust goes to pay off her debts.
Sister publication the 'Globe' writes two pages on Lisa Marie but doesn't even mention her financial woes, instead leading with the blistering headline: "Lisa Marie Has Killer Monkey On Her Back!"
No, it's not her alleged $60 million debt, and it's not King Kong. Is it heroin? Cocaine? Meth? The 'Globe' reveals Lisa Marie's horrific vice: "Recovering addict can't kick cigarettes."The horror! The horror!"
Honey Boo Boo, whose celebrity status will forever be a stain upon the good judgment of American television audiences, was clearly a cash cow for her mother, if the 'Globe' report is to be believed: "Mama June Spent $900G On Meth!" That was allegedly her meth bill for just one year, claims Mama June, now 14 months sober. Who knew that bad reality TV paid that well?
The 'Globe' does its part for public service journalism with its report: "Covid Vaccine Dangers Exposed! Shots don't work. Paralysis. Deadly blood clots. Scientists reveal what gov't is hiding!"
Except the government is hiding nothing: these are all covid vaccination side-effects that have been widely and freely reported by scientists, many of them arising from the AstraZeneca vaccine which has not yet received US FDA approval.
Reports of nausea, facial swelling and Bell's palsy are anecdotal, and as the 'Globe' admits, "further data has shown no links." But what the heck – run the story anyway!
And why do some people who have been fully vaccinated still come down with coronavirus?
It's not because the vaccine "shots don't work." It's because even the best covid vaccine currently available is only 94 per cent effective at preventing the illness, which for the numerically-challenged boffins at the 'Globe' means that six in every 100 people given the vaccine might still contract the illness – though most likely in a milder and less dangerous form than if they had gone unvaccinated. That doesn't mean the vaccine doesn't work. As vaccines go, it's remarkably effective.
'People' magazine dispenses with facts altogether by devoting much of this week's edition to an entirely subjective and fact-free compilation: "The Beautiful Issue – 2021."
Cover girl is Chrissy Teigen, who reveals: "I've Learned How Strong I am." Like every other 'People' cover celebrity, she's living her best life, and with husband John Legend is teaching their two children "to be themselves." I'm intrigued: do most parents teach their children to be somebody else? I didn't know that was even an option.
'People' mag's paragons of beauty include, inter alia, Zendaya, Nicole Kidman, Kerry Washington, Lily Collins, Amanda Seyfried, Issa Rae, Taraji P Henson, Eva Longoria, Tiffany Haddish, Jessica Alba, and of course the mandatory beauties pictured without makeup – all captured in a diffused light through a soft focus lens – Katie Holmes, Kate Upton, Kathryn Hahn and Katie Couric.
And on it goes: Salma Hayek, Nicole Richie, Hilary Swank, Blake Lively, Megan Thee Stallion, Jane Fonda . . . will this never end? There are so many more, all presumably conforming to the magazine's conception of beauty. But why are they all women? Where are all the beautiful men? And where are all the beautiful trans women? Laverne Cox merits a photo barely the size of a postage stamp on a page featuring her and 42 other "beauties at every age." there might be other "beautiful" trans women hidden within the legion of women selected purely for their looks rather than the content of their character, but I didn't see them.
Fortunately we have the crack investigative team at 'Us' magazine to tell us that Hailey Bieber wore it best, that singer and actress Keri Hilson's "12 plants are my children. They have names and when I speak to them they react positively," and that the stars are just like us: they feed parking meters, sip cocktails and "get smooches" from their dogs. But if you speak to them don't expect them to react positively.
Leave it to the 'Globe' to get at least one story right. The publication that is often so quick to attribute UFOs to alien spacecraft this week debunks the theory that the fast-moving cigar-shaped interstellar object dubbed Oumaumau – Hawaiian for "messenger" or "scout" – is debris from an alien civilization. The magazine reports on research by Arizona State University scientists who concluded that Oumaumau has all the characteristics of a chunk of frozen nitrogen, as found on the surface of Pluto. As Freud might say, sometimes a cigar-shaped object is just a cigar-shaped object.
Onwards and downwards . . .