With their plummeting circulation and shrinking budgets, the tabloids increasingly feel as if they're written by a skeleton crew patching together old news tidbits with speculation, and hoping that nobody notices how threadbare the fabric of their stories have become.
"Biden Son's Money Schemes Exposed! Greed, Drugs, Lies & Criminal Probe!" screams the cover of the 'National Enquirer.' But the two-page spread touted as an "Enquirer Special Report" is hardly an exposé, and is mostly information freely confessed by Hunter Biden in his new memoir and in recent television interviews he has given. Throw in some allegations from unverified emails obtained by the New York Post, and you have Hunter's shocking admission that his father never received "a nickel" from Hunter's Ukraine and China business deals.
"Sex Monsters' Jail Hell! Me Too Movement Wins," proclaims the cover of the 'Globe,' concocting a soufflé of a story that quickly falls flat, combining the fact that Ghislaine Maxwell, Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby aren't happy in incarceration. Well there's a surprise.
The 'Globe' throws in Jeffrey Epstein for good measure as a "sex monster" who suffered behind bars, explaining: "Twisted perv found hanging in solitary."
The 'Globe' appears to be celebrating the fact that this "sex monster" quartet – three convicted, and Maxwell awaiting trial – has suffered behind bars, but in another 'Globe' story this week it's not quite so clear that the rag is supportive of the #MeToo movement, as the 'Globe' pulls together a catalogue of old stories whipped up to give the illusion of novelty, about the toll #MeToo has taken on "rich and powerful men."
"Me Too Movement Clobbers Boys' Club!" declares the headline over a story which simply recites old allegations against Andrew Cuomo, Mario Batali, Peter Nygard, Brett Ratner, Paul Marciano and Bill O'Reilly. It's old news, with an implausibly large dollar figure thrown in, claiming that the quintet has seen "$5.5 billion down drain as careers go up in flames."
But it's hard to shake the feeling that the rag's sympathies may be with the men accused of sexual horrors, whose lives have been turned upside down by the allegations.
The 'Enquirer' informs readers who have been asleep for the past 30 years of "Prince Harry's Racist Past!"
The story is inspired by pundit Piers Morgan's indignation at Harry complaining about racism within the Royal Family, when it was Harry who once dressed up in Nazi costume for a party, and who uttered a racial slur against a Muslim Army comrade – stories all reported years ago, but dredged up because the 'Enquirer' clearly struggles to find original material these days.
The 'Globe' digs even deeper into its archives to come up with the "news" this week: "JFK Jr. Haunting Daryl's Marriage."
No, Daryl Hannah is not seeing ghosts with washboard abs haunting her marital home with rock icon Neil Young.
The 'Globe' claims that Hannah's marriage has "hit a rocky patch" because "she's still mooning over ex-lover John F Kennedy." It's been two decades since JFK Jr's plane took a dive into the ocean. Surely by now somebody must have told Daryl that he's not coming back? You'd think her getting married would be a sign that she's over John Jr? Or could this story be an utter crock?
Much the same could be said of the 'Globe' offering: "Priscilla & Lisa Marie Feuding Over Wacko Jacko Secret Wedding!"
It's been 27 years since Lisa Marie Presley married Michael Jackson, and it's hardly a secret any more, but the 'Globe' insists that mother and daughter are "still feuding" over it.
But Lisa Marie Presley had been married before tying the knot with Jacko, and she married again after divorcing the gloved one. It's hard to imagine it's still being argued over.
It has been five years since Chinese scientists first claimed to have successfully transplanted heads on monkeys, but the 'Enquirer' breaks the news this week: "China Scientists Create Frankenstein Horrors!" It seems safe to assume they're using an old story to cash in on current concerns about the possible origin of the coronavirus in a Chinese lab.
'People' magazine gets into the act with its eight-page spread on the death of the Duke of Edinburgh: "Elizabeth & Philip – Their Untold Love Story.' As told many times before.
Oh, the joys of early tabloid deadlines. Part One.
"Rapper DMX's Coma Deathtrap," reports the 'Enquirer,' oblivious to the fact that the singing star died days earlier. According to the 'Enquirer,' DMX is on life support while "his family will determine what's best from there." Burial, one suspects.
Oh, the joys of early tabloid deadlines, Part Two.
"Sheriff Refuses To Reveal Cause of Tiger Crash!" reports the 'Globe,' days after the Sheriff had revealed that golfing ace Tiger Woods was racing at almost double the 45 mph speed limit when he crashed his SUV in February.
'Us' magazine devotes its cover to Prince Philip's death at the age of 99, with a photograph of the Queen with a tear visibly coursing down her cheek.
It's a great photo of what 'Us' mag calls the "shattered Queen," though this moving image was even better when we first saw it in 2002, when it was snapped as Her Majesty shed a tear while visiting the Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey.
"Fears For The Queen" reads the cover headline, for the story which reveals: "There are legitimate fears from those close to the queen about how she will manage without Philip by her side," according to an unnamed insider.
Why would anyone fear she can't manage without Philip, when she has a large extended family and a veritable army of equerries and aides to help her?
Could it be fears that she's inconsolable and might lock herself away from the world? Has the 94-year-old monarch given up on life? Apparently not. Another unidentified source claims: "She hasn't skipped a beat since Philip died," and is getting back to work. So why the worry.? "People fear she's doing too much," a source explains. It seems like the Queen can't win, no matter what she does.
'People' magazine reports: "Will & Harry: United By Grief." No – they're united in grief, but not by it.
By now we're all accustomed to 'People' magazine bringing up its annual 'Sexiest Man Alive' issue, and allegations that Russia tried to influence the 2016 presidential election, but the 'Globe' reports this week on allegations that: "Putin, 68, Rigs Sexy Man Poll!"
No, Vladimir Putin hasn't hacked the 'People' magazine voting machines, but he is accused of fraud in a poll to find Russia's sexiest man, which – surprise, surprise – Putin won.
But who are we in the West to criticize? Let's be honest: since when was 'People' magazine's 'Sexiest Man Alive' issue ever fair and democratic?
'People' devotes its cover this week to "HGTV's Ben & Erin Napier – Baby Joy!"
Who are these people? Could. Not. Care. Less.
Fortunately we have the crack investigative team at 'Us' mag to tell us that Kate Hudson wore it best, that Joel McHale hates karaoke – "It drives me out of my mind" – and that the stars are just like us: they walk their dogs, go to the supermarket, have lunch with friends and feed parking meters. What exciting lives they must lead!
Giving new meaning to old news, the 'Globe' reports that in 1904, 16 years before Prohibition was introduced, the sale of alcohol was banned in Hollywood. The restriction lasted only three years, ending in 1907, and 114 years later the 'Globe' feels ready to share that breaking news with its readers.
Onwards and downwards . . .