Absence of evidence is evidence of a cover-up, in this week's dubious tabloids

'National Enquirer'

"Baldwin Gun Horror: Was It Murder?" screams the cover headline. Probably not, but the 'Enquirer' loves the fact that it's a possibility, no matter how slim. "How real bullets ended up in actor's revolver!"

The film set armorer doesn't know how a live round found its way into Alec Baldwin's vintage revolver on the set of 'Rust,' the police don't know, and the 'Enquirer' certainly doesn't know, and despite the clickbait headline, isn't telling.

"Rookie armorer's secret life as a dominatrix!"

Was she though? Armorer Hannah Guttierez-Reed is pictured in a dress which is more Goth fashion that BDSM, and the 'Enquirer' displays a purported text message exchange with a "paypig" – a submissive customer – that is inconclusive.

A New York lawyer unrelated to the investigation asks: "Was it possible a disgruntled employee mixed live ammunition with the blanks? Of course. In that case the charges wouldn't be just criminally negligent homicide but murder."

Was it possible that a trained orang-utan protesting animal abuse in Hollywood sneaked onto the set and added the live bullets to a box of blanks? I suspect the lawyer would agree that it's technically possible – and that would be murder too.

"Queen Elizabeth, 95, Blood Cancer Crisis Exposed! Secret hemorrhages and ministrokes."

This "crisis" exposed by the 'Enquirer' may be familiar to readers: the Enquirer exposed the same allegation in March 2019, claiming that "Britain's monarch is battling leukemia" and was not expected to live beyond 2020. And the 'Enquirer' reported again in April 2020 that the Queen was battling leukemia, and supplied photographs of bruises on her hands as "evidence" of her ailment – the identical photos they publish again this week. All this while there has been no evidence or confirmation suggesting that the Queen actually is suffering leukemia.

But an absence of evidence is evidently proof of a cover-up in tabloid circles.

As for suffering secret mini-strokes, the 'Enquirer' quotes an unnamed "shocked courtier" who professes their total ignorance by asking of hospital tests: "What did they find out? When are we going to know the truth?" When indeed?

If the Queen is really "dying in plain sight" as the 'Enquirer' eloquently claims, would Prince William and Kate have taken their three children on vacation, while Prince Charles and Camilla continue with their royal duties undisturbed?

Yes! "It's their desperate bid to project an 'everything's all right' front." Right. Because the absence of proof is proof that it must be true.

"Free Britney's Got Money To Burn!" The 'Enquirer' seems to think that after shedding her father Jamie Spears as her court-appointed conservator, pop veteran Britney Spears is "blowing dough like a sailor on leave".

But Britney is not "free." She is still under a court-ordered conservatorship controlling her purse-strings, and any expenditures she makes are with the full approval of those who manage her finances.)

"Sex With Gwyneth Is a Total Bore!" Could there be a more misleading headline? The 'Enquirer' hasn't spoken with a single person who ever had sex with the actress. The story instead claims that Paltrow's "friends are fed up" by her allegedly constant talk about sex and sex toys. "She's coming across as a major bore," says an unidentified "insider." But that's a long way from being bad in bed.

"No End In Sight For JFK Cover-Up." Just because President Joe Biden won't declassify a small cache of CIA and military files, does that mean it's a cover-up? Maybe.


"Biden Buries Proof CIA Killed JFK!" proclaims the front page. Did he though? Just because President Biden (like Trump, Obama and Clinton before him) opted to keep some files classified, why does that automatically amount to "proof" that the files show the CIA killed President Kennedy? The documents are secret and sealed, so nobody outside of a select few – and that does not include the 'Globe' – know their contents.

"Michael Jackson Daughter Joins Dark Magic Coven." Did she though? It's a coven so "dark" that she posted photos of the gathering on social media. And judging by the photos it looks an awful lot like a group of five giggling young women in thongs and bikini-bottoms moon-bathing while indulging in some playful New Age lunar celebration – not a coven indulging in the dark arts. But who are you going to believe: the photographic evidence of your own eyes, or the dark tale of "voodoo" spun by the Globe?

"Killer Baldwin Fleeing Showbiz." Alec Baldwin has every reason to be feeling devastated after pulling the trigger that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, but there's no evidence that he's quitting acting or producing. Remember: this is the man who vowed to leave the United States if Donald Trump was elected – and Baldwin is still here.

"Kate Rips Goldie's Heart Out!" Not literally – that would be a front-page story. No, actress Kate Hudson has reportedly caused her mother, Goldie Hawn, to suffer a "nuclear explosion" after inviting Kate's father – and Goldie's ex-husband – Bill Hudson to her upcoming wedding to singer Danny Fujikawa.

Mocking Hollywood legend Jack Nicholson's obesity is the subject of the 'Enquirer' story: "Fat Jack Prefers Food To Women!" Does he, though? How do we know that Nicholson wouldn't rather be in bed with a nubile young woman, rather than cozying up to a double-decker cheeseburger? Perhaps he'd rather be with a blonde, but a burger is more readily available?


"Judge Judy! Secrets of My Success" proclaims the cover story. "As long as you're here, you might as well have fun," says the TV judge who's worth a reported $460 million, which admittedly might help her have a little more fun than most. What's the secret to her success? Have a hit TV series. She's launching a new show at 79.

"Will Smith – Healing From My Painful Past." Excerpts from his coming memoir reveal that he's had a lot of healing to do: surviving his abusive alcoholic father, his regret at being a "coward" for not standing up to his father's assaults on his mother, how he fell in love with Jada Pinkett while still married to his first wife, failed to listen to his daughter Willow and lost the trust of his son Jaden, and how he seriously considered killing his father, before finding fulfillment.

'Us Weekly'

"Brad & Jen: The Real Story," declares the cover. "They Can't Move On."

But that's not the real story. As the article makes clear, since their own divorce both Pitt and Aniston have married other people – if that's not moving on, what is? And though neither has been in a serious relationship in more than a year – Pitt is still wading through a divorce battle with ex-wife Angelina Jolie, and Aniston is three years distant from ex-husband Justin Theroux – the past 18 months of pandemic haven't exactly been conducive to social interaction and launching new romance. Simply because neither Aniston or Pitt appear to be in a relationship at present, 'Us Weekly' concludes that it must be because they still have a thing for each other. But just because both actors are allegedly lonely and sad – allegations seriously open to question – doesn't mean they aren't over each other. As an unnamed source tells the mag: "It became clear they were better off as friends." Apparently Us Weekly didn't get the memo.

Thankfully we have the crack investigative team at 'Us Weekly' to tell us that supermodel Olivia Culpo wore it best (surprise, surprise), that actress Ann Dowd "once ran away from kindergarten" (does that count as "breaking news"?), and that the stars are just like us: they ride bikes, drink wine, sip drinks from a coconut while on Hawaiian vacation, eat Mexican take-out, and shop for groceries. Scintillating, as ever.

In other tabloid news:

'OK!' magazine devotes its cover to "Jennifer Garner – Backyard Wedding!" which despite apparent wedding photos, actually hasn't happened, perhaps because the actress and boyfriend John Miller aren't even officially engaged yet.

'In Touch' mag makes singer Zayn Malik and his estranged mother-in-law Yolanda Hadid its cover couple under the headline: "Lies, Abuse & A Secret Affair!" after Malik and model wife Gigi Hadid split after he allegedly struck Yolanda – though no-one has suggested an affair was behind the split.

'Life & Style mag''s cover promises: "Celebrity Trainers Dish The Dirt!" How filthy is that dirt? You be the judge: "Selena Gomez "sneaks fries after workouts," Lady Gaga "loves being yelled at," and Kim Kardashian "falls off treadmill taking selfies." Shocking, totally shocking.

Onwards and downwards . . .