Twisting the facts and stretching the truth are time-honored traditions in the tabloids, but this week the 'National Enquirer' goes above and beyond the call of duty with its cover story about the late billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, under the screaming headline: "Rogue Lawmen Killed Epstein!"
As the story inside makes perfectly clear: No, they didn't.
The source for this "new bomb": is none other than the "pervert's lawyer Alan Dershowitz," the rag claims.
Except the 'Enquirer' then goes on to quote the Harvard law professor saying something quite different. "He did kill himself," said Dershowitz, "but he killed himself with the help of the guards."
Those would be the jail guards outside Epstein's cell who failed to check in on him as required, and whose close circuit TV cameras mysteriously malfunctioned, when they should have been watching over him.
Dershowitz is implying that the guards deliberately turned a blind eye – a debatable claim – but as the 'Enquirer' story categorically states: "the legal eagle didn't say he believes guards tied the noose around Epstein's neck".
Despite its garish front page headline, the story makes clear that Epstein killed himself, but the 'Enquirer' wants it to have been murder, and won't let the facts get in the way of a good story.
"Sober Johnny Depp: I Don't Want To Die."
Fox News always managed to raise a smile with its former promo line promising "fair and balanced" reporting, but the 'Enquirer' doesn't even make an attempt at either in its coverage of the British royals.
In its story about King Charles lacking the will to "curb Harry and Meghan," under the headline "The Cowardly King" the rag calls Charles "gutless," "wimpy," "terrified," "dithering" and "paralyzed by fear and indecision," while branding Prince Harry and Meghan "royal renegades" who "continue to spit in his face." Objective reporting at its finest.
"Putin Starts World War III!"
How many times can the 'Enquirer' tell us that WW3 is under way? Maybe they think people didn't believe them the first few times?
This time the third world war apparently began when a Russian jet downed a US drone over Ukraine. Stay tuned for the next time Putin starts WW3 once again.
"Proof Kurt Cobain Was Murdered!"
This word "proof," it does not mean what you think it means.
Two purported handwriting experts claim that "a key portion of Kurt's suicide note was forged," according to a new documentary film.
"The verdict should be changed from suicide to murder," says filmmaker Ian Halperin, who has authored two books claiming that Cobain was murdered.
But are these 'experts' trained in understanding how large quantities of heroin, as found in Cobain's body, and a suicidal frame of mind may alter a subject's handwriting? And even if the coroner had previously dated Cobain's wife Courtney Love, as claimed, does that necessarily prove that the suicide verdict was wrong?
Just in case Michelle Obama has even a passing thought of ever running for the White House, the 'Globe' reminds her what sort of personal attacks she could face, with its cover story: "Michelle Rages Over Barack Betrayal!"
The former first lady allegedly "goes berserk" and "storms off in jealous meltdown" after Barack "slips away to see her love rival Caroline Kennedy."
Barack and Kennedy did indeed meet up last month, which should hardly come as a surprise since he is the former president of the United States, and she is now America's ambassador to Australia, where they met up in Sydney. Indeed, it would be strange if Obama visited Australia and didn't visit with the US ambassador there.
The rag claims the duo were "caught kissing . . . and cavorting" on a Cape Cod beach in 2015, and Kennedy had previously given Obama a peck on the cheek when greeting him in Japan when she was ambassador there in 2014. But their alleged 2015 tryst came when both Barack and Michelle joined Caroline Kennedy at her waterfront estate in Cape Cod, where they were all vacationing. There's less here than meets the eye. Or could it be part of a concerted Republican plot to keep Michelle Obama from ever running for the Oval Office?
"Second Chance For Reese & Ryan."
The tabloids love to speculate that former lovers will happily reunite – how many times have we been told that Brad Pitt is getting back together with Jennifer Aniston? – and so Reese Witherspoon's divorce from husband Jim Toth inspires the 'Globe' to suggest that she will try to "rekindle the magic she once shared with first hubby Ryan Phillippe". Right.
"Cher Burning Through Kids' Inheritance!"
She's spending what's also known as 'her money.'
Carol Burnett's 90th birthday is celebrated with this week's cover story: "Carol!" The comedy legend discusses "love, loss & laughter."
"When you're down, there's always going to be an up," she says. Unless you're going deeper down, one might add.
It's one of those feel-good issues where everything's shiny and bright in the world.
Adam Sandler is "living his best life" (a prerequisite for appearing in the mag); Kaley Cuoco is "overjoyed" at being a new mother; a carrot-nibbling groundhog has become an "internet favorite"; Bruce Willis's pregnant daughter Rumer is enjoying "a 'lovely' family moment"; and Toni Collete's having a "magical life." Can we expect nothing but doom and gloom in next week's issue?
Country singer Carrie Underwood dominates the cover, talking about "My Next Act ," as she "gets real about marriage, motherhood and making sacrifices."
It's another feel-good issue: Underwood is "happier-than-ever"; Kelly Cuoco (again) is "tickled pink"; and Kate Bosworth is enjoying a "happy ending."
Thankfully we have the hard-hitting investigative news team at 'Us Weekly' to tell us that Lucy Hale wore it best (no doubt because she showed a flash of thigh), that celebrity blogger DeuxMoi is "really good at detangling a knot out of a necklace," and that the stars are just like us: they order takeout food, eat ramen with chopsticks, and sweep the floor (though why Halle Berry did so while wearing a bathrobe and high heels is never explained.)
The indignities of royal outcasts Prince Harry and Meghan continue to mount, according to the rag's cover story: "Harry & Meghan Humiliated By William & Kate."
The American wing of the British royal family is allegedly being "forced to stay in hotel and banned from official coronation," the magazine claims.
But far from being "banned" from King Charles's coming coronation ceremony, Harry and Meghan have been officially invited, Buckingham Palace confirms. And though they have been told to move out of their Frogmore Cottage home on the grounds of Windsor Castle, it seems highly likely that Harry and Meghan would be permitted to stay there one last time during the coronation week. Charles has plenty of other empty Palace rooms and other properties where he could let Harry and Meghan stay for a few days, so a hotel seems an unlikely solution, especially since Harry is so concerned about his family's security.
"Britney & Sam's Marriage Blows Up!"
No, it doesn't. Britney Spears and Sam Asghari's reps shot down this rumour in a heartbeat.
"Supermodels Tell All!" proclaims the cover story, prominently featuring Cara Delevingne, Bella Hadid and Chrissy Teigen, supposedly telling "Why We Got Sober." Their "incredible stories of love and recovery" allegedly reveal "what they really hid from fans."
Inspiring, as always.
Onwards and downwards . . .