You’re a tabloid reporter and you’re used to fabricating many of the “facts” and “quotes” in your stories, but there are some days when you can’t even be bothered to do that with any conviction, days when your fevered imagination doesn’t have the energy to get out of bed.
So you get what we see in this week’s tabloids.
George & Amal Clooney are "Dating Other People!” reports the ’National Enquirer,’ in an “Exclusive" inspired by the Clooneys announcing a charity fundraiser offering the winner a private dinner with the celebrity couple at their home in Italy.
The ‘Enquirer’ amazingly interprets the Clooneys' altruism as “an excuse to ignore their wedding vows,” suggesting that the couple are wife-swapping swingers for charity, and that George has “opened the door to other men to enjoy the company of his leggy 41-year-old wife!” Expect the Clooneys to fire off an uncharitable lawsuit any minute now.
The ‘Globe’ cover’s obligatory story about the British Royals boasts: “Explosive Police Dossier Found! Charles’ Motive For Murdering Diana!” Prince Charles allegedly had Diana killed because she was scheming to have him bypassed by the Queen so that the crown would go to son William after QE!!’s death. Which makes no sense: As we’ve noted before, The Act of Settlement of 1701 demands that the monarch’s male heir succeed to the throne no matter what anyone wants. Moreover, Diana was divorced from Charles and anathema to the Palace at the time of her demise, so there’s no way the Queen would have done Diana’s bidding. Read the rest
The recent redefinition of the kilogram based on quantum physics and Planck’s constant has had major ramifications in this week’s tabloids, where such weighty issues as celebrity body fat and how many Angelina Jolies it takes to make up one Brad Pitt are the subject of intense scientific debate.
But even the measurement of mass using universal verities about light and energy doesn’t come close to the level of accuracy achieved by the former Guess-Your-Weight fairground carnies who can pin-point a celebrity’s weight sight unseen with zero margin of error.
This week the tabloids bring us the formula (A - 17) x 2 = B - 20, where “A” is Angelina Jolie three months ago, 17 are the pounds she’s reportedly lost in the past few weeks, “B” is Brad Pitt in 2018, and 20 are the pounds he’s lost lately.
Jolie, who earlier this year was reportedly a slender 97 pounds, has dropped to 80 pounds according to the mathematical geniuses at the ’National Enquirer,’ who claim that her six “scared kids” are “begging her to eat.”
In the other half of the equation, the ‘Globe’ reports that “Bony Brad is Wasting Away!” Jolie’s ex may be suffering “manorexia.” says the rag, using the scientific term for an eating disorder rarely found outside of academic medical journals. If a page falls out of an atlas has it undergone a mapendectomy? Just asking. Pitt has reportedly dropped 20 pounds, so that he is now a mere 160 pounds.
All of which answers the question which has perplexed mathematicians almost as long as Fermat’s Last Theorem: how many Angelina Jolies does it take to make one Brad Pitt? Read the rest
When Carlos Castaneda spoke of “a separate reality,” he could easily have been thinking of this week’s through-the-looking-glass tabloids.
How else to explain the ‘Globe’ cover story: “Malia Obama Caught Up in Harvard Bribe Scandal!” No, she isn’t. Malia allegedly took tennis lessons from the Harvard tennis coach accused of accepting bribes for recruiting non-athletes to the university. But Malia didn’t win a tennis scholarship to Harvard, or any athletic scholarship, so there’s no scandal, just unjustified innuendo.
The ‘National Enquirer’ is no better with its cover story about a coup within the British Royal Family, proclaiming: “William Seizes Throne From Charles! Declares Own Father Unfit to Rule.”
Three minor details: Charles doesn’t have the throne to begin with; The monarch doesn’t “rule” Britain any longer; and the Queen is doubtless aware of the Act of Settlement of 1701 governing the royal succession, which will make Charles the King on her demise whether she or Prince William like it or not. Even if Charles wanted to abdicate on succeeding to the crown it would require an Act of Parliament to make it legal.
The ‘Globe’ sticks it to the Royals with its story: “Mean Meghan to Kate: Keep Your Baby Advice!” Duchess Meghan allegedly exploded angrily when Kate phoned to offer parenting advice. Because the ‘Globe’ monitors all private Royal phone calls, so this must be true. “Man-Eater Angie Strikes Again!” reports the ‘Globe’ about Angelina Jolie, referring to her sexual appetites rather than any possible cannibalism. Jolie is set to “gobble up her hunky new co-star Nicholas Hoult,” claims the rag, though it’s hard to tell if that is an oral sex reference or if she just want to jump his bones - or maybe she has turned cannibal? Read the rest
Let’s give praise where it’s due: the ‘Globe’ has one of the great Royal exclusives of all time with its cover story about Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s newborn son Archie: “Harry’s NOT The Daddy! Baby’s DNA Test Triggers Palace Crisis.”
But just hold on a second - the two-page story inside reveals “. . . new findings show he IS the infant’s biological father.”
Seriously? Was that ever in question?
This “special report,” dubiously emanating from the tabloid’s purported team of spies within Harry and Meghan's Frogmore Cottage home on the grounds of Windsor Castle claims that initial DNA tests on Meghan’s amniotic fluid found that Harry could not be the father - but further tests confirmed that he was indeed Archie’s dad.
I can understand precautionary medical tests and genetic screening being run before a child’s birth, but a DNA paternity test?
Even in the improbable event that the story of a mistaken test diagnosis was true, surely the headline should be: “Harry IS The Daddy!” But evidently that doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as “Harry’s NOT The Daddy!”
At least the ‘Globe’ is fictionalizing supposedly recent events with this story, whereas its other big stories this week are all rehashed ancient news.
“Gay Elton Jilted Me Days Before Our Wedding!” claims Elton John’s former fiancé, revealing her “heartbreak” . . . 49 years ago. Just to prove it’s an antique story, the Rocket Man’s old flame Linda Hannon is pictured in the ‘Globe’ holding a copy of Britain's Sunday Mirror newspaper dated February 19, 1984, bearing the headline: “Elton Jilted Me.” Worse yet, the Sunday Mirror evidently had a line from Hannon that is better than anything she tells the’Globe’: "He was a lousy lover.” Or maybe he just wasn’t that into her? Read the rest
With the news that scandal-plagued American Media Inc. plans to sell its tabloid empire including the ‘National Enquirer’ and ‘Globe,’ the rags’ hacks seem to have given up all pretense of trying to inject reality into their fact-challenged offerings this week. The ‘Enquirer’ pulls out all the stops in trying to scare off a prospective purchaser, with a clutch of dubious stories.
“Aretha Franklin Was Murdered!” screams its cover story. No, she wasn’t. “Queen of Soul EXHUMED after nine months” the cover proclaims. No, she wasn’t. Franklin is still interred, and no coroner or law enforcement agency has made moves to dig her up, “Millions missing!” No - Franklin made a police report last year that $200,000 had been purloined from her bank account, but her death ended the police investigation. And $200,000 isn’t exactly “millions."
“Kinkster Kevin [Spacey] Caught Up in Murder Scandal!” No, he isn’t. Linda Culkin, one of the first to accuse Spacey of molesting young boys, was struck and killed by a car while walking near her Boston-area home. “Investigators have launched a murder probe,” says the ‘Enquirer.' No, they haven’t - the driver remained at the scene and no charges were filed. Culkin was crossing a road against traffic that had a green light. There is no “murder scandal,” and Spacey is not "caught up” in it. The rag also fails to mention that Culkin was obsessed by Spacey, and was jailed in 2013 for making bomb and anthrax threats against the actor.
George Clooney has saved his marriage “from the brink” of divorce with a second honeymoon. Read the rest
They put the hype in hyperbole. They put the tat in overstatement. They put the mountain in molehill. This week's tabloids put the retch in stretching the truth, with sickening disregard for the facts.
What is “Destroying Hollywood?” According to the Globe, it’s the Michael Jackson child molestation scandal, in which superstars Barbra Streisand and Diana Ross both expressed support for the late pop idol, only to buckle under savage criticism and emphasized their sympathy for any victims of pedophilia. Or, as the Globe puts it: “Hollywood A-listers at each other’s throats over kiddie scandal.” Despite the fact that no A-listers (or B-, C-, or D-listers) have publicly attacked them. Evidently it’s the end of Hollywood as we know it. Tragic.
“My Life in Scientology Hell!” is the “explosive” exclusive dominating the cover of the National Enquirer, claiming that Tom Cruise’s daughter Bella is “breaking her silence for [the] first time.” Bella actually spoke out in official Scientology promotional materials about her joy at completing training to become an auditor, which would be really useful at tax time if only it meant she’d studied accountancy, rather than the Scientology version of "auditing," which enables her to help "train" new recruits.
I’m not one to carry water for this divisive cult, but it’s depressing to see the Enquirer twist Bella's words so egregiously. She wrote of her training, including “hard work . . . a lot of effort . . . meltdowns and running to the bathroom to have . Read the rest
The Mueller Report is conspicuously absent from this week’s tabloids, despite landing with ample time for their deadlines. It’s a measure of how far the Trump-loving propaganda rags have publicly distanced themselves from the White House that their front covers aren’t screaming “Total Exoneration.”
No doubt that has something to do with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York's continuing investigation into the National Enquirer catch-and-kill policy of buying incriminating stories about Trump and suppressing them, with Enquirer publisher and Trump pal David Pecker cooperating with prosecutors. As headlines go, “Total Exoneration” would be about as accurate as much of this week’s fact-challenged tabloid offerings.
“Royal Family Disowns Harry & Meghan — Banished to Malta by Fed-up Queen,” proclaims the front page of the Enquirer. That’s doubtless news to the Royal couple, who have spent the past six months renovating Frognall Cottage in Windsor, England, where they plan to move in shortly. Perhaps they’ll turn it into an Airbnb rental once they’re in Malta?
“Scott Peterson Death Row Pardon!” declares the Globe cover’s report on its favorite convicted killer. “Gloating killer dances with joy,” the rag reports, which seems unlikely since he hasn’t been granted a pardon, and is unlikely to ever receive one. The story is inspired by a wildly inaccurate reading of California Governor Gavin Newsom’s newly-issued moratorium on the death penalty, which affects Scott Peterson along with 736 others on the state’s Death Row. And while the moratorium is morally and judicially welcome, it has little practical effect in a state where the last execution was more than 13 years ago because of repeated legal challenges. Read the rest
Do tabloid editors even read what their reporters write? It’s hard to imagine, given the disconnect between headlines and the barely-detectable trace elements of facts contained in the stories beneath them.
“Alex Trebek — Lung & Liver Surgery” reports the cover story of this week’s National Enquirer. But he’s had neither surgery according to the story on the inside pages about the beloved host of TV’s Jeopardy, who recently admitted having stage four pancreatic cancer. Is Trebek even poised to undergo such surgeries? Not according to the Enquirer, which says he “may be considering” such measures. Or maybe he isn’t considering them at all?
“Monster Moms Tell All,” screams the front cover of Us magazine, promising the inside scoop on Lori Laughlin and Felicity Huffman’s role in the college cheating scandal. But neither actress says a single word. About anything. The mag reports: “Now both women are trying to explain away their involvement.” Evidently they’re not trying to explain it to Us.
"R. Kelly Flunks Lie Test!” yells a spread in the Globe. A super-scientific what-could-possibly-go-wrong voice stress analysis of the beleaguered singer's appearance on TV with Gayle King shows that Kelly was stressed and therefore must have been lying. Why else would anyone be stressed appearing on national TV being accused of pedophilia? It boggles the mind why voice analysis isn’t used in criminal courts nationwide. Tom Cruise could have really used one in Minority Report instead of relying on those flaky precogs.
Sometimes you just wish that celebrities read their own press, so that they’re on the same page of the script as the tabloids. Read the rest
Like a dog chasing a stick thrown a great distance by a trebuchet, this week’s tabloid stories are far-fetched.
Did the Queen catch her left hand in a closing door? Not if you believe this week’s National Enquirer, which interprets her purple paw as a diagnosis of leukemia, prompting its “world exclusive” cover story: “Queen, 92, Dying.” Predictably, the “secret diagnosis has Charles and William competing for the crown,” reports the Enquirer, which views the Royal succession like a reality TV show competition, in which whoever wins the immunity challenge gets to be King. You’d think by now that someone would have told the Royals that The Act of Settlement of 1701 mandates the monarch’s next in line as heir, regardless of who gets voted out by the palace tribe.
Equally beggaring belief is the Globe cover story about former husband and wife duo Aniston and Pitt, under the headline: “Jen & Brad Elope!” When they reunited briefly and awkwardly at Jennifer Aniston’s 50th birthday party last month, the Globe reports: “They knew it was destiny and they belonged together.” Because how else do you explain them both turning up at the same party she invited him to, if not destiny? So when Jen jetted to Mexico recently with friends (because why elope alone?) she sneaked away to tie the knot with Pitt in a secret ceremony. But wait – Brad's divorce from Angelina Jolie has not been finalized yet, so that would make him a bigamist if the story is true. Read the rest
Credulity is stretched like a hamstring before a yoga class in this week’s eco-friendly tabloids, which do their bit for the environment by recycling old stories and passing them off as new again.
“Prince Harry names REAL DAD Godfather!” reports the National Enquirer. Harry has allegedly named as godfather to his unborn child his longtime mentor Mark Dyer: his “real father” according to the Enquirer. Dyer was a friend of Princess Diana, and he’s a redhead, so if that isn’t definitive proof he’s Harry’s father, what is? Enquirer sister website RadarOnline touted this same story on February 8, and it doesn’t look any more convincing a month later.
Prince Harry’s wife Duchess Meghan "Demands Panic Room!” proclaims another Enquirer story, claiming that British taxpayers are footing the $50,000 bill at “her hoity-toity new digs!” The plans are so secret that “only local politicians have seen them!” Presumably those “local politicians” are also known as the local council’s Building & Works Committee. It’s not only a story recycled from London’s Daily Mirror on November 28, 2018, but it also ran in the Enquirer on February 21 – but you can’t expect the editors to read what they write in past editions.
“CIA Helped Hitler Escape Germany!” screams the Globe, taking old stories to new limits. Would it be churlish to point out that the CIA was created in 1947, two years after they allegedly faked the Fuhrer's death in a Berlin bunker and smuggled him to Colombia? The Globe offers readers a photograph of a former SS officer in Colombia after WWII seated with a man “whose mustache and haircut bear shocking similarities to the Nazi chief.” He has the same hair and whiskers as Hitler? Read the rest
How could so much misinformation be packed into so few words?
A “bombshell” psychological report in the latest National Enquirer reveals that “Princess Meghan” is a “ticking time bomb who could explode at any moment, according to royal insiders!” “She’s emotionally tortured!” screams the Enquirer cover, touting “The Secret Psych Report!" Setting aside for a moment that the former Meghan Markle is not a Princess but only a Duchess, one wonders: How did the Enquirer get their hands on such an incendiary top secret report? Simple. They commissioned it.
Might I suggest that it’s not a “secret report” if you’re the ones who order it, pay for it, and are the first to know its results? But it’s “royal insiders” who put the report together, according to the Enquirer’s opening sentence. Except the story makes it clear that no royal insider, let alone any member of the royal family, ever contributed to this report. It’s been compiled "at the Enquirer’s request” by the dubious Institute of BioAccoustic Biology in Ohio, which claims to diagnose patients by analyzing their voice.
That’s right: Duchess Meghan suffers from “huge emotional conflicts, trauma and confusion,” according to a report by analysts who have never met with or spoken to her. But they have listened to recordings of her talking, and they have a “computer algorithm to diagnose health issues and psychological characteristics.” It couldn’t be more high-tech if the Institute shot out laser beams and read her brainwaves – which is why we should all be wearing tin foil hats. Read the rest
Is the National Enquirer running scared? There’s not a mention of either Amazon chief Jeff Bezos or president Donald Trump in this week’s edition. Could it be that the threat of investigation and possible prison time for hacks accused of extortion and blackmail against Bezos and burying sex scandals about Trump have finally silenced the nattering nabobs of negativism? Bezos and The Donald escape lightly this week, but others aren’t so lucky.
Prince Charles “Disowns Harry!” proclaims the Globe cover. Prince Harry reportedly refused Charles’ demand that he divorce wife Meghan, and in the ensuing row Charles raged that DNA tests have proven he’s not Harry’s father. Which would explain why Charles allegedly said: “You’re a common-born bastard.” Aren’t we all? The odds that this conversation actually happened? Infinitesimally small. The odds that the Globe has a source inside Kensington Palace revealing this private conversation? Even smaller.
The Globe claims that serial killer Ted Bundy’s daughter has been "found hiding in Britain" under an assumed name. No, it’s not “Meghan Markle.” And the woman their reporter approached said: “I’m sorry, I’m not the person you’re looking for.” Sounds like an admission of guilt if there ever was one.
“Scientology Leader’s Missing Wife Found After 13 Years!” declares the Enquirer cover, though the headline above the inside spread is far less confident, asking: “Is This Shelly Miscavige?” It’s definitely a photograph of a dark-haired woman, reportedly seen disembarking a Scientology cruise ship and heading to Florida, which as we all know is a state where Scientologists have been known to live. Read the rest