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
You can’t argue with the facts, and the fact is, this week’s tabloids don’t have many of them.
“Wacko Jacko Flunks Pedophile Lie Test!” reports the National Enquirer. No, there isn’t such a thing as a pedophile lie test. The Enquirer obtained video of Jacko’s deposition in a 1996 child molestation inquiry, and had a “lie detection expert” analyze the singer’s voice stress. “He’s just spouting lies,” concludes the analyst. Science at its best.
“Proof Wacko Jacko Was Twisted Perv!” proclaims the Globe, which coincidentally also obtained video of Jacko’s 1996 deposition, and had a “renowned body language expert” analyze the singer’s movements. “His high, false laughter is a cover for lying,” declares the analyst. You gotta love science.
"William & Kate Named King & Queen!” screams the Enquirer cover, declaring: “Queen Gives Up Throne." No, she hasn’t. The Act of Settlement of 1701 makes the monarch’s successor the next Protestant in line to the throne, no matter what the Queen declares or who she names as her heir to the crown. Prince Charles could choose to abdicate once his mother dies, but the Queen can’t declare William king without an act of Parliament to change existing succession laws.
It’s always interesting to get the intelligent American perspective on the British Royal Family, and the National Examiner provides that with its exclusive report on Prince Charles’ wife: “Craggy Camilla’s $100,000 facelift!” It’s an exclusive because the massed ranks of the British Royal press corps somehow failed to notice that Camilla had a full facelift, liposuction, and her teeth capped. Read the rest
The world’s longest-running soap opera, otherwise known as the British Royal Family, takes some shocking plot twists in this week’s dramatic though fact-challenged tabloids.
“Drunken Camilla’s Brawl With Queen!” screams the Globe, complete with a photo of Her Majesty with a “bloody eye wound.” “Raging Camilla” attacked the Queen, “threw a glass of red wine in her face and ripped a treasured pearl necklace from Her Majesty’s throat” before Prince Charles dragged her off, the rag reports. “Crazy drunk Camilla snaps as insults fly,” claims the tabloid, which has a storied history of quoting verbatim from private conversations among the Royals, thanks to a series of well-hidden listening devices – or possibly an over-active editorial imagination. When they make the TV movie the Queen will doubtless played by Joan Collins, and Camilla by Linda Evans. Expect a cat-fight in the Royal lily pond.
Is it unsporting to note that the photo of the bloodied monarch at Scotland’s Balmoral Castle was actually taken on November 2, 2016, at the launch of Prince Andrew’s Pitch@Palace Event in London? Surely only a cad would point out that the Queen’s photo has been flipped, and the burst blood vessel in her left eye seen in the Globe was actually in her right eye two years ago? I wouldn’t stoop so low.
Prince Harry’s months-old marriage to Meghan Markle dominates the National Enquirer under the headline: “Harry Confesses to William: ‘It’s Hell at Home! . . . This was the biggest mistake of my life!’” A “distraught” Harry “begged his big brother, Prince William, for advice.” My advice: Stop reading the tabloids. Read the rest
Reality packed its bags, cancelled the mail, put its dog in a kennel and boarded a plane to take a long flight as far away as possible from this week’s tabloids.
Former FBI chief "Hoover Ordered Kennedys & MLK Murdered!” screams the National Enquirer front page, promising “Explosive PROOF That Will Change History.” Don’t rewrite the history books yet. Their “proof” is a memo from FBI archives in which J. Edgar Hoover wrote of his dislike for civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. Hardly a smoking gun, and about as new as the Gutenberg Bible. Why doesn’t the Enquirer answer the really hard question: Did Hoover kill JFK, RFK and MLK because he hated acronyms?
“Prince Philip, 97, DIED & Came Back to Life!” in his recent car crash, proclaims the Globe cover. The Queen’s consort allegedly died before the accident, and the impact restarted his heart. The Globe presumably knows this because the tabloid has the Prince wired to an EKG at all times, transmitting real-time info to its reporting team, trained cardiologists every one of them. That would explain why Prince Philip was taken to the hospital and released the same day, because that’s standard medical procedure for someone who just died and was brought back to life.
"Robert Wagner blocks bid to exhume Natalie!” reports the Enquirer. It’s hardly shocking that Hollywood veteran Wagner might not want wife Natalie Wood's remains disturbed, but he doesn’t have a say in the matter – Wood’s exhumation could be ordered by the Los Angeles County Coroner, the LAPD or the Sheriff’s Department regardless of what Wagner thinks. Read the rest
There are trace elements of facts in many of this week’s tabloids stories, but that hasn’t stopped the rags’ alchemists from spinning gold out of these barely-detectable sub-atomic particles. Read the rest
If you roll up a copy of this week’s Globe tabloid into the shape of a seashell and hold it to your ear, you can hear the sound of President Trump screaming. Just because they’re packed with fact-challenged celebrity gossip doesn’t mean that the tabloids can’t give us insight into American politics. President Trump has long used the National Enquirer and Globe as mouthpieces for his thoughts, and this week it appears that trend continues.
Just because Globe and National Enquirer chief David Pecker has been granted immunity by Robert Mueller’s investigation into former Trump attorney Michael Cohen in exchange for spilling the beans about covering up scandals it uncovered on the president, that apparently doesn’t mean the magazine has ceased in its slavish devotion to the man who believes that cold hamburgers are an appropriate breakfast (or lunch) of champions. Which is why it’s illuminating to see this week’s Globe effectively demonize conservative talk radio blowhard Rush Limbaugh for almost single-handedly helping to “shut down the government.”
Forget President Trump’s order to close down the government, the Democrats’ inability to find a compromise that doesn’t involve building a wall along the border with Mexico, and the Republicans’ refusal to stand up to Trump. As far as the Globe is concerned, it wants its readers to know that Limbaugh, dubbed on its front page the “Most Powerful Man in Politics” – is the one most responsible for the shutdown, thanks to his repeated radio attacks on immigrants.
“He demanded GOP legislators and the White House refuse to support any funding bill to keep federal agencies operating unless the legislation financed building the wall,” reports the Globe. Read the rest
It’s a fresh and shiny New Year filled with hope and possibilities, but the same ol’ exaggerations, fantasy and fact-challenged nonsense as ever proliferates in this week’s tawdry tabloids. And as ever, they dig deep into the past for "news" we’ve seen many times before.
“This Man Killed Diana in Paris Tunnel!” screams the National Enquirer cover story about the death of a Princess, naming Parisian limo driver-bodybuilder Le Van Thanh. But Thanh was identified as the driver of a Fiat Uno that possibly clipped Diana’s limousine at least as far back as 2007, has been photographed numerous times, and to this day being at the scene of the 1997 accident. So much for its “World Exclusive.”
“Burt Reynolds Murdered This Man – and got away with it!” proclaims the Globe cover, accusing the late Smokey and the Bandit star of battering to death business manager David Whiting in 1973. The coroner ruled the death a drug overdose, but tabloids speculated at the time that Reynolds may have killed Whiting in a love battle over British actress Sarah Miles. What’s new 45 years later? Only that Reynolds is now dead and can’t sue. So much for its “World Exclusive.”
You want up-to-the-minute news? “Julia Roberts has abandoned long-suffering hubby Danny Moder” and has “run straight into the arms of old friend George Clooney,” claims the Enquirer. For the TV-viewing millions who watched Julia Roberts cuddling, laughing and kissing with Danny Moder at Sunday’s Golden Globes Awards, we can only assume that it was actually George Clooney in disguise. Read the rest
A peer-reviewed study conducted by a trio of Princeton and NYU political scientists and published in Science Advances systematically examined the proliferation of fake news in the 2016 election cycle and found that, contrary to earlier reports, disinformation did not get shared very widely, and that most of it was right-wing, and that the people who shared disinformation of all political orientation were over 65.
Read the rest
Nope, ankle scarves are not the latest thing to come out of Italy or Germany or wherever. I was skeptical when I came across this Country Living article that declared them a "trend," as the image is clearly Photoshopped. So, I started digging. First I went to its source, an Italian website called Lercio. Then I clicked to Lercio's source, a German site called Der Postillon and that's when I knew my suspicions were true. Ankle scarves are fake news parading around on English sites as a real trend.
And that's when I came across this article on Lifehacker. Its author, Nick Douglas, breaks it down for us:
Read the rest
That’s because there is no ankle scarf trend. I’m not saying that there’s really only one person who once wore tiny scarves on their ankles. I’m saying that the photo comes from this joke article on the German satire site Der Postillon.
See, Der Postillon published a joke article that teens in Berlin are wearing scarves around their ankles, to stay warm while wearing fashionably short pants. Then the Italian satire site Lercio syndicated that article. Lercio isn’t pretending to be real any more than Der Postillon is; the front page includes stories about a hermit hiding inside his mailbox, and the pope fighting over parking spots for the Popemobile.
When a blogger for the American site BestProducts.com—not a satire site—picked up the ankle scarf story, she either failed to notice that it was satire, or decided that it would make a better story if she didn’t mention that part.
This week’s tabloids have climbed into their DeLorean, sped up to 88 mph, and raced back to the future to report on scandals that won’t actually happen until next week.
The British Royal Family doesn't gather at Sandringham Palace until Christmas Eve, yet days before this festive conclave, the Globe gleefully reports on a clash that almost kills the Queen on Christmas Day. “Queen, 92, Collapses – As Meghan Starts All-Out Family War!” screams the Globe cover.
A battle reportedly erupted as Britain’s most famous real-life soap stars sat down to watch British TV’s most beloved soap opera EastEnders – an unlikely Royal tradition beloved by the Queen – which is set to air on Christmas Day at 9:15 p.m. “It was a recipe for disaster,” reports the Globe, whose crack squad of psychic reporters have been working overtime looking into the future.
Meghan was so bored by the TV show (which, I’ll point out again, has not yet screened) that she began to walk out, when sister-in-law Kate whispered to her to remain. “Meghan went crazy!” reports the magazine, which redundantly tags its exclusive “Only in Globe!” She allegedly yelled: “Don’t tell me what to do!”
The Queen rose from her armchair to intervene in the “bitter catfight” when Her Majesty “suddenly collapsed, falling backwards, dizzy and pale," say unnamed sources who clearly possess very powerful crystal balls, as told to journalists with balls made of even stronger stuff. Says an insider: “It’s Meghan’s fault!”
How has the Globe psychic reporting squad seen so far into the future, with such accuracy that they can quote verbatim from the Royal argument set to take place in several days time? Read the rest