It’s the summer silly season, and this week’s dubious tabloids are more fact-free than ever.
“Drew Peterson’s Wife’s Body Found!” screams the cover of the National Enquirer.
No, it wasn’t. A sonar scan has supposedly spotted a body-shaped object in an Illinois canal. After 11 years, “killer cop” Peterson’s missing wife Stacy’s corpse would most likely have suffered extensive decomposition. It could be anyone who recently fell into the canal, but is more likely an abandoned store mannequin, which is why authorities haven’t dredged it up yet.
Jennifer Aniston is having secret “sleepovers” with estranged husband Justin Theroux, claims the Enquirer, noting several of his cars parked in her garage. How does that work? Every time Theroux comes over for some break-up sex he brings three cars with him? Or could it be he’s just parking them at her home because she has the garage space?
"Natalie Wood Death Yacht Ransacked,” reports the Enquirer, citing “multiple sources” who claim that Robert Wagner “is behind it,” deliberately “destroying critical evidence.” That only makes sense if Wagner believes that the boat's lanterns, a ladder and bilge pump somehow miraculously hold incriminating evidence 36 years after Wood’s death on the yacht she was aboard before her drowning death in 1981. Or could it perhaps just be vandals and thieves stripping the old yacht Splendour?
And when the Enquirer reports that Justin Bieber is planning an all-nude wedding to his fiancé, well, it feels as if they’ve just decided the weather’s too good to be stuck in the office and are making it up so they can flee their desks and rush out to the beach. Read the rest
YouTube just unveiled a plan to combat phony conspiracy videos intended to manipulate or defraud viewers. Read the rest
Let’s give credit where it’s due: The National Enquirer “world exclusive” has scooped everyone with its latest cover story: “ISIS Kill Plot Foiled! Sniper Caught Stalking Prince George!”
They even have the astonishing photograph of the sniper leaning out of a window overlooking Prince William walking his princely son to school, as the story reveals: “This chilling image shows the heart-stopping moment that little Prince George cheated death!” The man in the window “appears to be holding a rifle and looking down at the two royals,” the Enquirer breathlessly reports on its cover, captioning its photo: “Under the gun!”
The true measure of the Enquirer scoop is revealed, however, in video footage that was filmed of Prince George’s first day at school, when the “gunman” can clearly be seen in the window holding not a gun, but either a camera or a smartphone, quite clearly photographing the arrival like any other paparazzi. Footage shows the “sniper” holding the camera up for several seconds, before bringing it down to rest on the windowsill, perhaps for a steadier image if shooting video. Not a gun in sight, and - surprise, surprise! - no arrests. So how was this camera-toting “gunman” part of an “ISIS kill plot?” Like wild horses over the hills, the Enquirer editorial imaginations run amok.
We’re treated to a double-helping of fact-free exclusives as this week’s tabloids give us not one, but two weeks’ worth of reality-challenged stories. The tabloids must be taking their annual vacation, because this week’s newsstands are heaving with two completely separate issues of the National Enquirer, Globe, Us, Star, Life & Style and Closer magazines, dated July 9 and July 12 respectively, with their typical disregard for the Gregorian calendar’s actual passage. Read the rest
There’s only one problem with the National Enquirer's photograph of the convicted pedophile who allegedly kidnapped British three-year-old Madeleine McCann, snapped in Bulgaria on June 15, 2018, according to the magazine’s cover under the screaming headline: “SOLVED!”
It’s a small, but niggling issue: the pedophile considered by Scotland Yard a “person of interest” in the toddler’s disappearance in Portugal 11 years ago has been dead for more than a year. The blurry photo of a man in sunglasses, baseball cap and smoking a cigarette could be anyone, but the Enquirer gleefully adds the front page caption: “This man kidnapped little girl & sold her into slavery!”
This story is also woefully old – Scotland Yard announced they were seeking a “person of interest” more than 14 months ago, and when detectives later visited Bulgaria in November 2017, a source said of the convicted pedophile and his wife, who had been in the Algarve region at the time of the kidnapping: “There is no evidence they were involved, but it would be good to eliminate them from the investigation.”
“She’s still alive” adds another cover headline about the missing child, based on zero evidence. It’s just one among a slew of outrageous fake news stories this week.
Tom Cruise’s “sick $8 million plot to win back” ex-wife Katie Holmes is exposed by the Enquirer. What’s his fiendish plan? His favored Church of Scientology is allegedly planning to build an $8 million facility in Detroit, Michigan, “less than an hour’s drive” from her parents' home, “where she often visits.” Let’s ignore for a moment the fact that Holmes has a home in Los Angeles, just minutes drive from the Church of Scientology’s Celebrity Center. Read the rest
[Update 6/18/2018 10:52am PT - Drudge replace this photo for another without explanation]
Look at these Central American kids brandishing handguns on the front page of Drudge Report. Thank goodness Trump and Sessions are caging these menaces to America!
The only thing is, the photo was taken in 2012, the guns are toys, and the photo was taken in Syria. These are inconsequential trivialities for Drudge's lie-loving readers, though.
On his Flickr site, photographer Christiaan Triebert says:
Four young Syrian boys with toy guns are posing in front of my camera during my visit to Azaz, Syria. Most people I met were giving the peace sign. This little city was taken by the Free Syrian Army in the summer of 2012 during the Battle of Azaz.
(Thanks, Gina!) Read the rest
On June 20, the EU's legislative committee will vote on the new Copyright directive, and decide whether it will include the controversial "Article 13" (automated censorship of anything an algorithm identifies as a copyright violation) and "Article 11" (no linking to news stories without paid permission from the site).
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Flying boldly in the face of reality takes a mix of bravura and sociopathy, but this week’s tabloids manage the feat with élan.
#MeToo activist and Anthony Bordain’s long-time girlfriend Asia Argento is photographed in Rome with a “much-younger man” with “no Bordain in sight,” and the National Enquirer headline asks: “Where’s Anthony?!” Sadly, committing suicide in France, where everyone but the Enquirer knew he was filming a new TV series. He took his own life last Friday, four days before the Enquirer went to bed, meaning that they chose to run the story rather than re-make the page. Classy.
Prince William “Gives Up Throne!” claims the Globe cover, allegedly to “protect Kate and kids from terrorists.” But the Globe ignores two key facts: 1) His father Prince Charles is next in the line of succession after the Queen’s death, and 2) If William did relinquish his claim to the throne, his rights of succession would go directly to eldest son George, putting the toddler directly in the firing line. How would that be protecting his kids?
It’s errant nonsense, as is the Enquirer report that Tom Cruise’s “miracle” touch as a “high-ranking Operating Thetan VI member of Scientology” has cured Val Kilmer’s throat cancer. Setting aside the question of whether the Top Gun star has been imbued by Scientology with healing powers, Kilmer is a faithful follower of Christian Science, and unlikely to let Cruise intervene in health matters that are in the hands of whatever god he believes in. Read the rest
It’s extraordinary! Exclamation points are flying in this week’s tabloids like they’re going out of style!
Ellen Storms Out! RFK Junior Confronts Dad’s Killer! Taliban Targets Harry & Meghan! Harry’s Secret $90G Hair Transplant! Prince Was A Secret Porn Star! Eminem Turns Back on Dying Dad! It’s exhausting! And that’s just the National Enquirer!
Hillary Can’t Walk Without A Back Brace! screams the Globe. Goldie Leaves Kurt For New Man! My Dad Ryan O’Neal Made Me A Junkie! Meghan’s Plastic Surgery Exposed! Roseanne’s Career Suicide! Eating Fish Won’t Cause Autism! (Who thought it would?)
The celebrity mags can’t help but get in on the act. “Planning For Baby!” shouts the cover of Us mag, wildly speculating about the newlywed Royals. "Roseanne Put Us Through Hell!” tell the axed sit-com’s cast and crew. And there are photographs galore (Hot Pics!) of celebrities: Justin’s Getaway! Zach’s Snack Attack! Keeping Up With Trump! Soaking Up Some Sun! In True Gaga Fashion!
Of course, the stars are just like us: They catch up on reading! They tote luggage! They take selfies! They go for a run! Their love of exclamation points is nothing short of extraordinary!
Is People magazine above the fray? Of course not! Meghan and the Queen! Back Together! New Couple! Angelina Returns to Work – with the Kids! TV foodie Ree Drummond tells “How I Made My Dreams Come True!” Brody Jenner and bride Kaitlynn share their “Wedding in Paradise!” Even their cooking tips are exclamation-worthy: “20 Vegan Add-In Ideas!”
Like the boy who cried wolf, this continual shower of exclamation points dulls readers to the possibility that an occasional story might genuinely be extraordinary. Read the rest
George Osborne was David Cameron's Chancellor of the Exchequer, the architect of UK austerity; he was fired by Theresa May when she became Prime Minister and he did not run for re-election in the disastrous election of 2017, instead taking a job as editor-in-chief of the Evening Standard.
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It’s strangely reassuring when the National Examiner tells us that Princess Diana’s ghost was “caught at Harry’s wedding,” and that Nostradamus predicted that the "Hawaii volcanoes signal END OF WORLD!” It’s comforting, because it’s so easy to dismiss the obtuse ramblings of a 16th century seer and a white reflection of light on a wedding photo as errant nonsense unworthy of a second thought. It’s harder to parse the rest of this week’s fact-challenged dubious tabloid offerings, which purport to be truthful while being so very far from it.
“Meghan & Harry Having Twins!” screams the National Enquirer cover story, with a photo of the newly-anointed Duchess of Sussex with a “baby bump” helpfully circled with a giant yellow arrow pointing at her bulging belly. Is it churlish of me to point out that, after a little research, I find that this photo was taken in 2014? Before she met Prince Harry. If, after four years of pregnancy, she is still barely showing, that’s an impressive testament to her dieting will-power and the fortitude of her uterus.
To be fair, the story inside the Enquirer employs a photo of Meghan taken days after her May 19 wedding where her “baby bump” reportedly makes an “early appearance.” Did the 29 million Americans and 18 million Britons who watched the Royal wedding on TV all miss this self-evident pregnancy? Of course not. It’s just the way a dress can hang sometimes when Meghan arcs her back. Yet inspired by the four-year-old “pregnancy” photo, the Enquirer team of psychic reporters concludes that Meghan is having the “first Royal twins in 588 years!” Which makes you wonder why Nostradamus didn’t see this coming. Read the rest
It’s hard to believe that President Donald Trump didn’t personally edit the supermarket tabloids this week.
They ignore facts, present opinions as reality, leap to improbable conclusions, and claim to be doing it all first and best – just like a certain occupant of the Oval Office. Trump and the tabloids, entwined in dewy-eyed mutual admiration – the rags insist he is making America great again; he has said they deserve a Pulitzer prize – are a marriage of minds, as this week’s fact-challenged, reality-flouting, self-serving stories demonstrate.
Let’s begin with the National Enquirer cover story under the screaming headline in giant print: “Hoda Fired!” referring to NBC’s Today show anchor Hoda Kotb, reportedly axed as audience ratings fall. Except you may have seen her on the Today show this morning, because she hasn’t been fired. The cover is a lie, as the story inside retreats to merely say: “Hoda’s "Todays" Are Numbered!” Aren’t everyone’s?
The Enquirer throws logic out the window with another flight of fancy: “Revealed! The radical plan to rehire Matt Lauer!” Sure, the news anchor ousted in November amid sex harassment allegations is returning, just as the #MeToo movement gathers steam? Let’s see.
“Flight 370 Wreckage Found!” yells another Enquirer cover headline. No, the missing Malaysia Airlines flight has not been found after four years. Wing fragments were discovered off the coast of Africa more than 18 months ago, but the plane remains missing.
That doesn’t stop the Enquirer from claiming: “It was Murder!” blaming “deranged and depressed” pilot Capt. Read the rest
The tabloids’ loose relationship with facts grows even more tenuous this week, and sometimes even their fake news is phony.
Prince Harry’s marriage to Meghan Markle “Won’t Last 5 Years!” claims “Prince’s Own Aunt” on the cover of the Globe. Except that the “prince’s aunt,” Ann Ukrainetz, is actually a 74-year-old from Escondido, California, who 18 years ago claimed to have found a note from her mother scribbled in the margin of a dusty theatre playbill claiming that Princess Diana’s grandfather, Lord Fermoy, was her real father. It’s hardly DNA evidence, and almost two decades later it’s still just an unsubstantiated claim, but the Globe is happy for Ukrainetz to pontificate.
Yet she actually never says that the Royal marriage “won’t last 5 years.” “Harry & Meghan’s Marriage is D.O.A.!” screams the headline across two pages, but the worst that Ukrainetz can conjure up is that Markle may face Royal “backstabbing” and “issues of race and prejudice.”
Even more dubious is the National Enquirer “world exclusive,” claiming that “Prince Charles drops wedding bombshell – I’m Not Your Real Father, Harry!” It’s a rehash of old discredited allegations that Harry is the love child of his Royal mentor Mark Dyer, but the idea that on the eve of Harry's wedding Charles told him: “I am not your father!” is as risible as the idea that the Enquirer has a “Buckingham Palace insider” who could have a) eavesdropped on such a private conversation and b) would tell the Enquirer while the massed army of the Fleet Street Royal press corps remain unaware. Read the rest
The tabloids can be rattlesnakes – provoke them at your peril.
Newly-minted Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Ronan Farrow finds that out this week to his chagrin, as the National Enquirer exposes his alleged “Sex-and-Drugs Shocker!” As this column exclusively revealed two weeks ago, Farrow is secretly investigating America’s supermarket tabloids with a view to exposing “how the sausage is made,” according to a source. In April the Enquirer branded Farrow a “hypocrite” for purportedly “covering for his pervert uncle,” a story I described as “a warning shot across his bow.”
This week the Enquirer comes at Farrow with all cannons blazing. Only last month Farrow came out as gay – a public admission quite possibly driven by the knowledge that the Enquirer was about to out him – and now the magazine claims to have obtained “a chain of intimate text messages” which allegedly reveal that “Ronan got down and dirty with a Brazilian male model – admitting to using cocaine and describing his passion for having sex while high on pot and poppers!”
The rag again brands Farrow “a huge hypocrite,” this time for allegedly “using his position of power and influence to promise a second Brazilian hunk professional favors . . . an echo of the charges he made against slimeball [Harvey] Weinstein in his groundbreaking reporting!”
Setting aside the fact that Farrow’s sexuality is his own business, that he is entitled to hook up with whomsoever he pleases, and that his cocaine confession (if true) is that he tried it only twice “and hated it both times,” the allegation that he offered to help further a potential lover’s writing career by making introductions is far from the same as Weinstein raping and assaulting women and threatening to end their career if they refused to acquiesce. Read the rest
Our hero, YouTube parodist and future Tony award-winner Randy Rainbow, has a new video that tears on former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani and Trump (the "Beast")... in song! Brilliant. Read the rest
There are lies, damn lies, and tabloid exclusives.
“FOUND!” screams the cover of this week’s National Enquirer, claiming a “bombshell” scoop about Prince Harry’s bride-to-be, American actress Meghan Markle.
“Man-Eater Meghan’s Secret First Hubby!” the front page raves. “The hush-hush annulment! How she hid past from husband No.2! Poor Harry will be Husband No.3!”
There’s nothing unequivocal about these headlines, nothing suggesting the least bit of doubt, especially with the heavily pixilated photo of the newly discovered ex-husband, with the promise: “His story inside!” You have to plough through almost two pages of hyper-ventilating excitement before you reach the tell-tale sentence near the article’s end: “ . . . if the explosive claim of Meghan’s hidden husband is proved to be true . . .” Wait, what?
The Enquirer claims to have found Markle’s previously unknown first husband, and then admits the story might not be true? So what does Markle’s supposed ex-husband say? “When approached for comment at his home on the East Coast, he became agitated at the prospect of being exposed.” Just the reaction you’d expect from someone who has never met Markle and wonders why he’s been ambushed by a tabloid reporter.
“He later denied the relationship.” Well, he would, wouldn’t he?
The Enquirer has never shied away from identifying subjects in tabloid scandals, and would not hesitate to publish a photograph of the alleged ex-husband – if he existed. Everything in this story points to the Enquirer taking a random internet rumor and running with it, and using a barely-plausible subject's denial as evidence of the ex-husband’s existence. Read the rest
Not all is as it seems in this week’s dubious tabloids, as ulterior motives and hidden agendas mark a couple of the more notable stories.
Why does the National Enquirer attack recent Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Ronan Farrow as a “hypocrite” allegedly “covering for pervert uncle”? Farrow’s uncle John – actress Mia Farrow’s brother – was reportedly jailed for 25 years in 2013 for sex abuse, but the Enquirer makes journalist Ronan its target by claiming “he’s remained silent about his uncle.”
Apart from the fact that this is not the sort of family news anyone would shout from the rooftops, why would the Enquirer choose to attack an otherwise respected journalist?
It’s a pre-emptive strike because Farrow is considering making the supermarket tabloids his next target, exposing the nefarious methods they use to dig their dirt. It’s a warning shot over his bow, and doubtless not the last.
“Trump Fixer’s Secrets & Lies” is the Enquirer cover story, inside promising “Trump Fixer Tells All!” But the president’s personal attorney Michael Cohen doesn’t “tell all,” in fact he doesn’t tell anything to the Enquirer. It’s yet another politically-motivated Trump-fawning feature painting Cohen as the villain and Trump as an innocent bystander, in anticipation of the president cutting all ties with his former mouthpiece.
“Some are questioning Cohen’s role,” the Enquirer reports, “alleging blackmail, threats, hush-money payoffs – and even collusion with Russia!” The only thing the story lacks is a slug at the bottom proclaiming: “Donald Trump Endorses This Message."
“What Comey Didn’t Reveal In His Book!” screams a headline on the cover of the Enquirer, promising fresh revelations about the former FBI chief. Read the rest