Brad Pitt tells all, Prince Charles divorces, and JonBenet Ramsey’s murder solved, in this week’s fact-challenged tabloids

It would be an exaggeration to say that every story in this week’s tawdry tabloids is a fabrication. It just feels that way. And "exaggeration" would be the polite way to describe many of this week’s tabloid offerings.

Murdered infant pageant queen JonBenet Ramsey’s brother “Burke Solves JonBenet Case!” screams the National Enquirer cover. No, he doesn’t. He simply says, for the umpteenth time, that it wasn’t him.

“Camilla Divorces Charles on his 70th Birthday!” proclaims the Globe front page. No, she hasn’t. Charles’ wife reportedly screamed that she will “never forgive” the Royal heir for “throwing her in psycho ward.” Since she was never put in a psych ward in the first place, perhaps her inability to forgive is understandable.

Brad Pitt’s “Divorce Tell-All!” under the front page headline “Exclusive Interview” might be more plausible if they even pretended to have spoken with Pitt. Can you have a “tell-all” when you don’t speak to the man in question? Instead, the Enquirer claims to have interviewed a “family friend” who offers unsubstantiated speculation that Pitt would have been happier staying with first wife Jennifer Aniston because she was “normal” and “cute.” Normal like any other actress earning $1 million a week when they wed? Can’t argue with that.

The Globe adds to Pitt’s pity party by reporting: “Brad Dumps Jen Again!” Only one minor quibble: Pitt and Aniston have not been dating again, so dumping her again is just a tabloid dream.

Royal mom-to-be Meghan Markle AKA the Duchess of Sussex dominates the covers of both People and Us magazines, with predictably gushing over-excitement at her pregnancy announcement. Read the rest

Royal feud, Cosby’s hell, Aniston trapped, and alternate universes, in this week’s dubious tabloids

There is no better proof of superstring theory positing up to 26 dimensions than this week’s tabloids, in which the headlines and the stories beneath them clearly live in entirely different universes. The British Royals fall headlong into this space-time discontinuum, led by Britain’s Prince Harry in the National Enquirer under the headline: "Harry Trapped in Hooker & Drug Scandal!”

How exactly is Harry trapped with drugs and prostitutes? He isn’t, at least not in any dimension known to humanity. His father-in-law, Thomas Markle Sr, aged 74, reportedly tells the Enquirer that in the 1970s and ‘80s he occasionally sampled cocaine – an admission he first made months ago – and that while in the Philippines, “I never paid for sex.” No mention of prostitutes, and no “hooker scandal.”

How do Markle’s drug admission and hooker denial “trap” Harry? The Enquirer claims that Markle’s “repugnant antics could end his gorgeous daughter’s fairytale marriage to Prince Harry!” That’s the sort of stretch you expect to see when being pulled apart at a molecular level after passing a singularity and falling into a black hole, which may well be where this week’s tabloids belong.

“Royal Blood Feud Explodes!” claims the Globe, with its cover headline: “Royals at War! Kate & Meghan’s Vicious Catfight With Fergie’s Girls!” Have the Royal women been pulling each others' hair and scratching their eyes out? Far worse, according to the Globe.

Princess Eugenie (Prince Andrew’s daughter by ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, for those who don’t religiously follow every episode of the Royal soap opera) invited more guests to her wedding on October 12 than Meghan Markle did at the same venue – supposedly an insult designed to “upstage” Duchess Meghan. Read the rest

Alien attack imminent, Buckingham Palace is a drug den, and the Queen is a criminal mastermind, in this week’s fact-challenged tabloids.

You know we’re in for a fun week with the tabloids when the National Enquirer cover on “America’s Worst Sex Abuse Churches,” along with its handy guide – “Is Your Priest a Pervert?” – is topped by the banner: “Flip Over The Cover For 5 More Exclusives!” You turn the page with eager anticipation, and find . . . an ad for a walk-in bathtub. Perhaps the deception is designed to make you feel dirty, boosting sales for the tub?

It’s a bait-and-switch tactic that seems to embody this week’s tabloid offerings.

“Dying Perv Cosby Begs for New Kidney!” proclaims an Enquirer story about newly incarcerated sex offender Bill Cosby. Wouldn’t you think his defense attorneys might have mentioned this at his sentencing? Especially since his daughter Ensa died at 44 from renal disease in February. An unnamed source claims that Cosby refuses to have kidney transplant surgery at the hospital because “he’s convinced the hospital staff will sedate him, steal his organs and then sell them to settle up his unpaid legal bills.” Right. Because transplant surgeons are begging for organs from 81-year-old donors, and routinely offer their services to lawyers to recover debts.

The British Royal Family continues to be an easy tabloid target, famed for its reluctance to sue for libel. "Queen Destroys Diana Murder Evidence – To Prevent Charles’ Arrest,” reports the National Examiner. That explains everything! Criminal mastermind Elizabeth “concocted a massive cover-up” after “conniving love rat” Charles “confessed to masterminding the murder of his ex-wife.” "She ordered MI6 agents to impound Diana’s death car, destroy damning tissue samples and do everything to hide the truth.” Right. Read the rest

Why the Queen is up in Meghan’s uterus, and how to tell you’ll be dead in 23 hours, in this week’s dubious tabloids

With the tabloids freed from their role as an agitprop mouthpiece for President Trump, they have gleefully returned to their long-time mission of fantasizing about Britain’s biggest soap opera stars: The Royal Family.

“Camilla Locked in Psycho Ward!” screams the Globe cover, reporting that Prince Charles’ wife physically attacked his sister Princess Anne at a recent family gathering, concluding: “Camilla’s Off Her Rocker!”

“Camilla is now in therapy and was released after a 72-hour hold,” an unnamed “royal courtier” allegedly told the Globe. It’s yet another world exclusive that failed to be reported by the entire Royal press corps – a group not known for its restraint or compassion. But why would Camilla be placed under a 72-hour psychiatric hold – a 5150 – when that is an American medical response? A “royal courtier” should know that in Britain patients are “sectioned” for up to 28 days, while a 72-hour psychiatric evaluation – s.5(2) in the UK - is only applied to patients already being treated in a medical ward, which Camilla clearly was not.

“Queen Puts Meghan Through Sex Test!” yells a National Enquirer headline. No, Her Majesty hasn’t reclaimed the ancient "droit de seigneur," the Medieval “right” of a feudal Lord to sleep first with any vassal's new bride – a practice more common in Europe than England. Rather, the Enquirer claims that the Queen demanded that Prince Harry’s bride undergo an ob-gyn test “to guarantee Royal babies.” This comes months after the Enquirer reported that Meghan underwent pre-wedding fertility screening – with no mention of the Queen’s involvement in her uterus. Read the rest

Hollywood’s Most Hated Man, The Queen’s Assassins, and Meg Ryan Walks AND Talks, in this week’s dubious tabloids

It must be Opposite Week in the tabloids.

“JonBenet Ransom Note Reveals Killer!” screams the National Enquirer cover. No, it doesn’t.

“Rachel Ray: I Quit” proclaims another Enquirer headline. No, she hasn't.

“Queen Bans Meghan From Dad’s Funeral,” “Starsky & Hutch Deathbed Reunion,” “Mickey Mouse Sex Clubs!” No, no, and no.

“Queen Survives Assassin Attack!” yells the Globe cover. Never happened.

“Tom Cruise: Most Hated Man in Hollywood,” runs a two-page character assassination in the Globe.

Not as long as his films continue earning hundreds of millions, and as long as Harvey Weinstein is around.

These stories fly in the face of facts with the bravado normally only associated with White House press briefings. JonBenet Ramsey’s ransom note left by her alleged killer reveals a “hidden code and secret message”? Scientifically dubious analysis of the ink flow and pen pressure in the note no more indicate who the killer was than they disclose a coded message. And one wonders why the Enquirer believes this a “breakthrough” when it has spent the past year telling readers that “now-deceased psycho drifter Glenn Meyer” was the infant pageant queen’s killer.

Has TV chef Rachel Ray quit? You be the judge: her show is still on the air.

Did Queen Elizabeth II ban grand-daughter-in-law Meghan Markle from her father Thomas’s funeral? That seems a tad premature, since the 74-year-old is still alive and kicking. He’s "morbidly obese,” slams the Enquirer, ignoring Thomas Markle’s 40-pound weight loss since his heart surgery in May. Read the rest

Not in our name: Why European creators must oppose the EU's proposal to limit linking and censor the internet

The European Copyright Directive vote is in three days and it will be a doozy: what was once a largely uncontroversial grab bag of fixes to copyright is now a political firestorm, thanks to the actions of Axel Voss, the German MEP who changed the Directive at the last minute, sneaking in two widely rejected proposals on the same day the GDPR came into effect, forming a perfect distraction (you can contact your MEP about these at Save Your Internet). Read the rest

Tabloids turn on Trump, Brad and Jen reunite, and Natalie Wood’s death mystery solved, in this week’s dubious tabloids

The tabloid worm has turned. After three years of deifying Donald Trump and lauding his every utterance, there is no clearer indication of the tabloids turning against Trump than the Globe magazine’s cover tribute to “American hero” John McCain.

Trump famously said in 2015 that the Arizona senator was “not a war hero,” and the Globe dutifully obliged with the headline: “Trump Is Right: McCain is NOT a War Hero.” They followed up with the story of a dying McCain “sending tender goodbyes to his secret love” actress Connie Stevens.

But since Globe and National Enquirer chief David Pecker’s recent agreement to cooperate with federal prosecutors in the Trump investigation, the tabloids are no longer slavishly following the ranter-in-chief’s party line.

“John McCain FAREWELL!” screams the Globe cover, touting “his inspiring final words” (“Always believe in the promise and greatness of America”) and his “surprising last regret” (“He lost his bid to become president” – hardly a surprising regret, you’d think).

It’s a clear slap in the face to the president, and possibly a harbinger of things to come from the tabloids that are believed to have a secret trove of damaging Trump stories locked away in their vaults. Free from cult-like devotion to Trump’s warped world vision, the tabloids are returning to their own warped version of reality.

And what could be more important than the loving reunion of former husband and wife Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, both finally free of their subsequent spouses? “Brad & Jen’s Romantic Italian Dinner Date!” screams the Enquirer headline over an “Enquirer Exclusive” photo of the couple sharing a cozy dinner: Pitt in a black peaked cap, Aniston in large sunglasses. Read the rest

This week’s tabloids: They’re not lies. They’re just Trumpian thinking

This week’s tabloids offer a fascinating glimpse inside the mind of their greatest fan: Donald Trump. The president, who has gone on the record saying that the National Enquirer deserves a Pulitzer Prize, and who is bffs with tabloid publisher David Pecker, can politely be said to view events in a different way than the rest of the world perceives them. So it’s instructive to see this week’s tabloids offer a view of events that offer a unique perspective that some might say, in the manner of Donald Trump, bears little relation to reality as the rest of us understand it.

“Tom Gets Suri!” screams the cover of the National Enquirer, suggesting that Tom Cruise has won a battle with ex-wife Katie Holmes for custody of their daughter. But nothing has changed in their custody agreement. Cruise was long ago awarded ten days a month with his daughter. He simply hasn’t taken advantage of using all ten days monthly in the past. Now he’s seeking to have his daughter for the agreed ten days monthly, it’s no shock to anyone (except perhaps to Suri), and Cruise no more “Gets Suri” than before.

Hollywood legend Robert Wagner “Loots Natalie’s Grave!” claims another Enquirer cover headline about the actor’s late wife Natalie Wood. “Wagner Vandalizes Natalie’s Grave” yells the headline above the story. The story is true, if by “Vandalizes Natalie’s Grave” you mean Wagner has asked the cemetery to remove decomposing flowers left by fans after a day on her grave. Read the rest

Facebook news chief to media: ‘Work with Facebook or die’

The Australian reports that Facebook media relations chief Campbell Brown privately disclosed that Mark Zuckerberg is indifferent to publishers and offers the news media a simple choice: "Work with Facebook or die."

A senior Facebook executive has privately admitted Mark Zuckerberg “doesn’t care” about publishers and warned that if they did not work with the social media giant, “I’ll be holding your hands with your dying business like in a ­hospice”.

That's a strange thought, isn't it? Right down to how an attempt at intimidation is undermined its own awkward spitefulness.

Still, she (invoking he), is effectively threatening to destroy news publishers unless they comply with Facebook's vision for their future. So everyone has work to do.

Brown was hired last year after to help Facebook "smooth over its strained ties to the news media."

But Facebook executives said they were hiring Ms. Brown for her understanding of the news industry as a onetime White House correspondent, co-anchor of “Weekend Today” and primary substitute anchor of “Nightly News” at NBC News, and prime-time anchor on CNN, which she left in 2010.

Some commentators noted Ms. Brown’s ties to the Republican donor Betsy DeVos, Mr. Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Education. Ms. DeVos’s family foundation funds The 74, an education-focused journalism site co-founded and led by Ms. Brown.

Hiring a DeVos crony to deal with fake news and media relations quickly became the Facebook Executives Puzzled By Human Emotion trainwreck it promised to be: Brown was last in the news threatening to sue The Guardian for breaking the Cambridge Analytica story. Read the rest

Queen collapses, Stacy Peterson’s body found, Jennifer Aniston’s post-divorce hook-ups, and other news that never happened, in this week’s fact-challenged tabloids.

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 plans to spend $25 million fighting 'fake news.' Here's how.

YouTube just unveiled a plan to combat phony conspiracy videos intended to manipulate or defraud viewers. Read the rest

JFK Jr. murdered, Princess Diana murdered, and Prince George targeted by assassin, in this week’s killer tabloids

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

Kidnapping solved, Tom Cruise’s love plot, and inside Area 51 – in this week’s fact-challenged tabloids

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

Drudge Report uses 2012 photo taken in Syria for story about US-Mexico border

[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

In two days, an EU committee will vote to crown Google and Facebook permanent lords of internet censorship

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). Read the rest

Tom Cruise’s healing touch, Nazi Roseanne, and Vanna White’s hooker scandal, in this week’s dubious tabloids

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

This week’s tabloids! With extra exclamation points!!

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

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