What’s old is new again in this week’s fact-challenged tabloids


“Natalie Wood Murder Bombshell” screams the cover of the ‘National Examiner,’ above the headline “Robert Wagner Suicide Drama – As Cops Close In!”

Actor Wagner did indeed admit that he felt like ending it all after his wife’s death in 1981 – but that confession came more than 30 years ago, and he has repeated it in countless interviews, and in his memoirs. He’s not suicidal now, and police aren’t exactly closing in. But a decades-old story can look like new, if you assume your readers have forgotten it, which seems to have become a tabloid credo this week.

Angelina Jolie’s divorce from Brad Pitt gets the hope-you-don’t-remember-this treatment in the ‘National Enquirer,’ under the headline “Angie Has Dirt Dossier on Brad!” Unsurprising as this is, it’s also been written about almost since they split, like the ‘OK!’ magazine story “Brad Pitt Desperate to Keep Angelina Jolie’s ‘Dirt File’ On Him Secret,’ from December 2016. The ‘Enquirer’ should know, since the “dirt file” story broke on its online sister site RadarOnline.com

How fresh is the ‘National Enquirer’ spread about Scott Peterson under the headline: “New Death-Row Confession: ‘I Killed My Wife!’”? Ancient. Peterson allegedly confessed to strangling his pregnant wife Laci on Christmas Eve 2002, according to Donna Thomas, who published her book ‘I’m Sorry I Lied To You: The Confession of Scott Peterson,’ in 2008, claiming he admitted the killing during visits to his San Quentin prison cell. It’s also the same claim made a year later by Peterson’s cellmate, James Soares, who was the source for the ‘Globe’ story in November 2003 under the headline “Fellow Inmate Claims Scott Peterson Made Shocking Jailhouse Confession.” It’s the same James Soares who this week repeats his 15-year-old allegations to the ‘Enquirer.’ Naturally, it earns the tag: “Enquirer Exclusive.’

Prince Harry’s new bride is too thin and pregnant, according to the ‘Globe’ cover story: “Meghan 98 lbs & Pregnant!”

Even as inaccurate speculation goes, this is old. The ‘National Enquirer’ reported four weeks earlier that Markle was pregnant “with twins.” Whatever happened to the now-missing twin? As for her weight, calculated by the trained fairground Guess-Your-Weight experts at the ‘Globe.’ Markle long ago joined the catalogue of “dangerously thin” celebrities including Angelina Jolie, Nicole Kidman, Calista Flockhart, Kate Middleton, Portia De Rossi, et al, who miraculously appear to be thriving despite the fact that “friends fear” they’re at death’s door.

Fortunately we have the crack investigative team at ‘Us’ magazine to tell us that Julianne Hough wore it best, that novelist Danielle Steele loves teddy bears, that actress Selenis Leyva carries an evil eye talisman necklace, Lysol spray and blotting powder for oily skin in her Primary New York bag, and that the stars are just like us: they paddle-board, watch the World Cup, sip frozen drinks, and eat pasta. Exciting, as ever.

Reaching back the furthest for news is the ‘Examiner,’ which relies on supposed Bible prophecies to warn that “The End Times Are Here!” Bible “scholars” claim that the good book predicts nuclear fallout, an oil spill, a volcanic lake of fire amid Yellowstone National Park (seriously, I don’t remember Yellowstone being mentioned in my childhood Bible), and an asteroid hurtling into the Atlantic Ocean, which evidently is not a good thing for anyone on the Eastern seaboard, or any aliens possibly hitching a ride on the asteroid.

Onwards and downwards . . .



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