Perhaps this isn't exactly a surprising confession coming from an entertainment columnist, but I have kind of a terrible weakness for tabloid magazines. I probably buy one every week or two, and I even have this ridiculous method of doing so, where I sneak it onto the grocery belt at the last minute, placed facedown. You know, on the off chance I'm fooling the kid ringing up my purchases into thinking I'm buying Newsweek or something.
From my extensive research into this admittedly exploitative form of entertainment, I've become convinced there are quality tiers within the tabloid industry. Like, you start with People magazine, which typically reports on actual documented events or publicist-provided information as opposed to rumors. Then you've got Us Weekly, which is a step down in terms of integrity, but it's still a somewhat trustworthy publication. Then you free-fall into the pure crap, like In Touch, Ok!, and Star, which cheerfully lie through their damn teeth each and every week.
A recent Gawker article backs my theories, having studied five popular tabloids and their covers from the start of 2009 through the first eight months of 2010. Here's what they discovered:
Us Weekly is the most accurate tabloid, with 35% cover accuracy. Shockingly, every pregnancy and adoption Us reported on during that time frame was correct, although they biffed a few breakup and marriage rumors.
Life & Style comes in second, with 25% cover accuracy. Like many magazines, Life & Style most frequently reported on non-existent Jennifer Aniston pregnancies.
In Touch had a 9% accuracy rate for its covers. In Touch heavily relies on fake Brangelina rumors, and out of the 20 pregnancies it reported on, 19 were false.
Ok! is in fourth place, with a 7% cover accuracy. Among its top falsifications: many, many Jennifer Aniston pregnancies; and several weddings/pregnancies/breakups for Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson.
Star ties with Ok! at 7%. Star featured a whopping 25 fake celebrity pregnancies, and several stories about Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes breaking up.
What's the all time number one lie that sells tabloids? Anything involving Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Take a look at just how many magazines have profited from Brangelina bullshit over the years. Amazing.
Do you ever buy tabloids?
Image via PinkMoose/Flickr