This week, as the media explored the unholy alliance between politics and sensationalist right-wing journalism, I took it on as my civic responsibility to consume bottom-of-the-barrel tabloids.
On Wednesday, the former Playboy model Karen McDougal settled her lawsuit against American Media Inc. (AMI), the parent company of an array of tawdry tabloids. To recap for those of you who follow neither tabloids nor broadsheets, in the run-up to the 2016 election, the National Enquirer bought the exclusive rights to McDougal’s story of her affair with Trump, then buried it to protect him. (Trump is a personal friend of the company’s CEO.)
Another of this week’s news events: Maggie Haberman, a veteran of the New York tabloids and a current White House correspondent for the Times, won a Pulitzer for her coverage of the president. “It’s no coincidence,” her colleague Glenn Thrush wrote during the campaign, “that one of the best reporters covering the president-elect this cycle happens to be the one who best understands the tabloid-Trump nexus.” While the New York tabloids and AMI’s supermarket rags are of different journalistic quality, Trump is a president both packaged for and propelled by sensationalist coverage. In recognition of that—and in honor of Haberman’s Pulitzer and McDougal’s new freedom to tell her story—I went to Rite Aid (welcome to the Trump era, when Rite Aid is my bookstore) and bought the current issues of three of AMI’s most popular publications. I’ll walk you through their insights now—for, you know, civic reasons. Read More