Thursday, February 23, 2012

Weasel of the Week: National Enquirer

When you're a celebrity, you have to take the risks of being exploited by those whose loyalty is only to the almighty dollar. When you're a once-proud supermarket tabloid like the National Enquirer, and you've lost readers left & right to the internet, among other things, you tend to go back to doing the worst things imaginable that have gotten you in trouble before.

Such is the case here, as the Enquirer has come under fire for publishing a cover photo for its latest issue that it says is of singer Whitney Houston in her coffin on the day of her funeral. They've pulled this stunt before, first with Elvis Presley in 1977, and then John Lennon 3 years later. The idea is to try to lure in readers and make some quick cash, but, as I've said, the supermarket tabloids are fighting a losing battle with internet gossip sites like, which is owned & operated by lawyer-TV personality Harvey Levin (The People's Court), and bloggers like the notorious Perez Hilton, who recently got some primo face time on WWE Monday Night Raw. I can't think of too many people laying down $3, or whatever the cover price is these days, for a weekly that used to buy advertising time to promote itself as a legit magazine.

There are those that will claim the photo is a phony, citing the fact that the singer's family requested a closed coffin for the funeral. Others say that the tabloid paid off someone at the funeral home for an "exclusive". No matter how you slice it, it's still wrong, and it always has been wrong. Like Elvis & Lennon, Whitney became a pop culture icon during her peak years in the mid-to-late-80's through the early 90's. The Enquirer seems to think there is a collector's market for anything connected to Houston at this time. Not that I can fathom.

The Enquirer has famously been sued by other celebrities, including TV icon Carol Burnett, so they've tripped themselves up enough times to know better, but, as they say, desperate times call for desperate measures. In this age where traditional print news is giving way to the digital world, the supermarket tabloids are a dying breed. For lacking the journalistic common sense to leave well enough alone, the editors of the National Enquirer have been awarded Weasel ears, along with paws & tail, for this latest, desperate get-rich-quick scam.

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