Saturday, January 16, 2010

The decision making process. UPDATED

I'm now a few weeks into writing my new blog about the tabloids It's News 2 Them™, and already I am finding that mission creep is inevitable. I was going to make it about reporting on stuff on the covers of the checkout lane tabloids and magazine that could be verified one way or another, but there's just so much more on these covers that have nothing to do with facts that can be verified true or false.

Here, for instance, are two perfect examples. A few months back, Bristol Palin and her baby were on the cover of People, easily the tamest of the checkout mags, wearing her cap and gown and holding her baby. Even though the story was largely positive, the other stories on the cover were Jon and Kate just before the break-up went public and Brooke Shields dealing with her mom's dementia.

The message of these magazines is consistent and clear. Hey, you in the supermarket checkout line! Does your life suck? The lives of rich people suck, too!

With the Palins, it goes one step further. Do you have an unwed mother in your family graduating high school? Well, you have so much in common with Sarah and Todd and Bristol and Truck and Trick whatever other wacky names these people decide to give their offspring. They don't put on airs and pretend they are better than you are, because they aren't better than you are and we have proof.

This week, the cover of In Touch Weekly has Sarah and Bristol and the uncle and nephew born in the same calendar year, a nice little reminder that this family may have money now, but they are still trailer trash deep down where it counts. The picture is positive, the quote is positive, the teasers from the story are about people overcoming hardships because they are made of the right stuff.

But seriously, wtf? Who would want to be on this cover? You get to share it with the tabloids' least favorite celebrity Angelina Jolie and her dangerous pregnancy, Charlie Sheen explaining his violent rap sheet and a third rate celebrity Rachel Zoe who looks like she's dying of starvation and proud of it. The only other positive note is the mention of Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, but they avoided having their picture included in this rogue's gallery. That was either a stroke of luck on the part of Faith and Tim or a really good publicist getting the job done.

I expect the Palins are tickled pink that their "Screw you, baby killers!" message is going to be seen in supermarkets across the nation for the next seven days. Sarah is such a narcissist, she might not even see that there's anyone else on the cover besides herself and her blood relations. That is the best spin I can put on this family's very odd decision making process.

UPDATE: If we are to believe the New York Post, the Palins were paid $100,000 to be on the cover. Well, that makes a lot more sense now, doesn't it?


BB said...

I noticed the People cover in my Docotr's office back when it first came out and I thought to myself. "I wonder what poor Trick, truck whatever is going to think when one day he finds that cover and reads "If girls realized the consequences of sex (namely the kid), nobody would be having sex. Trust me, nobody."

How horrible for that child to read that later in life and ask "Mommy do you love me?"

Matty Boy said...

It is an odd thing to say. She should be out having fun and very likely isn't mature enough to be a mom yet, but as the lives of single moms go, she's got it pretty easy. Her parents have money and haven't thrown her out of the house. Maybe it's because her life has always been easy that she's such a whiner, that and her closest female role model.

Karen Zipdrive said...

I once sold a story to the tabloids about a local movie star who was cheating on his wife, who's a good friend of mine.
Thinking tabloids were a bunch of trash, I sold them the story to embarrass the husband, which it definitely did.
But what surprised me was the reporter's thoroughness. To be sure I was telling the truth, they actually polygraphed me.
The reporter told me too many lawsuits made polygraphing sources a very common procedure with all the tabloids.

Matty Boy said...

I'm keeping track of the reliability of tabloid stories over at my new blog. We'll see how well their predictions do over the long run.

While almost all the newspaper format supermarket rags are owned by the same outfit, it's clear that they don't follow the same editorial standards. The Examiner is all over the place and the Sun is just flat out wacky.

dguzman said...

Note the little sub-heds:

"How Trig's Down (sic) syndrome (sic) made Sara a 'more patient' mother"

This is supposed to be a surprise? What the hell else would it make her, at least if she wants it publicized on the mag cover? "How Trig's Down's Syndrome [let's use the correct terms, puncuation, and capitalization, shall we? just for the fuck of it!] made Sara a psychotic basketcase who now shakes Trig every chance she gets"???