The National Enquirer, apparently striving for mainstream reader acceptance after waning popularity in the nation’s supermarket check-out lines, is reaching out to a broader market with a more conservative approach to the news.
According to a recent issue of Editor & Publisher magazine, the Enquirer and its sister publication, the Star, are in the midst of a $50 million makeover to give the weekly tabloids more credibility with the American public.
They’ve even gone so far as to emblazon their delivery trucks with huge panels proclaiming “NO ELVIS. NO ALIENS. NO UFOS” above a tastefully understated Enquirer logo.
I have only one question:
Have these guys jettisoned their few remaining scraps of sanity?
Think about it – here’s an established publication that’s made its reputation with screaming headlines and in-depth investigations into such mysteries as Elvis Presley’s final, desperate battle with nail fungus. Now the Enquirer has abruptly turned around and is telling its hardcore readers that it’s going to be dumping all the good stuff.
What’s left – exciting excerpts from the Congressional Record? Ann Landers? The annual rainfall in Wenatchee?
If that old banner headline doesn’t read something like “Naked Fergie in Drunken Gun Battle with Cocaine Kingpins,” who’s going to bother with the new Enquirer?
When I purchase a supermarket tabloid, I’m looking for the real news that the New York Times and San Francisco Examiner are afraid to print.
If the Enquirer starts dishing out bland helpings of journalistic oatmeal, those of us who want the truth about Elvis, space aliens and UFOs are simply going to look elsewhere – and it won’t be a real long trip, amigos.
Fortunately for discriminating readers everywhere, the Weekly World News is still out there walking point in a world populated by extraterrestrials, werewolves and Bigfoot.
The Enquirer didn’t warn America when the potentially ravenous Bat Child escaped from captivity. No, only the Weekly World News was willing to step out on the edge and let us know about the pointy-earred menace that was roaming our streets.
Just last week, the News scored a series of technical knockouts with thoroughly researched stories that not only predicted the return of Jesus Christ this fall, but advised readers what to say if they bump into him (“If you are lucky enough to meet Jesus in person, you want to make the best impression possible…”).
Other timely advice revealed how readers could direct their out-of-body travels to a specific location and how to use a startling new breed of dog as a household mop (“They’re great on tile and linoleum floors…”).
Also mentioned was the case of the killer trombone slide, tales of spontaneous human combustion and the Mexican border patrol’s new drug-sniffing iguanas.
With competition like that, I’d give the new National Enquirer about six more months before the editors there are back pounding the pavement in search of the space aliens who abducted Elvis..
Originally published July 16, 2000