The Magazine Reader

Current Affairs Covered Like Nobody's Business

By Peter Carlson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 19, 2005

It's high time for those high-minded, highbrow media critics to get down on their knobby knees and bleat out an apology to the hardworking men and women of America's cheeseball magazines.

These snooty, snotty critics are forever yipping and yapping about how magazines just don't spend time and money to really dig deep into the stories they cover.

Well, maybe that's true for trivial topics like global warming or the budget deficit or genocide in Sudan, but it's definitely not true for one of the great epics of our time: the star-crossed love triangle of Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie.

When it comes to Brad & Jen & Angelina -- and now Vince Vaughn, who may or may not be Jen's new squeeze -- nothing can stop America's great cheeseball magazines, which are, of course, Us and Star. Say what you want, they've stayed with this story for months , spending a fortune to chase the libidinous celebs literally around the world, following every twist of the story, even some that weren't, in the strictest sense, actually true.

Look at this week's Star. Not only does it have a piece on Jen and Vince's "Steamy Nights Together!" and a "World Exclusive! -- Brad & Angelina to Wed!" -- but it also has an interview with the grandmother of the Ethiopian baby that Angelina recently adopted.

"When Star learned that Angelina Jolie was adopting a child in Ethiopia," writes editor Joe Dolce, "we rushed two reporters to the scene. They immediately flew to the capital city of Addis Ababa and then made an arduous six-hour trek -- by jeep over rough, rugged roads -- to the tiny village of Awassa, where Angelina's baby was born."

Very impressive!

But no more impressive than Us, which ran a story on the adoption (and Brad & Angelina's subsequent weekend getaway in France) that credited no fewer than 12 reporters: one in Ethiopia, one in France, two in London, three in New York, four in Los Angeles and one in Chicago. Us also called in not just one but two handwriting experts to analyze an autograph that Aniston recently gave to a fan in Chicago, which showed that Jen is "very private" and that love is important to her.

This is the kind of no-stone-left-unturned reporting that ought to win awards. But the high-minded, highbrow folks who bestow awards would rather eat worms than give one to the cheeseballs.

Fortunately, we at the Magazine Reader are low-minded lowbrows, so we've created our own Cheeseball Magazine Awards for excellence in covering Brad & Jen & Angelina & Vince.

The envelopes, please:

Most Thought-Provoking Headline: Star. "Brad Gets Naked With Angelina!"

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