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Celeb Rag Shocker: Us's Exposé Exposé!
But wouldn't phony stories catch up with the publications that peddle them? "There is a market of women out there who just like looking at the photographs," says Min. "I also think a lot of people just haven't caught on."
A review of the Us Weekly allegations shows that the other magazines have repeatedly published stories and speculation that turned out not to be true, but that they often leave themselves some wiggle room with words such as "may" or "looks" or "told friends."
A recent Star "exclusive" on Cruise and Holmes was headlined "DIVORCE!," with the subhead "Katie in tears." So far, no split.
A Life & Style cover this month on Jolie was headlined "WHY SHE LEFT BRAD" (she hasn't). The story said Jolie had told an unnamed friend that "it's over," and the "biggest reason" was Brad Pitt's continuing relationship with ex-wife Aniston. A year ago, Life & Style said Pitt had told Aniston he was going to marry Jolie and that "Angie visited . . . Karl Lagerfeld" for her wedding gown. In Touch also keeps marrying them off. They remain unhitched.
OK! trumpeted the news last month that "J.LO & MARC SPLIT!," reporting that Jennifer Lopez "and her husband of just under three years, Marc Anthony, 38, had called it quits." Well, not so far. And these magazines rarely, if ever, run corrections.
Us Weekly patrols the same celebrity precincts but tends to word things more carefully. A cover this month on Cruise and Holmes was headlined "NO WAY OUT/In love with Tom, but confined by Scientology, a conflicted Katie struggles to find happiness."
Rival executives, blaming the crusade on jealousy over their circulation growth, are happy to point to Us Weekly's mistakes, although not with their names attached. Before Holmes and Cruise had their baby, Us Weekly reported that she was having a boy. Oops: a girl arrived instead.
"We have made reporting mistakes, like any news organization," Min says. "We have corrected them in the magazine. When it does happen, we're mortified."
Us Weekly also reported that Cruise and Holmes had bought an estate near London. You needed a magnifying glass to read the correction.
There are also creative ways of dealing with a scoop that falls flat as a souffle. After a big "VINCE PROPOSES!/Jen Says Yes" cover -- which Min insists was true, including the selection of a ring -- Us Weekly had to confront the apparent lack of an engagement. The solution was a followup story: "VINCE BACKS OUT."
Were some pundits advising John Kerry's presidential campaign while critiquing it for the public?
In his new memoir "No Excuses," veteran Democratic consultant Robert Shrum says Time columnist Joe Klein doubled as a "sometime adviser," and that the Massachusetts senator "craved his approval."