Is it Real, or Is it . . . . ?

Often, as I waited in the checkout line at the grocery store I couldn’t help but notice the supermarket tabloids. They sort of look like newspapers—they seem to use the same type paper stock—but they consistently featured unbelievable, outrageous headlines about scandalous affairs, celebrity divorces, the latest news about the extraterrestrial aliens the government was hiding, Big Foot, and, of course, Elvis’s current whereabouts.

I used to feel a sense of superiority—I was certainly not going to read their tripe. In fact, I wondered what planet did the readers and writers live on?

I’m afraid it was this one. Today, legitimate newspapers are reporting scandalous affairs, celebrity divorces, and the latest news about what the government is hiding or ignoring. Unlike the tabloid articles, though, these stories are not figments of the writers’ imaginations; they are fact-checked descriptions of real-world events. The legitimate newspapers have not gotten worse, but reality has.

Ouch.

If you’re confused as to which is a tabloid and which is a newspaper–if the headlines include extraterrestrial aliens, Bigfoot, or what Elvis has been doing, it’s a tabloid.