American Mass-Market Magazines

By Alan Nourie; Barbara Nourie | Go to book overview

Michael Thomas also filed a $14-million libel lawsuit, but a judge dismissed it in 1986, since the statute of limitations had expired. 26

In 1988 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-2 that a person's garbage bags may be searched by police without a warrant. The ruling alluded to the 1975 incident in which a National Enquirer reporter had taken Kissinger's garbage. 27

Before its 1968 transformation, the Enquirer offered "personal ads for everyone from the sadomasochist set to foot fetishists." 28 Today its advertising extols health aids: appetite suppressants, exercise gliders, arthritis pain relievers, aspirin, shampoo, Tums, Kotex, toothpaste, and foot supports, while its four pages of classifieds have such headings as Business Opportunities; Financial, Loans, Insurance; Astrology, Religious, Recipes, Pets and Supplies, Contests & Sweepstakes, Real Estate, Books & Booklets, Buy Wholesale, Household Items, Stamps, Inventions, Of Interest to Women, Money Making Opportunities, Aviation, Safety, Investigators, Personal, Government Surplus, Coins & Medals, Work at Home, Instruction & Education, Unusual Items (a psychic amplifier), Employment Information, Health & Beauty, and Collectors' Items. New revelations of Nostradamus are promised in one ad that includes the date for the end of the world. 29 In 1983 the Enquirer's television ad exclaimed "Enquiring Minds Want to Know."

As D. Keith Mano so perceptively pointed out in 1977 in the National Review, the Enquirer, with its garish cover of celebrity photographs in color, is not a paper that one would find in a dentist's office, nor is it likely that one would save old Enquirers. Its articles are written in the second-person, you, your, and are never continued on another page. It is a paper for "lurid optimism, grossest good news. Like other paper products it's cheap and disposable." 30 Although Pope's goal was the bottom line, which he achieved masterfully (when sex sold, he published sex; when celebrity gossip, astrology, and the occult sold, he published these), he also fought for an admirable goal: freedom of the press.

Pope was sixty-one when he died of a heart attack on 2 October 1988. 31 In his will he stated that the paper should be sold. 32 On 13 April 1989, Boston Ventures, an investment firm, and MacFadden Holdings, which owns True Story,* True Confessions, Modern Romances, and Teen Beat, made a successful bid of $412.5 million for GP Group Inc., the parent company. 33


Notes
1.
"The Enquirer: Up From Smut," Newsweek, 21 April 1975, p. 62.
2.
From the French tabloide meaning tablet or capsule; from that it came to mean pressed or condensed.
3.
Colonial American papers were taxed by the British based on the number of pages. "The Tabloid Today," Newsweek, 12 May 1969, p. 69.
4.
Frank Luther Mott, American Journalism; A History: 1690-1960. 3rd ed. ( New York: Macmillan, 1962), p. 668.
5.
"From Worse to Bad," Newsweek, 8 September 1969, p. 79.

-274-

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