As a young boy, about once a month, or when my mother said I needed a haircut, I found my way to one of our local barber shops. The barber had a odd nickname, “Peanut.” Well, Peanut was a wealth of knowledge, sort of the male gossip central. I listened and learned a lot about life, and what was going on in our community.
Peanut had some reading material there for patrons to pick up and read while waiting for their turn in the barber chair. The reading material was mostly recent issues of “The Police Gazette” and also “The National Enquirer.” The local newspaper, “The Times Argus” was also available. I used to do an informal survey and watch to see who would pick up “The Police Gazette” or “The National Enquirer.” Even as a young boy, I recognized these trashy magazines for what they were, trash. The paper was cheap and the stories were just as cheap and outrageous. I was amazed to see men pick this stuff up and read it. I made my own mental judgements right then and there about these folks. I have always had a knack at reading people.
So, where did “The Police Gazette” and “The National Enquirer” go? Well, I have no idea about the pulp “Police Gazette,” but “The National Enquirer” found its way to our grocery store magazine racks right by the check out. It’s as if “The National Enquirer” found some form broader acceptance as legitimate journalism.
Well, we all know the recent stories about “The National Enquirer” and its purchase of stories about Trump and his porn stars and Playboy bunnies. The owner of “The National Enquirer,” a David Pecker (interesting name isn’t it) is a friend of Trump and bought these stories to bury them so they would not see the light of day and harm Trump.
I think I know how “The Police Gazette” and “The National Enquirer” evolved. Yes, “National Enquirer” still can be found in magazine racks, but I think the style and quality of journalism represented by these magazines found its way to Fox and is put out there for the same audience. I think people like Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and Laura Ingraham, among others are the successors to the old “Police Gazette.” And sadly, the audience is still there. They don’t even have to be able to read anymore, just find the channel on their television.