A media tragedy!

The Weekly World News, source of many an idle moment’s entertainment while waiting in the grocery store checkout line, is about to become an ex-tabloid. Bat boy will be homeless. Ed Anger will have no outlet for his rage. Fox News will have no competition.

American Journalism has lost a shining beacon, an ideal to which it could have aspired.

(via Decorabilia)


  1. Chris Anderson says

    Considering the sum of minutes of entertainment I gleaned from the strange, sorry rag that was the Weekly World News over the years I am somewhat saddened by this turn of events somehow. Not as saddened as I was by the demise of Spy magazine, but saddened nonetheless.

  2. says

    Where will future creationists turn for inspiration? And how will our children’s children understand references to WWN in such classic films as So I Married an Ax Murderer?

    “This paper contains facts. And this paper has the eighth highest circulation in the whole wide world. Right? Plenty of facts. ‘Pregnant man gives birth.’ That’s a fact.”

  3. justawriter says

    OH NO!!! How will we ever know how Bat Boy turned out! You know we’ll never get the real story from Big Media!

  4. chaos_engineer says

    Back in the late 80’s and early 90’s, I’d religiously flip through the WWN at the supermarket, and if they had a computer-related story, then I’d buy it to put on my wall at work.

    In the mid-90’s, I noticed that they were reprinting stories from earlier issues. (“Super Computer Talks with the Dead”, “Demon Computer”, and “Man Catches Computer Virus” were the ones I spotted)

    Shame on you, Weekly World News! I can’t believe they stayed in business as long as they did.

    (Sad epilogue: In the late 90’s, I moved to the NYC metro area, where it’s impossible for a computer programmer to get a job that came with an office. With only a cubicle wall to work with, I had to put all the articles into storage and hang an anime wall scroll instead.)

  5. says

    I’m not sure if I’m more depressed at how hard I’m taking this, or the cancellation itself. I used to love WWN when I was a kid, around the time bat boy first showed up. I did a lot of traveling after, and it was always a comfortable reminder that things were never as different in any area as I might subjectively feel.

    Here’s to you, batboy.

  6. JamesE says

    Dangit! Only the WWN dared to break the news that Clinton was endorsed by the space aliens. Now there’s no one left but Drudge to break the important political news.

  7. says

    I’m truly sad to hear this. It was one of the best humor magazines in the country. And I love that they got Newt Gingrich to admit that he was a space alien. Dottie, we hardly knew thee.

  8. kmiers says

    Not surprising. I was a subscriber in the early 1980’s, and yes, it entertained me in many a checkout aisle. We would often casually toss it on the conveyor belt for more amusement at home. Until a few years ago when we glanced at the always-overlooked price tag in the corner and saw that we had been paying $3.95!! THREE DOLLARS AND NINETY FIVE CENTS!! For The Weekly World News!! I don’t pay that much to have The Nation or Harpers brought to my HOUSE!! Needless to say, we never bought another copy. I suppose I’ll just have to keep picking up my free “Onion” every week. As a half-buck rag it was fun, but c’mon. $3.95??? Good riddance!

  9. Hank Fox says

    Darn. Now I don’t have a market for two of my latest tabloid-style articles:

    “How To Turn Annoying Roaches Into Delicious High-Protein Snacks”


    “Family Pit Bull Saves Baby From Drowning – Then Eats Him!”

    I’m sure Bat Boy will be fine. I hear he and the Space Aliens are due to hold a summit with President Bush to broker an interspecies solution to the Iraq situation.

  10. Marion Delgado says

    It’s the only paper I trust! This is truly the passing of an era!

    I remember Aaron Brown reading it on the overnight news on ABC. I remember picking the cover online. No more Ed Anger, no more Dear Dottie? No more page 3 girl? No more bat boy? No more imminent apocalypse? no more nostradamus? no more adam and eve and godzilla fossils?

    Awwwww. I hope the final headline is


  11. Yodel says

    Wait wait wait, you’re telling me the story “Aliens abduct woman, shoot her with ray gun that makes her boobs grow” wasn’t true?!

  12. says

    The Weekly World News had much more creative fake news than even Fox! I still thrill to the thought of the time when President Bush forestalled the invasion of Earth by an armada of hostile UFOs. Oh, if only he could get credit for his brave actions in that highly classified secret conflict!

    However, not even that cosmic scoop can match WWN‘s exclusive front-page story of Hillary’s selection of Big Foot as her running mate. The GOP is truly doomed! Having them for lunch just got literal. [Link]

  13. Paul (A.) says

    fontor, I must disagree:

    Famed Psychic’s Head Explodes (he lost a duel with another psychic) has got to be the finest WWN headline ever.

  14. Sastra says

    I usually felt too embarrassed to buy the WWN — unless I had stomach flu or some other sad, disgusting, miserable sickness. THEN I felt entitled, and if I had to I demanded others get it for me. What the heck — I was already queasy.

  15. wildcardjack says

    People seem to think that the WWN has gone down due to the popularity of Faux News, but in truth the reporting has been outsourced to Pravda.

    Go check out the Pravda in english sometime. It’s WWN grade material, but taken way too seriously.

  16. raven says

    Extremely disturbing. It is well known that the various groups of aliens living under the US have been having intramural squabbles. Everyone has been mad at the Greys for acting out.

    It looks like the Greys have gained enough influence to shut down one of the few mainstream publications to cover the Alien beat. Someone should really crack down on them.

  17. Craig Pennington says

    Ed Anger will have no outlet for his rage.

    I am madder than a hippie with a knot in his ponytail at this news.

  18. Kyra says

    Fox News will have no competition.


    Congrats, PZ: that was fuckin’ perfect.

  19. says

    A cherished memory for me is when I had a copy of WWN in my room at Great Lakes Naval Training Center, and my new roommate picked it up and started reading. He was fresh out of boot camp, whence he’d come straight from Buzzard’s Roost, Alabama (no, I’m not kidding), and apparently he’d never seen one of those papers before.

    Watching the frown slowly deepen as he read what he thought was an actual newspaper was exquisite. He finally looked up with this totally bewildered expression and said “Is this world f***ed up, or is it just this paper?” It was priceless.

  20. Kseniya says

    There goes the primary source of intel for MIB.

    Pravda shocked me the first time I saw it. I expected a world-class Russian news source, not a tabloid. I lost a little bit of innocence that day…

    Be of good cheer: at least we still have WND.

  21. Basharov says

    Famed Psychic’s Head Explodes (he lost a duel with another psychic) has got to be the finest WWN headline ever.

    That’s a good one all right, but I’ve always been partial to Statue of Elvis Found on Mars!, a headline that, in only six little words, captures the poetic essence of the WWN.

    Batboy, by the way, lives on in London, where no theatre-goer will ever forget “Batboy: The Musical”. Gilbert and Sullivan, eat your dead hearts out!

  22. autumn says

    Khan, I’m not up on my Russian; Is one (pravda, if i’m not mistaken) truth, and the other information, or a similar translation? I kind of got the joke, but would like to be sure.
    Possibly the lamest post ever: “please explain to me your joke”, but I now need to know.

  23. lisa says

    I have been a fan of the Weekly World for so long. In my first cubicle in my first journalism job after graduating from college, I hung pages of the WWN for headline-writing inspiration.

    My favorite at that time was for a story from Germany: “Elvis’ ghost is haunting my cows” was the top deck; second deck hed, “And now my herd is all shook up.”

    Last I heard, Bat Boy was on the run, having escaped from the clutches of evil doctors in Chicago.

    Go, Bat Boy. Go and be free.

  24. says

    There goes the primary source of intel for MIB.

    There goes the primary source of intel for the WMD-hunters in the Bush administration.

  25. mjfgates says

    Now I am sad. Back in the 90s, I used to use the WWN as an economic barometer: so long as they kept publishing “SECOND GREAT DEPRESSION COMING, RICH PEOPLE ARE HOARDING MONEY AND FOOD”, every four months, I knew the economy was stable. When they stopped in early 2000, I knew the dot-com crash was for real.

    And of course… aliens ate my cat! Aliens kidnapped Princess Di! Aliens endorse Newt, marry Britney, build houses for the poor! ALIENS!

  26. says

    How sad, indeed. I kept Ed Anger’s column about his trip to Europe for ages. It was hysterical. He complained that the place was full of foreigners who didn’t speak English. Still makes me smile to think of it.

  27. fusilier says

    My favorite was

    Bill and Hillary Adopt Orphaned Space Alien Baby After Flying Saucer Crashes on White House Lawn

    Such delightful lunacy.

    James 2:24

  28. Jeff says

    All this nostalgia reminds me of a B. Kliban cartoon in one of his books, with a WWN-like headline “The Virgin Mary Appears to a Foreign Car in Denver”. But I think Kliban was saying more about the futility of religion than strange headlines.

  29. Sastra says

    I own a novel about the tabloid industry which I bought simply because I loved the title, which is one of the best book titles ever:

    Dwarf Rapes Nun; Flees in UFO.

  30. CitizenVA says

    Sad Day! :(

    I really used to enjoy the mag, and was actually a subscriber for several years! The stories were imaginative, and pretty enjoyable! Where else would you find the German children with tentacles for arms?

    And one of my favorites: “Osama Recruits Cloned Hitler”…

    ‘Nuff Said!

    Bat-Boy, we hardly knew ye! :(


  31. PennyBright says

    What a shame. I’m an avid roleplayer, and WWN provided plot material and props for many wonderful games over the years. Running “You’re a reporter for the WWN” was always a great convention game.

  32. says

    Fox News will have no competition.

    Then, shouldn’t the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division have something to say about it?

    (I fear to look. I’ll bet in the Federal Register is a notice from the Antitrust Division that WWN’s void is being filled by the White House Press Office. Maybe Bat Boy will replace Scooter Libby on the Veep’s staff.)

  33. Older says

    My all-time favorite Weekly Weird News headline: Two-headed Man Sings Duets with Self in Bars.

    I will miss them.

    I didn’t see that Ed Anger column (Alison, #34) but I heard exactly that complaint from my former parents-in law (who cut their world tour short after receiving reliable information that there were a lot of black people in Africa).

  34. says

    Weirdest thing I ever saw in the WWN was a fairly normal story about a haunted house. The weird thing was that they gave the address, and it was a house quite close to where I worked (in Coquitlam, a suburb of Vancouver in Canada), and the photo of the house actually looked like the real house. Before that, I thought they made up the whole thing.

    I also once heard Ed Anger on a local co-op radio station. Shattered my teenage illusions when I realized he was in on the joke.

  35. tristanheydt says

    My fave headline was back in the mid/late 80’s… “Voyager Spacecraft Travels Through Tunnel of Light… Sends Back Photos of Heaven”

  36. Rob Hyde says

    I am looking for a picture of the November 2003 issue labeled “Osama Recruits Cloned Hitler” if someone could please help me out that would be great..my email is gunkulator@hotmail.com Thanks