The college admissions scandal is a tabloid-news dream

Celebrity bad behavior plus populist outrage plus pun-tastic headlines

By Published on .

Credit: Ad Age photo illustration. Composite images: New York Post and Daily News

As part of Ad Age's ongoing media-about-media coverage, a quick look at coverage of the college admissions scandal that's been dominating the national conversation.

The bottom line: This is a story that has a little bit of everything for everyone—including celebrity, wealth, power, ridiculously entitled parents, spoiled children, brazen fraud and outright stupidity—which is why it's been embraced by media across the spectrum.

The nation's A-list newpapers all made the scandal front-page, above-the-fold news this morning: The New York Times, for instance, went with the headline "U.S. Charges Rich Parents in College Entry Fraud" (tweaked for the web to "College Admissions Scandal: Actresses, Business Leaders and Other Wealthy Parents Charged"). The cable news networks, meanwhile, are particularly obsessed with the camera-ready players in the drama: Felicity "Desperate Housewives" Huffman and Lori "Full House" Loughlin, as well as Loughlin's husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli—plus (bonus!) Loughlin and Giannulli's Instagram/YouTube-famous daughter, Olivia Jade Giannulli. (Ad Age's Angela Doland rounds up the 19-year-old's now-controversial work with brands here.)

Think-pieces and explainers are flooding forth: "The real college admissions scandal is what's legal" (Vox), "Coaches Have Too Much Power Over College Admissions" (Bloomberg Opinion), "All College Admissions are a Pay-to-Play Scandal" (New York Magazine), etc.

And of course, America's leading tabloid newspapers—the New York Post and New York Daily News—love this scandal. As seen on their front pages this morning (above), "Operation Varsity Blues," as the FBI deftly branded the investigation, offers the perfect opportunity to serve up a hearty goulash of celebrity bad behavior and populist outrage under pun-tastic headlines.

Most Popular