A Mel Gibson rant, a failed courtship, and 'Veto-palooza'
Each day, the New York tabloids vie to sell readers at the newsstands on outrageous headlines, dramatic photography, and, occasionally, great reporting. Who is today's winner?
Daily News: It's a Post-ish moment for the News: It seems that RadarOnline.com (or ZombieRadar, as the locals call it) has gotten hold of a Mel Gibson rant at his girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva. And then TMZ reported that lawyers for both sides in the court-driven breakup of the couple are scrambling to figure out how Radar got them. But the paydirt here are the quotes, which are almost too nasty to reprint. Grigorieva hadn't used them in court yet but had made the tapes, according to RadarOnline's sources, either to play for Mel to make him realize how "mean" he is or to protect herself in court.
"MEL-T DOWN" is the coverline. Well there have been several Mel-t Downs, though admittedly none yet quite so shocking as this. Still, what is a print newspaper doing putting the back and forth of a celebrity court case that unfolded by the minute yesterday and went dormant overnight on its wood? Maybe there's a nice demographic intersect between people who care about Mel Gibson and people who like to find out what happened yesterday on the web by reading the paper today? Shrinking fast, though, I'd have thought.
A snipe at the top of the page advertises the News' continuing coverage of the effort to get LeBron James to sign to a New York franchise. But the best analysis comes from Mitch Lawrence: "You know where this went bad for the Knicks? When Jim Dolan couldn't do like the Steinbrenners and simply throw Cablevision zillions at James. The Yankees don't have a cap, so they can solve all their problems in one winter shopping spree, by writing checks for CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira." And that seems to mean, no matter how many cute "Come Hither Lebron" campaigns the mayor rolls out (and whatever weird cover-editorials the News publishes) it isn't looking good.
The New York Post: Meanwhile the Post gets to … devote its entire wood to a local politics story! Granted an extremely photogenic one. The sight of vision-impaired Gov. David Paterson signing each page of thousands of vetoes on pork-barrel items is arresting. It's as though his face is this close to the paper because he is being so meticulous about cutting all of this stuff out. Of course since he plans to veto everything (this could take a couple of days) he really is probably just making sure his signature goes in the right place. Still the image speaks of painstakingness. And the Post grabs the storyline lustily.
"THE WRITE STUFF," proclaims the wood. It's an opportunity for the Post to front-end its non-neutrality on Albany waste. And it's also probably that pose, so natural to the Post and so weird for the News, that allows them to forget about Mel and put Paterson up front.
Observations: It's hard to imagine what was going through the Daily News editors' minds when they chose a big Mel Gibson cover after seeing this museum-ready historical-moment picture of Paterson. Even if they hadn't devoted all the wood to it, couldn't a few words and a small picture have sold the Gibson story? Whereas the drama in the Paterson story is, pretty much, all perfectly summed up in this picture.
Winner: The New York Post.