9:10 am Aug. 2, 20101
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?
The New York Post: Up in Rhinebeck, N.Y., the press has been going wild with the wedding of first daughter Chelsea Clinton. I won't start a tradition of critiquing weekend papers. But it's relevant insofar as today's papers catch Monday morning tabloid readers, which in addition to being a bigger bunch are sometimes an entirely different bunch from those who pick up tabs on weekends.
The Post, which ran a Sunday picture of Bill walking his daughter down the aisle, eschews the story on today's front page. Instead, we've got a Yankees piece ("Rays frustrate A-Rod, Yankees") with actually a great picture of an angry, or maybe despairing A-Rod, shouting in the ear of an umpire, at the top of the page. But as always, the alchemy of a front page only requires a great picture and some great big text: they don't necessarily have to go together. So the weight of the page belongs to the bottom, with the knockout type reading "HORROR ON MARTHA'S ST.: Crazed baby sitter stabs 2 girls in Stewart nabe." For reasons still not known, an aunt babysitting two young girls Saturday night in Katonah while her parents attended the opera at nearby Caramoor stabbed them with a kitchen knife, then called for an ambulance. Of course it's always a surprise when something like this happens. But is it really strange that it happened across Girdle Ridge Road from Martha Stewart's farm? As we know (Phil Spector! Patty Hearst!) craziness doesn't discriminate by class. And one wonders why Martha is the star of the story: sure, it's worth mentioning this neighborhood, which is a part of tony Bedford and where Ralph Lauren also has an estate, is a fancy one. But you'd think from the cover that Martha was there (maybe she was?), or that she called the police, or perhaps was interviewed. None of the above.
Daily News: But in the News, the fairytale of upscale country living is alive and well. "THE LOOK OF LOVE" is the Stan Getz quote, with a picture of Chelsea's big, toothy smile in one headshot as she looks to the right, her line of vision matching up with the face of her betrothed, while he, well, sorta looks forward and to the left, with a smaller grin. "INSIDE CHELSEA'S MAGIC DAY" reads some knockout type on the top; and a red box at the bottom promises coverage of "GROOM'S TOAST, BILLS TEARS" on the "NIGHT OF EMOTION" in Rhinebeck.
This is a tough one without going inside the papers. I might suspect of the News that they're just catching up on all the Sunday coverage and that they have little new. I also probably had a limited appetite for Chelsea's Magic Day in the first place. But I can acknowledge that the story probably has legs enough for two days, especially when the first printing day of the two was a Sunday, when the Post gets significantly fewer readers than the News, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. But a piece of real news should really knock this off the cover, and if the News should have found it, that's not to say the Post did. The Martha Stewart angle is weak even without digging into the piece; it's a strain.
Winner: Daily News.