8:29 am Jun. 10, 2011
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: It's clear, reading down the page of the Post's cover story today, that reporters spent some time trying to buttonhole congressman Anthony Weiner yesterday. They were able to write the following, after all: "There was no indication he had gone to any of his three district offices all day, and he wasn't spotted again until around 6:30 last night, when he returned to his Forest Hills home." And the exclusive interview they are billing on the front page, in which Weiner repeats what he's been saying all week—that he has no intention of resigning from office—happened "outside his lawyer's office." (In fact, the Post has posted video of the interview!
Either way, the paper decides to make a front-page story out of it, though Weiner, it seems to me, has said nothing new; in fact, he seems now to be comfortable with his talking points and ready for all comers, doesn't he? But of course, it's entirely possible that a buttonhole interview that's good for Weiner is also good for the Post. Just not today.
The focus on the Weiner interview seems like it has to have been partially motivated by the fact that as many as 11 of his fellow congress members said yesterday that they thought he ought to resign. So arguably, that makes even a repetition of his Monday position newsworthy? But I think the main part of the motivation was the opportunity to write the headline, "WEINER: I'LL STICK IT OUT." It's not a direct quote. But perhaps the purpose is obvious? "Tells Post he won't step down" reads the dek.
Yet even the Post seems to know it's not big enough news for a takeover. Especially given yesterday's somewhat shocking news that Joba Chamberlain, seemingly in good shape, actually has done so much damage to a ligament in his elbow that he's going in for "Tommy John" surgery, which according to Wikipedia is "a surgical procedure in which a ligament in the medial elbow is replaced with a tendon from elsewhere in the body (often from the forearm, hamstring, knee, or foot of the patient)." The Post goes with the result-oriented headline: "Joba gone for year." "BIG LOSS FOR YANKS: SPORTS" reads a little red box. The paper also runs a little pale-yellow strip across the bottom advertising its coverage of "FIVE SHOT IN BRIGHTON BEACH BOARDWALK MAYHEM," a story actually covered more extensively inside in the News this morning.
Daily News: But the News doesn't front it, opting instead to take up amost all of the front with the Joba story. "JOBA THE HURT" reads the main hed in knockout-white over a light-background photo of the pitcher. "Surgery likely for hard-luck hurler; Yankees swept." And in that last part, the perfect storm of drama around the Joba Chamberlain news that makes it so big last night: "Boston finished off a three-game sweep with an 8-3 win over the Yankees, beating the Bombers for the eighth time in nine games this season—including all six meetings at Yankee Stadium," the News reports. With all that, it seems strange that the paper should devote one of its little skyboxes to the recurring feature in which Alex Rodriguez' march to an inevitable 3,000 hits is documented step by step. Is that what matters today?
Oh, and you can still win that Caribbean vacation if you want, apparently. Check paper for details yourself.
Observations: It's a little surprising that Weiner spoke to the reporter who cornered him outside his lawyers' offices. You'd think that his ambition would be to score his first day without a tabloid cover; but he gave an interview that almost guaranteed him the spot. Maybe he figured that nothing could be worse than reminding people of his disastrously misguided, media-frenzy-feeding efforts to bluff his way past questioners in the first place.
Watching the video, I wonder if I overstep my bounds saying it looks like he's starting to get used to this. After all, as the paper itself points out, he has few friends on the Hill to begin with; his personality is a bit big to let anyone else in too close. So what does it matter to him if Frank Lautenberg and someone with a Mormon constituency in Utah is saying he should be ashamed of himself, that he should resign? But I digress. The question here is whether readers want more Weiner today, if all they're going to get is a repeat of his conviction that he won't resign. It's a greed headline. But I'm thinking, no.
I don't often say this, but to tabloid readers, Joba's the big news today. "JOBA THE HURT" isn't going to be remembered for very long, but it gets the joba done (ha). I think it's a case of, just because only you have it doesn't mean it goes on the front, or at least so prominently. .