12:32 pm Jul. 22, 20111
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: At the risk of enervating people who, sometimes very legitimately, get angry that Hillary Clinton's appearance is still a matter of public discourse, I'd like to just point out that it is a relevant detail in the context of this exercise.
To be precise, Clinton is starting to look like an older version of the plain girl in the class pictures from Wellesley, and less like the smartly made-up woman who served as first lady.
The reason it's relevant is that it gives the tabloids a new way to have fun with her, as I believe the Post is trying to do today with the small inset photo of the secretary of state in the middle of its front page. Surrounding the picture, in which Clinton looks a bit like Roseanne Barr's more conservative, more intellectual sister, is a hed that reads: "WEINER'S OTHER WOMAN."
I think the joke is supposed to be made funnier by the way Clinton looks in the picture they've chosen. Anyway it's a pretty lame joke to begin with.
"'I have to convince Hillary I'm cured'" reads the dek, to the left of the main photo on the page, which is a silhouette of a goofy-looking Anthony Weiner.
See, a friend of Weiner's gave a long interview to the Post in which it was explained that it took Weiner a while to realize he wouldn't bounce back from his shameful exit from the House so quickly; that there was not a line of publishers out his door with signed book contracts in hand or agents knocking down his door from ICM to broker a deal for him to get his own show on MSNBC. According to the friend, Weiner won't be "redeemed" until he has convinced his wife Huma Abedin, Huma's mother, and Hillary Clinton that he's OK now. Clinton, remember, is Abedin's boss, and reputedly very close to the woman. So Weiner's idea of having to redeem himself before the secretary of state has a lot less John Hinckley Jr. to it than it might appear at first blush.
It's worth noting that everything about this piece—including the syntax of the hed and dek, the arrangement of the pictures—is reminiscent of a News of the World headline about the made-up conflicts and plotlines in the real lives of British reality-television stars.
At the top of the page, the Post gives a strip to the latest breakdown in negotiations between players and management in the National Football League.
Daily News: How hot is it? Hot enough to cook an egg on the hood of your car! Hot enough that you have to keep your iPhone in your bag so you don't burn your nipples or thighs on it while walking outside! It's really hot.
But is it news out? The "Heat Dome" has been playing well in cable news now for days. It's likely to hit 103 degrees today, and after all it's Friday in summer, where real news goes to die. So why not?
I like these two guys sitting on crates on the street in front of a fan. They look like they are very warm. The headline says "COOL IT!" and there is a slight bow to news value: "Con Ed 'nervous' as temps near 100."
The News, too, gives us a bit of lockout fun, in a box along the left ("END OF LOCKOUT IS UP TO PLAYERS," with a picture of Eli Manning) and a smaller box with the news that M.T.A. chief Jay Walder announced yesterday he's leaving to go run the transit system in Hong Kong.
Observations: I like the News cover today—but it didn't take much to beat it, which is good for the Post, since they didn't have much. And what they did have, they played with their usual trashy élan.
Winner: The New York Post.