8:00 am Jul. 26, 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: Rape victims beware! Going to news sources like Newsweek and "Good Morning America" instead of The New York Post could kill your case. That at least is the main headline on today's New York Post. In fact, actually, the Manhattan district attorney's office has the same message for you.
"UNMAID" reads the main hed on today's Post wood. "Blabber hurts case vs. DSK" is the dek.
There are pictures of Nafissatou Diallo and Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the players in an international scandal that pits a midtown Sofitel hotel maid against the former head of the International Monetary Fund, who was a contender to replace Nicolas Sarkozy as prime minister of France.
All of the sources inside the story—which mostly compares Diallo's statements to other media outlets yesterday to previous reporting in rival newspaper The New York Times, without feeling ashamed of itself on professional standards of any sort, either competitive or ethical--are anonymous, but from the district attorney's Office.
Is Cyrus Vance using The New York Post to get out of prosecuting this Very Important Person? (I've asked the D.A.'s office whether they're planning to conduct any form of inquiry into these leaks, which clearly compromise the case. I'll let you know if I get a response.)
Here's a thing: "There is simply no meaningful comparison between the role of the first lady of the United States and the first lady of Brooklyn." So "scoffed" Administrative Law Judge Kevin Casey when he gave Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz a $20,000 fine for paying for trips around the world with his wife, Jamie. The picture of her is almost mean; she's a pretty enough lady but she looks like your next-door neighbor's aunt, not made-up for television. Her silhouette sits next to the words "FOIST LADY!" I am awarding this headline the best of year so far. The story may not matter much. But the notion of this lady being "foisted" upon world leaders by Marty Markowitz as some sort of minor dignitary is too lovely to contemplate, and too beautifully rendered in the headline. To boot, "FOIST" is the way Markowitz would pronounce "FIRST" in one of his most annoying bids to be considered "Most New Yorky Person Ever."
Daily News: What is one to do in the face of this trackless blandness? I won't bother much. There's one headline about the National Football League reaching an agreement; another about how fines for fare-jumpers don't cost as much as riding regularly. It's really not worth your 75 cents.
Observations: Execrable as the Post is today, it has a story to sell. I've been saying for ages that the reason the Post is immune from the phone-hacking scandal embroiling its owners in the U.K. is that its standards are too high. It's only since the D.S.K. scandal unfolded that I've started to wonder whether I've been right.
Plus: "FOIST LADY!"
Winner: The New York Post.