2:34 pm Aug. 16, 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: I can't quite get my head around the substance of this black market in babies the Post bills as an "EXCLUSIVE" on its front today.
Of course it's not the news that three women ran a surrogacy agency that illegally recruited surrogates, had them impregnated in Ukraine, then relocated them to the U.S. while luring wealthy parents on the other side with fake parent profiles to snatch up the babes after they were born. The three pleaded guilty to the charges last week.
What the Post offers today is the story of a socialite, ex of William Lauder of Esté Lauder-fortune fame, who was the target parent the Federal Bureau of Investigation used to build its case against the baby-selling ring. And so, appropriately, the byline, and presumably the beneficiary of this story placement, is Emily Smith, editor of the paper's Page Six column and not normally a crime reporter. The story is built entirely from an interview with Taylor Stein. To be honest, it's hard to sympathize with someone who's willing to use a surrogacy agency to "buy" a child without any of the normal procedures, which include meeting and playing a role in the health and development of the child and surrogate mother. To us, buying babies seems just weird, whether the people selling are following federal regulations on the practice or no. Also, Stein is working on a documentary about herself and the whole thing. (We'll see … but it gets a nice mention at the end of the article!)
Plenty of people will be compelled to buy this issue though, with its professional-grade mother-and-baby portrait of a pretty blonde woman and her apple-cheeked Ukrainian adopted son. The text is suitably outrageous: A middle-weight type running the length of the lefthand margin that reads simply, "This baby was sold on the black market for $180,000." You can't get much more direct than that.
Daily News: Over at the News, a front-page article was built mostly off the following quote:
"It has been almost a frenzy," said Michael Toback, the president and owner of the gold company Myron Toback Inc.
"It's wild. People are trying to get the money before it drops."
Wild indeed! There's gold in them thar frills! Unfortunately for most people dropping by Toback's shop, your crucifix is probably not pure enough gold to get the current market price of more than $1,800 per ounce, an all-time high reached last week that shows few signs of leveling off. So Bronx native Rachel Perez shopped around an 18-karat gold crucifix.
"I want to sell it, but I need a good price," she told the News.
In sports, are mediocre performances ever front-page material? "AJ OK IN KC" is a headline that takes the marketing of averageness to daring new heights. We wish it luck.
Observations: I don't like the baby-broker story. Its socialite angle is tenuous and unsexy, and the "victim" who is given such a glowing portrait is a bit hard to sympathize with. But really, there's no contest today.
Winner: The New York Post.