7:54 am Sep. 29, 20112
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: One of the stories the Post today bills an "exclusive," it is important to note, contains not a single on-the-record source (though the story has a shirttail of commentary on the affair from Roger Stone). But importantly, nowhere will you find a line like "a spokesman for the governor refused to comment for this story," or even "top aides to the governor did not return calls seeking comment." The calls are coming from inside the nascent campaign of Governor Chris Christie, allowing the Post to publish a front-page headline that reads "Chris opens door to prez run," beneath a postage-stamp picture of Christie. Here's a breakdown of the piece by source attribution:
The renewed consideration about a White House run came after prodding this week from some Republicans he idolizes, including former First Lady Nancy Reagan, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and former President George W. Bush.
[When] the governor first arrived at the Reagan library, he was still telling his inner circle he was a definite “no” for a presidential run-and planned to make that clear in his appearance … Something changed that night …
Behind the scenes … the discussions about running took on a more serious and “surreal tenor,” as the encouragement from Reagan, Kissinger, Bush and others began to sink in.
Christie is ready to put a presidential campaign together “pretty fast.”
Months ago, his top advisers roughed out a finance plan that could be put into play immediately.
A Republican party insider declared:
[If] Christie gets the nomination “he would be a formidable force in uniting the base and winning over independents.
“A Christie candidacy may not be a lock on the White House, but his positive effect down-ballot would almost guarantee a GOP House and Senate.”
A source close to the Christie family said:
Even Christie’s wife, Mary Pat, has warmed to the idea of becoming First Lady after months of discouraging a run.
She originally thought a presidential campaign would upend their family. But she got a phone call from former First Lady Barbara Bush, who reassured her the challenge is manageable …
Mary Pat Christie now is committed to supporting whatever her husband decides ...
Christie pals said:
[The] pol’s “mind-blowing” experience at the Reagan library in California Tuesday changed his thinking.
A source close to Christie said:
“It’s more than just flattering” [to be courted by Reagan, Bush and Kissinger] ... adding they helped convince Christie that he not only could win, but that he has what it takes to be president.
It's probably the biggest story in the 2012 campaign right now, and a piece of it is local. This is a nice big break, and further confirmation that it's going to be highly useful to the Post to have Star-Ledger guy Josh Margolin around for as long as this Christie thing lasts.
But it's not what takes up most of the page. That honor goes to 29-year-old Charles Burnett, the man who held up a lower Manhattan bank three times in three days. By the third time, the Post had published a picture of him, and two cops nearby recognized him leaving the bank. He's under arrest. "STICK 'EM UP, UP, UP!" reads the main hed in knockout-white text on a black field. "Bandit hit SAME bank 3 days in a row." It's also billed as an exclusive. Teller Danielle Stevens: "Obviously he wanted to get caught. He didn’t seem like he was all there."
Daily News: Crime isn't paying on the front of the News today either, with the apparent attempted sexual assault by a clean-cut man in his 50s with a salt-and-pepper goatee dressed like a construction worker cut short by a "hero dad." Ex-marine Bryan Teichman was dropping off his daughter around 9 a.m. when he heard the muffled screams of a woman in the road outside. He saw the assailant throw the woman across a guard-rail into a wooded area at the side of the road and ran to help. He decided to scare the guy off, shouting, rather than attempt to beat and detain him; the man ran off up the Clearview Expressway and is being hunted by police. Though he stopped what was likely an attempted rape, Teichman seems to doubt he did the right thing not detaining the assailant. The woman's friends don't think so and are calling him a hero. So is the News:
"HERO DAD STOPS RAPE" reads the knockout-white text over a black field. There's a small headshot of Teichman. "Ex-marine chases off thug, saves woman from sex attack."
That's the big news story, but the loving-care treatment is given to last night's amazing baseball.
The Mets exit on a sour note, as Jose Reyes bunted to achieve a batting title, then was pulled from the game by coach Terry Collins. It's a big deal because the Ponzi-afflicted Mets may not have enough money to pay Reyes to stay once he becomes a free agent, which he becomes now, after the regular season. News columnist Filip Bondy thinks the whole thing should have been handled better, and that a just-in-case last, great moment should have been arranged for the star hitter, for the benefit of fans.
Also, within three minutes of each other the Red Sox choked and the Tampa Rays surged, capping one of the greatest regular-season collapses (and regular-season comebacks) ever, and giving Tampa a wild-card playoff slot the Sox seemed to have had locked up. It was the Yankees the Rays beat, but it's all good news because the Yankees won the divisions and didn't need the wild-card slot. Mostly everyone seems happy the Sox are out, in the New York papers at least. (Probably Major League Baseball is secretly sad, though, since the Sox are a much, much more interesting team to fans than the Rays are.)
A strip across the top of the page is committed to indictments in the case of Future Technology Associates, the lucky procurers of a big Department of Education contract that News columnist Juan Gonzalez had previously probed for contract-padding, subcontracting friends and helpers, and worse. "NEWS GETS ACTION IN CITY CONTRACT SCAM," reads the yellow text on a red stripe at the top of the page.
Observations: Overall it's a good day for both papers, with lots of decisions to make. I don't fault any of them. The Post short-shrifts last night's action in baseball perhaps, but then that's a decision you have to make when you've got a great sell on a crime story exclusive and an exclusive of national significance. That's finally what wins the day: These are both good papers, but the Post's biggest hit is a bigger hit than all of the News' combined.
Winner: The New York Post.