10:29 am Oct. 27, 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?
Daily News: It's one thing to put news that broke all over the Internet the day before on the front page of your paper. If it's big enough, you've got to do it even if everyone already knows the whole story. Maybe you can find an angle. Maybe there's a point of view your readers want to see expressed in the front-page treatment.
What makes the case of Rajat Gupta, a former Goldman Sachs director, special is that The Wall Street Journal had the story the day before yesterday, and printed it in yesterday's papers. This was of course in advance of Gupta's indictment on charges he aided infamous inside-trader Raj Rajaratnam in his billion-dollar scheme. So the actual indictment came yesterday.
There's a big picture of Gupta; "GREED STREET" reads the big knockout-white text, with a dek that reads "Fat cat gets $10M bail in country's largest insider-trading case." Boy, this guy looks like a James Bond villain, though. That's one thing you didn't get out of the Journal piece.
The Giants didn't play this past weekend so the News' Gary Myers is left to a long and digression-prone essay on whether Eli Manning is an "elite" quarterback. (Remember this non-debate?) He was, a while ago, and then he kinda wasn't. But lately he sort of is. "ELI WAS RIGHT!" proclaims the pale-yellow text in a box along the left margin of the front page, over a picture of Manning, face tense with effort. "MYERS ON QB'S BID FOR ELITE STATUS."
634 high school kids in Brooklyn were served by a single toilet, a situation that was corrected after the News started reporting on it. The hed is "634 KIDS, 1 TOILET."
New York Post: Last night on "60 Minutes," Ruth Madoff bared her soul to Morley Safer. On Christmas Eve of 2008, she and her husband took sleeping pills. It was Ambien, she thinks, and she's not sure how much, in a suicide bid. But they didn't leave a note. "It was very impulsive," Madoff told Safer in her scratchy, New Yorky voice, "and I'm glad we woke up."
Once again, not the Post's news; I doubt very much whether Madoff would have given her first public comments to the tabloid that tortured her and her husband in the wake of the massive scandal that unraveled around them back then. Still, it's big. And the Post loves the Madoffs story, with all its tendrils reaching out into the constituency the paper aspires to speak for.
"Ruth Madoff's first interview" is the hed; "BERNIE & I HAD SUICIDE PACT" appears in a red box with white type.
(Apparently The New York Times' Diana Henriques also interviewed Madoff but agreed not to publish the full article until this coming Sunday. What's kind of shocking is how identical the quotes in the Times piece and the clip from "60 Minutes" appear to be. And of course whether Safer or Henriques interviewed Madoff first doesn't matter much; it's when they get it to us.)
But there is definitely a main event in today's front pages, and it's on the Post.
"WORKERS' REVOLT!" reads the giant black type. "Anti-rich volunteers fed up with homeless" reads the dek. There is a little picture of a young protester with a sign that reads "KEEP YOUR COINS, I WANT CHANGE," which is a nice riff on the old Taco Bell campaign, CHANGE IS GOOD. Billed as an exclusive, the story takes some puzzling turns along the way, and never quite reaches its port of call, which is: OCCUPY WALL STREET PROTESTERS ARE HYPOCRITES WHO HATE THE HOMELESS. It's worth mentioning that it was the Post that popularized the story line of "just plain homeless" people and gropers and sex assaulters piling on to Occupy Wall Street for the free grub. But that's the privilege the Post has, of making the distinction. It's not one the protest can take for itself:
“We need to limit the amount of food we’re putting out” to curb the influx of derelicts, said Rafael Moreno, a kitchen volunteer.
A security volunteer added that the cooks felt “overworked and underappreciated.”
Many of those being fed “are professional homeless people. They know what they’re doing,” said the guard at the food-storage area.
The Post never says that it wouldn't kill the protesters to serve nice food to homeless people. But it's unmistakably what we're supposed to think.
Observations: It's just not a great day for newspapers, I think. But we had fun there for a minute, didn't we? And I think that's a good predictor of who wins today.
Winner: New York Post.