What’s easier, mocking a Frenchman or lauding Ray Kelly?

whats-easier-mocking-frenchman-or-lauding-ray-kelly
Today's tabloids, Feb. 27, 2012. ()
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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: Noted sports reviewer Mike Lupica has really got his arms around the whole question of police commissioner Ray Kelly's counterterrorism methods, which have recently come under fire from New Jerseyans like Newark mayor Cory Booker and Governor Chris Christie.

He says the real argument is between critics and people who actually get what Kelly is doing, and in a stirring kicker actually suggests that those who belong to the former camp should bestow kisses on his favorite commissioner's posterior. 

"GET LOST" reads the heavy black type, with an NYPD badge set in among the type. "Kelly shouldn't apologize for defending the city" reads the brave dek.

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So, with that taken care of, we can proceed to the main event: Last night's Academy awards. Two spreads inside are devoted to them, and the front page struggles the way all this morning's Oscar front pages struggle: The big winners were Meryl Streep, who has won three times already, and the silent film The Artist, which puts the tabloids in the difficult position of romanticizing Frenchmen. The News plays it straight: "MERYL, 'ARTIST' STEAL SHOW." There's a picture of Meryl Streep and Jean Dujardin are pictured, and there's a red star that reads "BEST OSCARS COVERAGE."

New York Post: Whereas the Post is not nearly so shy. A certain contingent will be angry that none of the figures they've been following in the paper's gossip pages these last few years could partake in the drama of an Academy Award win; on their behalf, the paper asks in big black letters, "SAY WHAT?" It's also a pun, since The Artist is a silent movie. "'Artist' win has H'wood speechless," reads the dek, though who in H'wood is speechless might be open to question, since the Academy of Motion Pictures that includes most of it gave The Artist the win.

"Wait, someone actually saw that movie?" scolds the Post in some lede text. You see, it's always snobbery when the Oscars don't just reflect ticket sales. The thing about it is that it's all so phony. 

Above the headline is a picture of the golden man statue, and the words OSCARS Special, the former rendered in a sort of fake embossed bronze, the latter in the kind of red script you usually see on sale items at National Wholesale Liquidators. Along the left is a picture of actor Rooney Mara, who as the star of the lame remake of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was the most sought-after celebrity for fashion houses this year. She was less successful with the actual awards.

Observations: Today should have been an easy day. If there's no news, a full page of Oscars coverage is a perfectly respectable front. If you're lucky, some real news breaks through and you can get something else in there, too. The News thought Mike Lupica's decision to defend the popular police commissioner hit this mark. The Post would have known it doesn't.

Winner: New York Post.