Julie Warning isn’t quite Mary Kay Letourneau and Dawnelle Yaeger’s victim may not be a ‘delivery man’

Today's tabloids, May 30, 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: What a "KNOCK OUT!"

Dawnelle Yaeger, the "Jeweler to stars," has been "busted for beating guy over parking spot." There's a picture of her on the front page with her arms raised, seemingly dancing, in a low-cut halter dress, her blond hair pulled tight into a ponytail. So far so good

But from here, the News story doesn't match up with the rest of the (voluminous) coverage of the incident, which actually took place a week ago. The front-page story gets exactly one column inside the paper, on page 6, set in a giant picture of Yaeger, with pictures of some of her jewelry, a snapshot of the Christopher Street parking location where she got into the fight, and Meng Dong, the "Chinese immigrant" who police say she punched before hitting him vigorously about the head with her umbrella in a parking-space dispute.

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I put "Chinese immigrant" in scare quotes because, despite the fact that he grants an interview, he is also called a "delivery man" later in the piece. In the Post, Meng Dong describes himself as a masseuse, manicurist and pedicurist at a men's spa in the West Village. 

But among my friends the real burning questions have been about Sophia Anderson, the 21-year-old who drove a Mercedes Benz straight through the Huntington, L.I. house of an octogenarian woman. Mostly because the Post called her a "hipster" yesterday—why? The only pictures of her showed a girl with long brown hair in a polo shirt with bruises on her face. And most importantly, what was a hipster doing in Huntington?

The answer to question 2: Her boyfriend's parents have a big house there, and he had nabbed the Benz from their driveway for the joyride. This is the boy who police said was "polite," and today, the News reports he tried to shake the hand of the woman whose house his mom's car had just literally torn through.

And the first: That's harder. They are young, these two; she works at a big-box sushi joint in Union Square and lives in a Bushwick loft where she "parties" a lot. But increasingly Williamsburg and Bushwick and Greenpoint are becoming home to kids you would never classify as hipsters; they're just young people. So, I'm not buying the hipster thing.

Anyway it doesn't matter much since the News didn't get involved in any of that silly stuff. Today, again, they go straight for a picture of lots of bottles of beer and a really long headline: "How many beers does it take to plow a car through a house?" I don't know! She had a high blood-alcohol level according to the initial police report though she refused the more accurate Breathalyzer. (Smart move!)

New York Post: Julie Warning is hardly Mary Kay Letourneau. For one thing, she is only 26, and the student she is alleged to have been conducting a relationship with is 18. But just because it isn't any kind of statutory rape doesn't mean the Department of Education approves of teachers conducting affairs with students.

It should be said that both Warning and the student deny that the woman in the video, shot by another student, is her at all. This seems unlikely to be true, since the student was standing there watching them while shooting the video. On its face, the cover of the Post is a blurry photo of two people not that different in age "canoodling" on a park bench.

"TEACHER'S PET" reads the knockout-white text below; "Caught in act with student." It's billed as a "PHOTO EXCLUSIVE" in a red snipe across the upper left. Presumably that means that while the video is around, the shooter of the video agreed to give the Post the only print reproduction rights. But I'll allow anyone from the Post to clear me up on this point if I'm wrong. And, that's it!

Observations: It's pretty sad that the News fronts two stories on which the Post decisively beat them on the inside pages. And they both feel old a bit by this morning anyway; the Jeweler-beatdown story because it was viral on the web yesterday, and the Sophia Anderson story because the News didn't feed us anything we wanted. This would be a total steal if the couple the Post has on its front were a little more scandalous than they are. As it is they are breaking guidelines, and all you want to do is issue them a demerit. Still, it suggests steamy, "hot-for-teacher" action inside, which people will buy. Their remorse doesn't really cost the Post a dime.

Winner: New York Post.