11:35 am Sep. 25, 20123
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?
I think these are the biggest letters I've ever seen on the front of the Daily News. "VILE" read the enormous red, white-outlined letters at the bottom of the page, over a picture of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad flashing a peace sign in an Associated Press photo yesterday here in New York. Those giant letters are probably there to make up for the many, many smaller letters in the incredibly long dek: "SHAME on the UN for letting this anti-Semite speak on the most sacred day of the Jewish year."
Denis Hamill doesn't seem to know how to pull out of his screed, repeating several phrases from his lead again at the bottom ("Even New York, the most tolerant city in the world, has its limits") in what looks more like a printing or editing error than a callback. An editorial further along makes the rather useless argument that the United Nations should ban Ahmadinejad; it's simply not ever going to happen, is it?
In the meantime, my favorite, and I think the most reasoned reaction to Ahmadinejad's strange utterances (which included a statement that Israel has no history in the Middle East and that he expects the nation to be "eliminated" in due course, and that friends of Salman Rushdie shouldn't admit he's in the United States) actually came from White House press secretary Jay Carney: "President Ahmadinejad says foolish, offensive and sometimes unintelligible things with great regularity."
To decide not to be bothered by Ahmadinejad's strange proclamations is not to fail to take seriously his state's nuclear ambitions, the threat it poses to Israel, the role it may be playing in Syrian atrocities, or the well-documented human rights abuses it has perpetuated inside Iran.
But if the General Assembly is going to be held during High Holy Days, and if Iran is not yet wholly disenfranchised by the U.N. for its failure to comply with oversight measures concerning its nuclear program, and if Iran is to be included among the countries that supply a representative for the unaligned states in the body, then I'm not sure how any of this could have been avoided, or what it means to condemn the U.N.
But if the U.N. is a favorite whipping boy of both tabloids, it's been an especially ripe target for the Post, which famously Photoshopped a picture of two members of the Security Council as weasels for their position on newly released evidence of an Iraqi nuclear program, which is funny since it turns out the weasels were right.
Today, though, they're both more and less outraged than the News. More, because they used a curse word. (It was enough to make Pat Kiernan refuse to hold up the paper for the cameras this morning in his daily "In the Papers" segment on NY1. "SH!T" is actually the word.) Less, because they're not really targeting the U.N. this time.
"PEACE OF SH!T" is the hed, referring to that A.P. photo of Ahmadinejad flashing two fingers.
(I think in my real life I would reserve the word "vile" for a worse class of person than "piece of shit," though its impact on a front page is probably profounder than in the vernacular.)
"A'jad flashes 'love' at UN but spews anti-Israel hate" reads the much simpler dek.
Some New York fans may be about ready to give up on this NFL season before it even gets going. Darrelle Revis is done for the season with a torn ACL, which means the Jets may be done as a playoff contender, too. And the game in which he was injured was a sloppy affair, poorly played and poorly officiated.
But that was nothing compared to what happened last night:
"Replacement refs rob Packers of win" reads a thin strip along the bottom of today's Post front page; a strip along the left of the News has the Revis news and touts a "NEW LOW FOR SCAB REFS."
(It's probably worth noting that that story is a late-edition swap for an amazed piece about J.K. Rowling's new book. Elements of the book's character were unearthed in a new profile in The New Yorker in which Ian Parker describes some very ... adult moments. "J.K. GOES FROM POTTER TO MUCH HOTTER" reads the text in editions preceding the sports final that had the scab-refs story.)
For the same reasons Pat Kiernan wouldn't show the paper on TV this morning, and even though I personally think it's less strong, I think "SH!T" will fly off the newsstands today. I also think "VILE" would have worked better in white with a black outline; it's a technical matter but red, while a loud color, is a lower contrast than white on a full-color photo background that is as dark as Ahmadinejad's suit, right? Still, that's the only mistake, in my opinion, the News made on its final-edition front, except for the mistake of not stooping to vulgarity.
Winner: New York Post.