1:17 pm Jan. 10, 2013
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?
CEREAL OFFENDER: Though some of the injuries in yesterday morning's crash of the Seastreak ferry Wall Street into Pier 11 in lower Manhattan were gruesome—one report said a victim was scalped as the boat plowed into the pier, throwing passengers sometimes as far as 15 feet and through glass windows and doors and off stairways—none are expected to be life-threatening. I can imagine the Post newsroom waiting to be sure before sealing the deal on this morning's wood.
"CAP'N CRUNCH" reads the text, over a photo by Gabriella Bass showing a row of commuters strapped into EMT spine-boards, their necks braced. "74 hurt as NYC ferry smashes into dock." (The number has since gone up to 93, but still no life-threatening injuries expected.)
Next to some lead text is a picture of the captain, 36-year-old Jason Reimer, who passed a breathalyzer test on the scene, is regarded as an ace captain by coworkers and other captains who ply the rough waters of New York Harbor, and who was said by a representative of Seastreak to be "not doing well," presumably emotionally.
The ferry has been involved in three other docking accidents, and was recently fitted with a new jet water propulsion system over the summer. Reimer is an authority on sea captainship in the harbor, and spoke at a conference last year titled "Busy Harbor, Rough Waters."
BIG GUN: It's kind of hard to imagine why the same story isn't on the front of the News this morning, until you consider that the paper has, since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, made a hobby horse out of the gun-control issue. Since Cuomo's speech was at times an almost hectoringly loud call to arms (or the opposite) and set out a gun policy that is as aggressive as any in the country, it had to be on the front. And if it shared the page, it would have just gotten watered down.
Frankly, a State of the State speech, however stirring, needs a bit of propping up. In this case they've got a silhouette of the governor looking a bit like he is shouting down a gun murderer right then and there, superimposed in a slightly weird way on a brass sheriff badge (which also peeks out from a weird layer mask under his neck) and, above that, an assault rifle. "AMERICA'S SHERIFF" reads the main hed. "Fiery Cuomo leads way on gun ban."
The paper advertises four pages of coverage (thankfully ditching the 4,5,6,7 convention of recent popularity in the tabloids for the soberer and more legible "PAGES 4-7").
OBSERVATIONS: Whatever malaise may be plaguing the Post these days (at least in my opinion), it's important to remember that on one single day a snappy hed joined with a big story can offer reprieve. From the depths of the paper's fatigue, CAP'N CRUNCH emerged. It's a lucky thing, because without that headline, the cover, though important, wouldn't have compelled grabby hands at the newsstand. I'm a great advocate for gun control, but I do always feel yelled at by Andrew Cuomo when he speaks, and somehow this picture of him on the front page of the News makes me want to not buy it.
Perhaps a prejudice. And obviously the whole country is watching as Cuomo, by his own admission, competes with the White House to see who can get something done quicker. It's a noble sort of competition, as the tabloid war is often not. And therefore, CAP'N CRUNCH.
WINNER: New York Post.