With ‘House of Turds,’ Daily News out-Posts the Post (again)

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Today's 'Daily News' front-page image. ()
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The Daily News has out-Posted the New York Post again.

As far as the warring tabloids' daily cover battle goes, there was a time when the Post would have been expected to run an over-the-top treatment of a national political saga while the News (derisively referred to by its rivals as "The Snooze") promoted small-bore local fare, with often sedate photo treatments and headlines.

Today, the News "wood" (tabloid parlance for the front page) castigates congress with a "House of Cards" satire ("HOUSE OF TURDS")—the text all done up to look like the promotional material for the Netflix Beltway drama, and subbing out Kevin Spacey for House Speaker John Boehner, described in a cutline as "[having] nothing" on the hit series' "diabolical" protagonist (which seems actually a bit the reverse of what they mean to say, but no matter). The display copy at the bottom of the page reads: "United we suffer as cess-pols play liar's poker with gov't shutdown."

The Post, meanwhile, devoted most of its front-page real estate to the "MOTOR PSYCHOS" who terrorized a frightened family on a Harlem stretch of West Side Highway yesterday. The Washington shutdown was relegated to a narrow box along the left-hand margin with a stock image of Uncle Sam and a "Sorry, We're CLOSED" sign.

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It was another signal that the game has changed since British tabloid honcho and ex-Post no. 2 Colin Myler assumed the News editorship nearly two years ago. Myler, who previously edited the infamous News of the World, has given the News a jolt of old-school tabloid adrenaline, reminding readers that New York is still a two-tabloid town.

And he's had an extra advantage these past two months: As far as we can tell, Post editor-in-chief (and Myler's former boss) Col Allan is still on temporary leave. Some Post journalists had heard Allan was scheduled to return today, but sources said there was still no sign of him in the newsroom and that he definitely wasn't around when the paper was being put to bed last night. (One wonders whether the shutdown cover might have looked different if he had been.)

And so it was Myler who collected the accolades today that used to be the sole property of a Post cover.

"OK everyone. Let's go home. Nothing will top this New York Daily News front page about the government shutdown," gushed The Huffington Post, while The Atlantic Wire ranked it no. 1 among today's front pages nationwide, noting: "We were expecting more from The Post."

The News must be thankful for the applause: Just two weeks ago, it was skewered for a cover that publicized misinformation about the deadly Washington Navy Yard shooting.