Daily News gets frontal with the Post

Today's Daily News. ()
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The Daily News launched a rare front-page attack on its rival tabloid the New York Post this morning.

“NY Post big’s shameful Newtown diss” reads the red text across the top of the main wood. The big letters: “‘A little convenient massacre,’” a quote from Post state editor Fred Dicker.

Dicker was discussing the State of the State address with humorist Randy Credico yesterday when the two started talking about the SAFE Act, gun-control legislation passed in New York after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

“That was his anti-gun legislation, which he had promised not to do, but then he had a little convenient massacre that went on in Newtown, Conn., and all of a sudden there was an opportunity for him,” Dicker said.

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There was an almost immediate response from gun-control advocates and advocates for survivors and families of victims of the massacre calling on Dicker to apologize; in turn, Dicker argued that his remarks were taken out of context, and it was Cuomo’s manipulation of the tragedy he sought to criticize.

The News revels in the flub in its online edition, interspersing quotes from angry survivors, family members and their advocates with horrifying and memorable photos from the aftermath of the shooting.

Much of the time the famed New York City “tabloid war” between the New York Post and the Daily News is a mutually beneficial ruse: Defining themselves against each other the two papers consolidate their base readership and continue to exist in an uneasy détente, business-wise.

And News editor Colin Myler goes back a long time with Post editor Col Allan: The two worked together at the Post and were friends, though more recently sources have told Capital they don’t have much to do with each other.

But on the journalist side the two papers battle for every scoop and don’t always play nice.

Lately the News has been taking potshots at the Post for its continuing coverage of former De Blasio aide Lis Smith, whom the News first identified as the girlfriend of disgraced former governor and mayoral candidate Eliot Spitzer.

The Daily News got to break the story despite the fact that the Post had seemingly gotten to it first, staking out the operative’s apartment in advance of the News story, which cited anonymous sources to bolster its report.

Since then, the Lis Smith stakes have been high, with the Post expending every effort to regain the perception of ownership with its relentless continued reporting; they largely succeeded, most recently with a report on a vacation in Jamaica in which the Post cited witnesses saying that a topless Smith was having her toes sucked by Spitzer in a hot tub in plain view of families vacationing at the resort.

The News used column inches inside the paper to poke holes in the story.

It’s hard to imagine Col Allan taking this on the chin, but expect the payback in a different coinage: There’s not much the Post can do to defend Dicker’s phrasing without digging a deeper hole, and there will be opportunities aplenty for the Post to plunge a dagger in the back of the News in the coming weeks as they fight over every single scoop.