3:41 pm Jul. 8, 20111
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?
The New York Post: The Post is selling cheesecake today, with a big huge picture of Casey Anthony looking crazy and hot and, in context, very evil, and a small inset picture of her looking plain and apparently as close to contrite as she's capable of looking. This pretty much tells the whole story. But the display copy states the premise for you anyway.
The hed is "DRESSED TO KILL." The dek is "Casey ready to party with mother of all makeovers."
It's very much the right story choice for men-readers, if the scene at the Modern Barber Shop on Broadway and 31st Street in Astoria yesterday morning was any indication whatsoever. Live coverage of the decision was playing on the TV in the corner, and let's just say it was great place to be if you wanted to hear a spirited conversation about Casey Anthony, and a very bad place to be if you were waiting to get your hair cut before taking the train into Manhattan.
But the Post tries to have its cake and eat it too, putting the evil-pretty picture on the front and then turning things over inside the paper to Andrea Peyser, who, in a hard-to-read column, described Anthony as "tarted up like a Florida sorority girl looking for a hookup" and "looking nightclub-sexy in a lavender sweater dress designed to show off her generous curves" and "hot, in a hooker-behind-bars kind of way."
So basically the cover is saying "Buy this paper!" and the inside is saying "Did you buy this paper? You are disgusting!" Andrea Peyser's name does not appear on the front, as it sometimes does. I'm thinking that decision was deliberate.
There's also a little strip across the bottom that says "JETER FEVER! DEREK NEEDS 2 HITS FOR 3,000."
Daily News: The News, by contrast, does not want any part of any heated conversations that are going on anywhere near where I live or work. A little more than half the page is given over to a story that carries the headline "BAM ADOPT SHOCK" above a dek that says "Book: Barack's dad wanted to give him up."
The photo, which is a great photo, but one that you have seen 500 times, is the poignant, bad-quality color picture of chubby young Barry Obama standing proudly next to his dad.
It's not an unimportant story, because a new biographical detail about the leader of the free world is a new biographical detail about the leader of the free world. But it's not local and it's not original to the News and it's not, when you get down to it, even that shocking: Obama's father, when he was a 24-year-old college student maneuvering to try to stay in the country, told an immigration official something he might or might not have believed to be true about an idea that was never acted upon to put his unborn son up for adoption. (Call me when Andrew Rice is around to explain what this really means.)
The rest of the page is taken up with a pile of stuff: a skybox advertising a lottery, a skybox advertising a Yankees poster, the News flag and, below that, a narrow, pinstriped strip that says "JETER ONLY NEEDS TWO MORE!"
Observations: I figured the News would be in a saucy mood today, what with Rupert Murdoch's empire being on fire and all. They saved all their Schadenfreude for the inside: the hed on their page 3 News of the World story is "DIE, TABLOID, DIE!" Whee! (The Post's News of the World story is on page 29. The headline is "The end of News of the World.")
As it is, it's like one paper tried today and one didn't.
Winner: The New York Post.