TABLOIDED: The Daily News vs. The Post


TGIF! Judging by today’s front page of our two tabs, it’s already time to start thinking about the weekend. And this weekend, it means thinking about—you guessed it—football.

The Post devotes its entire front to Giants-related content. The left rail works as a table of contents for their sports coverage that includes “3 plays that will win it for Giants.” Shouldn’t a paper that’s always so concerned with not giving aid and comfort to the enemy not tout these things on the front page, or is this some form of reverse psychology in case any Green Bay brass are reading?

The other part of page one features a picture of the cast of Seinfeld, complete with “YADA YADA YADA” headline. Apparently the sitcom, which despite its incessant syndicated reruns hasn’t had a new episode in nearly a decade, is Giants QB Eli Manning’s favorite show. A TV station in Green Bay is yanking its Saturday rerun so that Manning can’t watch it the day before the game. Once the show’s eponymous star got wind of this, Jerry Seinfeld said he’d send Manning the complete series on DVD for good luck.

Luck, fate, divine intervention: all these tropes find their way into sports coverage almost every day. Just think of all those stories you’ve read about “miracle teams” and players thanking God every time they do well. You’ve got the Curse of the Bambino, the billy goat and William Penn. One of the recent enduring “curses” across all sports is the curse of the Sports Illustrated cover. Legend has it that the athlete who appears on the cover of SI before a crucial game or match loses. The Daily News notes this week’s cover subject is Green Bay Packers QB Brett Favre and hopes that it invokes The Curse. The accompanying page-2 story tells of fervent Green Bay fans lining up outside a local newsstand hours before the issues appear to buy copies. Crazy dedicated fans are also the subject of the page-3 Giants piece. Apparently some fans of Big Blue are shaving the team’s logo into their heads. The “gouging” continues with scalped ticket prices for Sunday’s matchup.

But despite all this dreaming of the weekend, there’s still one more workday in the way. The News gets down to business by mentioning the 307-point stock plunge yesterday. The photo of a rich white dude suffering what appears to be a migraine brought on by the loss of millions is pretty rich. (See, I can play the pun game too.)

The other piece getting a piece of front-page real estate is an interview with WCBS weekend morning news anchor Steve Bartelstein, who is suffering from testicular cancer. Apparently Bartelstein’s chemotherapy treatments have not been successful, and doctors tell him the cancer may have spread to his brain. Stories like this are powerful, not only because of the tragedy in the narrative, but because the person is so familiar. Local news anchors become part of your family in a distant, televisual way. They possess an accessible, yet still slightly glamorous, level of celebrity.

The other big tragedy in the papers today—and, as mentioned previously, for much of the foreseeable future—is the Nixzmary Brown trial. Today’s chapter exposes the implements of torture used on the poor girl. Both the Post and the News have photographs displaying the pieces of evidence—everyday household items such as duct tape and bungee cords that were used to bind and torture the child. The tabloids also each columnists covering the trial: Andrea Peyser for the Post and Jane Ridley for the News. It’s probably no coincidence that they are both female.

In political news, Mayor Bloomberg gave his State of the City address yesterday. The News featured a two-page spread on the speech, including bullet points of the proposed initiatives (tax cuts, revamping 311, etc.) and a story about how Bloomberg wants to change standards for middle school graduation. An analysis piece by Kirsten Danis notes that if the mayor wants to run for president, he’s going to have to be a little flashier. The Post relegates its State of the City coverage to a story in a 2-page spread about the economy in general. The banner headline is “BUSH ‘BUCKS’ A GRIM TREND,” and stories include how Bush is going to “rescue” the economy and Albany’s predicted $4.4 billion budget shortfall. City issues are somewhat buried in the layout.

But enough bad news. It’s Friday, and we need some feel-good stories! How about the deli clerk who bought himself a scratch ticket as a treat to himself for having to work the New Year’s Day shift? According to the Post, 22-year-old Waleed Alasaidi hit it big with his purchase. Alasaidi will receive $10,000 a week for the rest of his life, to the tune of at least $10,000,000.

Odds and Ends
Bizarre But True A Queens woman would suffer an epileptic seizure every time she heard Sean Paul’s song “Temperature.” Surgery has cured her of these “Grand ‘Paul’ Seizures.” (Great headline, Post!)

Best Obit Headline The Post on the death of costume designer Bill Belew: “Elvis costumer has left building.” Belew designed the black leather outfit Presley wore in his 1968 comeback special.

Non-Giants Sports Fandom The News introduces us to a Staten Island Knicks fan who has a Knicks license plate that reads “FDOLAN,” a message to Madison Square Garden Chairman James Dolan.

Twisted Metal Both the News and the Post have some pretty gnarly photos of the crash between a firetruck and a tractor-trailer in Queens.


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