TABLOIDED: Who Got the NYPD Drug Scandal Exclusive?


It would be easy to give the Daily News a big Simpsons-style “Ha Ha” this morning, adding “Your front-page ‘exclusive’ was on page 2 of the Post” in a Ralph Wiggum voice. But in Tabloidland things are not always what they seem.

The News exclusive on what could shape up to be a pretty devastating NYPD drug scandal does seem to have more and better information than the Post story. In fact—and it’s hard to tell without seeing the early editions—the Post might not have had the story in its early edition at all. It may have just jammed a quick “match” into the second edition of the paper to spoil the News’ party. But, listen up, Posties, we’ll be the judge of these matters.

The News’ Alison Gendar and William Sherman report that 20 cops from the Brooklyn South Narcotics detail were given desk duty while the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau investigates charges that the officers took sex, drugs and cash from both junkies and dealers. The Post however only has that the Brooklyn DA and Internal Affairs are looking over records. The Post story notes in paragraph 3 that four of the Finest have already been suspended. Ho-hum. Old news.

The News also names the names of the brass who got reassigned amid the probe: commanding officer of citywide narcotics, Deputy Chief James O’Neill; the head of Brooklyn South Narcotics, Inspector James O’Connell, and two Brooklyn South Narcotics captains, John Maldari and Joseph Terranova.

And just how high up does the corruption go? “You have a handful of guys basically shaking down drug dealers,” one source told the News . “Given that these officers were not the smartest bulbs in the box, how secret could it have been? Where were the bosses? Asleep? Complicit? Intimidated?”

Could this be another “Dirty 30?” Stay tuned. And kudos to the News . It was an exclusive after all.

For its front page, the Post goes with Tom Brady and some silly name calling, running a picture of the Patriots quarterback walking down a Village street with a foot brace and carrying flowers for Gisele Bundchen. The Post ‘s wood poses the question: “Who’s afraid of Tom Brady now?” The subhed reads “Girlie man limps home.”

This is just wrong and silly on so many levels. First, while the Giants shouldn’t fear Brady, they ought to respect him. Second, hasn’t society gotten beyond trying to insult men with the “girl” tag? Third, how does bringing flowers to a beautiful supermodel that he is presumably sleeping with make Tom Brady “a petal-pushing flower boy?” Doesn’t that just make him way more cooler than, say, any editor or scribe who feebly try to question his virility?

You’ve got to give the Post some props for highlighting “Spygate” incident by keeping that that asterisk next to Patriot’s record. If they didn’t invent the Patriots asterisk, they did their best to popularize it. And their decent page 5 list “10 reasons to hate Pats,” which notes that “They have the lamest logo in the history of the NFL” and “Only New Englanders brag about being “minutemen” might elicits a few yuk yuks, but the frontpage shot at Brady seems a stretch. Stick with attacking Belichick.

The Post continues the sports angle with their coverage of Rudy Giuliani’s dissipating presidential campaign noting that Yankee’s outfielder Johnny Damon endorsed Rudy. And why does Damon support Giuliani? 9/11, of course. Both papers note—and you can almost hear the regret in both accounts—that Sen. John McCain is now leading Rudy in his home state of New York.

While the Post has an interesting exclusive on page 3 about another all-too-familiar Medicaid scam (including a local dentist who claimed to have done 270 filings in a single day), the News has the goods on a slaying in a Times Square night club. The Post has a 125-word squib on page 12 about the killing of Samir Wilkens at Spotlight Live on 49th and Broadway, but the News gives the story a little fuller treatment noting that the “souped-up karaoke joint” allows guests to sing alongside “megastars such as Kanye West, Alicia Keys and Jennifer Lopez.” Is that correct? Why would any star want to sing karaoke alongside their fans? That sounds odd.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told the News that “it’s a location where some hip-hop artists apparently were last night.” Damn. This is sounds like a job for the NYPD’s super secret “hip-hop squad.” Oh wait. They don’t exist, right?

PEYSER POETRY: The Post ‘s former “columnist of the year,” Andrea Peyser tries for a few laughs at the expense of Virgilio Cintron, the Hells Kitchen man who found fame in death when his neighborhood buddies tried to cash one last Social Security check in a “Weekend at Bernies”-style scheme. Peyser goes to the funeral home and is surprised when “a woman with a cane—but no funny bone—commanded me to leave.” How dare that woman with a cane have no funny bone at the funeral home!

Why would she do that? Because she was mourning the death of someone she loved despite his flaws and addictions? Or is it perhaps that she knew Peyser would dedicate a column to insulting Cintron, whom she described as “the sickly little dead man” and suggested that he was a “scuzzy human”?


Saturday’s Post had an excellent first-person story from Andy Soltis about how he almost beat Bobby Fischer at chess. Couldn’t let that gem pass without comment.


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