TABLOIDED: Political and Sports Battle Royale


This is going to be a week of trash-talking, both on the football field and the campaign trail. Both tabs went with the “Super Bowl/election” angle on page one today. The Post highlights “Wild Bill” Clinton, who compared Barack Obama’s victory in the South Carolina primary to Jesse Jackson’s wins in the southern state in both 1984 and 1988. The remark drew outrage, and Hillary Clinton (you know, the Clinton actually running for president) said her husband got carried away defending her honor.

The Daily News leads with the same story, but puts Hill on the front page along with her plea to “CALM DOWN!” The photo accompanying the page-7 story is of Mrs. Clinton “enjoy[ing a] choir’s rendition of ‘I Need You, You Need Me” at church service in Memphis yesterday.” Clinton is seated, with her hand over her heart. It looks as if she’s about to faint from the pressure of the campaign—the ultimate “swoon.” The color version on the News’ website makes her look even more unhinged.

The other big election story this week is the Florida primary, which is supposed to be Rudy Giuliani’s saving grace, his last-ditch effort to stay in the race for the Republican nomination. Most of the country has written the former mayor off at this point, but the tabs are following him to the bitter end. David Saltonstall’s analysis of the Giuliani campaign in Florida notes “The date on the calendar will say 1/29, but for Rudy Giuliani, tomorrow is a day that—like 9/11—will undoubtedly define him for years to come.” The photo of Rudy wiping his brow at a Boca Raton synagogue shows that he’s “feel[ing] the heat.” You know it’s bad when even Charles Hurt of the Post remarks that hey, maybe your arrogance was your great undoing. Wednesday’s coverage of the Florida tallies will be something to look forward to this week.

The other big battle in the area this week is, of course, the Super Bowl. This New England/New York matchup has shades of Yankees/Red Sox coverage all over again. The News tracks Eli Manning’s career trajectory from “Karaoke Kid to Super Bowl Star,” while the Post pits Pats QB Tom Brady against Manning to determine “Who’s Super Sexy?” Imagine that, Manning comes out on top/ I guess dating Giselle Bundchen doesn’t hold the caché it once did. The Post also notes the “personnel fouls” of different members of the Pats off the field. The News’ Mike Lupica dedicates his column to an interview with former Giant Dick Lynch, a man who provides links to the team’s past and future. (He does color commentary for the games on WFAN.) Look for more “blasts from the past” the next few days. “Team of destiny” narratives will be popping up a lot more as well.

Odds & Ends
Exclusives There are quite a few in today’s papers. The most entertaining has to be the Daily News’ story on the resurrection of…Captain America. Comic book geeks rejoice! The Post reports Con Ed had warned the city about the danger of leaky underground pipes years ago. The News also covers Con Ed, but from the angle that the City Council is upset the utility company is not replacing weak cast iron pipes quickly enough. The News reports boxing promoter Don King’s son, Eric King, is one of the city’s most infamous deadbeat dads. If the younger King does not have almost $10,000 in hand at his next court date, he faces arrest. A Manhattan mental hospital has lost its federal funding because of deplorable conditions. The Post reports the Manhattan Psychiatric Center has had incidents of rape, improper use of restraints and lack of therapy for pedophiles. The Wards Island facility’s future is in jeopardy. The Post also reports that Bruce Ratner is having trouble raising money for his controversial Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn.

Ledger Follow-up The Daily News had a page-3 article about Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly’s statement that the NYPD has no plans to question Mary-Kate Olsen in the mystery surrounding Heath Ledger’s death. The Post continues to flog the Mary-Kate horse (as Saturday’s front page did in a most lurid fashion), noting the “dial-and-error” calls to the actress.

Meanwhile, actor Daniel Day-Lewis honored Ledger in his speech after he won a Screen Actors Guild Award for his role in There Will Be Blood.

$ Count This week I’m going to count how many times the Post uses a dollar sign instead of an “S” in the headline in the front of the paper. Two $$’s in one headline count as one instance. Monday’s count: 2. Weekly total: 2.


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