TABLOIDED: The Gambinos Bust and the (Rear) End of the Week


The “big” story today is the massive mob bust carried out in the city and in Sicily yesterday. Tabloids and mobsters have long been the not-so-strange bedfellows of yellow journalism. Brutal crime and secrecy are to reporters what catnip is to little Fluffy—just too good to resist. One of the largest organized crime busts in history definitely deserves the banner front-page headline treatment, and it gets it in both papers.

We especially chuckled at the News‘ clever “END OF THE GAMBINOS” headline, complete with photo of someone’s giant posterior getting loaded into a wagon. (Speaking of “giant,” the News also wants to remind us that this Sunday they’ll have a “Giants Super Season Special.” No, the Super Bowl story will not die.) The Post chose to go with a large photo of alleged hit man Charles Carneglia and the banner hed, “RUBBED OUT.”

Both papers have two pages dedicated to the bust. The Post includes a “charticle” rogues’ gallery on some of the bigger fish caught in the net. The News features a similar sidebar, but its coverage is a little more colorful, including details of where certain mobsters would hang out instead of just a rundown of previous arrests and convictions. Daily News columnist Michael Daly writes about court officer Albert Gelb, one of Carneglia’s alleged victims. Gelb was murdered in 1975 a few days before he was to testify against Carneglia. The most surprising aspect of the coverage (to us, anyway) is that there is only Sopranos reference in the Post. If this story has legs, and chances are it will, expect more comparisons to Tony and his crew.

Speaking of hits, both papers cover the arrest of Dr. Mazoltuv Borukhova, the ex-wife of a Queens dentist murdered in front of his daughter last October. Borukhova was charged with murder and conspiracy for placing a hit on Daniel Malakov, with whom she was embroiled in a bitter custody battle over said daughter. Borukhova’s uncle, Mikhail Mallayev, was arrested in Georgia last month for carrying out the murder. The News places the arrest on page 2, while the Post has the story buried on page 17.

The lurid and violent doesn’t just happen in our fair city. Both tabloids cover (via wire services) the city council shooting in Kirkwood, Mo., outside of St. Louis. Charles (Cookie) Thornton opened fire in the meeting after a long history of clashing with the council. Five people were killed, and police shot and killed Thornton. This story might actually be front-page material on a slower news day.

Meanwhile, the front page of the Daily News is not the only butt-shot in either paper. Mitt Romney announced he was bowing out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination yesterday. Both tabs went with a shot of Romney and wife Anne leaving the stage at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C. We guess this is to transmit the “Exit, stage left,” nature of the story, but it just looks weird. At least the News included another photo of Romney’s face.

Romney isn’t the only candidate with a goofy photo. A pic of Barack Obama tucking a napkin into his collar before a gumbo feast in New Orleans shows up in the Post and the News. The News has a wild-eyed Hillary Clinton stumping in Virginia, and the Post features a silly, grinning John McCain. Conveniently located next to the McCain photo is another column by Charles Hurt about how conservatives are concerned about how “liberal” the Arizona senator is.

Odds & Ends
Roger Clemens’ trainer released photos of his evidence that Clemens did steroids. Will this be the “Monica Lewinsky blue dress” of the baseball steroids scandal? We don’t know what’s funnier, that Clemens’ lawyer threatened to file a complaint with the Health Department about the “waste material” or that the “sharps container” holding the used needles was a Miller Lite can. The interesting difference in both papers’ stories is that the Post concentrates on Clemens’ lawyer’s response to the charges, while the News talks to several DNA experts about whether the samples are viable. This is probably because the News broke the story yesterday.

Finally, to end this week on a more uplifting note (although it did begin with Super Bowl Euphoria–was that really only 5 days ago?), both papers put Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts’ strut on the catwalk on page 3. What was so special about a TV personality modeling on her show? Roberts, who is battling breast cancer, walked the runway in an Isaac Mizrahi dress and nothing else. She ditched her wig and proudly went bald.