TABLOIDED: The Times’s “Big Mac Attack” on John McCain


Yesterday’s Times story on the alleged ethical lapses of John McCain—which may or may not have included an improper relationship with a Washington lobbyist—gets the ire of both tabs today as well. With wife Cindy at his side, McCain vehemently denied the allegations yesterday in a press conference in Ohio. The News declares the GOP frontrunner “JOHN McCLEAN,” which is a clever pun on two levels: It references his name, and it makes us think of one of the best action heroes of the 1980s: Bruce Willis’s John McClane from the Die Hard series.

The Post, meanwhile, has a perfect storm of a headline on its page one: it includes a pun (“MAC-LASH”), rhymes (“Times slime”) and the ubiquitous dollar-sign S (boo$ts). It really is a thing of a beauty.

The most entertaining aspect of this story is that the tabloids are having a ball with taking the “high road” over the newspaper of record. Much like yesterday, there’s clucking about how the story is thin. Andrea Peyser’s column in the Post lists the multitude of sins the Times has committed recently, noting that the paper, “is not an organ to pass up a chance to mug a Republican, disrespect a soldier, or destroy the lives of men born with white skin.” The accompanying photos with the graphic “TIMES TARGET” show soldiers and the men accused in the Duke rape case.

The News is much more subtle in its coverage (well, as subtle as tabs can get). The paper chooses to run a straightforward piece on how the Times was “clobbered” for running the story. The article includes Times managing editor Bill Keller’s justification for publishing the piece, which was that it was “ready” for publication and mentions that several staffers have either left the McCain beat or the paper. It also features a piece on how lobbyist Vicki Iseman went from being a secretary to a Washington hot-shot. (Here’s a hint: she pulled herself up by the bootstraps and worked her way to the top. It’s the American Dream, people!)

A tale of two “supers” Frankly, we’re a little bored with all the debate coverage. Yes, Hillary is slipping and Obama’s lead is widening. We get it. Hillary’s stiff and scripted, while Obama is eloquent and charismatic. This is the narrative playing out. One interesting, incredibly small tidbit in the News today was about how the youngest superdelegate, 21-year-old Jason Rae of Wisconsin, is voting for Obama. What the paper fails to tell us is how Rae became a superdelegate. A quick search turns up that he’s the youngest person ever elected to the Democratic National Committee. Wouldn’t a bit of context be appropriate here, especially since the other superdelegates mentioned in the piece are described as a Representative and a “party activist”?

The other “super” in the paper today is Bay Ridge building super Richard Martin. This super-cranky guy leaves all kinds of insulting notes for his residents, telling them to clean up after themselves, how to break down cardboard boxes and not to steal hallway lights. The News ran a story on Martin yesterday, but the Post includes the tidbit that his residents are “Arabs, they don’t give a f—.” Martin is wearing a “Ground Zero” hat in his picture, by the way.

Is this newsworthy? Why does the Daily News have a picture of Michelle Williams and her daughter with the late Heath Ledger, Matilda, on page 23? The Post has the picture of the two out and about in Brooklyn, but it at least (we can’t believe we’re even justifying this) is on Page Six.

Hilarious photos On a lighter note, the Post has a great one on page 3 of Danny DeVito standing next to a giant advertisement featuring a picture of Catherine Zeta-Jones. DeVito is shorter than the décolletage of Zeta-Jones.

The Post also features a picture of the leader of the free world, our president, inspecting some random medal he received in Liberia. Turns out it’s the country’s highest civilian honor. But really, did the caption have to call George W. Bush the “Blingmaster”?

Headline: “Squashed Like a Thug” (Daily News on the prison death of cop shooter Larry Davis)