We’re a conspiratorial bunch here at Tabloided, and there’s just something “off” about the front pages of today’s issues of the Post and the Daily News. Both papers have these awkward attempts to reach out to female readers. That can be the only reason we think of for the Post‘s touting Page Six as “NO 1 FOR GOSSIP” on its front. (And, because we love the grammar snark, let’s note that we initially read that as “No one” because of the missing punctuation in the abbreviation for number.) The News teases us with “WHY LADIES LOVE LEAP YEAR.”
What is it about this Thersday (oh, how we hate that pun, DN) that is making the tabs court the ladies? Perhaps it’s Hillary Clinton’s fall from frontrunner status, which takes one of the most visible women in America today off the front page, where she has held court for months. Maybe it’s because the Roger Clemens story (he may face an FBI investigation for perjury) is such a tale of masculine hubris that we need to the feminine to balance the front page out. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s to make up for the salacious stripper mentions in yesterday’s coverage of the Sean Bell trial (highly doubtful).
The answer probably lies in pure economics. A few bits of research tell you you’re losing women–BAM!–put more gossip on the front page. Throw a shiny diamond ring out there; after all, the single gals just want to snag a man and be on their merry way. These tactics will catch female eyeballs and get the fairer sex to plunk a few quarters down on your little publication.
But what do the ladies get to read about when they peer beyond the front page? Of course, they get the promised dirt on Lohan and Madonna and Howard Stern’s fiancée (she wants a baaaaaby, she already snagged a man!).
We also get stories of terrible mothers like Nixzaliz Santiago, accused of murdering her daughter Nixzmary Brown, or Leatrice Brewer, who allegedly murdered her three children. The Post reports on the divorce of Eric Nederlander, whose first wife Jessica Sklar left him for Jerry Seinfeld. His soon-to-be ex-wife Lindsey Kupferman is accusing him of domestic violence. Right above the Nederlander story on page 17 is a Post exclusive that City Councilman Dennis Gallagher may get a plea agreement in his assault case. Gallagher is accused of raping and assaulting a woman he picked up in a Queens bar last June. The new plea bargain would allow Gallagher to not serve any jail time and would avoid his placement on the sex-offender registry. Gallagher would have to resign, though. The women portrayed on these pages are shown to be victims or pure evil.
We can see why diamonds and Lindsey Lohan may have to entice female readers. Once you actually read how women are portrayed in the tabs, it’s really depressing. Oh, and the reason that women love Leap Year (Feb. 29)? It’s the one day when it’s “OK” for a woman to ask a man to marry her. The Daily News also points out that this year Leap Year Day coincides with the “Running of the Brides,” Filene’s Basement’s giant wedding gown sale.
Follow-Ups Clever teen Yudelka Polanco, the girl who used MySpace to find the mugger who swiped her cell phone, is back in the Post today. The judge in the case against Victor Hernandez set his bail at a whopping $20,000 after reading yesterday’s front-page story. Polanco admits that now that she’s aware of Hernandez’s alleged violent past she has some concerns about her safety.
The News has an exclusive that two of the doctors who prescribed painkillers to Heath Ledger are now under investigation to see whether or not they prescribed the drugs Oxycontin and Vicodin to the actor legally. Ledger died of an accidental overdose on Jan. 22.
Arcane Terminology Alert In the aforementioned follow-up, the reporters note that Hernandez and his friends “had been on wilding spree.” We haven’t heard the term “wilding” since the late ’80s. Apparently the Post is trying to give it a comeback: a headline on 25 reads, “Wilding attack in City Hall Pk.” We’ll save a deconstruction of those racist connotations for another day.