After nearly two weeks of giant screaming headlines about one scandal or another, we finally get back to a variety of topics on page one of our beloved tabloids. Maybe it’s because yesterday was the first day of spring, and it’s time for a seasonal rebirth. Nah, it’s probably because we’ve run out bombshells regarding elected officials and their sexual proclivities. Today we’re subjected to celebrity offspring, the security breach of a presidential candidate, brightly colored guns named after the five boroughs and a mysterious campaign payout from our current governor to a woman who claims she never received the money or knows why she was paid by Paterson’s campaign. Today’s tabloids kind of take on a “Freaky Friday” form, as what you’d expect to see in the News shows up in the Post and vice versa. We’re just not sure if we’re talking about the Lindsay Lohan or the Jodie Foster version.
The Daily News decided on the bizarre juxtaposition of Jennifer Lopez’s People magazine photo shoot of her and her twins and the brightly colored guns named after our mayor. (It’s pretty hilarious to see “J.Lo’s bundles of joy” next to “Sons of a gun!”) The gun story allows the News to use its page-2 color to full advantage, showing the Lauer Custom Weaponry models in “Staten Island Orange” (which, in my copy of the News, looks more yellow), “Queens Green,” “Brooklyn Blue,” “Manhattan Red,” and “Bronx Rose.” Page 3 includes an interview with Mayor Bloomberg, who calls the colored guns, “a tragedy in the making.” Adding to Bloomberg’s annoyance is that the guns also have a stencil of the mayor’s face on the barrel. Juxtaposed with this article is one reporting that homicides have increased 26% across the city this year. This isn’t a complete doom-and-gloom scenario, however, as the murder-rate is still the second lowest it’s been in modern times.
The Post uses full color on page 3 to show the photos of Jennifer Lopez and her twins. It’s pretty funny that the News used J.Lo for its cover today and it’s the Post that has the inside-the-paper pics in full color. It just goes to show that you shouldn’t mess with the Post and celebrity coverage. They do seem to have the market cornered.
Murdoch’s tab uses its front page to continue with the “David Paterson’s harem” theme, this time with Luisa Vizcarrondo, a woman who was listed as a campaign staffer, but who claims she never worked for his campaign and barely knew the then-state Senator. A spokesperson for Paterson tells the Post that Vizcarrondo did work for the campaign, performing “writing and other tasks.” We just want to know who the Post is going to dig up next.
The other story on the Post‘s front page is the discovery that two State Department workers peeked into Barack Obama’s passport files in January, February and March. News of the security breach didn’t break until today. The Post plays most of the story straight until we get to the middle where the reader is reminded yet again that “Obama has a particularly diverse background that makes his file juicy.” We then get the reiteration that Obama has traveled to Kenya and spent some of his childhood in Indonesia, which is described as “a country subject to travel warnings and terror threats.” This is not unlike the “subtle” mention of Obama’s “Muslim name” the other day. Add Charles Hurt’s column on how Obama’s speech on race worked because “by blaming both whites and blacks for racial tensions, he triangulated the problem,” and you may forget that the Post had at one time endorsed the Illinois Senator. Yeah, yeah, it was in the primary, but still…
The News‘ coverage of the Obama spy controversy is much smaller, just a straight AP story about how the two of the snoops were fired and a third one was disciplined. The News uses its Obama coverage to discuss his remark to a Philadelphia radio station about his grandmother being “a typical white person who, if she sees somebody on the street that doesn’t know, there’s a reaction that’s been bred into our experiences that don’t go away and that sometimes come in the wrong way, and that’s just the nature of race in our society.” We’re honestly surprised the Post didn’t run with this. Errol Louis’s column looks at how the blogosphere is reacting to the comment, which Obama clarified as a comment on the fears of street crime later in the day.
Another “Freaky Friday” switcheroo in the papers today deals with yesterday’s arrest in last week’s crane collapse. The Post devotes a page-and-a-half to the arrest of city inspector Edward J. Marquette, who admitted to lying about checking on the East 51st Street crane back on March 4 after a 311 complaint about the equipment. They include a large photo of the wreckage and one of Marquette and the complaint. The News, which has been all over this story, only has a small picture of Marquette on its page 10, 1/2 – page article. The News does, however, have an interview with the super in Marquette’s building, who says he’s a “good son and a good tenant.”
And thus ends this crazy, crazy week. Thanks to the McGreevey Scandal, I can’t even make a TGIF joke anymore.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on March 21, 2008