Both the Daily News and the Post lead with Uma Thurman’s dramatic testimony against her alleged stalker yesterday in Manhattan Criminal Court, and both paper use the “UMA’S TERROR” banner headline on page one.
The headline isn’t the only similarity in the coverage. Both papers go with the obvious “real life as movie” narrative. For the Post, the lead reads:
“Screen star Uma Thurman played herself in a real-life courtroom psycho-drama yesterday.”
The Daily News goes with:
“Uma Thurman, facing her deranged stalker for the first time yesterday, detailed the sick one-way relationship that left her feeling like the star of her own slasher flick.”
The photos that accompany each article include snippets of the disturbing letters Jack Jordan sent the actress, and you have to admit that the dude has some creeping handwriting. The News choose a file photo of Thurman in kick-ass Kill Bill mode and the Post‘s “glam” shots of the actress come from the trial evidence: they’re printouts of downloaded photos that Jordan had. Both papers also have bizarre pictures of Jordan having a snack outside the courthouse and the requisite shot of Thurman entering or leaving court. Both papers provide plenty of detail of Thurman’s methodical, detailed testimony of each of Jordan’s attempts to contact the actress, which include plenty of terrifying letters and photos.
Despite being the perfect tabloid story—you have celebrity, crime, obsession and all-out craziness—there’s an underlying uneasiness about reporting on these kinds of cases. Clearly, Jordan appears to be an extremely disturbed individual (especially frightening is his assertion that Thurman, a mother of two, does not have children), but where’s the hand-wringing about celebrity culture feeding into this obsessive madness? We had a bunch of “We’re going to hell in a handbasket” stories surrounding Miley Cyrus and her “shocking photos,” but where’s the “celeb obsession” Greek chorus for this incident? Perhaps the Thurman story hits a little too close to home in the wake of TMZ.com and other facets of the celebrity surveillance culture. I also wonder if I’m the only person who finds the Post‘s “NYPost.com Extra” button telling readers to “See video of Uma Thurman at court at nypost.com” a tad inappropriate considering the nature of the story. Yeah, it’s newsworthy, but sometimes it pays to not go the “extra mile.”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 2, 2008