May 24 marks the 125th anniversary of the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge, and the festivities kicked off last night with a “BANG!” — a 15-minute fireworks display and a performance by the Brooklyn Philharmonic. The Daily News places coverage of the event on page 2, while the Post puts its “B’DAY SPARKLER” article all the way back on page 25.
But the Post wins this minor battle in the tabloid wars for two reasons:
The first brilliant part of the Post‘s coverage is that the paper uses the “How we covered it” angle for actual historic precedent. When you’re one of the oldest newspapers in the country, you can reach far back into the archives to find out how the 1883 opening of a bridge was covered. We only get a sliver of the story, but it seems that even in the 19th century the Post was fond of exclamation points. (The headline reads, “THE BRIDGE!!”).
The other thing that the Post (and all tabloids, really) does well is find unflattering photos of politicians while practicing “Gotcha!” journalism. Underneath the photo of fireworks over THE BRIDGE!!, there’s a picture of Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz in a top hat, his eyes half-closed. Next to him is Mayor Bloomberg, with a plastic cup held to his lips. The sidebar declares, “Mike’s illegal drink,” as the paper points out that the mayor is in violation of open container laws as he sips a cup of wine in Brooklyn Bridge Park. They even have a quote from a disgruntled attendee of the festivities who asks, “Why can’t we celebrate like the politicians?”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 23, 2008