TABLOIDED: Sex, Sports & Murder


Pitchers and catchers report this week for Spring Training, but the big news in baseball is today’s congressional hearings on the steroids scandal. Both Roger Clemens and his trainer Brian McNamee are scheduled to testify, and there should be a few fireworks. Clemens continues to deny that he used steroids or other performance enhancers such as Human Growth Hormone, while McNamee insists that he injected The Rocket with steroids in the past. The Daily News devotes three pages at the front of the paper to the story, while the Post relegates its coverage to the sports section. Interestingly, there is a full-color ad for the Post‘s online coverage of “Baseball on trial” on page 10. We’re guessing that the powers that be at the Post decided the breaking-news aspect of today’s testimony would be better covered on their website.

Mike Lupica’s column on the hearings compares Clemens and McNamee to Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill testifying during Thomas’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings. The analogy stems from this being “an opening hearing…in front of the country where we know coming in, guaranteed, that somebody will lie under oath.” Lupica notes that Clemens has already lied, as he claims he doesn’t “give a rat’s ass about the Hall of Fame.” Yet this is all about protecting his legacy. It will be interesting to see if Clemens is revered or vilified in the next few days. Andy Pettitte seems to get some credit for “coming clean” in the papers, and Clemens’ vehement denials, if proven false, will make him out to be an arrogant liar.

This was the big story for the News until the Sports Final, where they crashed in the “HACKED TO DEATH” story about a therapist who was brutally murdered by a patient wielding a meat cleaver. Both papers have perfunctory coverage of the murder of 57-year-old Kathryn Faughey. We’ll be keeping an eye on this story, as Faughey’s area of specialization was, according to the News, “Internet issues.” This could lead to a moral panic about something regarding MySpace, Facebook or some other technological gadget if it turns out the killer had some sort of “Internet” problem.

Violence makes the front page of the Post as well, in an exclusive interview with the professor who almost died at an S&M club Friday. Robert Benjamin came out of a coma on Monday. Benjamin compared his proclivities to food addiction, explaining that it’s “like when you crave a turkey,” he tells the Post. “You eat it and you eat it and you eat it, but you still want it. But now I’ve had enough. I don’t want turkey anymore. I’m full.” None of us want turkey, either. That is quite the unappetizing metaphor. (Or, if we’re going the total tab route, a “meat-aphor.”)

The Post also goes with Obama’s triple victory in the Potomac Primaries yesterday. Included in the coverage is the Pissed Off Hillary Photo, which the News forgoes for smiling photos of Obama and Republican victor John McCain. Is Hill fading from the spotlight? Charles Hurt claims Clinton is taking a page from Giuliani’s hubris playbook, which will be her downfall. What’s the Post to do if Hill loses?

The biggest “WTF?” story today is about the president’s former sister-in-law, Sharon Bush. Bush refuses to return a $434,000 ring to her former fiancé, tycoon Gerald Tsai. Tsai claims it was an engagement ring, so he should get it back. Bush claims it was a “friendship” ring. Seriously, lady, you’re going to wear that ring again? Both tabs cover it.

The other strange story is how the “Naked Cowboy,” that annoying dude in Times Square who plays guitar in his undies, is suing Mars Corporation for their M&M rendition of him in a Times Square billboard. Robert Burck is suing the candy giant for $6 million in damages for trademark infringement and other claims. He tells the Post, “I’m huge now, but I represent the little guy.”

Puntastic puppies: Both tabs went with punny headlines to celebrate beagle Uno’s victory in the Westminster dog show. This was the first time a beagle got the Best in Show title. The News proclaims, “BEAGLE-MANIA!” while the Post notes, “The beagle has landed.”