TABLOIDED: Super Tuesday Spectacular
As could be expected on the day of a ticker tape parade, both the News and the Post summoned the collective might of their sports departments to salute the New York Football Giants as Super Bowl XLII Champions. The News wrapped their regular edition with a 40-page special section saluting Big Blue. The Post has a more modest 20-page insert in the middle of the tab.
The stories inside in many ways are very similar — Eli Manning profiles, recaps of David Tyree's catch and the like — but one indisputable way the Post shines is with color. Newspapers might be yesterday's technology but nothing makes a newspaper seem like such a dinosaur as blurry black and white. The Post's insert is nearly completely color while the News only sneaks a some color onto the front page of its wrap.
The covers are a bit of a toss-up too. “Mann of the Hour” the New's wrap headline proclaims next to a picture of a grinning Eli holding the MVP Trophy. The Post broke out a vat of Giant-blue ink and went with a simple front page headline “True Blue.” There's something stately about the simplicity of that headline (and stately behavior is what keeps us coming back to Rupert Murdoch's tab.)
On page 5 of the papers, the Post goes into trickster mode (which we love) and puts together a graphic laying out the “winners” and “losers” of the Superbowl, which we all know is just an excuse to crack a few jokes and rub it in New England's face. The city of Boston itself is in the loser category, described as “Once again, the third-rate city we know and hate.” Boston fans are described as “Minutemen. Too bad you can't have that last minute back.” Making it even more wonderfully silly, the Post talks up the “death certificate” it had made up for the Patriot's perfect season. For their part, the News headlined their Boston reaction story with “EAT IT, BEANTOWN.”
The Daily News transitions into Super Tuesday coverage on it's “second front page,” after the wrap, which features the four frontrunners — Obama, Hillary, McCain and Romney — decked out as super heroes. While the male contenders are basically dressed up in Superman-style costumes, Clinton gets a different look. She's drawn with a Wonder Woman-style bustier but unlike that super hero, Hillary is drawn with a pair sensible pants (with a big H belt buckle.) John McCain is pictured with a cane. Is this because his last name is partially a homonym of cane? Oh no. It's because Mac is written across his chest and together it makes a pictogram of sorts. Mac + cane = McCain.
Just a few days ago in this very column, we wondered where the Post stood in all this. A few days later we got our answer: The Post endorsed Obama. And the Post goes into full snide-mode when describing Hillary's tear-up in New Haven. The caption under a three-column close-up photo of Clinton welling up appears next to the headline “FOR CRYIN' OUT LOUD!” The photo caption says “BOO WHO? Hillary Rodham Clinton, that's who.” The News ran a three-column photo of Hil kissing a young girl in Worcester, Mass. A small one-column detail-shot show Clinton wiping away the offending tear. The News, by the way, has endorsed Hillary Clinton.
The Post's story on Obama and Super Tuesday has a headline that stretches out over two pages — a layout design that's known as the “double truck”. It blares “JUST CALL HIM THE BA-ROCKET.” And that in a nutshell is the narrative that Clinton will have to face on Super Tuesday. Anything less than a big decisive Clinton win will be seen as Obama momentum. But is that the narrative being foisted on the people, and the candidates, or is that what's really happening across the nation? We'll see.
The Post's endorsement of Obama made news in the New York Times last week as David Carr noted that many have wondered what the Post was up to.
Why did The Post kick Senator Clinton to the curb? The venom of the editorial about the Democrats and Mrs. Clinton — “a return to the opportunistic, scandal-scarred, morally muddled years of the almost infinitely self-indulgent Clinton co-presidency” — invited suggestions that Mr. Murdoch was using The New York Post to set up a straw man for the Republicans to mow down in the fall.
Carr says its more complicated can that. What's not complicated is the Post undying love for the president. A story about Dubya's new $3.1 trillion budget appears under the headline “Budget makes prez the $3 trillion man” as if that were some kind of a good thing. The Post story does contain some critical elements but does not go as far the News which ran the story with the headline “Health & heat aid slashed in budget.”
ODDS & ENDS — It would be odd to run a “What ever happened to the pay phone?” thumbsucker on any day of the week these days, but it's odd that News would pick such a busy “news day” to run it. But they did on Page 26. What's actually remarkable about the story is how many of pay phones are left. According to the News, there were 35,000 pay phones on city streets in 1995. Today there are 23,000 left. That seems a lot.
HEADLINES: “Pump & grind: Stilettos boost gals' sex lives” in the Post, of course.
“SHE SWIGS AND MISSUS” Not exactly sure what that means but the story is about Yankee Don Mattingly's wife getting arrested for being drunk. (In the Post)