The New York Post: All the troops look pretty thrilled that Barack Obama paid them a surprise visit. Sure beats all that Bette Midler-USO crap! Look at all the digital cameras they pulled out! Barack Obama may be all wrong for the military (GITMO!) but when he pays a visit, it pays. The Post knows this, and will not pass up the opportunity to devote cautiously allotted column inches (and real estate on the Wood) to the event. But, having looked at a lot of these kinds of news photos from the agencies, we’ve learned something: a close crop can make all the difference. Will readers care how many troops were in the room? They’re not all in the picture anyway. The information the photo can deliver is more direct, more personal, more psychological. In a really close crop, you could actually read the expression on Barack Obama’s face. And the expressions on the faces of the troops who got nearest to him speak a lot more loudly than the expressions on the faces of people who are haggling to get a glance. Those people? We’ve been them before. We haven’t gotten a hug from Barack. But then again, the Post wanted that “Barack Star” headline (why no all-caps, guys? Why not own the months-old pun? Or pretend to?) which suggests a giant crowd. We think the cart should have led the horse. Let’s get a close crop on Obama and a soldier, and a headline that tells us something about the emotional tenor of that meeting: that would have increased the global heartwarming levels in a tabloidy way.
Do you like Metallica? Do you know who Randi Weingarten is? Then the front page of today’s Post is all for you! “PUPPET MASTERS” reads the wood. If you can tell what a “shock charter ploy” is without turning to the inside, we award you the Teachers’ Union Monthly Newsletter Close-Reader of the Month award. By the way: It’s an important piece. And the tabloids really need to figure out how to sell the story of the teachers’ union and its politics: it matters! And it matters on a personal level to lots of New Yorkers. But here’s the question: are you picking up the Post to find out information that matters to you? Or are you amusing yourself on the way to the office? We’ve long felt that there are two magic words that make readers go away: RANDI and WEINGARTEN.
Daily News: Is it Brillig already? No, just cruel April. Those slithy toves! Do you know what I am talking about? Yes, you do: we have your demographics figured out. The Daily News, not so much. See, everyone has heard the name “Friar Tuck,” even if they don’t know that he’s from Robin Hood or that recently there has been a hullaballoo in Britain about the fact that a new television series has him being played as a black martial arts expert (there were no Africans in Britain then, historians object! But of course, there were no friars then, either. Historians need to work on their history!) Anyway! Everyone has heard the words “Friar Tuck” even if they don’t know the source. But what about “JOBA WACKY”?
OK, let’s humor the News for a minute: Joba was drunk. There was a bottle of Crown Royal. It was Nebraska. What did he do? He said that New York was a tough town. A gay town? A town full of dirty immigrants? No, we’ll leave all that to the Atlanta Braves. Just a town where Yogi Berra stops by every now and then and you say, “Yogi, what the f— are you doin’ here?” Yeah, there’s not much here. He’s not that wacky. The story is a bomb. But it might be the biggest story in New York sports today! Which is why the Post wisely let its back page do all the talking on this one.
So why does this take up two thirds of the Daily News front page? We don’t know. We do know this: they got the crop right on the Barack Star (see, the coinage is taking already!) photo. OK, now all you needed to do was take this crop and make it twice as big … there you go! That is wood.
General observations: There’s not much to say today! The Daily News stank. The Post lost the plot on the Obama photo, but played it big enough that it will matter. Do they suffer for having spent valuable space on Randi Weingarten, interest-killer? No, because the competition stank so badly.
Winner: The New York Post.