Wood War! Who Wins Today’s Grabby Tabloid Battle For Your Eyeballs?

The New York Post: Madonna has always had a hard time making it past co-op boards, with the notoriously fusty upper crusties feeling that too much publicity was a bad thing for their otherwise anonymous buildings. But it seems the East of Lexington location was not enough to deter Madonna from plunking down $40 million on a 13-bedroom, 14-bathroom Federal monstrosity on East 81st Street. We were hearing that a connected garage was the main selling point on this place for “The Material Girl,” and this place has plenty of garage, right up front and center, just like in Jersey! It’s probably a bit much to look down one’s nose at a $40 million house but … oh, well! We’re looking down our nose at it! Of course the Post can’t resist a bit of populist fun here either: of course she’ll move to Malawi to be legal to adopt that kid–as long as she’s got a $40 million outre mansion in her pocket in Manhattan!

In fact, Madonna is the smallest element on today’s front page of the Post. Most of the page is given over to the Mets’ debut in their spanking-new stadium. How suite it is! It’s an “Amazin new era” for the team as reporters–well, not for the first time, nor even yet for the last–continue to remark upon the existence of this Other Stadium that looks like it came out of the Restoration Hardware catalog. What happened on this field last night? Who knows! And who cares!

There is other business, somber business, to attend to. See, it turns out that blowing the heads off those Somali pirates may have turned out to be not such a happy-making experience for Us Americans. They were all under the age of 19. And the desperate financial situation of most Somalis puts the whole piracy thing in a few ‘inverted commas.’ The fact that today’s Post story does not dwell on the tender age of the Somali pirates (“CAPT. KIDS: Pirates were teen terrors of the seas”) only makes it that much more remakable that the salient fact of their youthfulness should be the call-out for Page One on this otherwise serviceable bit of A-B wire copy. It’s always interesting to see the Post vacillate between the fashionable mores of its actual target market and the torch-carrying mobdom of its purported one. Joe Scarborough, darling of the Beltway elite, has tried on the pose of aghastness at liberal society’s forgiveness for all of Somalia and its piratical ways; did the Post not get the memo? Suggested headlines, had the Post been its regular politically rabid self, include the inside jump-hed: “YOUNG BUCS.” But that’s a bit neutral! What about “PIRATE SCUM SHOULD BE TREATED LIKE DIRT THEY ARE?”

And yet the largest piece of real estate on Page One is devoted to a picture of an inert baseball stadium. More on this to come!

The Daily News: Front pages of tabloid newspapers should have faces on them. There is no replacement for the face-a-face interchange a reader can have with a cover subject, whether the reaction is puzzlement, boredum, spitefulness or lust. So when the Daily News decided to devote its entire front page to a picture of the interior of Citi Field, we can safely assume that all the good photo editors were out eating Matzoh. Seriously, after yesterday’s bad crop, one might think that the newspaper understood which 1,000 words its cover image was replacing when it commanded the front-page position. There it is, the giant Green cover of the newspaper–without any significant human beings having to muck up the frame at all! The picture looks like its meant as a scholarly reference on the sightlines of the new Citi Field (not good!) and conveys no excitement or prospects in the new stadium whatsoever. There is nothing else on the front page except for a strip ad at the bottom. So we can safely call the front page of the Daily News a soulless husk, and move along.

General observations: There is very little that a lifeless picture of grass can do to improve upon itself. Even giving the picture just a portion of their front page, the Post  felt the need to photomontage a little Mr. Met face in the lower right. There must be SOMEBODY at this ballpark, no? Add a bit of Madonna and real estate, and an observation about the Piracy story (one imagines a standing order for pirate story on Page One of the Post, straight from the top!) and you have a bit of a cover.

Winner: Easy! The New York Post.

Wood War! Who Wins Today’s Grabby Tabloid Battle For Your Eyeballs?