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

0601woodwar Wood War: Who Wins Todays Grabby Tabloid Battle For Your Eyeballs?New York Post: A lot is said these days about what one needs to do to incentivize readers in Our Postmodern Era to pick up a print newspaper, when they have so much news gawping into their eyes and ears from so many directions at once these days. But few of the hated forward-thinking media magicians can be as craven about the future of journalism as the tabloids have been for a century or more. For example, one reason to read the Post today: If you follow their directions on page 19, you could be one of 5,000 readers that gets a beautiful Diamond! In these tough economic times, every bit of help accumulating these precious stones counts, right? How is your diamond hoard looking these days? Pretty skimpy, probably. Well, the Post has tapped into consumer anxiety about stored bullion to brilliant effect. Readers should note, however, that the diamond they will receive is smaller than the diamond pictured on a Giant Ring on the cover of this morning’s papers, and also doesn’t come with that ring with all those other diamonds set into it. Anyway! This is not something you’re really supposed to read, but as a matter of principle we wanted to spend some inches on it, since the Post, all British-tabloid style, spends so much space on it on its cover. (As a side note: The Observer is considering letting its readers in on shares in a shipment of bat guano! The ship is just sitting there at the dock, and nobody can pay to unload the stuff! So, whip out your dowry and get in on it now!)

Less diamond and more gruff is the silho of a devilish-looking Charlie Rangel peeping out of the lower-right corner of the page. He’s looking surly because the mayor is yelling at him for a joke he made about President Barack Obama’s Greatest Date Night Ever, which transpired Saturday night and involved restaurant and Broadway, which pretty much makes the Obamas no more sophisticated than any other tourists who come to New York. So Mr. Rangel advised the president to avoid East Harlem, where he believes tensions could be on the wax over the “friendly-fire” shooting of a black police officer by a white one. Ask the locals! According to the teaser text on the front page of the Post, it’s Mr. Rangel who has been laying low since his unfortunate remarks, which have earned him the sobriquet “CHARLIE WRONGEL” on this morning’s wood.

Daily News: That’s one way to cover the story of Omar Edwards, the police officer who was shot dead by fellow officer Andrew Dunton four days ago. And the News does give Mr. Rangel’s comments (and Mr. Bloomberg’s scolding) a little space at the bottom of its cover story. But today’s News is dominated by a report from the police-firefighter football match at which the late Edwards would have been a star. A football enthusiast who cherished major-league football dreams, he was a star player on the police’s football team; his department’s win against the firemen has resulted in a trophy that will be left to his widow. On the cover, “HE’S A HERO” is the main hed, over a picture of fellow officer Robert Lavender hoisting his fallen comrade’s No. 23 jersey. “NYPD teammates win for slain cop,” reads the dek. It’s more than half the page, vertically, and, well, the layout is not brilliant. The text doesn’t seem to fill the space properly; sometimes white space is nice, but this is a tabloid, no? It seems like this is the kind of piece you could have given even more room to, and the display would have worked out better dimensionally.

Because very little is gained with the paper’s use of the rest of its space: a red box with knockout type declares, “‘Twilight’ shines at MTV awards.” Oh, there is also a bullet point underneath. Are you following us? “Plus ‘Bruno’s’ full moon!” What can that mean? Last night’s stupid joke in which Sasha Baron Cohen’s mincing Austrian descends butt-first onto the face of notoriously fag-bashy “rapper” Eminem has gotten enough ink already. For now I’ll just point out: Is it really the gays who win in this kind of reverse-baiting of career homophobes? O.K., enough about “Bruno, Not Good for the Gays.” I don’t want to get too earnest. WAIT A MINUTE: “ABORT DOC KILLED IN CHURCH,” the News declares across the bottom of the front page. “SEE PAGE 8.” Or, you know, don’t. If there’s anything new there, they didn’t bother to flag it.

General observations: I’m tempted to call this essentialy a “bye” in favor of the News, since the Post gives up so much of its front page to a promotion that will only entice people nobody needs as readers. But “WRONGEL” is pretty great in that way that groaners are on the front of the Post. And the News front page is just bizarre: It looks like they stuck in a cover story and then went to Digg to figure out what tons of people had already read about on the Internet to fill in the blanks. Still, we appreciate that the News found something reportable about the friends and coworkers of the slain cop where the Post piled on to this manufactured dispute between Michael Bloomberg and Charlie Rangel that tells you nothing new about either of them. So!

Winner: Daily News