Daily News: So, here’s what happened yesterday: Somali pirates did something piratical. They took over a U.S. ship? Or tried to? There is a captain from Vermont. He’s called Richard Phillips, and he is “being Richard.” Please just read about it here. You back? O.K. The Daily News goes to print with a Day 2 story about how military attachments in Africa are ready to deal with the Somali pirates situation whenever they hear the right dogwhistle from Washington. But the Day 1 story eludes you if you read the tabloids this morning. For the News, this means a picture of the ship in question and a pickup photo of the captain of the ship, who agreed to flee with the pirates in exchange for leaving his ship alone. Now the Navy has moved in. It’s unclear what that means. But the cover offers just enough narrative to tell you what’s happening: “RESCUE BID: U.S. WARSHIP RACES TO SAVE CAPTAIN FROM SOMALI PIRATES.”
O.K., let’s move on. The News has the following information for you on non-pirate topics: Yesterday, investigators raided the Harlem offices of the State Liquor Authority to look for evidence the office’s 24 employees were taking bribes in exchange for handing out liquor licenses. Phew! See, it’s easy to tell a story when you have information about it that the public wants. So the News devotes half its front page to “BOOZE ‘N’ BRIBES” in an effort to let you know something it has found out. It’s quite refreshing, and there is a picture of a big martini glass to get you in the mood for some news about the S.L.A. Happy pesach!
New York Post: Pirates means one thing: Johnny Depp with lots of eyeliner. “YO HO D’OH!: U.S. Heroes foil pirates” is the coverline. (Did they foil the pirates? Isn’t there still a hostage situation?) I dare you to read the story! It’s a fugue on the theme of African piracy. What happened? What is going to happen? Stop asking silly questions! We’ve got some pirate “jokes” to tell you! “The sorry swashbucklers, who would make Blackbeard roll over in his grave, abandoned their prize after the crew locked them out of the control room and the heroic captain offered to join the marauders in their getaway lifeboat until his freedom could be negotiated.” After that it’s all downhill. This is 100 percent of the New York Post‘s front page this morning. If you can read this story and get any information out of it, you are probably drinking the same rum as the 20 reporters who are bylined on the story.
General observations: What was I supposed to do today? It’s a holiday kind-of, so I am a little belligerent to begin with. But looking at these front pages made me think the tabloids should take a day off every now and then. Because this morning was just such a monumental waste of everybody’s time. This Post story is unreadable. The News story is an analysis piece that is about three days early. At least it’s written in English, and spares us a few dumb pirate jokes.
Winner: Daily News.