Why the New York Post is a crappy newspaper:
July 5, 2001 7:54 AM   Subscribe

Why the New York Post is a crappy newspaper: A 672-word story about a 15-year-old television actor getting busted for a $40 theft merits this byline: "By LARRY CELONA, MARIA MALAVE, ED ROBINSON, CLEMENTE LISI, HALLIE LEVINE, ADAM MILLER, LEONARD GREENE, IKIMULISA SOCKWELL-MASON, LINDA STASI, ALISA CONABOY, BILL HOFFMANN and CATHY BURKE." The Post's priorities are clear.
posted by Mo Nickels (28 comments total)
"Why are you doing this? You've got an acting career - you're doing good," one cop told him.

To which, police said, Iler replied:

"Don't concern yourself with my acting career," adding later in an off-handed comment: "Hey, I'm a millionaire!"

Moron. I'll take his job! I can play a sullen 16-year-old! Really!
posted by starvingartist at 8:00 AM on July 5, 2001

Another case of poli8ce brutality.
posted by Postroad at 8:02 AM on July 5, 2001

I used to work in a Long Island supermarket... every time anyone bought a Post or Daily News (Daily headline: MAN WINS LOTTERY!) I wanted to cry.
posted by tweebiscuit at 8:09 AM on July 5, 2001

Is there anyone out there who doesn't know the Post is a crappy newspaper?

I guess all those people who had to work on July 4 decided they deserved a byline in addition to holiday pay.
posted by darren at 8:32 AM on July 5, 2001

The Post is great paper. Just because they know what people really want to read about--celebrity scandal and gossip with a dash of news from around the world--doesn't mean you should mock them. Their genius astounds me. Don't hate the player, hate the game.
posted by haqspan at 8:42 AM on July 5, 2001

Just to back up the NY Post-is-crap evidence, 3 firefighters died in a fire recently, and featured on the front page of the post was a picture of one of the dead firemen laying on a stretcher with his face clear as day. Talk about lack of taste.
posted by tomorama at 8:59 AM on July 5, 2001

The Post knows what some people really want to read about. Newspapers pander to their markets to retain their market share and keep their advertisers happy. Giving consumers what they want doesn't make you great. It can make you wealthy.
posted by xiffix at 9:02 AM on July 5, 2001

Don't hate the player, hate the game.
Okay, gonna make a ton of qualifications first...Never read the Post so can't comment on that specifically. Not saying to hate the player, necessarily. Not saying to hate the game, necessarily. What I am getting around to saying is that without the players there wouldn't be the games.
posted by bakiwop at 9:24 AM on July 5, 2001

Now I know why the Post laid off my cousin and four other editors last month. They needed to steal from the editing budget in order to pay the extraordinary number of writers required to put out a daily paper when there is a 52 word-per-article limit on each writer.
posted by Dreama at 9:33 AM on July 5, 2001

I can't believe I'm the first to pick up on the great line in the story:

His dad lives upstate.

Does that mean that his dad's in prison?
posted by delfuego at 9:33 AM on July 5, 2001

My favorite NY Post headline of all time was a story about a drug related murder-robbery that took place in a strip club where the victim's body was found decapitated.

The headline read:
posted by radio_mookie at 9:47 AM on July 5, 2001

A headline so famous they made a movie with that title. Has anyone seen it? I haven't, and I can't imagine it's that great.
posted by turaho at 10:06 AM on July 5, 2001

Wait wait wait...that kid's a millionaire?
posted by Doug at 10:11 AM on July 5, 2001

Well, three seasons, 20-odd episodes a season, if he's made $25k an episode, then yeah, that kid's a millionaire.
posted by Dreama at 10:32 AM on July 5, 2001

Don't forget some other great NY Post headlines from the late 1970s (when I last lived in New York).
Like SAM SLEEPS (a picture of David Berkowitz, the "Son of Sam" serial killer, asleep in his jail cell--this was months after he had been captured and the general media hoopla had died down).
I also remember, during the Iran hostage crisis: TEDDY'S THE TOAST OF TEHERAN. In red letters. After Ted Kennedy had made some completely negligable remark about the crisis.
posted by Rebis at 11:04 AM on July 5, 2001

When I lived in NYC, I used to love reading the Post. It was great on those mornings when I needed to know who to hate.
posted by dogmatic at 11:13 AM on July 5, 2001

I have trouble figuring the punk makes $25K per episode...minor character, not advertiser-supported programming, under 18 years...he's making more than me, sure, but $25K sounds high for someone of his "stature." Of course, that doesn't negate the millionaire possibility, if his folks/managers are managing the cash properly...like running numbers. ;-)
posted by davidmsc at 12:15 PM on July 5, 2001

he also has a movie deal(in the article). there's a few dollars in that if i'm not mistaken. he may be getting a little ahead of himself, something along the lines of...i'm going to be a famous movie star. i'm a millionaire. i'm untouchable.

next up for him: i'm robert downey, jr.
posted by donkeysuck at 12:28 PM on July 5, 2001

See, I'm of the school that says newspapers shouldn't give people want they want: they should give them what they need. Idealistic, but possible. Despite all the flaws with the Times, it's one great standing achievement is that it is a bunch of smart people writing under the assumption that their readership is smart enough to understand. Not a lot of underestimating the audience there.

What's clear is that the daily papers have got to expand their reader base in ways other than pandering to our base instincts. The rise of ethnic media in this city (some 200 magazines, newspapers and journals, not counting online-only efforts) shows there's an underserved audience out there, people who may be bilingual and want community news. Forty percent of this city was born in another country and another 20 percent were born in another state: that's a huge audience, of which only the Hispanophones are well-served. The next time the daily papers start moaning about falling readership, everyone needs to ask them why there's virtually no reporting that isn't crime-related about any non-white ethnic community. Even in the social pages: we get big stories about lavish WASP weddings, but when elite Asians who could squish Donald Trump like a bug throw their lavish weddings, nothing.

I should also add: hiring ethnic staff is not the same as covering ethnic communities. It's about the subject matter, not the writer.

To read the Post, you'd think the city was 30 percent cops, 30 percent Clinton-haters, 30 percent criminals, 30 percent famous people, 10 percent murder victims, and lots of intersection between all those groups.
posted by Mo Nickels at 12:31 PM on July 5, 2001

I guess I'm stating the obvious here, but I, for one, want what I want. Not what someone else thinks I need.
posted by andrew cooke at 2:37 PM on July 5, 2001

I love the post for their coverage of the Mets and the Yankees. If you don't like it, don't buy it.
posted by revbrian at 2:58 PM on July 5, 2001

I don't buy the paper. Nobody in New York buys it, to hear them tell it. "I found it in a cab" or "It was on a subway seat." Or maybe these days, "It didn't know it was a New York Post link when I clicked on it..."

I, for one, want what I want. Not what someone else thinks I need.

That's not very realistic or obvious: You don't know you want something until you know it exists, at least as far as news is concerned. You only know news exists because of an external source. The only way you'll ever find out about anything is if an external source gives it to you: and that is the primary task of a newspaper. A newspaper is a long series of judgement calls about what readers need.
posted by Mo Nickels at 3:44 PM on July 5, 2001

672 words, 12 journos in the byline - that's 56 words each. Fsck Hollywood - I wanna get paid to sit around on my arse and write 56 words. Wait a minute - I'm sitting at work, posting on Mefi, so if I just add these few words in... :)
posted by obiwanwasabi at 5:42 PM on July 5, 2001

My other fave Post headline came back in '75 when President Ford vetoed a bill to bailout NYC when it was flirting with bankruptcy: "Ford to City: Drop Dead!"
posted by darren at 5:34 AM on July 6, 2001

See, I'm of the school that says newspapers shouldn't give people want they want: they should give them what they need. Idealistic, but possible.

Until no one buys it and the paper has to shut down.

Mo's idealism is admirable, but it only goes so far as the bottom line. People get a kick out of the Post (even though they buy the less-gossipy Daily News twice as much). Its articles skew the way they do because the audience likes it that way.

In the U.S. People magazine has 10 times as many readers as The Economist (my employer). One would argue that The Economist is what they need, and People what they want. But People is the one with $47 million a month in ad revenues.
posted by werty at 5:38 AM on July 6, 2001

Whatever you think of the NYPOST, including that it loses tons of money, and only exists due to RM's ego, having it around is still better than not having it. The same is true of the NY Daily News.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:02 AM on July 6, 2001

True, Paris, true.

Werty: My philosophy on newspapers is different when compared to magazines, specialist journals or themed publications, of which the Economist is at least one of those latter categories. Magazines pander because they are not generalist: it is their definition. Generalist magazines like Newsweek, TIME or US News are, in my opinion, pathetic because they are too general.
posted by Mo Nickels at 8:53 AM on July 6, 2001

An interesting thing about the NYP is that while it champion's the political Right, including the political moral right, RP's papers seem to have an entirely different mindset in the UK (and perhaps Australia?). So RP's only real ideology would seem to be $$$.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:48 PM on July 6, 2001

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