New York Tabloid Front Page Bias

On the evening of Friday, June 24th, 2011, the New York State Senate unexpectedly passed the bill legalizing same sex marriage. This was a big deal. Especially in the New York City when I was out and about in Brooklyn. Especially in New York City with the Gay Pride Parade scheduled for the Sunday of this past weekend, June 26th.

And even if one were against the passage of the bill, the news would still be a big deal. If one was neutral on the subject or indifferent, one can’t deny the amount of interest it was generating locally and nationally.

I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised at the New York Post’s treatment of said story on its front page. However, it was humorously even more blatant than I could have imagined:

Read the fine print

Read the fine print (from NYPost.com cover archives)

Seriously? Yes, the heroic police rescue is a great story. On any other day, for a local tabloid, I wouldn’t have expected an editor to make a different decision for a big front page splash with such a dramatic image. On the morning after the highly charged, contentious legislative battle that gripped both local and national attention, however, I might have imagined it being somewhat smaller. Also, I wouldn’t have imagined placing the headline for the same sex marriage legislation in a tiny banner at the bottom. To place this in context:

New York Daily News, June 24th, 2011

New York Daily News, June 25th, 2011 (from NYDailyNews.com)

New York Times, June 25th, 2011

New York Times, June 25th, 2011 (from NYTimes.com)

I understand the Post has an editorial standpoint. I understand that it’s a splashy, sensationalistic tabloid. But, I sincerely would have expected the Post to have at least recognized the scale of the issue being addressed in that legislation. Instead, the News Corp owned publication appears childish and exceedingly small in making such an editorial choice. Deride the legislation at the very least, but don’t belittle its significance.

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