New York Post

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The New York Post is the 13th-oldest newspaper published in the United States and the oldest to have been published continually as a daily.[1] Since 1976, it has been owned by Australian-born billionaire Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation and is one of the 10 largest newspapers in the United States.[2] Its editorial offices are located at 1211 Avenue of the Americas, in Manhattan.

Contents

Paper's history

The paper was founded by Alexander Hamilton with about US$10,000 from a group of investors in the autumn of 1801 as the New-York Evening Post,[3] a broadsheet quite unlike today's tabloid. Hamilton's co-investors included other New York members of the Federalist Party, such as Robert Troup and Oliver Wolcott,[4] who were dismayed by the election of Thomas Jefferson and the rise in popularity of the Democratic-Republican Party.[5] The meeting at which Hamilton first recruited investors for the new paper took place in the country weekend villa that is now Gracie Mansion.[6] Hamilton chose for his first editor William Coleman,[5] but the most famous 19th century Evening Post editor was the poet and Abolitionist William Cullen Bryant.[7] So well respected was the Evening Post under Bryant's editorship, it received praise from the English philosopher John Stuart Mill, in 1864.[8]

In 1881 Henry Villard took control of the Evening Post,[9] which in 1897 passed to the management of his son, Oswald Garrison Villard,[10] a founding member of both the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People[11] and the American Civil Liberties Union.[12] Villard sold the paper in 1918, after widespread allegations of pro-German sympathies during World War I hurt its circulation. The buyer was Thomas Lamont, a senior partner in the Wall Street firm of J.P. Morgan. Unable to stem the paper's financial losses, he sold it to a consortium of 34 financial and reform political leaders, headed by Edwin F. Gay, dean of the Harvard Business School, whose members included Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Conservative Cyrus H. K. Curtis[13] -- publisher of the Ladies Home Journal -- purchased the New York Evening Post in 1924[14] and briefly turned it into a non-sensational tabloid in 1933.[14] J. David Stern purchased the paper in 1934, changed its name to the New York Post,[14] and restored its size and liberal perspective.[15]

Dorothy Schiff purchased the paper in 1939; her husband, George Backer, was named editor and publisher.[16] Her second editor (and third husband) Ted Thackrey became co-publisher and co-editor with Schiff in 1942,[17] and recast the newspaper into its current tabloid format.[18] James Wechsler became editor of the paper in 1949, running both the news and the editorial pages; in 1961, he turned over the news section to Paul Sann and remained as editorial page editor until 1980. Under Schiff's tenure the Post was devoted to liberalism, supporting trade unions and social welfare, and featured some of the most popular columnists of the time, such as Drew Pearson, Eleanor Roosevelt, Max Lerner, Murray Kempton, Pete Hamill, and Eric Sevareid, in addition to theatre critic Richard Watts, Jr. and Broadway columnist Earl Wilson. In 1976 the Post was bought by Rupert Murdoch for $30 million.[19] The Post at this point was the only surviving afternoon daily in New York City, but its circulation under Schiff had grown by two-thirds.[5]

The Murdoch years

While in the past the newspaper had been a long-established politically liberal stalwart, in recent years the paper has adopted a conservative slant, reflecting Murdoch's politics.

Murdoch imported the sensationalist "tabloid journalism" style of his British tabloid papers such as The Sun, typified by the Post's famous April 15, 1983 headline: HEADLESS BODY IN TOPLESS BAR. The Post also recycled The Sun's famous GOTCHA headline, this time in reference to the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, instead of the sinking of the ARA General Belgrano during the Falklands War.

Because of the institution of federal regulations limiting media cross-ownership, Murdoch was forced to sell the paper for $37.6 million in 1988 to Peter S. Kalikow, a real estate magnate with no news experience.[20] When Kalikow declared bankruptcy in 1993,[20] the paper was temporarily managed by Steven Hoffenberg,[20] a financier who later pled guilty to securities fraud;[21] and, for two weeks, by Abe Hirschfeld,[22] who made his fortune building parking garages. The Post was repurchased in 1993 by Murdoch's News Corporation, after numerous political officials, including Democratic New York Governor Mario Cuomo, persuaded the Federal Communications Commission to grant Murdoch a permanent waiver from the cross-ownership rules that had forced him to sell the paper five years earlier.[23] Under Murdoch's renewed direction, the paper continued its conservative editorial viewpoint.

Criticisms

The Post has been criticized since the beginning of Murdoch's ownership for what many consider its lurid headlines, sensationalism, blatant advocacy, and conservative bias. In 1980, the Columbia Journalism Review asserted that "the New York Post is no longer merely a journalistic problem. It is a social problem - a force for evil."[24] Tina Fey sarcastically referred to the Post as "the world's best newspaper" in a Weekend Update segment on Saturday Night Live.

Perhaps the most serious allegation against the Post is that it is willing to contort its news coverage to suit the business needs of Murdoch, in particular that the paper has avoided reporting anything unflattering to the government of the People's Republic of China. Murdoch has invested heavily in satellite television there and wants to maintain the favor of P.R. Chinese media regulators.[25]

Ian Spiegelman, a former reporter for the paper's Page Six gossip column, said in a statement for a law suit against the paper that in 2001 he was ordered to kill an item on Page Six about a Chinese diplomat and a strip club because it would have "angered the Communist regime and endangered Murdoch’s broadcast privileges."[25]

Critics say that the Post allows its editorial positions to shape its story selection and news coverage. But as the Post executive editor, Steven D. Cuozzo, sees it, it was the Post that "broke the elitist media stranglehold on the national agenda."

According to a survey conducted by Pace University in 2004, the New York Post was rated the least credible major news outlet in New York, and the only news outlet to receive more responses calling it "not credible" than credible (44% not credible to 39% credible).[26]

There have been numerous controversies surrounding the Post:

  • On November 8, 2000, the Post printed "BUSH WINS!" in a huge headline, although the election remained in doubt because of the recount needed in Florida. Like the Post, many other newspapers around the country published a similar headline after the four major TV networks called the election for Bush.
  • On October 17, 2003, the Post printed an editorial congratulating the Boston Red Sox for having defeated the New York Yankees for the American League pennant. In fact, the Yankees had won the game and taken the pennant. The paper had written two editorials in advance, based on the possible outcomes, and a computer glitch resulted in the wrong editorial being published. As a result, the paper announced that it would no longer write advance editorials.
  • On July 4, 2004, the Post ran an article claiming to have learned exclusively that Senator John Kerry, the Democratic Party's Presidential nominee-in-waiting, had selected former House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt to be the Party's Vice Presidential nominee. The article, under the headline "KERRY'S CHOICE," ran without a byline [1]. The next day, the Post had to print a new story, "KERRY'S REAL CHOICE," reporting Kerry's actual selection of Senator John Edwards of North Carolina as his running mate.
  • On April 21, 2006, several Asian-American advocacy groups protested the use of the headline "Wok This Way" for a Post article about President Bush's meeting with the president of the People's Republic of China.[27]
  • On September 27, 2006 the Post published an article called "Powder Puff Spooks Keith" that made fun of Countdown host Keith Olbermann receiving an anthrax threat from an unknown terrorist. [2]. By reporting on the incident, the NYPost have actually broken the general FBI protocol of not disclosing the event which could hamper their investigation. Keith Olbermann had some harsh words for NY Post on his show after this.
  • On December 7, 2006 the Post doctored a front-page photo to depict the co-chairmen of the Iraq Study Group, James Baker and Lee Hamilton, in primate fur, under the headline "SURRENDER MONKEYS", inspired by a once used line from The Simpsons.

The Post and the Daily News often take potshots at each other's articles and their accuracy, particularly in their respective gossip-page items, saying that the juicy information printed about some celebrity or other has been checked, and that the celebrity or his/her publicist has denied it.

In certain editions of the February 14, 2007, newspaper, an article referring to Senator Hillary Clinton's support base for her 2008 presidential run referred to United States Senator Barack Obama as "Osama" (Bin Laden),[28] the paper realized its error and corrected it for the newer editions and the website.[29] The Post noted the error and apologized in the February 15, 2007[30] edition. Earlier, on January 20, 2007, the New York Post received some criticism[31] for running a potentially misleading headline, "Osama' Mud Flies at Obama",[32] for a story that discussed rumors that Sen. Obama had been raised as a Muslim and concealed it. The story itself never mentioned the Saudi terrorist, and the rumor is false.

Part of this article consists of modified text from Wikipedia, and the article is therefore licensed under GFDL.

References

  1. Michael & Edward Emery, The Press and America, 7th edition, Simon & Schuster, 1992, p. 74
  2. Top 200 Newspapers by Largest Reported Circulation. Audit Bureau of Circulation (September 30, 2006). Retrieved on 2007-03-07.
  3. Allan Nevins, The Evening Post: Century of Journalism, Boni and Liveright, 1922, p. 17
  4. Nevins, page 14
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Emery & Emery, op. cit.
  6. Nevins, pages 17-18
  7. Emery & Emery, p. 90
  8. Nevins, page 341
  9. Nevins, page 438
  10. Webster's Biographical Dictionary, G. & C. Miriam Co., 1964, p. 1522
  11. Christopher Robert Reed, The Chicago NAACP and the Rise of Black Professional Leadership, 1910-1966, Indiana University Press, 1997, p. 10
  12. Emery & Emery, p. 257
  13. New York Newspapers and Editors. Retrieved on 2007-06-07.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 ketupa.net media profiles: curtis. Retrieved on 2007-06-07.
  15. Emery & Emery, p. 292
  16. Deborah G. Felder & Diana L. Rosen, Fifty Jewish Women Who Changed the World, Citadel Press, 2003, p. 164
  17. "Dolly's Goodbye," Time Magazine, 31 January 1949. Retrieved on 2007-06-07.
  18. Emery & Emery, p. 556
  19. "News Corp: Historical Overview," The Hollywood Reporter, 14 November, 2005. Archived from the original on 2006-01-05. Retrieved on 2007-06-07.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Neil Hickey, "Moment of Truth," Columbia Journalism Review, January/February 2004. Retrieved on 2007-06-07.
  21. "ABS Credit Migrations," Nomura Fixed Income Research, 5 March 2002, p. 20 (PDF). Retrieved on 2007-06-07.
  22. Bob Fenster, Duh! The Stupid History of the Human Race, McMeel, 2000, p. 13
  23. Hickey, op cit.
  24. Columbia Journalism Review, volume 18 number 5 (Jan/Feb 1980), page 22-23.
  25. 25.0 25.1 The New York Times (2007-05-19). "Page Six, Staple of Gossip, Reports on Its Own Tale". http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/19/nyregion/19six.html?_r=1&pagewanted=1&ref=nyregion&oref=slogin. Retrieved 2007-05-19. 
  26. Jonathan Trichter, "Tabloids, Broadsheets, and Broadcast News," Pace Poll Survey Research Study, 16 June 2004 (PDF). Retrieved on 2007-06-07.
  27. Paul H.B. Shin, "Post's 'Wok' Head No Joke to Asians," New York Daily News, 22 April 2006. Retrieved on 2007-06-07.
  28. Bill Snares Osama GuyNew York Times Blog February 14, 2007, The Empire Zone. Retrieved on 2007-06-07.
  29. BILL SNARES OBAMA GUY, New York Post, By-Maggie Haberman, February 14, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-06-07.
  30. CORRECTION, New York Post, February 15, 2007"Due to an editing mistake, a small number of copies of yesterday's Post carried a headline referring to "Osama" over a story about Sen. Barack Obama on Page 2. The Post regrets the error."
  31. Presidential Candidate Barack Obama Educated At Radical Islamist School, Oh, Wait. No, That's Not True... But Let's Pretend He Was Anyway, Your New Reality, Tuesday, January 23, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-06-07.
  32. "Osama" Mud Flies at Obama, New York Post, By Maggie Haberman, January 20, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-06-07.
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