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All's Fair?

And I'm not talking about love.

The down-and-dirty New York tabloid wars have always reminded me of the Herblock cartoon of Richard Nixon crawling out of a sewer covered with muck.

I was again reminded of that when I saw that the New York Post had altered its TV listings, apparently in a move to discourage viewers from tuning in to the premiere of Bravo reality series premiere Tabloid Wars Monday night.

I will simply call it a very solid supposition that sticking "Paid Programming" into the slot where Bravo's Tabloid Wars  is supposed to appear in the TV listing at 9-10 p.m., as the Post did, was not a slip of the finger (well, not in the sense I mean it), but instead was an effort by the Post not to give any ink to the show or the competition, the New York Daily News, where the six-part reality series was filmed and whose reporters are prominently featured.

It could have been a typsetting mistake since Bravo does run paid programming in the morning, but I have it on pretty good authority that it wasn't. The coincidence of that particular misprint would be pretty amazing indeed.

Personally, if I were the Post and didn't want to promote the competition, I, too, might not have given it a big write-up, but I don't think I would have entirely ignored a show about a subject of interest to my local readers, set in their town, particularly by changing the listing to something it wasn't.

I mean, it's not like somebody isn't going to notice, then write about it, which winds up putting an even bigger spotlight on the show than if the Post had simply given it a two-line review, which it didn't, and left the listing alone.

OK, if I were in a war with my chief compeition and they were getting huge press for their war room, I might have been tempted to leave the listing blank (really give it no ink, as it were) save for a single asterisk in the space leading to some catty comment about the show in tiny type at the bottom of the page.

But purposely printing misinformation is a bad precedent, not to be confused with a bad president, which brings me back to where I started, so I must be digressing.

By John Eggerton