New York Post

New York Post
New York Post.svg
New York Post font page 111307.jpg
Front page of February 8, 2019, with the headline story reporting on the Jeff Bezos National Enquirer extortion allegations.
Type Daily newspaper
Format Tabloid
Owner(s) News Corp
Founder(s) Alexander Hamilton (as The New-York Evening Post)
Publisher Sean Giancola[1]
Editor Stephen Lynch (Print), Michelle Gotthelf (Digital)
Sports editor Christopher Shaw
Founded November 16, 1801; 218 years ago (1801-11-16) (as The New-York Evening Post)
Language English
Headquarters 1211 Avenue of the Americas
New York City 10036
United States
Country United States
Circulation 230,634 daily[2]
ISSN 1090-3321
Website nypost.com

The New York Post (sometimes abbreviated as NY Post) is a daily tabloid newspaper in New York City. The Post also operates NYPost.com, the celebrity gossip site PageSix.com and the entertainment site Decider.com.

It was established in 1801 by Federalist and Founding Father Alexander Hamilton and became a respected broadsheet in the 19th century under the name New York Evening Post. In 1976, Rupert Murdoch bought the Post for US$30.5 million.[3] Since 1993, the Post has been owned by News Corporation and its successor, News Corp, which had owned it previously from 1976 to 1988. Its distribution ranked 4th in the US in 2019.[4]

History

The New York Post, established on November 16, 1801, as the New-York Evening Post, describes itself as the nation's oldest continuously published daily newspaper. The Providence Journal, which began daily publication on July 21, 1829, also bills itself as the nation's oldest continuously published daily newspaper because the New York Post halted publication during strikes in 1958 and 1978.[5] The Hartford Courant, believed to be the oldest continuously published newspaper, was founded in 1764 as a semi-weekly paper; it did not publish daily until 1836. The New Hampshire Gazette, which has trademarked its claim of being The Nation's Oldest Newspaper, was founded in 1756 as a weekly. Since the 1890s it has been published only on weekends.[citation needed]

19th century

Alexander Hamilton founded the Post in 1801

The Post was founded by Alexander Hamilton with about US$10,000 (equivalent to $153,660 in 2019) from a group of investors in the autumn of 1801 as the New-York Evening Post,[6] a broadsheet. Hamilton's co-investors included other New York members of the Federalist Party, such as Robert Troup and Oliver Wolcott,[7] who were dismayed by the election of Thomas Jefferson as U.S. president and the rise in popularity of the Democratic-Republican Party.[8] The meeting at which Hamilton first recruited investors for the new paper took place in Archibald Gracie's then-country weekend villa that is now Gracie Mansion.[9] Hamilton chose William Coleman as his first editor.[8]

William Cullen Bryant, the Post 's most famous 19th-century editor

The most famous 19th-century Evening Post editor was the poet and abolitionist William Cullen Bryant.[10] So well respected was the Evening Post under Bryant's editorship, it received praise from the English philosopher John Stuart Mill, in 1864.[11]

In the summer of 1829, Bryant invited William Leggett, the Locofoco Democrat, to write for the paper. There, in addition to literary and drama reviews, Leggett began to write political editorials. Leggett's espoused a fierce opposition to central banking and support for the organization of labor unions. He was a member of the Equal Rights Party. Leggett became a co-owner and editor at the Post in 1831,[citation needed] eventually working as sole editor of the newspaper while Bryant traveled in Europe in 1834 through 1835.[12]

Another co-owner of the paper was John Bigelow.[13] Born in Malden-on-Hudson, New York, John Bigelow, Sr. graduated in 1835 from Union College, where he was a member of the Sigma Phi Society and the Philomathean Society,[14] and was admitted to the bar in 1838.[13] From 1849 to 1861, he was one of the editors and co-owners of the Evening Post.[13]

In 1881 Henry Villard took control of the Evening Post, as well as The Nation, which became the Post's weekly edition. With this acquisition, the paper was managed by the triumvirate of Carl Schurz, Horace White, and Edwin L. Godkin.[15] When Schurz left the paper in 1883, Godkin became editor-in-chief.[16] White became editor-in-chief in 1899, and remained in that role until his retirement in 1903.[17][18]

In 1897, both publications passed to the management of Villard's son, Oswald Garrison Villard,[19] a founding member of both the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People[20] and the American Civil Liberties Union.[21]

1918 to 1976

Villard sold the paper in 1918, after widespread allegations of pro-German sympathies during World War I hurt its circulation. The new owner was Thomas Lamont, a senior partner in the Wall Street firm of J.P. Morgan & Co.. Unable to stem the paper's financial losses, he sold it to a consortium of 34 financial and reform political leaders, headed by Edwin Francis Gay, dean of the Harvard Business School, whose members included Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Conservative Cyrus H. K. Curtis[22]—publisher of the Ladies Home Journal—purchased the Evening Post in 1924[23] and briefly turned it into a non-sensational tabloid in 1933.[23] In 1928, Wilella Waldorf became drama editor at the Evening Post. She was one of the first women to hold an editorial role at the newspaper,[24] During her time at the Evening Post she was the only female first-string critic on a New York newspaper.[25] She was proceeded by Clara Savage Littledale, the first woman reporter ever hired by the Post and the editor of the woman's page in 1914.[26]

In 1934, J. David Stern purchased the paper, changed its name to the New York Post,[23] and restored its broadsheet size and liberal perspective.[27]

In 1939, Dorothy Schiff purchased the paper. Her husband, George Backer, was named editor and publisher.[28] Her second editor (and third husband) Ted Thackrey became co-publisher and co-editor with Schiff in 1942.[29] Together, they recast the newspaper into its current tabloid format.[30] In 1948 The Bronx Home News merged with it.[31] In 1949, James Wechsler became editor of the paper, running both the news and the editorial pages. In 1961, he turned over the news section to Paul Sann and stayed on 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 Joseph Cookman, Drew Pearson, Eleanor Roosevelt, Max Lerner, Murray Kempton, Pete Hamill, and Eric Sevareid, in addition to theatre critic Richard Watts, Jr. and gossip columnist Earl Wilson.

1976 to present

In November 1976, it was announced that Australian Rupert Murdoch had bought the Post from Schiff with the intention she would remain as a consultant for five years.[32] It later emerged that Murdoch bought the newspaper for US$30.5 million.[3] The Post at this point was the only surviving afternoon daily in New York City and its circulation under Schiff had grown by two-thirds, particularly after the failure of the competing World Journal Tribune. However, the rising cost of operating an afternoon daily in a city with worsening daytime traffic congestion, combined with mounting competition from expanded local radio and TV news cut into the Post's profitability, though it made money from 1949 until Schiff's final year of ownership, when it lost $500,000. The paper has lost money ever since.[8]

In late October 1995, the Post announced plans to change its Monday through Saturday publication schedule and begin issuing a Sunday edition,[33] which it last published briefly in 1989.[34] On April 14, 1996, the Post delivered its new Sunday edition at the cost of 50 cents per paper by keeping its size to 120 pages.[35] The amount, significantly less than Sunday editions from The New York Daily News and The New York Times, was part of Post's efforts "to find a niche in the nation's most competitive newspaper market".[36][35]

In December 2012, Murdoch announced that Jesse Angelo had been appointed publisher.[37]

Because of the institution of federal regulations limiting media cross-ownership after Murdoch's purchase of WNEW-TV (now WNYW) and four other stations from Metromedia to launch the Fox Broadcasting Company, 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.[38] In 1988, the Post hired Jane Amsterdam, founding editor of Manhattan, inc., as its first female editor, and within six months the paper had toned down the sensationalist headlines.[39] Within a year, Amsterdam was forced out by Kalikow, who reportedly told her "credible doesn't sell ... Your big scoops are great, but they don't sell more papers."[40]

When Kalikow declared bankruptcy in 1993,[38] the paper was temporarily managed by Steven Hoffenberg,[38] a financier who later pleaded guilty to securities fraud;[41] and, for two weeks, by Abe Hirschfeld,[42] who made his fortune building parking garages. After a staff revolt against the Hoffenberg-Hirschfeld partnership—which included publication of an issue whose front page featured the iconic masthead picture of founder Alexander Hamilton with a single teardrop running down his cheek[43][44]—the Post was again purchased in 1993 by Murdoch's News Corporation. This came about after numerous political officials, including Democratic governor of New York 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.[38] Without that FCC ruling, the paper would have shut down.

Various branches of Murdoch's media groups, 21st Century Fox's Endemol Shine North America and News Corp' New York Post created a Page Six TV nightly gossip show based and named after the Post's gossip section. A test run in July would occur on Fox Television Stations.[45] The show garnered the highest ratings of a nationally syndicated entertainment newsmagazine in a decade when it debuted in 2017.[46] With Page Six TV's success, the New York Post formed New York Post Entertainment, a scripted and unscripted television entertainment division, in July 2018 with Troy Searer as president.[47]

In 2017, the New York Post was reported to be the preferred newspaper of U.S. President Donald Trump,[48][49] who maintains frequent contact with its owner, Rupert Murdoch.[49]

Content and coverage

The Post has been criticized since the beginning of Murdoch's ownership for sensationalism, blatant advocacy, and conservative bias. In 1980, the Columbia Journalism Review stated "New York Post is no longer merely a journalistic problem. It is a social problem—a force for evil."[50]

The Post has been accused of contorting its news coverage to suit Murdoch's business needs, in particular avoiding subjects which could be unflattering to the government of the People's Republic of China, where Murdoch has invested heavily in satellite television.[51]

In The New Yorker, Ken Auletta writes that Murdoch "doesn't hesitate to use the Post to belittle his business opponents". He goes on to say that Murdoch's support for Edward I. Koch while he was running for mayor of New York "spilled over onto the news pages of the Post, with the paper regularly publishing glowing stories about Koch and sometimes savage accounts of his four primary opponents."[52]

According to The New York Times, Ronald Reagan's campaign team credited Murdoch and the Post for his victory in New York in the 1980 United States presidential election.[53] Reagan later "waived a prohibition against owning a television station and a newspaper in the same market," allowing Murdoch to continue to control The New York Post and The Boston Herald while expanding into television.

In 1997, Post executive editor Steven D. Cuozzo responded to criticism by saying the Post "broke the elitist media stranglehold on the national agenda."[54]

In a 2004 survey conducted by Pace University, the 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).[55]

Style

One of the paper's most famous headlines, from the edition of April 15, 1983

Murdoch imported the tabloid journalism style of many of his Australian and British newspapers, such as The Sun, which remains one of the highest selling daily newspapers in the UK. This style was typified[56] by the Post's famous headlines such as "Headless body in topless bar" (shown on the right, written by Vincent Musetto). In its 35th-anniversary edition, New York magazine listed this as one of the greatest headlines. It also has five other Post headlines in its "Greatest Tabloid Headlines" list.[57]

The Post has also been criticised for incendiary front-page headlines such as one referring to the co-chairmen of the Iraq Study GroupJames Baker and Lee Hamilton—as "surrender monkeys",[58] and another on the murder of Hasidic landlord Menachem Stark reading "Slumlord found burned in dumpster. Who didn’t want him dead?".[59]

Page Six

The gossip section "Page Six" was created by James Brady[60] and is currently edited by Emily Smith[61] (although it no longer actually appears on page six of the tabloid). Columnist Richard Johnson edited Page Six for 25 years.[62] February 2006 saw the debut of Page Six Magazine, distributed free inside the paper. In September 2007, it started to be distributed weekly in the Sunday edition of the paper. In January 2009, publication of Page Six Magazine was cut to four times a year.[63]

Beginning with the 2017–18 television season, a daily syndicated series known as Page Six TV came to air, produced by 20th Television, which was part of the 21st Century Fox side of Rupert Murdoch's holdings, and Endemol Shine North America. The show was originally hosted by comedian John Fugelsang, with contributions from Page Six and Post writers (including Carlos Greer), along with regular panelists Elizabeth Wagmeister from Variety and Bevy Smith. In March 2018, Fugelsang left the show, with the expectation that a new host would be named, though by the end of the season, it was announced that Wagmeister, Greer and Smith would be retained as equal co-hosts.[64]

In April 2019, it was confirmed that the series would end after May 2019; by then, it was last in average viewership out of all U.S. syndicated newsmagazine programs, behind the similar tabloid-inspired program Daily Mail TV.[65]

Erroneous reporting and defamation cases arising from bombings

Richard Jewell, a security guard wrongly suspected of being the Centennial Olympic Park bomber, sued the Post in 1998, alleged that the newspaper had libeled him in several articles, headlines, photographs, and editorial cartoons. U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska largely denied the Post's motion to dismiss, allowing the suit to proceed.[66] The Post subsequently settled the case for an undisclosed sum.[67]

In several stories on the day of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, the Post inaccurately reported that twelve people had died, and that a Saudi national had been taken into custody as a suspect, which was denied by Boston Police.[68][69] Three days later, on April 18, the Post featured a full-page cover photo of two young men at the Boston marathon with the headline "Bag Men" (a term that implies criminality) and erroneously claiming they were being sought by police.[69][70][71] The men, Salaheddin Barhoum and Yassine Zaimi, were not considered suspects, and the Post was heavily criticized for the apparent accusation.[70][72] Then-editor Col Allan defended the story, saying they had not referred to the men as "suspects".[70][73] The two men later sued the Post for libel,[74][75][76] and the suit was settled in 2014 on undisclosed terms.[77][78][79]

Accusations of racism

In 2006, several Asian-American advocacy groups protested the use of the headline "Wok This Way" for a Post article about Bush's meeting with the Hu Jintao, President of the People's Republic of China.[80]

In 2009, the Post ran a cartoon by Sean Delonas of a white police officer saying to another white police officer who has just shot a chimpanzee on the street: "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill." The cartoon dually referred to President Obama and to the recent rampage of Travis, a former chimpanzee actor. It was criticized as racist,[81] with civil rights activist Al Sharpton calling the cartoon "troubling at best given the historic racist attacks of African-Americans as being synonymous with monkeys."[82] The Post defended itself by stating that the cartoon was deliberately misinterpreted by its critics.[83]

The Public Enemy song "A Letter to the New York Post" from their album Apocalypse '91...The Enemy Strikes Black is a complaint about what they believed to be negative and inaccurate coverage blacks received from the paper.[citation needed]

In 2019, Post displayed an image of the World Trade Center in flames targeting Rep. Ilhan Omar, one of the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress and a target of the right wing since her election. A quote by Representative Omar, criticized in conservative circles, was included.[84] The Yemeni American Merchant Association announced a formal boycott of the paper and ten of the most prominent Yemeni bodega owners in New York agreed to stop selling the paper. As of June 2019, the boycott had extended to over 900 individual stores.[85] Yemeni-Americans own about half of the 10,000 bodegas in New York City.[86]

Hunter Biden laptop story

On October 14, 2020, the Post published a front-page story purporting to reveal "smoking gun" emails recovered from a laptop allegedly abandoned by Hunter Biden at a computer repair store in Wilmington, Delaware.[87] The only sources named in the story were Republican operatives Steve Bannon and Rudy Giuliani.[87] The story came under heavy criticism from other news sources and anonymous reporters at the Post itself for "flimsy" reporting, including questions about the reliability of its sourcing and the lack of outreach to either Hunter Biden or the Biden campaign for comment.[88][89] Though some news sources misleadingly claimed that more than fifty former U.S. intelligence officials signed an open letter warning that the story likely originated as Russian disinformation[90], the letter from these former officials itself states that "we want to emphasize that we do not know if the emails, provided to the New York Post by President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, are genuine or not and that we do not have evidence of Russian involvement -- just that our experience makes us deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case."[91] The Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe attempted to dispel these rumors, emphasizing that "the intelligence community doesn’t believe that [the emails originated from Russian disinformation] because there is no intelligence that supports that."[92] The FBI has had possession of the laptop since late 2019 and reported that they had "nothing to add" to Radcliffe's remarks concerning Russian disinformation.[93] A later publication by The New York Times emphasized that "no concrete evidence has emerged that the laptop contains Russian disinformation," and that, after mounting pressure, the FBI wrote to Senator Ron Johnson (WI) and suggested that they have not found any Russian disinformation on the laptop. It is unclear what, if anything, the Justice Department officials knew at the time.[94] However, new evidence suggests that the laptop was initially seized as part of an investigation into money laundering.[95]

Social media networks Twitter and Facebook initially limited the spread of the Post story on their platforms, citing policies restricting the sharing of hacked material; this decision proved controversial, with many critics, including Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and a Harvard Law School lecturer, deriding it as censorship.[96][97] NPR reported that Twitter initially declined to comment how it reached this decision or what evidence it had supporting this.[97] The New York Times initially reported that the story had been pitched to other outlets, including Fox News, which declined to publish it due to concerns over its reliability.[98] The Times also reported that two writers at the Post, Bruce Golding and one other, declined to have their names attached to the story, and ultimately the story only listed two bylines: Gabrielle Fonrouge, who "had little to do with the reporting or writing of the article" and was unaware of the byline prior to the story's publication; and Emma-Jo Morris, a former producer for Fox News's Hannity who had no prior bylines with the Post. In response to the concerns about the veracity of the article, former Post editor-in-chief and current advisor Colin Allan responded in an email to the Times that “the senior editors at The Post made the decision to publish the Biden files after several days’ hard work established its merit."[98] After the initial publication, other media outlets stepped up to verify the authenticity of the emails. Fox News reached out to one of the people who was copied on the email who confirmed its authenticity, and a senior federal law enforcement official also confirmed that the emails are authentic.[99][100] Fox also reported that documents obtained from the repair shop appeared to show Hunter Biden's signature.[101]

Other controversies

In 1997, a national news story concerning Rebecca Sealfon's victory in the Scripps National Spelling Bee circulated. Sealfon was sponsored by the Daily News, a direct in-market competitor. Post published a picture of her but altered the photograph to remove the name of the Daily News as printed on a placard she was wearing.[102]

In 2004, the Post ran a full-page cover photo of 19-year-old New York University student Diana Chien jumping to her death from the twenty-fourth story of a building.[103] Among criticisms leveled at Post was their addition of a tightly cropped inset photograph of Chien, a former high-school track athlete, depicting her in mid-jump from an athletic meet, giving the false impression that it was taken during her fatal act.[104] In 2012, the Post was criticised for running a photograph of a man struggling to climb back up onto subway platform as a train approached, along with the headline "DOOMED".[105][106][107] Facing questions over why he didn't help the man, the photographer claimed he was not strong enough and had been attempting to use the flash on his camera to alert the driver of the oncoming train.[108]

Post editor Sarah Polonsky was fired abruptly for accepting gifts in September 2006.[109][110]

Operations

The 1906 Old New York Evening Post Building is a designated landmark. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.[111] It occupied the building until 1926 when a new main office for the Post was established at 75 West Street in the New York Evening Post Building. The building remained in use by the Post until 1970, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2000.[111] In 1967, Schiff bought 210 South Street, the former headquarters of the New York Journal American, which closed a year earlier. The building became an instantly recognizable symbol for the Post. In 1995, owner Rupert Murdoch relocated Post's news and business offices to the News Corporation headquarters tower at 1211 Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Avenue) in midtown Manhattan. Post shares this building with Fox News Channel and The Wall Street Journal, both of which are also owned by Murdoch. Both the Post and the New York City edition of the Journal are printed at a state-of-the-art printing plant in the borough of The Bronx.

The Newspaper and Mail Deliverers Union has been delivering the newspaper "since the early 1900s."[112]

Website

Printing plant

In 1996, the New York Post launched an Internet version of the paper.[113][114] In 2014, it launched the website Decider, which provides recommendations for streaming services.[115] According to Alexa, the website nypost.com is the 151st most popular website in United States as of May 2020.[116]

Sales

The daily circulation of Post decreased in the final years of the Schiff era from 700,000 around 1967–68, to approximately 517,000 by the time she sold the paper to Murdoch in 1976.[117] Under Murdoch, Post launched a morning edition to compete directly with the rival tabloid Daily News in 1978—prompting the Daily News to retaliate with a PM edition called Daily News Tonight. But the PM edition suffered the same problems with worsening daytime traffic that the afternoon Post experienced and the Daily News ultimately folded Tonight in 1981. By that time, circulation of the all-day Post soared to a peak of 962,000, the bulk of the increase attributed to its morning edition (It set a single-day record of 1.1 million on August 11, 1977 with the news of the arrest the night before of David Berkowitz, the infamous "Son of Sam" serial killer who terrorized New York for much of that summer). But Post lost so much money that Murdoch decided to shut down Post's PM edition in 1982, turning Post into a morning-only daily.

Post and the Daily News have been locked in a bitter circulation war ever since. A resurgence during the first decade of the 21st century saw Post circulation rise to 724,748 by April 2007,[2] achieved partly by lowering the price from 50 cents to 25 cents. In October 2006, Post for the first time surpassed the Daily News in circulation—only to see the Daily News overtake its rival a few months later.[118] In 2010, the Post's daily circulation was 525,004, just 10,000 behind the Daily News.[119] As of 2017, the Post was the fourth-largest newspaper in the United States by circulation, while the Daily News was ranked eighth.[120]

Yet Post has remained unprofitable since Murdoch first purchased it from Dorothy Schiff in 1976—and was on the brink of folding when Murdoch bought it back in 1993, with at least one media report in 2012 indicating that Post loses up to $70 million a year.[121] One commentator has suggested that Post cannot become profitable as long as the competing Daily News survives, and that Murdoch may be trying to force the Daily News to fold or sell out, leaving the two papers in an intractable war of attrition.[122]

See also

References

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