Who Won the Headline War Over de Blasio’s Jailed Ally?

By
Lis Smith via Twitter Photo: @lis_Smith/Twitter

Both of the city's daily tabloids led this morning with the same story, which they both reported misleadingly. But in the battle of the inflammatory headlines, the New York Daily News wins by a hair for "Bail of Two Cities" over the New York Post's "Jail of Two Cities," because the whole point was to suggest that de Blasio had used his influence to spring a political ally from jail. Although de Blasio and the NYPD say that's not what happened. Lis Smith, the former de Blasio aide who may have reason to dislike the Post, called the match early on Twitter. And she was right.

The papers were both pretty worked up about the call de Blasio made to a police official after hearing that a political ally, Bishop Orlando Findlayter, had been arrested on an open warrant after he was stopped for making a left turn in his car without signaling. De Blasio and the NYPD both say the decision to release Findlayter and not make him spend a night in jail came before the mayor called.

But only the Daily News reported that detail in its story (and then only at the very bottom). It quoted Deputy Chief Kim Royster, who acknowledged the mayor had called, but said the decision had already been made to release Findlayter. She said the precinct commander had told her: "Why have a clergyman in the command in jail overnight?" The Post didn't mention that side of things.

Both papers quoted Sergeant Ed Mullins, president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, who was incensed: "You don't let him go, period," he told the Post. "We don’t let you go. You’re not supposed to let them go," he said to the Daily News. But the Daily News wins extra points not only for representing the NYPD's side, but also for being cutthroat by using the Post's line about "A Jail of Two Cities" in the body of its story. Match: Daily News.