The New York Post is an American daily newspaper, primarily distributed in New York City and its surrounding area. It is the 13th-oldest and seventh-most-widely circulated newspaper in the United States. Established in 1801 by federalist and Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, it became a respected broadsheet in the 19th century, under the name New York Evening Post. The modern version of the paper is published in tabloid format.
In 1976, Rupert Murdoch bought the Post for US$30.5 million. 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 editorial offices are located at 1211 Avenue of the Americas.
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 Hartford Courant, believed to be the oldest continuously published newspaper, was founded in 1764 as a semi-weekly paper; it did not begin publishing daily until 1836. The New Hampshire Gazette, which has trademarked its claim of being The Nation's Oldest Newspaper, was founded in 1756, also as a weekly. Moreover, since the 1890s it has been published only for weekends.
The Post 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, a broadsheet. Hamilton's co-investors included other New York members of the Federalist Party, such as Robert Troup and Oliver Wolcott, who were dismayed by the election of Thomas Jefferson as U.S. President and the rise in popularity of the Democratic-Republican Party. The meeting at which Hamilton first recruited investors for the new paper took place in then-country weekend villa that is now Gracie Mansion. Hamilton chose William Coleman as his first editor.
The most famous 19th-century New-York Evening Post editor was the poet and abolitionist William Cullen Bryant. So well respected was the New-York Evening Post under Bryant's editorship, it received praise from the English philosopher John Stuart Mill, in 1864.
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 classical liberal philosophy entailed a fierce opposition to central banking, a support for voluntary labor unions, and a dedication to laissez-faire economics. He was a member of the Equal Rights Party. Leggett became a co-owner and editor at the Post in 1831, eventually working as sole editor of the newspaper while Bryant traveled in Europe in 1834 through 1835.
Another co-owner of the paper was John Bigelow. 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, and was admitted to the bar in 1838. From 1849 to 1861, he was one of the editors and co-owners of the New York Evening Post.
In 1881 Henry Villard took control of the New-York 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. When Schurz left the paper in 1883, Godkin became editor-in-chief. White became editor-in-chief in 1899, and remained in that role until his retirement in 1903.
In 1897, both publications passed to the management of Villard's son, Oswald Garrison Villard, a founding member of both the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the American Civil Liberties Union.
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—publisher of the Ladies Home Journal—purchased the New-York Evening Post in 1924 and briefly turned it into a non-sensational tabloid in 1933.
In 1939, Dorothy Schiff purchased the paper. Her husband, George Backer, was named editor and publisher. Her second editor (and third husband) Ted Thackrey became co-publisher and co-editor with Schiff in 1942. Together, they recast the newspaper into its current tabloid format. In 1948 The Bronx Home News merged with it. 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 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 Joseph Cookman, 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, Rupert Murdoch bought the Post for US$30.5 million. 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). Under Murdoch's watch, the Post veered sharply to the right editorially, in accordance with Murdoch's views.
In late October 1995, the Post announced plans to change its Monday through Saturday publication and start a Sunday edition, which it last published briefly in 1989. 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. The amount, significantly less than Sunday editions from competitors The Daily News and The New York Times, was part of the Post's efforts "to find a niche in the nation's most competitive newspaper market".
In December 2012, Murdoch announced that Jesse Angelo had been appointed publisher.
Murdoch imported the tabloid journalism style of many of his Australian and British newspapers, such as The Sun, which was the highest selling daily newspaper in the UK for a long time. This style was typified by the Post's famous headlines such as "Headless body in topless bar" (shown on the right, written by Vincent Musetto who died in June 2015). 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.
Because of the institution of federal regulations limiting media cross-ownership after Murdoch's purchase of WNEW-TV (now WNYW-TV) 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. When Kalikow declared bankruptcy in 1993, the paper was temporarily managed by Steven Hoffenberg, a financier who later pleaded guilty to securities fraud; and, for two weeks, by Abe Hirschfeld, 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 photo of founder Alexander Hamilton with a single tear drop running down his cheek—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. Without that FCC ruling, the paper would have shut down. Under Murdoch's renewed direction, the paper continued its conservative editorial viewpoint.
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 "the New York Post is no longer merely a journalistic problem. It is a social problem – a force for evil."
Perhaps the most serious allegation against the Post is that it is willing to contort its news coverage to suit Murdoch's business needs, in particular that the paper has avoided reporting anything that is unflattering to the government of the People's Republic of China, where Murdoch has invested heavily in satellite television.
Critics say that the Post allows its editorial positions to shape its story selection and news coverage. Post executive editor Steven D. Cuozzo has responded that the Post "broke the elitist media stranglehold on the national agenda."
According to a survey conducted by Pace University in 2004, 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).
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.
There have been numerous controversies surrounding the Post:
- 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. The 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.
- On November 8, 2000, the Post printed "BUSH WINS!" in a huge headline, although the presidential 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 George W. Bush.
- On March 10, 2004, the Post re-ran, as a full-color page one photograph, a photograph that had already been run three days earlier in black and white on page 9, showing the 24-story suicide plunge of a New York University student, who had since been identified as 19-year-old Diana Chien, daughter of a prominent Silicon Valley businessman. Among criticisms leveled at the 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, despite the fact that she had fallen face up.
- On July 6, 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. 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 Bush's meeting with the Hu Jintao, President of the People's Republic of China.
- On September 29, 2006, Post editor Sarah Polonsky was fired abruptly for accepting gifts.
- 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.
- On December 7, 2006, the Post doctored a front-page photograph 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. In defense of the "Surrender Monkeys" headline, media contributor Simon Dumenco wrote an Ad Age article about his love for the Post.
- On February 18, 2009, the Post ran a cartoon by Sean Delonas that depicted 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 being in bad taste, primarily by making a reference to the racist stereotype of African-Americans being portrayed as apes. Civil rights activist Al Sharpton called the cartoon "troubling at best given the historic racist attacks of African-Americans as being synonymous with monkeys." The Post has defended itself by stating that the cartoon was deliberately misinterpreted by its critics.
- On December 4, 2012, the Post used a picture taken by a freelance photographer, R. Umar Abbasi, of a 58-year-old man identified as Ki Suk Han struggling to climb back up onto the platform of the 49th Street station as a subway train approached. The caption on the front read, "Pushed on the subway track, this man is about to die" on top, and "DOOMED" in large, boldface print on the bottom. The image caused outrage among many, as its use was viewed as exploiting a tragedy for commercial gain., though Abbasi stated that since he was not strong enough to pull the man up, he had attempted to use the flash on his camera to alert the driver of the oncoming train.
- Aspects of the Post's coverage of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing were criticized. The Post reported in several stories on the day of the attack that the death toll was 12, while most organizations reported two and then three fatalities. In addition, they reported that a Saudi national was being held as a suspect, but Boston Police denied this and said they had no suspects in custody. Additionally, the April 18 cover of the Post featured a full-page photo of two young men the paper described as being sought by law enforcement in possible connection with the attack. CBS News reporter John Miller reported that the two men are not considered suspects by the FBI. The apparent insinuation by the Post that they were suspects was denounced by media critics. In June 2013, the two men, Salaheddin Barhoum and Yassine Zaimi, sued the Post for libel over the story. In 2014, the suit was settled.
- On January 5, 2014, following the abduction and murder of Brooklyn businessman Menachem Stark, the Post cover story featured a picture of the victim dressed in his traditional Hasidic garb accompanied by the headline asking "Who didn't want him dead?" That front page sparked outrage for its insinuation that the murder was justified vigilantism. On that same day, some New York City elected officials condemned the Post's cover story. In a press conference led by Brooklyn borough president Eric Adams, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James declared, "Today [the New York Post has] given license to murder!" James then asked that "every government official should refrain from advertising in the New York Post, every government official should withdraw any governmental notice from the New York Post, and everyone should condemn the New York Post."
The Post and the Daily News often take potshots at each other's work and accuracy, particularly in their respective gossip-page items.
In certain editions of the February 14, 2007, newspaper, an article referring to then-Senator Hillary Clinton's support base for her 2008 presidential run referred to then-Senator Barack Obama as "Osama"; the paper realized its error and corrected it for the later editions and the website. The Post noted the error and apologized in the February 15, 2007, edition. Earlier, on January 20, 2007, the Post received some criticism for running a potentially misleading headline, "'Osama' Mud Flies at Obama", for a story that discussed rumors that Obama had been raised as a Muslim and concealed it.
In 1996, the Post launched an Internet version of the paper. The original site included color photos and sections broken down into News, Sports, Editorial, Gossip, Entertainment and Business. It also had an archive for the past seven days. Since then, it has been redesigned a number of times, with the latest incarnation launched on September 6, 2009. In 2005 the website implemented a registration requirement but removed it in July 2006.
The current website also features continually updated breaking news; entertainment, business, and sports blogs; links to Page Six Magazine; photo and video galleries; original Post videos; user-submitted photos and comments; and streaming video for live events.
The paper is well known for its sports section, which has been praised for its comprehensiveness; it begins on the back page, and among other coverage, contains columns about sports in the media by Phil Mushnick.
The best-known gossip section is "Page Six". It was created by James Brady and currently edited by Emily Smith (although it no longer actually appears on page 6 of the tabloid). 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.
The daily circulation of the Post decreased in the final years of the Schiff era from 700,000 in the late 1960s to approximately 418,000 by the time she sold the paper to Murdoch in 1976. Under Murdoch, the 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 the Post lost so much money that Murdoch decided to shut down the Post's PM edition in 1982, turning the Post into a morning-only daily.
The 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, achieved partly by lowering the price from 50 cents to 25 cents. In October 2006, the Post for the first time surpassed the Daily News in circulation—only to see the Daily News overtake its rival a few months later. As of April 2010, the Post's daily circulation is 525,004, just 10,000 behind the Daily News.
Yet the 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 the Post loses up to $70 million a year. One commentator has suggested that the 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.
From 1926 to 1970, the newspaper's main office was at 75 West Street in the New York Evening Post Building. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2000. 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 the Post's news and business offices to the News Corporation headquarters tower at 1211 Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Avenue) in midtown Manhattan. The Post shares this building with Fox News Channel and The Wall Street Journal, both of which are also owned by Murdoch. 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.