Washington Is a Bad Tabloid Town, Part 3,000
Here's yet more evidence that Washingtonians' thirst for sensational news is going unfulfilled: the utter lack of enthusiasm among our local press for the gruesome story of someone dropping a concrete slab on a dog's head last month.
The death of 6-month-old pitbull King Tut on Mt. Olivet Road NE is a tragedy that I don't mean to make light of. But you do have to wonder why the story has fallen with a light thud, when it has the ingredients to create a crash of press coverage. The Post buried a story about suspect's Sean Delontay Branch's arrest on the back page of Metro today, but the real onus here falls on the Examiner, the closest thing D.C. has to a scandal rag. The Examiner dropped the ball, too, though, opting to run just a three-paragraph story.
A cute dog allegedly killed over a feud between neighbors—and the suspect has already admitted that he killed King Tut (although he says it was an accident). Could this story be served up more perfectly for a tabloid? If this happened in New York, the New York Post would have already burned through a thesaurus, settled on "BARK-BARK BARBARISM" for a headline, and be calling for Branch's conviction. Instead, Washington gets a blotter write-up.
And it's not just non-human scandals that are ignored by our so-called tabloids. The Albrecht Muth-Viola Drath socialite murder was ripe for daily coverage ("IRAQI WACKY"), but it took the New York Times to do the most satisfying story on it.
Washington doesn't necessarily need a down-and-dirty tabloid. I'll admit, grudgingly, that we're better off without the tabloids' laser focus on teacher-student sex and, certainly, the even less savory practices of their British cousins. But that doesn't make it any less of a mystery that the District, for all of its sex, power, and footloose reporters, can't generate a tabloid worth the name.