‘New York Post’ Op-Ed Rails Against NYC Freebie Newspapers

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By: E&P Staff

The New York Post came out swinging against New York City’s free newspapers amNew York and Metro in an unusual Op-Ed today, in which the Post blasted its free competitors for clogging up Metropolis’ subways.

“Next time your subway line is shut down because of massive flooding, or you’re stuck on a train in a dark tunnel for an hour or more because there’s a fire on the tracks, you’ll know who to blame,” the Op-Ed states. “A new report from the MTA’s board of directors says that those free daily newspapers — the ones that hawkers all too often hand out illegally in subway stations — are responsible.”

The Post quotes Barry Feinstein, former Teamster and founder/chairman of the board of the MTA’s Consortium for Worker Education: “We have bitterly complained for a long time about … the free newspapers. That was a major problem and cause of a good deal of the [2004] flooding.” The reference alludes to Sept. 8, 2004, when severe rains dropped nearly three inches of rain during the morning rush hour, causing flooding problems and service cuts in about half of New York’s subway system.

“The freebie hawkers can legally give out their copies, provided they remain outside the subway stations and don’t leave piles of papers unattended,” the editorial continues. “But aggressive hawkers flagrantly break those rules: They go down into the stations by the turnstiles, or even onto the platforms.”

Another New York daily, The New York Sun, reported in February that the MTA collects 50 tons of garbage from its stations and tracks each day. In that report, the Sun quoted New York City Transit Authority spokesman Paul Fleuranges as saying the MTA is spending about $6.4 million more this year on cleaning stations and tracks.

“Let’s be perfectly honest: The Post is not a disinterested party in this affair,” the newspaper admits in the editorial. “The free papers, after all, compete for readers and advertisers with the one you’re reading right now.”

Read the full Op-Ed here.

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