A decent way of evaluating a newspaper’s priorities is simply glancing at its front page, where editors typically place the stories they deem most important or newsworthy. Judging from the Saturday and Sunday editions of the New York Post, the most important and newsworthy event in New York City is the existence, and micturition schedule, of a 49-year-old homeless man named John Tucker.

From Saturday (“20 years of cleaning up NYC pissed away”):

Wrapped in rags and a Mets blanket the hobo wandered into traffic at around 10:30 a.m. and relieved himself as cabs, cars and buses whizzed by between West 83rd and 84th streets on the Upper West Side. He finished his business at a nearby garbage bin, then strolled back to the front of a Victoria’s Secret store at Broadway and 85th Street, where he camped out for the rest of the day.

From Sunday (“Peeing menace cuffed by cops, only to be back on the streets”):

New York’s revolving door of justice sprang a scary leak Saturday when a threatening, public-urinating, jagged-glass-waving homeless man was twice hauled away by cops — only to each time be quickly released to terrorize the same stretch of Broadway on the Upper West Side.

From today (“Vagrant back to peeing in the streets after hospital release”):

A disgusting derelict who’s turning the Upper West Side into an open-air toilet was back at it Sunday — just hours after two hospitals deemed him fit to wander the city’s streets. The foul-smelling vagrant, whom police sources identified as John Tucker, 49, was spotted urinating in the street on Ninth Avenue at West 47th Street at around 1:30 p.m. ... Tucker’s reappearance outraged residents who recognized him from the front pages of The Post, which showed him taking a leak in the street and then in handcuffs before one of his psychiatric evaluations Saturday.

The unambiguous cruelty of publicly embarrassing someone as beleaguered as Tucker—not just by soliciting the details of his body odor and urination habits, but by publishing over a dozen pictures of him in various states of undress—is not exactly unheard of at the Post. But it’s hard to remember the last time the Post enlisted 16 different reporters—

  1. Tom Wilson
  2. Melkorka ­Licea
  3. Philip Messing
  4. Danika Fears
  5. Larry Celona
  6. C.J. Sullivan
  7. Michael Gartland
  8. Kirstan Conley
  9. Harry Shuldman
  10. Carl Campanile
  11. Bruce Golding
  12. Kevin Fasick
  13. David K. Li
  14. Aaron Feis
  15. Georgett ­Roberts
  16. Stephanie Pagones

—to publicize the bodily functions of a person hanging from the bottommost rungs of society. (If homelessness is concerning to the Post, at least a handful of those 16 writers and reporters might have been better used looking into the city’s careening real estate market, social service cuts, and growing population of for-profit homeless shelters.)

In any case, the Post’s current editorial strategy does not seem to be working. As an 87-year-old retiree named Pinky Light told the paper today: “He’s been on the cover of the newspaper . . . and he’s back in the same spot. I can’t believe it!”