So, How Many People SHOULD Show Up To Watch Cycling on a Workday in Driving Rain? Depends on What Paper You Write For

San Francisco print media coverage of the Tour of California cyclists moistly whizzing through our city streets provided a glimpse into the mindsets of our local newspapers. When it comes to drenched fans lining the course, was the glass half empty or half full (and, in yesterday's weather, how long could it keep from overflowing)?

According to the San Francisco Chronicle headline, “Thousands Cheer Cyclists Along 2nd Stage.”

According to the San Jose Mercury News, “Hundreds of people lined the route.”

And yet, the San Francisco Examiner (a Bay Area paper that not only saw fit to endorse John McCain but do so in flowery, Edwardian language last employed to goad readers into throwing down the paper and taking up the White Man's Burden) had to be different. Their headline: “Few brave rain to watch Tour pass.”

Even more humorously, all three of these stories essentially read the same (not to be an ass about it; I enjoyed them all). The overall theme: Local folks thrilled to get a fleeting glimpse of their cycling heroes as they shoot past at 40 mph in inclement weather.

While the Examiner's need to swim against the local current was predictable, its negative headline was not: Those reading to the end of its story were rewarded with this conclusion: “AEG, the organizer of the Amgen Tour of California, shares the same

owners as Clarity Media, which oversees The San Francisco Examiner.”

That the Examiner is owned by right-wing, evangelical billionaire Philip Anschutz (the “A” in “AEG”) explains much of the paper's worldview. But, happily, it doesn't explain this headline. It's the little surprises that give life its spice.

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