(believe it or not, the above gentleman a) made his own sign, b) wasn’t attending a Knicks game when the above photo was taken, c) might not be so easily manipulated by sleazy foreign editors, d) knows less about the NBA draft than Craig Carton)

“Do you think it might be a sign that we™ve all gone off the rails when one of the dominant papers in the city publishes a ‘Fire Isiah’ poster and instructs fans to hold it up at games?” asked Ken Berger, a Newsday columnist amongst those less than amused at the Daily News’ attempt to co-opt genuine fan frustration with the state of the New York Knicks (95-90 losers yesterday afternoon to the Los Angeles Lakers). The New York Times’ Richard Perez-Pena is equally queasy from he calls “tabloid pugnacity”, pointing a finger at the real villians — newspaper editors who weren’t born in America (link courtesy Cosellout).

On Wednesday, The Daily News published an article that it said was œfor all the Knicks fans who feel the same way as the ejected fan, telling them, œconsider the sign on the opposite page our holiday gift.

In big block letters, the following page said, œFire Isiah. In much smaller type, it added, œTo be held up during next Knicks blowout.

The next game was not an embarrassing defeat ” the Knicks actually won ” but the signs were common in the stands.

Most of American journalism pays at least lip service to the idea that news reporting should not take sides in the matter being covered, even when it comes to the performance of the home team. But New York City™s tabloids, The Daily News and the even more opinionated New York Post, do not always feel bound by that rule.

That may be partly a result of both papers™ having had a number of editors from Britain and other parts of the world where newspapers have fewer pretensions to being impartial.

The œFire Isiah spread œwas what I would describe as good, roustabout tabloidism, said Martin Dunn, editor in chief and deputy publisher of The Daily News, who is British.

One thing newspapers forget, he said, is that œpeople don™t spend their lives debating the great matters of state. They like a bit of fun now and then. A bit of rabble-rousing.