The New York Post appears to be enjoying the mess that its long-time rival, The New York Daily News, created when it printed erroneous lottery numbers, and misled thousands of readers into thinking they won big bucks.
The Post's editorial was scathing, including a call by the paper for the Daily News to award all the prize money that they initially reported people won.
New York Post criticizes rival
(by New York Daily News)
New York's hometown newspaper scamsters tried to buy their way out of big trouble with small change last night cobbling together an anemic scheme that meant that thousands of New Yorkers who'd been led to think they had won up to $100,000 would end up with: Nothing at all.
For the second time in six years, the New York Daily News published erroneous "Scratch n' Match" game numbers on Saturday misleading thousands of readers into thinking they had really hit the big time.
And for the second time in six years, the paper initially refused to stand by the winning numbers it published.
The pressure was apparently too much, though. Last night, Daily News publisher Mort Zuckerman a billionare real-estate magnate dipped into petty cash and came up with a consolation lottery meant to make the trouble go away.
Too little, too late.
The paper says it will pull five count'em, five! names out of a hat and award the winners $100,000 each.Then it's back to the hat for five $10,000 second prizes.
That may be good news for 10 lucky souls, but peanuts for everybody else.
What about the thousands of readers maybe tens of thousands whom the News led to believe that they had won big bucks?
Those "winners" are, well . . . flat out of luck.
Even now, the News refuses to take full responsibility for its bizarre gaffe terming it "the result of the contest management firm's error." That is, it simply passed the buck to the agency that runs the contest for the News, D.L. Blair.
"We are outraged at D.L. Blair. We are outraged on behalf of our readers," said Les Goodstein, the Daily News president, yesterday. "We are going to fight to make sure that everyone gets a fair shake."
Sorry, Les: A "fair shake" means the paper needs to pay.
End of story.
Lines of livid contestants snaked down the block yesterday near the News' headquarters.
Its phone lines were overwhelmed by folks who felt with good reason that they'd been defrauded.
They knew that by publishing the numbers, the News assumed full responsibility for any errors no matter what it claims. And they knew the News knows that as well.
It was the explicit duty of News Deputy Publisher and Editorial Director Martin Dunn to set in place a fail-safe process to guarantee against such a monumental mistake.
After all, it's not like it hadn't happened once before.
But there was no fail-safe mechanism.
So Dunce . . . er, Dunn and his paper are responsible.
Yet now the News means to make contestants suffer for its negligence.
Instead, the newspaper needs to take the full hit and make things right for readers.
That said, this page urges billionare publisher Zuckerman not to fire Dunn. No, we beg on bended knee that he be kept in place.
He's just too good, or bad, to be true.
So what if Dunn has made the News a laughingstock? Don't let any of that disturb you, Mr. Zuckerman.
After all, you have a much more important task at hand.
You need to pay up. In full.
It's a matter of honor.
Daily News says "Sorry" with $1 million
(by New York Daily News)
We're sorry - and we've got $1,000,000 to make it up to you!
That's the message today to all our readers who believed they had won our Scratch n' Match game on Saturday, and unfortunately had not.
It's way above what the Scratch n' Match rules say we have to do - but we are determined to show you how sorry we are.
We know how disappointed you were this weekend when you discovered that the company that administers our game had made an error.
They had sent us the wrong numbers to scratch off for Saturday's game. We printed them in good faith.
That seemed to make many of you winners.
So today, for all of you who thought you had won based on the INCORRECT NUMBERS, we are announcing a Scratch n' Match Special Drawing with an astounding $1,000,000 in cash prizes.
Our rules call for a special drawing with a $225,500 fund.
However, in these unusual circumstances, we have decided to multiply that by FIVE.
We will be offering FIVE times the number of usual weekly cash prizes.
That's more than 12,800 individual cash prizes.
And it adds up to more than $1,000,000 in extra cash.
Remember, this drawing is just for the people who thought they had won on Saturday when they scratched off the INCORRECT NUMBERS.
On Saturday, we printed the following INCORRECT NUMBERS: 9, 7, 5, 15, 13, 10, 1, 4, 3, 2.
Anyone who revealed three identical cash amounts for the game of Saturday, March 19, by scratching off these INCORRECT NUMBERS is now eligible for our special drawing.
Many of you have already submitted a claim and will be automatically entered.
If you haven't, all you have to do is submit your claim via mail to:
Scratch n' Match
1548 Front St.
Blair, Neb. 68008
Remember to write your name, address, Social Security number and daytime and evening phone numbers on an index card, and include a photocopy of a valid ID when you submit your game piece.
All eligible claims for the special drawing must be received by July 8, 2005, so you've got plenty of time to mail in your claim.
The Daily News is determined to make amends to its readers.
Daily News President and Chief Operating Officer Les Goodstein said last night, "We are furious that our readers should have been placed in such an intolerable position.
"We were outraged that the third party company that runs our game should have made such a mistake.
"We said over the weekend that we would fight for our readers' rights and try to find some way to rectify the situation.
"We think that by offering this special cash drawing for all the disappointed claimants that we have gone some way toward rectifying the situation."
Martin Dunn, Deputy Publisher and Editorial Director, said, "We know that many of our readers were bitterly disappointed on Saturday.
"We were very upset to learn that the numbers given to us were wrong.
"Our readers trust the Daily News for many things, but especially our honesty and our credibility. We would never do anything to mislead our readers. This was an error by an outside contractor and one over which we had no control."
Scratch n' Match has been a part of the Daily News since 1995.
Since then we have awarded millions of dollars in cash prizes. The game came back to the Daily News in September after a five-year break and became another instant hit with our readers.
Thousands of you play every week, and thousands have won. Readers won more than $1,300,000 in cash prizes in 2004 alone.
Marie DeParis, Senior Vice President of Strategic Marketing, said last night, "Daily News readers have embraced this game, and we are meticulous in trying to ensure that there are no errors.
"Unfortunately, we were provided with the wrong numbers to publish by the game's administrators, D.L. Blair.
"We listened to each and every one of our readers that contacted us over the weekend and decided that we had to respond in a big way.
"We will now be able to offer five $100,000 grand prizes, five $10,000 prizes and thousands of other cash prizes.
"If you have made a claim using the INCORRECT NUMBERS for any of our prize amounts, you will be put into the draw for that specific amount of cash."
The Daily News has also employed an independent investigations company to carry out an inquiry into exactly what went wrong.