Herald v. Post: who wins perv war?

In a piece posted yesterday evening, Slate press critic Jack Shafer sized up the NY Post's intense affection for the term "perv." Here's what he found: in the last 8 years, the Post has put "perv" into 642 headlines (!) and "pervert" into another 59--a rate of about 90 perv/pervert heds annually.

Obviously, I had to see how the Herald stacked up. Initially I was disappointed: since 1999, just 58 headlines have contained "perv"--way less than I would have thought. Forty have featured "pervert," however. What's more, 52 of the "perv" heds and 32 of the "pervert" heds have come since 2004!

With 84 perv/ert heds in just under three years, the Herald's looking at a (recent) annual rate of at least 28. Now, consider the obvious size difference in the New York and Boston metropolitan areas: according to the 2005 US Census, the Post has about 18.7 million potential pervs to work with, while the Herald's only got around 4.4 million.

Add it all up, and I'd say the Herald takes a back seat to no one when it comes to highlighting perversity.

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