Crack, cats and the Yankee Stadium squirrel

What do they all have in common?

It’s Friday, at the tail end of a short week, so we’re going to share with you a headline that needs to get as much play as possible—it’s a doozy. Courtesy of the UK’s The Sun we get this little gem:

Pete Doherty’s cat is on crack.

Doherty, a British musician better known for his drug addiction than whatever it is he does musically, has apparently been photographed giving his cat crack from a little pipe he made ‘specially for the little guy. (Yes, the picture is in the article.) Of course, abusing animals like this isn’t funny, but the headline is a classic.

And The Sun isn’t done with blowing the story of exposing fuzzy animals on drugs wide open. The paper reminds readers that in 2005, it broke the story that “squirrels in Brixton, South London, became hooked on crack cocaine hidden by addicts in gardens. Residents said the tufties had bloodshot eyes and were “digging desperately” in flower-beds.”

Hmmm. Next comes the part that has a Jack Schafer bogus trend investigation written all over it. The paper goes on to report that “In the US, crack squirrels are a recognised problem in New York and Washington DC parks.” In 2005, the Mirror reported the same thing about both the Brixton crack squirrels and their US counterparts—but doing a little Googling, I couldn’t find any mention of “crack squirrels” in the American press. So the question is: where the hell did they get this little factoid?

For me though, I’m much more interested in the debate raging in New York City newspapers over whether the squirrel that has been hanging out on the right field foul pole in Yankee Stadium is good luck for the Yanks, as the Daily News maintains, or bad luck, as the New York Times claims. The Post has yet to take a stance on the issue. Maybe Post owner Rupert Murdoch isn’t a baseball fan?

Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today.

Paul McLeary is senior editor of Defense Technology International magazine, and is a former CJR staffer.