Groundhog-gate Is the Most New York Post Story That Ever Was

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A mayor. A murder. An extended cover-up. A Staten Island zoo. These are the elements of the New York Post‘s epic exclusive this morning, alleging that a groundhog that Mayor De Blasio dropped in February later died of internal injuries and that the Staten Island zoo engaged in an elaborate cover-up to shield hizzoner. Is your groundhog next? Has the New York Post reached peak tabloid?

Let’s examine the text of this pretty amazing story, just to make sure it checks off the boxes. Here is the lede of the story:

Mayor Bill de Blasio has groundhog blood on his hands!

Yep, that feels sufficiently alarmist. But also with a touch of down-home weirdness stirred in? Just enough suspicion of mayoral authority, just enough weird animal news, just enough spinning those together into making De Blasio into a monstrous hunter and murderer of beloved fuzzy creatures.

A week after Hizzoner dropped Staten Island Chuck in front of a crowd of spectators on Feb. 2, the winter-weather prognosticator died of internal injuries — and then the coverup began, The Post has learned.

Staten Island Zoo officials went to great lengths to hide the death from the public — and keep secret the fact that “Chuck” was actually “Charlotte,” a female impostor, sources said Wednesday.

Oh my god, yes. This has everything. Ridiculous tabloid speak that no one else uses (“hizzoner,” “prognosticator”): Check. Calling the Staten Island Zoo’s decision to temporarily name a lady groundhog Chuck a “female imposter”? Check. The intrigue of a goverment cover-up peppered with the hilarity of government bungling? Check. And then it has government officials denying knowledge of the groundhog’s sad demise:

“I was told he died of old age, that he went to that big farm in the sky,” said Assemblyman Matthew Titone (D-SI), who later learned how the animal had died.

And the kicker: Future groundhogs may yet be in jeopardy from the slippery hands of our tall mayor.

The zoo plans to pull the same groundhog switcheroo next year by using the groundhog couple’s young daughter — also named Charlotte — in the role of Chuck, zoo sources said.

So De Blasio can soon kill off an entire generation of beloved groundhogs? Who will be next? Who can stop him?

We call that “tabloid bingo,” ladies and gentleman.

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