February 14, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Ice wins out over Iraq; Love? Bah, humbug

The growing volume of Hill debate over the Iraq War made the top national news slot on many Page Ones. The Arizona Daily Star in Tucson twinned coverage of the political wrangling with reports of yet another deadly car bomb at a Baghdad market: “Debate in D.C., carnage in Iraq.” The Desert Sun in Palm Springs, Calif., topped its front page with an AP story on lawmakers’ “deeply personal” statements about the conflict: “Emotions run high in war debate.”

Emotions also ran high as the nation coped with two other crises: a wide-ranging winter storm and a high-expectation holiday. First, the weather. According to U.S. front pages, it’s bad. Page One designers broke out the triple-digit font sizes for this one. The Beaver County Times in Pennsylvania warned its readers: “It’s treacherous out there.” The Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne, Ind., went with the tried-and-true exclamation: “BLIZZARD!” The weather-weary residents of New Orleans missed the snow and ice, but got hit by a deadly tornado instead: “TWISTER,” said The Times-Picayune.

Some editors commented on how the weather might put a crimp in lovers’ Valentines Day plans, fouling up weddings and impeding flower deliveries: “Cold-hearted snowstorm,” The Detroit News. A lot of front pages focused on heart-warming tales of decades-old marriages and other success stories of love.

But a few newspapers bucked the happy news hooks in favor of a less-traditional approach to V-day. The San Francisco Chronicle fronted a story titled “Love 2.0” that followed Silicon Valley executives, who put love on hold to build their digital fortunes, as they sought out a matchmaker to help them find women. Durham, N.C.’s Herald-Sun looked at new research on love, which has conclude that romantic attachment is a hormone-and-neuron fueled storm in the brain, similar to many mental illnesses.

Finally, the Bristol (Va.) Herald Courier threw some cold water on its readers’ amorous plans. In “Watch out for the love bug,” staff writer Joe Geraghty recommended that folks protect themselves tonight: The rate of gonorrhea and Chlamydia infections in the region is increasing “at an alarming rate.”

Christy Mumford Jerding is the editorial director of the Freedom Forum.

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