March 6, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Newspapers hammer story of lousy Army health care

Once again, many of the nation’s editors agreed on a national story that belonged on Page One – the scandalous nature of the U.S. Army’s treatment of its war-wounded at Walter Reed Hospital in the nation’s capital. The Fresno Bee in California simply stated, “Army case probed in D.C.” but The San Diego Union-Tribune in the same state headlined its coverage: “Anger and apologies over poor Army care.”  For The Denver Post it was “Army chiefs admit errors.” The News Journal in Wilmington, Del., reported “Fiery criticism heaped on Army over care” even as The Augusta Chronicle in Georgia told its readers, “Panel hears anger over Walter Reed.” The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky., headlined its story, “Army vows to inspect its hospitals.”  In Maine’s Portland Press Herald readers learned that “Generals sorry for hospital defects” and the Minneapolis Star Tribune said “Army leaders accept blame.” In Montana, the Billings Gazette spelled it out with “Army officials admit they failed in healthcare” and The Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J., noted, “The Army faces its shame.”

Today two of the leading U.S. dailies agreed withthis news treatment. The New York Times reported on Page One that “Soldiers testify over poor care at Walter Reed” while The Washington Post, which broke the story, carried a large Page One photo from the hearings with the headline, “Apologies, anger at Walter Reed hearing.”

The Courier-Journal also reported in a squared-off story at the bottom of Page One a story of possible interest to all Internet users.  The story is about a Wikipedia “volunteer editor and fact checker” who “touted himself as a tenured professor with doctorates in theology and canon law.” He turned out to be a 24-year-old college dropout who has since resigned his position.

Gene Mater is a Freedom Forum media consultant.

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