March 15, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Admissions of guilt, mistakes; warnings of bizarre side effects

A confession made headlines today with the reported admission by an al-Qaida leader that he organized 31 terrorist acts.

The country’s largest newspapers led with the claim, and the Los Angeles Times used photos to illustrate the terrorist plots. The San Antonio(Texas) Express-News broke out Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s quote: “I was responsible for the 9-11 operation from A to Z.” Newsday on Long Island pictured Mohammed with the headline “I did it.”

“Mistakes were made,” said the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock, which reported that President Bush expressed confidence in Attorney General Alberto Gonzales but was unhappy about the way eight U.S. attorneys were fired. There were local angles for The Albuquerque Journal, which detailed longtime complaints about a fired U.S. attorney in New Mexico, and the Valley News in West Lebanon, which quoted a New Hampshire senator -- the first GOP leader to call for Gonzales’ dismissal.

“I didn’t, did I?” asked the Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times in a “bedtime horror story” about the potentially bizarre side effects of sleeping aids – binge eating and sleep driving. “Can’t sleep? Warning: Think twice before taking medicine,” said The Oklahoman in Oklahoma City, which listed 13 drugs now required by the Food and Drug Administration to have warning labels.

In Kentucky, the state’s largest newspapers quoted from an online column by the president of a leading Southern Baptist seminary that “babies could be born gay.” The suggestion that a biological basis for homosexuality might be proven “irks left, right,” the Lexington Herald-Leader said. “Baptist leader backs pre-natal treatment,” said The Courier-Journal in Louisville.

Images of the day: With news that the number of deaths in Baghdad has decreased since a U.S. crackdown began, newspapers big and small -- including The Day of New London, Conn. -- published a photo of an Iraqi boy covering his ears and approaching an American soldier after hearing gunshots.

In Alabama, The Dothan Eagle pictured students going back to school for the first time since tornadoes destroyed Enterprise High School. It was a “near-perfect spring day,” the newspaper said.

kkennedy@freedomforum.org Kate Kennedy, a former newspaper Page One editor, is director/partnerships and initiatives.

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