March 20, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Iraq War milestone still out front; uh, I forgot what I was writing

For a third day, many U.S. newspapers led with the four-year anniversary of the Iraq War. The Chicago Tribune’s headline neatly summarized most of the angles: “Pleas, polls, protests, bloodshed at anniversary.” Several newspapers covered area anti-war demonstrations as the local hook. The Porterville (Calif.) Recorder led with “Signs of discontent: Vigil in Visalia,” a story about a march by the South Valley Peace Center. The top photo captured two marchers, one of whom held a sign reading “Who would Jesus bomb?” The Roanoke (Va.) Times led with an AP report but used statistics instead of a standard headline to intrigue readers: “Four years. $500+ billion. 3,217 U.S. troops. 70,000+ Iraqi lives.”

U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales awoke to yet another “Groundhog Day” of speculation about his political future. The headlines went from bad — “Gonzales departure is being weighed,” The Arizona Republic; to worse — “Signs suggest Gonzales’ exit,” Las Vegas Review-Journal; to truly ouch-worthy — “Top attorney sinking fast,” The News-Tribune, Tacoma, Wash.

Today’s Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World departed from the usual news fare to serve up an interesting front-page package on “Mining’s legacy: A scar on Kansas.” With historical photos used as artful illustrations, the first of a three-part series began today with an overview of some of the problems the mining industry apparently left Kansans, including giant sinkholes (a menace to tractor-drivers), contaminated groundwater and lead-poisoned soil.

Finally, the Waco (Texas) Tribune-Herald took a look at … uh … forgetfulness, that’s it. The newspaper had fun with an AP science story, headlining it “Hmm. Umm, what?” Researchers are studying why our minds get to wanderin’ while we’re trying to concentrate on an important task, such as coming up with a clever way to finish this column. Hmm … did I hear someone in the hall say she has donuts?

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

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