March 21, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Bush: Dems fightin’ words; footballers row over sheilas

Political wrangling over the firing of eight federal prosecutors again led dozens of U.S. dailies, but the lede shifted from Alberto Gonzales to George Bush. The president told reporters that he opposed congressional Democrats’ calls for White House aides to testify about the firings. Many of today’s headlines characterized the situation as blowing up into a clash between the executive and legislative branches: “Bush vs. Congress: Fight is on,” Los Angeles Daily News; “Testimony tussle,” Aurora (Colo.) Daily Sun. Other editors put an even stronger emphasis on Bush’s role: “Bush strikes back,” The Miami Herald; “Bush pushes back,” The Plain Dealer, Cleveland.

Louisiana newspapers focused on politics today, too, but they kept Page One focused on the backyard. Gov. Kathleen Blanco announced she wouldn’t seek re-election in the fall. Her sad countenance dominated the state’s dailies. The Times-Picayune said Blanco’s biggest opponent was named Katrina: “Slow recovery takes toll on governor.” The Advocate moved right along to cover who was running – apparently everybody: “Blanco’s choice cracks race open.”

The Big Picture: Page designers embraced the news coming out of Arizona that the Grand Canyon Skywalk – soaring 4,000 feet above the canyon floor – had been dedicated on the Hualapai Indian Reservation. The Bakersfield Californian, always assertive with its art choices, framed its front page with the photo, titled “Grand New Hangout.” Minneapolis’ Star Tribune made the Skywalk photo its centerpiece: “A vantage point like no other.”

Dust-up Down Under: Australia’s front pages were preoccupied with a bit of tabloid-type drama from the Eagles football club. “Legendary midfielder” Ben Cousins has broken the hearts of West Coast fans by getting himself suspended. Apparently Cousins has missed too many practices while he struggled with “personal and private matters” – otherwise known as drugs, according to The West Australian. To make matters worse, the same day, two other footballers reportedly came to blows over some sort of ex-girlfriend/current girlfriend altercation. The WA was all over it. (For details, see pages 1, 6, 7, 8, 9, 20 and the Back Page.)

Christy Mumford Jerding is the editorial director of the Freedom Forum

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