March 28, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Washington struggles with Middle East; human race (temporarily) redeemed

Political machinations over the war in Iraq took the top national news slot in many dailies. The Senate voted against removing an Iraq-troop-withdrawal timeline from a funding bill. Most headlines painted the vote as another volley in the Democrats vs. Bush war over the war. “Democrats’ timetable clears Senate; GOP block of pullout pails; Bush vows veto,” The Washington Times; “Senate supports drawdown plan despite president’s pledge of veto,” The Virginian-Pilot, Norfolk.

Several front pages twinned the Iraq story with, or led with, a report that the U.S. had begun war games in the Persian Gulf. AP reported on the operation from onboard the USS John C. Stennis, and several editors gave the story and photos prominent packaging. Headlines characterized the maneuvers as aimed at Iran: “Stennis Flexes Its Muscles — The Navy sends a warning to Iran by conducting a massive war game,” Kitsap (Wash.) Sun.

Health news continued to make front pages. Many editors featured photos of White House spokesman Tony Snow, who has been diagnosed with cancer, out front today. Several packaged the Snow story with a new breast-cancer study: “High-Risk Women Urged to Get MRIs,” The Tampa (Fla.) Tribune.

Editors at The Dayton (Ohio) Daily News had their hands full with local mayhem. Their top three stories included a deadly shootout as well as the arrest of a man who was charged with trying to sell his 2-year-old son to a stranger in a Walgreens parking lot. It gets worse. The lead item was “Dogfight ring steeped in crime,” in which staff writer Lou Grieco reported that nine people had been charged with drug trafficking, auto theft and running illegal dogfights. The really bad news: “All 64 seized dogs likely will be euthanized.”

Finally, in the midst of war, shootings, illness, child abuse, political fighting and dogfighting, the Herald Times Reporter in Manitowoc, Wis., brought us a bit of humanity. Today’s lead story: “Fallen owl gets a lift.” Cemetery workers Luke Hennessey and Ted Hacker found a baby owl that apparently had fallen 60 feet from its nest. Hacker stayed with the fluffy birdie — “it kept … winking at me” — while Hennessey went for help. The baby was safely returned to its nest, unharmed. And the two local heroes got their pictures on the cover of the Reporter. No word on whether they bought five copies for their mother.

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

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