March 30, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Senate and Bush go round-n-round; public toilets gotta go – real bad

U.S. editors had a couple of solid national news stories to choose from today if they didn’t want to lead locally. The Senate’s passage of an Iraq-withdrawal timetable made the grade for many. The Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch went with a straight-news headline: “Senate backs Iraq deadline.” The Chicago Tribune focused on the timetable itself: “Senate: Home in 1 year.” But other headlines painted the measure as another skirmish in the battle between congressional Democrats and President Bush over the Iraq War: “Senate defies Bush on Iraq,” The Gazette, Cedar Rapids Iowa. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution stated it even more strongly: “Senate rebukes Bush.”

Another story emanating from Capitol Hill made a strong showing out front today. The testimony of Kyle Simpson, a former top aide to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, about the firings of eight U.S. attorneys was compelling stuff for some editors. While the play varied, nearly all the headlines indicated that Simpson’s testimony went against Gonzales’ previous statements: “Ex-aide contradicts Gonzales,” The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky.; “Ex-aide disputes Gonzales,” The Press-Enterprise, Riverside, Calif.

The Big Picture: Colorado newspapers featured big photos of the devastation wrought by tornadoes there earlier this week. The Denver Post gave over two-thirds of its front page to the story and used a witness’ words as the headline: “It’s gone, everything.” The Rocky Mountain News had a similar photo of homes reduced to rubble; its headline focused on the speed of the destruction: “Without Warning.”

Unlucky in Loo: The Oregonian in Portland tackled a serious subject with a bit of humor today in its front-page package titled “Will public toilets bring more trouble than relief?” Portland’s mayor wants to bring electronic, self-cleaning toilets to the city, but reporter Joseph Rose found that Seattle residents don’t care for theirs; the structures “have become a magnet for drug dealers, prostitutes and vandals.” Rose snuck a little fun into the basic who/what/when/where/how news formula: “Seattleites are anxiously saying that their high-tech johns gotta go. They gotta go real bad.”

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

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