April 10, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Don Imus' remarks land him in hot water, on front pages

The story didn’t lead many of today’s U.S. daily newspapers but it was there on Page One – with details provided or teased to the inside. Don Imus was there for all to see and read about his two-week suspension for a remark that went too far when he referred to the members of the Rutgers University women’s basketball team as “nappy-headed hos.” CBS Radio and MSNBC said they were suspending Imus from the morning broadcast for two weeks as the storm of protest grew stronger.

USA TODAY, the largest daily in the U.S., teased the story on Page One with details inside. The New York Times and The Washington Post did the same. But The Bakersfield Californian whooped-up the story on Page One with large photos of Don Imus and two main antagonists – Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. The Tampa Bay Times in St. Petersburg, Fla., has a large picture of Imus and a head reading “One big mouth.” The Daily News in New York City said it in big bold letters: "OFF THE AIR!" The Santa Fe New Mexican has a Page One story with the head “Imus show suspended for racial comments” while The Press of Atlantic City in N.J. tells its readers that “Despite apology, Imus gets two-week suspension.” The St. Louis Post-Dispatch correctly reports that “Imus apology stirs further furor.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution offers a story and picture at the bottom of Page One with the head “Radio host Imus suspended over racial remarks.”  The Sun Journal in Lewiston, Maine, played it the same way, below the fold, offering a picture and the story “Imus off air for 2 weeks.”

Other newspapers teased the story on Page One, with or without a photo, and that list includes the Anchorage Daily News in Alaska, The Boston Globe, The Gazette in Colorado Springs and The Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C., and many others. It’s safe to assume that there will be a follow on Page One of many U.S. dailies tomorrow and at least the day after that.

Gene Mater is a Freedom Forum media consultant.

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