May 10, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Bush, Cheney hit disaster on all fronts; Jamestown letdown in Virginia

With Queen Elizabeth safely away back to the old country, the president and vice president headed in opposite directions, and their trips got a lot of front-page mention today. Several newspapers led with Bush’s visit to tornado-ravaged Greenburg, Kan., and his tour produced some eye-catching artwork. The Kansas City Star used a presidential pronouncement as its headline — "’BRIGHTER DAYS AHEAD,’ BUSH PROMISES TOWN," and ran a big photo of Marine One hovering over a debris-littered landscape. The Wichita Eagle went with an emotionally charged image of Bush comforting a Greenburg resident: "Bush offers solace to storm-weary residents." The Oklahoman reflected that weariness with its headline: "Are the storms over yet?"

Meanwhile, Vice President Cheney’s visit to Baghdad made the top spot on several front pages. The Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune’s story led with Cheney’s message that Iraq’s leaders should "do more to reduce violence," but its headline focused on the potential danger to the VP himself: "Bomb shakes embassy while Cheney visits." When Bush and Cheney got back to Washington, the Chicago Tribune said they’d be getting more bad news from the front — the political front: "GOP pressures Bush on war."

Virginia newspapers continued their wall-to-wall Page One coverage of Jamestown’s 400th anniversary celebrations. The Hampton Roads Daily Press topped its package with some "tantalizing" new archaeological discoveries. The Richmond Times-Dispatch led with a nostalgic look back at the colony’s last big party — the 350th anniversary celebrations — but its secondary story was a downer for history buffs and tourism boosters: "Many tickets unsold for big anniversary weekend."

Maybe Jamestown organizers need a little pop culture to excite the masses. The Tacoma, Wash., News Tribune’s top story also was about a big visit — not by the president, not by the vice president, not even by the queen — it was Sanjaya Malakar, the ever-smiling American Idol warbler, who was kicked off the show weeks ago but is still packing ‘em in: "Crowd goes gaga over Sanjaya."

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

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