May 29, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

U.S., Iran end diplomatic chill; communities remember the fallen

One international story — the first meeting of U.S. and Iranian diplomats in almost 30 years — attracted Page One attention on an international scale. Many U.S. dailies also found Page One space for the celebration of Memorial Day, remembering and honoring the dead of current and past wars with pictures and stories.

The Arizona Daily Star in Tucson headlines its Page One story "U.S.-Iran meeting brings end to 27 year diplomatic freeze" but that is below a large photo "Honoring fallen soldiers." The lead story in the Daily News in Los Angeles clearly is "U.S., Iran talk Iraq stability" while The Denver Post tells its readers that "U.S., Iran hold firm at talks." The daily meant for the armed forces, the MidEast edition of Stars and Stripes, banners "U.S., Iranian envoys hold first Iraq talks" while also using Page One for a photo labeled "Salute to the fallen."

There were exceptions, of course. The New York Times couldn't find space on Page One for the story, although the caption on a Page One Iraq photo notes that "In the Green Zone, U.S. and Iranian officials held a rare meeting, focusing on the war. Page A8," while its sister daily, The Boston Globe, leads with "Talks called positive as U.S. asks Iran for help on Iraq."

In Europe, some dailies played up the Mideast talks. Die Presse in Vienna carries the U.S. and the Iranian flags, in color, under the banner "'Satan' trifft 'Schurkenstaat'" or "Satan meets rogue state," playing up the quarter-century war of words. The International Herald Tribune — better known as the Paris Trib — leads with "U.S. holds first talks with Iran in decades" while the Sueddeutsche Zeitung in Munich carries a large Page One photo of the talks labeled "First meeting since 1979." Die Welt prefers the head "Vier Stunden Gespraeh nach 27 Jahren Schweigen" or "Four hours of talks after 27 years of silence." Le Figaro in Paris leads with "Etats-Unis et Iran: reprise de contact positive" or "United States and Iran: positive resumption of contact."

In London, The Guardian tells its Page One readers "U.S. and Iran envoys end 27-purdah," a word rarely seen these days but from the days of the empire. "Purdah" is a Hindi word referring to the separation of the sexes by keeping women in seclusion.

Gene Mater is a Freedom Forum media consultant.

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