July 10, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Pa. papers play up budget deal; another loss as we age: funny bone

Let’s make a quick return visit to Pennsylvania front pages. Faithful readers will recall that yesterday all but two of the 15 dailies in Today’s Front Pages played up and often led with the shutdown of state facilities because of a budget impasse. Well, last night agreement was reached. All sides, of course, claimed victory and the 24,000 (or the oft-reported 25,000) state employees ended their unplanned furlough and are back at work. There are 18 Pennsylvania front pages to be viewed today and all but one plays up the end of the impasse. The second-day prize goes to the Erie Times-News for its big, bold “Welcome back” head. The Philadelphia Inquirer leads with “Deal ends shutdown,” the same words used across the top of Page One in the Centre Daily Times in State College, while The Patriot-News in Harrisburg says “Back to work” and the same words lead The Tribune-Democrat in Johnstown. You get the message. Oh, yes, the tabloid Philadelphia Daily News notes at the top of Page One “Deal on state budget: Page 6.”

What are the rest of the nation’s dailies touting today to grab our attention, you ask?  Well, let’s take a look. The Los Angeles Times scares us with a lead story head warning “60 million Californians by mid-century” while The Birmingham News leads with “At $18, city’s new burger is not the same old grind.”  Tampa Bay Times in Florida will get your attention with a photo and the head, all in caps, "O’REILLY SNARED IN LESBIAN SCANDAL" as, it explains, “The Fox News commentator has been spreading a real doozy of a yarn about marauding lesbian gangs. It’s about as fair and balanced as this headline,” but you’ll have to go to page 15 to read the story.

The Arizona Republic in Phoenix claims “Sure, it’s sizzling, but heat has pluses,” which we’ll read when it cools down. Above the masthead of  the Rocky Mountain News in Denver we learn that “Iraqis miss all reform targets,” to which is added “Failure to reach any benchmarks expected to sharpen debate about withdrawing American troops, scaling back presence,” which is followed by “Iraq’s foreign minister cites U.S. ’responsibility’ to stay,” with details on page 25 if you want more. The Times-Picayune in New Orleans finds a story to top the continuing problems in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina about a U.S. senator from Louisiana and the streamer across the top of Page One says it all:  “Vitter on ‘D.C. Madam’ list.” 

On the lighter side, there’s a Page One story in today’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch that rates leisure-time reading. The head asks “What’s the punch line?", adding “Study examines why people’s ability to get jokes may decline as they age.” See, there’s something for everyone in Today’s Front Pages.

Gene Mater is a Freedom Forum media consultant.

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