July 26, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

On the home front, a focus on fix for troops medical care

A call for better care for wounded U.S. soldiers led three of the country’s largest newspapers.

“Bush panel seeks to upgrade care of wounded G.I.’s,” The New York Times said of a bipartisan commission that recommended an overhaul of the military health-care system. USA TODAY pictured President Bush with commission leaders. “Dole-Shalala Commission wants Bush to act quickly,” said The Washington Post, which earlier broke news of poor outpatient care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The recommendations also were front-page news outside big cities. The Billings (Mont.) Gazette listed six proposals made by the panel.

Medical research brought two other health stories to Page One. If watching calories and making time for exercise weren’t enough, obesity is now considered contagious. The New England Journal of Medicine report was food for thought for headline writers:

 “Friends don’t let friends stay thin, obesity study finds,” The Oregonian in Portland said. “Fat friends can weigh on you,” said The State in Columbia, S.C. “Your circle of friends may expand your waistline,” the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel said. “Study finds obesity loves company,” the Los Angeles Times said. The Sun of Baltimore pictured a bursting waistline and said: “Friendship can raise heavy issue.”

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch led with a discovery by researchers at a local university: the gene tied to itching. “Relief ahead? Blocking gene could fight chronic itch,” it said.

Tour de France leader Michael Rasmussen was expelled by his team for lying about his training. A photo caption in The New York Times noted that Rasmussen was surrounded by disapproving fellow cyclists. “Tour de Scandal,” The Fresno (Calif.) Bee said in a centerpiece, as “chaos and disgrace enveloped” the race.

The animal most frequently pictured was Oscar, a nursing home cat who seems to curl up to patients in their final hours. “Feline has uncanny knack for predicting death,” the Sun Journal of Lewiston, Maine, said. Said The Boston Globe: “With a purr, death comes on little cat feet.”

kkennedy@freedomforum.org Kate Kennedy, a former newspaper Page One editor, is director/diversity programs.

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