August 13, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

There’s plenty of bad news to fill today’s front pages

“Nobody likes the man who brings bad news.” The Greek playwright Sophocles wrote it that way and he may have been the first to do so, in that he died more than 2,000 years ago. The men and women who edit today’s daily newspapers have much unhappy news to report.

Starting way out in the Pacific, The Honolulu Advertiser warns its readers today that “Strong Flossie moves closer,” referring to Hurricane Flossie, while reporting that “Fire Ravages North Shore, forces evacuations, outages,” even as the Los Angeles Times leads with “Fliers fume at LAX chaos” — LAX being the main airport in the area — while the off-lead story reports “Battles raging in remotest Pakistan.” At the bottom of Page One is a story about the bedbug problem in the Southland.

Bouncing around a bit geographically, Alabama’s Birmingham News leads with “Shuttle gouge penetrates shield,” adding that “NASA weighs risky spacewalk repair.” That story tops The Arizona Republic in Phoenix with the head, “NASA weighs spacewalk to fix shuttle,” even as the Arkansas Democrat Gazette in Little Rock reports “NASA looking at patch for gash.” For the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the lead story is “Gunman at church kills 3, wounds 4,” while a story lower down reports from Iraq that “Deadly attack on U.S. soldiers is called new tactic.” The Oregonian in Portland has a Page One square-off about “Fun night on the river turns harrowing,” even as the Houston Chronicle reports “Family’s night out ends in tragedy.”

No blood and guts for the tabloid New York Post but in end-of-the-world type it says SICK and offers an exclusive: “HMO prices sock families.” The Christian Science Monitor up in Boston says “Main St. watches Wall St.” and reports, “The financial credit crisis could affect US consumers.” The Deseret Morning News in Salt Lake City uses what could be a standing head for its report on the coal-mine disaster — “It has not gone well.”

P.S. to Sophocles: There’s more but you get the picture. We don’t think the readers dislike us; they have come to expect the bad news along with the good news that we also offer.

Gene Mater is a Freedom Forum media consultant.

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