August 30, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Katrina headlines reflect sorrow, skepticism; they hold grudges in Texas, don’t they?

Many U.S. front pages continued to lead with Hurricane Katrina anniversary stories today, and President Bush’s New Orleans speech got top mention. The president’s remark that there are “better days ahead” for the Gulf Coast got picked up by several headline writers, and stories noted his positive tone: “Upbeat Bush vows to continue helping,” The Miami Herald International Edition; “Bush: We Understand,” The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.

But other newspapers focused on residents’ reaction to the president’s visit and government efforts to rebuild the area. Those headlines struck a different note: “Bush met by uneasy welcome in Big Easy,” Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal; “New Orleans Anger Rife 2 Years After Katrina,” Valley News, West Lebanon, N.H. The Temple (Texas) Daily Telegram put it plainly: “Lingering Disgust.”

Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, continued to take a beating over his alleged adventure in a Minneapolis airport bathroom. Several newspapers focused on the Republican rush to break ranks over the affair: “GOPs: Craig should resign,” Aurora (Colo.) Sentinel. The New York Post was dependably cheeky — “GOPers put heat on ‘I’m not gay’ Larry” — but the Fayetteville, N.C., SmartNews gave the Post a run for its money with “GOP TRIES TO FLUSH SENATOR.”

Finally, The Lufkin (Texas) Daily News gave a lot of front-page ink to an (apparently one-sided) grudge match between city attorney Bob Flournoy and Osama bin Laden. After the 9/11 attacks, Flournoy vowed to wear the same star-spangled tie until bin Laden had been captured or killed. Well, nearly six years later, the tie is a little worse for wear. In fact, it’s downright foul: “Flies kind of gather around me, and I don’t have quite as many friends,” he told the Daily News. So, in the interest of public health, Flournoy has decided that bin Laden “is in an unmarked grave.” The patriotic lawyer has given the suspected terrorist mastermind 13 days to meet him in the Lufkin City Hall park, and prove he’s really alive. Otherwise, the tie is coming off. “It’s been fun, but the fun’s about to end.”

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

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