January 22, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

USA leads, rest of the world follows; but no one likes what is happening

Once again the United States seems to be leading the way and the rest of the world is following. But this time, no one seems happy with what is happening. We’re talking about the stock market downturn that has plagued the U.S. economy almost since the start of 2008. Yesterday, when the U.S. markets were closed for a national holiday, the world markets played catch-up with a vengeance that is Page One news all over.

For some European dailies, the operative words seem to be “Black Monday” and “panic” as in “Panic on the stock market.” That’s the way Kleine Zeitung in Klagenfurt, Austria, DeMorgen in Brussels, Belgium, Hospodarske Noviny in Prague, Czech Republic, Der Tagesspiegel in Berlin, La Tribune in Paris and La Repubblica in Rome play it, using one or more of those words. SME in Bratislava, Slovakia, referred to the American “crisis,” and El Periodico de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain, played up a stock market graph that seems to want to go below the limits of Page One and DAG in Amsterdam devoted much of Page One to the story and a photo. For The Guardian in London, it’s “Black Monday: recession fears spark global share crash.” On the other side of that globe, South China Morning Post in Hong Kong squares off “US recession fears shake markets,” while it’s the off-lead story in Joong Ang Daily in Seoul, South Korea. The Telegraph in Calcutta, India, banners in all caps “American Influenza,” adding in the drop head “US recession fear slaughters Indian shares.” The West Australian in Perth leads with “Market fall wipes off another $40b,” while Gulf News in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, says it all with “Global stocks in a tailspin.” Back on this side of the world, the Calgary Herald in Canada leads with “Market panic slams stocks,” while La Republica in Bogota, Colombia, plays up the stock market mess and has a photo of a worried-looking man to prove it.

The biggest newspaper in the United States — USA Today — leads with “Markets expect wallop today.” To our international readers, “wallop” doesn’t translate too well to many languages, so just think of it as more of the same — but worse.

Gene Mater is a Freedom Forum media consultant.

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