March 31, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Violence in Iraq, cholesterol drug test failures are on Page One

Violence in Iraq and the apparent failure of a popular anti-cholesterol drug were prime candidates for Page One play today — sometimes one, sometimes the other and sometimes both.

The New York Times, the nation’s newspaper of record, leads with Iraq and a one-column headline: “Cleric suspends battle in Basra by Shiite militia,” and teases to “Doubt about cholesterol drugs” in the business section. The Washington Post leads with “Sadr tells his militia to cease hostilities,” while whooping up the Nationals’ baseball victory over the Atlanta Braves.

In Alabama, The Gadsden Times skips Iraq to play up “Study: Vytorin, Zetia fail to aid heart health.” The Arizona Republic in Phoenix plays up “Iraqi cleric calls for a cease-fire” and “Vytorin performs poorly in key study.” The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock leads with “Al-Sadr calls off Shiite fighters,” and the Los Angeles Times leads with “Iraqi cleric orders end to fighting” and teases the inside story about the cholesterol drugs.

In Connecticut, The Day in New London reports “Study discredits use of cholesterol drug Vytorin” but gives prime space to “A dam nuisance” caused by beavers. The News Journal in Wilmington, Del., leads with “Al-Sadr calls for end to violence,” and The Christian Science Monitor in Boston cautiously reports that “Sadr sends mixed signals.” The Chicago Tribune leads with “Iraqi cleric offers truce,” and The Truth in Elkhart, Ind., tells its readers that “Cleric recalls fighters” and the Lincoln Journal Star in Nebraska plays it the same way. In Corvallis, Ore., on Page One of the Gazette-Times you will find both stories — “Al-Sadr orders ceasefire in Iraq” and “Study results cast doubt on alleged heart benefits of cholesterol drug.”

But at lunch break today we’re going back to The Birmingham (Ala.) News to read the BIG Page One story reporting that “Teens say baggy pants ban would hit below belt.” We never understood those sagging slacks; maybe this story will help.

Gene Mater is a Freedom Forum media consultant.

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