April 14, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Just because television plays up election doesn’t mean it’s news

With the broadcast news divisions and cable news networks spending part of the weekend whooping up the Clinton-Obama contretemps over voter attitudes in advance of the important Pennsylvania and Indiana primaries, we thought that it would be worth checking the dailies in those states to see whether they thought it was a BIG story. The simple answer is yes and no.

Starting with Pennsylvania, The Intelligencer in Doylestown plays up “Bill Clinton comes calling,” with pictures and teases to election stories inside, including one that we were looking for, while The Philadelphia Inquirer has as the off-lead story “Obama goes on the offensive,” complaining about Hillary Clinton calling him “elitist.” The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette squares off “Democrats quizzed on God, faith,” which is right on target,” even as The Times-Tribune in Scranton plays up “Clinton stays on offensive,” adding “In local stop, senator calls Obama remarks on guns, religion ‘elitist.’” The Citizens’ Voice in Wilkes-Barre gives over almost all of Page One to the election, with a photo of Clinton meeting the people in West Scranton while slamming Obama, as the York Daily Record reports on Clinton and Obama visiting Messiah College.

But the Philadelphia Daily News, the Reading Eagle, the Pocono Record and the Williamsport Sun-Gazette find no Page One space available for the Clinton-Obama fracas, although the last-named daily does have a state election story at the bottom.

In Indiana, it’s also no and yes. The Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne squares off “Decatur quickly preps for Clinton visit.” The Indianapolis Star teases two primary election stories way down at the bottom of the page, as does the Post-Tribune in Merrillville with its one inside piece. The nothing re the primary on Page One list includes The Herald-Times in Bloomington, the Kokomo Tribune, the Chronicle-Tribune in Marion and the South Bend Tribune. We’ll give partial credit to the Journal & Courier in Lafayette for a major piece on “New rural election centers may create problems for some voters in county.” Well, it is about the election.

Now we’re going to ponder the earthshaking news we watched on the telly yesterday.

Gene Mater is a Freedom Forum media consultant.

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