April 22, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Don’t know about today’s primary? Look at your local newspaper

In towns you’ve never heard of and places you’ve heard of but never visited, readers of the front page have no excuse for not knowing that the Democratic primary in Pennsylvania today is a major political event in selecting the next president of the United States.

There it is, squared-off at the top of the Times Daily in Florence, Ala.: “Clinton seeks Pennsylvania win.” In California, The Bakersfield Californian has “Campaign ’08: Pennsylvania Primary Preview,” with pictures of the two candidates high on Page One, just below a tease for a story on A12 about the “Price of beer brings on tears.” The Spanish-language La Opinion in Los Angeles touts “Elecciones decisivas” with photos of the candidates at the top of the page.

In Little Rock, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette leads with, “Hopefuls make final sweep of Keystone State,” while The Day in New London, Conn., tells its readers that “Clinton steps up the attack on Obama in Pennsylvania.” The News Journal in Wilmington, Del., squares off “Pa.’s Democratic voters take center stage.”

In Florida, The News-Press of Fort Myers reports that “Clinton reaches for Pa. win; Obama says he’ll be close,” and in neighboring Georgia the Ledger-Enquirer in Columbus says that “Clinton fights to catch Obama.” For the Northwest Herald in Crystal Lake, Ill., it’s “Clinton reaches for win,” and The Times in Munster, Ind., plays both with “Clinton reaches for primary win; Obama says he will be close.” The Kentucky Enquirer in Fort Mitchell notes that “Clinton, Obama bare their knuckles in Pa.,” the Kennebec Journal in Maine reports Obama saying “Clinton will win primary,” and the Independent Record in Helena, Mont., uses a promotion above the nameplate to tease an inside story about “Clinton, Obama fight over suburban vote in Pennsylvania.” The Telegraph in Nashua, N.H., localizes the vote in faraway Pennsylvania with the headline “Four months later, it’s N.H. version 2.0,” while our friends in McAllen, Texas, have photos of the two candidates almost as part of The Monitor nameplate with the tease, “The End? Hillary’s bid for president may be over if she loses in Pennsylvania.”

In most cases when the two candidates are named, Clinton comes before Obama, so we’re going to ponder whether it’s done alphabetically, or by age, or by sex. The Daily News Journal in Murfreesboro, Tenn., goes with “Obama, Clinton tout Penn strongholds,” but we’re going to wonder about the others.

Gene Mater is a Freedom Forum media consultant.

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