April 29, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Obama, pastor make the news but not in primary states

An Associated Press lead puts it this way: “The Rev. Jeremiah Wright is going after his critics on an incendiary tour that is doing his one-time congregant, Barack Obama, little good.” Page One of our local daily, The Washington Post puts it this way, “As minister repeats comments, Obama tries to quiet fray,” and offers some inside pieces, including an editorial about “The audacity of Rev. Wright.” The New York Times has a Page One story, with photo, under the headline “Not speaking for Obama, pastor speaks for himself, at length,” and a column-long sidebar with the jump about “Obama adds to distance from pastor and opinions.”

But what about dailies in the two states where voters will go to the polls next Tuesday, Indiana and North Carolina? Will the stories about Wright be whooped up and possibly hurt Obama? Well, as some comedian put it in the long ago, there we make it different.

We have more than a half-dozen Indiana front pages on our Web site today. Would you believe that only one, The Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne, has a Page One story about Obama and his former pastor? The bottom-of-the-page piece is labeled “analysis” and carries the clever head “Obama woes: Wright out of the box.” The Indianapolis Star has a small tease for an inside story about Wright. As for the other Indiana newspapers, several play up the U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the Indiana voter ID law, a story that leads both The New York Times and The Washington Post, and several have coverage of the Obama-Clinton duel for voters, but not the pastor.

Moving over to North Carolina, we have about a dozen front pages and, again, only one has a Page One piece about Obama and his former pastor. The Winston-Salem Journal has a bottom-of-the page piece with the headline “Impact? Media rounds by pastor may hurt Obama.” Again, one newspaper, The News & Observer in Raleigh has a brief tease to an inside piece about Wright. The other dailies offer Page One coverage of the upcoming primaries and the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Obama, but Wright didn’t make the cut.

No more politics and no more second-guessing the editors. For coffee-break time, we’re going back to The Times in Munster, Ind., which has a story at the bottom of Page One reporting that it is the “fastest-growing newspaper in country,” according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. How did they do that?

Gene Mater is a Freedom Forum media consultant.

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