June 17, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Footnotes to history, from yesterday and years ago

Today we would like to offer a couple of footnotes to history, courtesy of the front pages.

First, we have the reports of the same-sex marriages that became legal late yesterday afternoon in California. Some, but not all, of the dailies in the state played up the weddings and the continuing controversy. The Appeal-Democrat in Marysville devotes most of its front page to a photo and a report that “Same-sex couples marry across state,” topped by a couple of stories about opposition that seems to be building, including a court petition to invalidate licenses. The Los Angeles Times also has a Page One photo and a story that “Gay couples are aware that voters are watching,” referring to issues on the November ballot. The Palo Alto Daily News reports that the gay-marriage decision came “Not a moment too soon,” reporting a wedding of octogenarians, one of them in a wheel chair.

The San Francisco Chronicle has a two-line banner headline topping a page-wide photo: “I never thought it would happen in our lifetime.” The New York Times, the newspaper of record, has a Page One photo of those octogenarians and their wedding cake with the caption “Same-sex marriage becomes legal in California,” with the story on Page A15.

In what The Washington Post called “one of the most compelling major events in the storied history of golf,” Tiger Woods won the U.S. Open — his 65th PGA Tour win — in a sudden-death round. “One for the ages,” said the Union-Tribune in San Diego, where the tournament was played.

Then there’s Germany, where 55 years ago today there was an uprising in East Berlin and the Soviet-occupied East Germany as the people protested the repressive communist regime. People in and outside Germany may recall the iconic photos of teenagers throwing rocks at the Russian tanks. The next day, millions were out on the streets throughout the Soviet Zone. Thousands were arrested, with many sentenced to long prison terms. It is uncertain how many were killed. The world cheered on the bravery and audacity of the Germans.

We checked the front pages of German newspapers on our site today. Only one, Der Tagesspiegel in Berlin, seems to have something about the event, a tease to a story on Page 12. So we checked out the English-language Web site of Deutsche Welle and, sure enough, there is a story labeled “history,” replete with a few photos. For those who were not around when it happened, check out the broadcaster’s feature to read and see what it was all about.

Gene Mater is a Freedom Forum media consultant.

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