September 4, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Palin fires back after questions about her qualifications

VP nominee Sarah Palin came out swinging — against her critics, her political rivals and the media — Wednesday night in a prime-time speech to the Republican convention.

Headline writers used varying verbs to describe her actions:

  • • “Palin pulls no punches” — the Billings (Mont.) Gazette
  • • “Palin dissects opponents” — Las Vegas (Nev.) Review-Journal
  • • “Rallies delegates by skewering media, Washington establishment” — Houston Chronicle

The Anchorage Daily in Palin’s home state of Alaska devoted the entire front page to convention events and said, “Governor goes on the offensive while introducing herself to nation.” The New York Times said Palin’s speech “Electrifies Convention.” Said The Sun of Baltimore, “Republican VP choice is roundly cheered as she defends her executive experience, mocks Obama.”

Other headlines also used the word “mocks” to describe her comments about Democrat Barack Obama. “GOP running mate mocks Obama as out-of-touch elitist who would ‘forfeit’ on Iraq,” The Commercial Appeal of Memphis, Tenn., said.

Fresh off covering the Democratic convention, the Denver newspapers showed they still had spirit. The Rocky Mountain News called the speech “A fine how do you do,” and the Post borrowed from Palin’s remarks for its headline: “‘Pit bull’ Palin.” The Daily News in New York went even further with Palin’s remarks — “Pit Bull in Lipstick.”

Palin calls herself a hockey mom, and that label gave headline writers inspiration. “‘Hockey mom’ Palin uncorks bruising shots,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution declared. From Canada, where hockey is king, the Toronto Star said, “Palin aims, fires.”

From the convention city of St. Paul, the Pioneer Press looked at why Palin — and not Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty — was John McCain’s choice: “She has a greater reputation for reform and conservatism — and plenty of human interest.”

Looking ahead to McCain’s acceptance speech tonight, the Star Tribune of Minneapolis pictured the senator and said, “Today, it’s his town and his party.” But in an analysis of Palin’s speech, the San Francisco Chronicle said, “Running mate’s sudden celebrity threatens to eclipse star of the show.”

kkennedy@freedomforum.org Kate Kennedy is front-pages editor at the Newseum.

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