October 6, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Financial crisis reaches Europe and rates front-page coverage

We are not alone. The New York Times’ lead headline today reports that “Financial Crises Spread in Europe,” a situation reflected in a sampling of west European newspapers.

The immediate problem is with banks in Germany, with The Wall Street Journal Europe, published in Brussels, Belgium, telling its readers in a banner headline that “Germany backs deposits as crisis grows.” Two Brussels dailies – De Morgen and Het Nieuwsblad – lead with the troubles of Fortis, an insurance and banking firm based in Belgium but active in much of Europe.

In Germany itself, Der Tagesspiegel and Die Welt in Berlin play up the state guarantee of savings accounts as do our friends at the Heilbronner Stimme in Heilbronn and at the Suedwest Presse in Ulm. The Financial Times Deutschland in Hamburg has a banner headline for the state guarantees with a price tag of 568 billion Euros. In neighboring Austria, the Salzburger Nachrichten in Salzburg offers a new sound of music, reporting that the government will guarantee bank accounts, while the Kurier in Vienna leads with “More protection for the saver” and the competing Der Standard plays up “Full protection for the saver,” linking it to the action in Germany. But the Kleine Zeitung in Graz asks whether there will be a full guarantee of savings.

La Stampa in Torino leads with “Berlin: guarantee for savings,” and La Repubblica in Rome does the same. El Pais in Madrid, Spain, also leads with the German guarantee of savings, while Trouw in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and the Basler Zeitung in Basel, Switzerland, play up the increasing financial crisis in Europe. The Daily Telegraph in London reports “Treasury planning to take shares in banks,” but The Guardian in London says, “Treasury anger at German savings move,” with “UK under pressure to match guarantee.”

But our favorite lead headline is in La Tribune, the Paris financial daily, reporting “Crisis: America acts, Europe discusses,” a somewhat rare nod in praise of something done in the United States.

Gene Mater is a Freedom Forum media consultant.

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