October 27, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Middle East squeezed off Page One by politics, economic mess, sports.

Have you noticed that the upcoming election, the world economic situation and the World Series and other sporting activities have pretty much squeezed U.S. involvement in the Middle East off Page One? Three Middle East stories broke during the weekend that may have missed the front page of your local newspaper.

“U.S. launches rare attack inside Syria” is the headline on the lead story of The Charleston Gazette in West Virginia, ”US special forces hit Syria” is squared off at the top of American Press in Lake Charles, La., and “U.S. raid kills eight in Syrian territory,” Cape Cod Times in Hyannis, Mass., tells its readers. The Daily Gazette in Schenectady, N.Y., combines the headlines of the first two dailies with “U.S. kills eight in rare attack inside Syria,” while the Los Angeles Times suggests that “U.S. raid in Syria raises tensions.”

The story is at the bottom of Page One of the Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle, The Cincinnati (Ohio) Enquirer and The Herald Journal in Logan, Utah. It leads The Birmingham News in Alabama and is the tease for “Today’s Quick Read” in the Greensboro (N.C.) News & Record and is teased in the Chicago Tribune.

Then there is the U.S. threat to Iraq to make a deal or, as The Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J., puts it in the lead story “U.S. vows to cut off Iraq if no new deal.” The Idaho Statesman in Boise squares off “U.S, gives ‘shocking’ threat to Iraq,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel gives similar play to the story with “U.S. warns Iraq on deal” and The Columbian in Vancouver, Wash., reports, “U.S. threatens Iraq with withdrawal.”

Finally, the third story. The biggest daily in this country — USA Today — leads with unhappy news for the troops abroad and their families — “Extended war tours likely to continue” through 2009 in spite of pledges made earlier. The story was picked up here and there. Indeed, out in Iowa, the Iowa City Press-Citizen plays up the story with the same headline noted for USA Today.

Gene Mater is a Freedom Forum media consultant.

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