March 7, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Libby verdict dissected, digested; murder by airplane in Indiana

U.S. front pages were filled with the conviction of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby on four felony counts of lying during an investigation into a leak about a CIA officer’s identity. Some headlines went with the straight verdict news: “Libby Guilty on 4 of 5 Counts,” The Washington Post.

But many other headlines skipped the conviction itself, which had dominated afternoon cable news, and went straight to the analysis. Most concluded that that the conviction of Libby – a former top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney – was bad news for the White House. The Bakersfield Californian’s “Verdict a blow to Bush” was typical. The Kansas City (Mo.) Star said Libby’s downfall “chips away at Cheney’s influence.” Several headline writers pulled out a juror’s opinion that Libby had been a sacrificial lamb to investigators: “After verdict, jurors call Libby ‘fall guy,’” Chicago Tribune. Other reports focused on the defense’s failure to convince the jury that Libby couldn’t remember key details: “Libby’s memory defense failed,” Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch.

Today’s Tabs: Libby also dominated tabloid front pages, and headlines were harsh. “Liar, Liar,” said the OC Post. New York’s Daily News called Libby “Cheney’s Fall Guy.” The New York Post led with the “steamy e-mails” that reportedly enraged astronaut Lisa Nowak, but teased an inside editorial with the title “Free Scooter!”

Tragic But True:  Bloomington, Ind.’s Herald Times fronted a story about a bizarre murder/suicide titled “I don’t think he’s going to heaven.” Those words came from Vivian Pace, whose granddaughter was killed, along with her father, in a recent plane crash. Apparently the father, piloting a small aircraft with his daughter as passenger, crashed the plane into Pace’s house in an act of revenge over his divorce from Pace’s daughter. Although a co-worker told the newspaper that the man “appeared to be a normal individual,” Pace said that when it came to his ex-wife, he was manipulative, controlling and frightening. Ultimately, Pace said, “he was using the baby to get to her.”

Christy Mumford Jerding is the editorial director of the Freedom Forum.

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