June 12, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Bush policy on combatants takes hit; vote on Gonzales fizzles

It’s not a universal truism, but when a federal appeals court comes out with a major ruling that overturns a presidential position, that’s a story worthy of Page One treatment as so many editors agree today. The headline on The New York Times lead story plays it straight as “Judges say U.S. can’t hold man as ‘combatant’” as did The Birmingham News in Alabama with “Charge or release detainee, court says.” For the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson it’s “U.S. citizens can’t be held indefinitely, court rules,” while The Day in New London, Conn., leads with “’Combatant’ can’t be held indefinitely, judges decide.”  The Ledger in Lakeland, Fla., tells its readers in the lead story “”Combatant’ title takes legal hit” and the Chicago Tribune says in a square-off at the top of Page One “Detention ruled unlawful.”  The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. uses the same makeup approach with the head “Court: Charge or release suspect.”

Other U.S. dailies saw it as a knock at President Bush’s policies and said so, loud and clear. For The Philadelphia Inquirer it’s “Bush rebuked on combatant,” while The Kansas City Star sees the decision as “Ruling a setback for Bush” and The Telegraph in Macon, Ga., leads with “Court rejects Bush policy.”

For other dailies there were other top stories, including national ones, such as The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky., telling its readers “GOP stops Senate vote to rebuke Gonzalez,” the Los Angeles Times leads with “Giuliani and Clinton stay in the lead” and the Arkansas Democrat Gazette in Little Rock choosing as its top story “Missile doubts raised as Bush visits Bulgaria.”

But the San Francisco Chronicle tempts some of us with a cloak-and-dagger story out of the past: “Secret revealed: Nisei’s WWII role,” adding “The U.S. military quietly recruited Japanese-Americans with language skills for special training – before Pearl Harbor.”

Gene Mater is a Freedom forum media consultant.

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