July 25, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

No love for Gonzales, Lohan; Va. is for (naming your) lovers

Beleaguered Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and troubled starlet Lindsay Lohan duked it out for the most-pictured slot on today's front pages. (The winner was Lohan, by a mugshot.)

Serious-minded mainstream dailies ran with Gonzales' Capitol Hill testimony on a classified domestic-surveillance program. According to the headlines, it didn't go so well. "Grilling swells Capitol distrust," said the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. "Gonzales again told he's shifty." The accompanying photo of the AG brought to mind the word "chagrined." It got worse. "Angry senators blister Gonzales on honesty. Possibility of special prosecutor raised," Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette gave a nod to the role being played by Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa.: "Specter turning up heat; Suggests contempt case against White House if it doesn't appoint special prosecutor over attorneys."

Overall, though, the crown of top-person-who-shouldn't-pick-up-a-paper-today went to Miss Lohan, back in handcuffs after being arrested on charges of driving under the influence and felony cocaine possession. Lohan's booking photo was splattered all over U.S. tabloids and major dailies alike. Headline writers had scant sympathy, or empathy, for the actress, who recently finished a stay in rehab after a previous DUI arrest. "Starlet Lindsay Lohan: an addict, troubled, just an out-of-control BRAT!", Los Angeles Daily News; "Lilo loses it," The Examiner, Washington; "PARTY'S OVER; DUI, coke bust could cook Lindsay's career," AM New York. New York's Daily News decided to package Lohan's arrest with another star who oftengets the "troubled" description: "GIRLS GONE WILD! Lilo busted again on DUI as Britney goes berserk at OK! mag photo shoot." The unflattering photos of Lohan and Spears were labeled with the helpful monikers "BUSTED!" and "BONKERS!", respectively.

Finally, male readers of today's Daily Press in Hampton Roads, Va., encountered a coffee-spitting headline this morning: "Had sex? State wants to know." In a move designed to find the fathers of children being put up for adoption, the General Assembly has established the Virginia Putative Father Registry, which calls for any unmarried man who could be a father to voluntarily fill out a registration form and mail it to the state Department of Social Services. This is no joke, state adoption official Pam Cooper told the Daily Press: "If you have sex, you should register."

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

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