April 9, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

The general and his inquisitors top front pages

Many front pages today pitted photos of Iraq war commander Gen. David Petraeus against the three people vying to be his next commander-in-chief.

“Petraeus wants more time,” said The Birmingham (Ala.) News, reporting on the general’s testimony before Congress on Tuesday. The general faced a skeptical-looking Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain with “the general’s response” opposite “the candidates’ comments.”

The Bakersfield Californian had Petraeus’s image as the backdrop to the newspaper’s nameplate, with the pullout quote, “I certainly share the frustration” and the headline, “Entrenched?”

Stately packaging and insight marked Nebraska’s Omaha World-Herald front page, with “The candidates and the commander” and “After the surge, a pause.” “Petraeus, Democrats square off,” said the Los Angeles Times. “Progress in Iraq fragile,” The San Diego (Calif.) Union-Tribune said. “Petraeus: Stay put,” said the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, adding, “Three White House hopefuls make rare return to Senate, sound off at hearing on Iraq war.”

For the people most affected by the debate, Stars and Stripes MidEast edition led with “Petraeus: After ‘surge’ ends, no reductions.”

Back inside the Beltway, The Washington Times used candid images of the candidates with the analytic sidebar headlined, “Presidential candidates hear what they want to hear.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution put the candidates’ questions with the general’s responses to them in a helpful Page One package. “Too Weak to Leave,” said the tough-talking Dodge City (Kan.) Daily Globe, referring to Iraq’s fragile state. In Shreveport, La., The Times was a bit more upbeat with “Gen. Petraeus: … It is Worth It.”

A teary moment for President Bush, as he presented a posthumous Medal of Honor to the mother of a Navy SEAL who dived on a grenade in Iraq to save his comrades, made news. For The Orange County (Calif.) Register, “Courage and Tears,” was a local story, as SEAL Michael Monsoor was from Garden Grove.

prhule@newseum.org Patty Rhule is a project editor at the Newseum.

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