May 19, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

It’s the economy, and papers want to be sure you see it as a problem

It’s the economy, editors, or so it seems in looking at the U.S. front pages today. Starting with the nation’s biggest daily, USA Today which leads with “Bill for taxpayers swells by trillions,” adding “Deficit far bigger than government estimate,” even as the Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser squares off an AP story warning that a survey shows that “Wobbly economy may weaken further” and The Arizona Republic in Phoenix squares off the USA Today story, reporting “Nation’s red ink soared in ’07.”

But it isn’t just the national picture that we’re reading about. The Daily News in Los Angeles leads with “Students paying the price,” about the financial problems of those attending colleges in the area. The Denver Post has an off-lead story about how “In falling economy, teen jobs get scarce” and the Norwich (Conn.) Bulletin reports from a neighboring town that “Plainfield budget squeeze forcing hard choices.”

For the Charlotte (Fla.) Sun, the Page One problem is about “Food stamp recipients pinched by high prices,” while The Atlanta Journal-Constitution leads with “More Atlanta homes at risk” in the mortgage crisis and the Chicago Tribune takes another tack with an off-lead story about “Vehicle repos in high gear.” The Hutchinson (Kan.) News leads with the AP story but puts on a semi-good face with the head: “Forecast for economy has good and bad,” and The Town Talk in Alexandria, La., leads with, “Some local  businesses run up big utility bills,” some of them delinquent.

For the Times Herald in Port Huron, Mich., the focus is on “Carpoolers fight gas prices.” The New Hampshire Union Leader in Manchester has a Page One feature about “Soaring gas prices.” The Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal leads with “Insurance trusts’ collapse staggers,” adding that “Nearly 5,000 employers may pay more for workers’ comp,” while The Morning Call in Allentown, Pa., has a big Page One piece with photo about “Slow economy has more people turning to auctions to get rid of unwanted, unused goods for cash,” as many other dailies find Page One space for the AP “gloomy forecast.”

The Dayton (Ohio) Daily News tops Page One with what might be a search for the silver lining, reporting that “As bad as things are now, they’re nothing to the great depression.” True, and to those interested we offer our family motto from those days – “damn the expense, give the canary another seed.”

Gene Mater is a Freedom Forum media consultant.

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