September 26, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Washington’s bailout plan: ‘Hello, Goodbye’

“Day of Chaos Grips Washington.”

The New York Times had that right. A tentative deal on an economic bailout was announced and denounced in a 12-hour soap opera that included a half-joking plea for cooperation from the Treasury secretary, who got down on one knee.

In the end, The Washington Post noted, “Talks Falter.” Said USA Today, “House GOP defies Bush on bailout hours after pact seemed near.” The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post aptly said, “Day starts with promise, ends with finger-pointing.”

Some invoked the name of the popular TV show. “Deal or No Deal?” asked the Orlando Sentinel.

USA Today included a tick-tock of the bailout breakdown and pictured players in the negotiations. Among the players:

  • Sen. Christopher Dodd, chairman of the Senate banking committee, who hails from Connecticut, where the Record-Journal of Meriden pictured a sign at a small business: “Mailman, Send Bills to the White House.”
  • Sen. Richard Shelby, ranking committee member, who is from Tuscaloosa, Ala., where the News noted that “negotiators planned to meet into the night to try to revive proposal” — unintentionally suggesting readers look elsewhere this morning for news.
  • Rep. Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, who represents Massachusetts, where The Boston Globe reported, “Economic data point to recession.”
  • Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, who, in representing House Republicans, offered an alternative plan. “Earlier deal turns out to be no deal; Boehner delivers the bad news,” The Cincinnati Enquirer said.
  • Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who earlier was Goldman Sachs chairman. From Wall Street, the Journal reported the “largest failure in U.S. banking history” Thursday and the sale of Washington Mutual to JPMorgan Chase.

With conflict raging in Washington, a chorus of “Give Peace a Chance” went out in Tel Aviv, as Paul McCartney performed 43 years after the Beatles were banned from Israel. “Fab McCartney wows Israel,” The Jerusalem Post said.

As for tonight’s planned presidential debate, “Ole Miss stage prepared if McCain, Obama show up,” The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss., said. Barack Obama said he would be there; John McCain said maybe. Asked the Los Angeles Times, “Who’d win in a one-man debate?”

Kate Kennedy is front-pages editor at the Newseum.

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