Today's Papers

Cunanan the Barbarian

This is the kind of news day when it’s nice to be USA Today. Because that way, you don’t have to lead with a proposed youth health insurance plan (today’s New York Times), with the European Union’s acceptance of the Boeing/McDonnell Douglas merger (the Los Angeles Times), or even with Newt Gingrich seeking calm among House Republicans (the Washington Post). You can lead with Andrew Cunanan.

Below the “important” stories, Cunanan does get front-page space at the LAT and WP and most of the “National Report” inside at the NYT. The story presented a challenge to all the east coast papers, breaking as it did just about at closing time. At about the time the cops were zipping up the body bag, the WP was describing Cunanan as “now a phantom”–but meaning he was still on the loose. Most of today’s accounts have been substantially rewritten between editions and the final versions still feature a lot of sourcing to television broadcasts. Only the LAT could cut right to the (end of the) chase: “Serial Killing Suspect Cunanan Is Found Dead in Miami Beach.”

The WP reports that in a private caucus meeting with House Republicans, Gingrich has explained that there is a single line of authority in the House and that he is it. Gingrich called the intrigues of recent days “childish, silly and self-destructive.” Despite Gingrich’s attitude, there will apparently be at least one more meeting among House Republicans to discuss the events of the past week. Judiciary Committee chairman Henry J.Hyde tells the Post why he’s looking forward to the session: “The entertainment value.”

The middle top of the Times front page is dominated by details from memos turned over to congressional investigators, apparently from the files of former White House chief of staff, Harold Ickes, which illustrate the extremely active role Bill Clinton and Al Gore had in their re-election campaign’s fundraising. The story is topped by a large picture of portions of two of the memos.

A tiny box on the NYT front informs readers that a Pentagon/CIA study concludes that 100,000 American soldiers may have been exposed to nerve gas during the Gulf War. The story itself is on page A12.

The WP has a story today about a program that sends troubled kids from inner city Baltimore to a school in Kenya. The piece opens with “before” and dramatically improved “after” writing samples by a 13-year-old boy who just returned from a year there. He’ll be going back. (Was there some good reason, by the way, why the Post couldn’t bring itself to mention that the students in the program are black?)

According to the Wall Street Journal, people who came to Atlanta last year to set up vending operatons are so disgruntled by the financial baths they took–they’ve filed more than 200 lawsuits in local courts–that after the FBI cleared Richard Jewell, it began wondering if the Olympic bombing could have been the work of an outraged vendor.

The NYT op-ed page continues to turn the heat up on an issue nobody cares about–keeping foxhunting legal in Britain. For the second time in two weeks. And for the second time, by a novelist. Hmmm–plotting problems with their current projects?