Today's Papers

Giuliani Time

At the Washington Post, the formal sentencing of Timothy McVeigh leads. This is also the top national story at the Los Angeles Times. USA Today leads with a follow-up to a story the Wall Street Journal had yesterday–that the general public tends to support the UPS strikers. The New York Times leads with the unfolding scandal of the Brooklyn police brutality case, supporting it with a second front-page piece on the political dangers the case presents to Mayor Giuliani and with a big photo of four hulking cops standing in front of the precinct station where the abuse allegedly occurred, looking none too friendly.

The McVeigh appearance was brief, low-key, and enigmatic. The WP says the convicted bomber appeared “animated and jovial” until right before he was formally sentenced. When given the opportunity to address the court, he cited a 1928 Supreme Court dissent by Justice Louis Brandeis, saying, “Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or ill, it teaches the whole people by its example.” The NYT points out that adjacent unquoted passages from Brandeis make a very clear point–that the government may not commit crimes to enforce the law, but nobody wonders why McVeigh opted for the murky portion instead. The LAT has the detail that McVeigh quoted the opinion from memory.

The NYC police scandal is a tremendous hazard for Giuliani, who was swept into office promising tougher law enforcement, a promise his administration is widely believed to have kept. According to the NYT, the need for the mayor to distance himself from the cops on this one was made paramount by the news that during the rampage one of the abusers in blue shouted at the suspect, “This is Giuliani time…”

With cops sodomizing suspects making big news, you’d think that in the city that had to pay millions for beating up Rodney King, the new police chief might use the occasion of his first policy announcement to address the serious subject of police conduct. But what the hey, this is L.A., so instead he’s on the front page of the LAT debuting a new departmental program that will use medals and financial incentives to get officers to drop those ugly excess pounds. The paper plays right into all this lookism, describing one officer it quotes as “fit-looking” and the chief himself as “6 feet, 2 inches and…a lean 210 pounds.”

USAT runs a follow-up to yesterday’s bombshell about the existence prior to the Gulf War of a classified report indicating clear hazards to U.S. troops of bombing Iraqi chemical weapons stores. It asks Norman Schwarzkopf about the report. He tells the paper he never saw it, and that he repeatedly received assurances that there was no hazard of this sort. The article goes on to quote Colin Powell as saying that he doesn’t recall the report and couldn’t comment about whether he actually received it.

The WSJ “Washington Wire” reports that 32 percent of the benefits of the Clinton-approved tax bill flow to the top 1 percent of earners and 78 percent go to the top 20 percent.

Not too long ago, “respectable” outlets like the NYT steadfastly ignored cyber writers, even as they were openly referring to tabloids as sources for front-page stories. But a Times editorial today bothers to advise Internet columnist Matt Drudge to be more careful with his facts in the future. The Drudge vs. Blumenthal saga has legs–after all, it could be the first Internet libel suit, with a White House connection, no less.