Today's Papers


Di still dominates, but other stories get their due. For instance, the Los Angeles Times leads with yesterday’s 257-point gain on Wall St, and the New York Times goes with a piece about how private hospitals, with the advent of managed care and lower doctor’s fees, are now courting Medicaid patients because of the guaranteed government dollars they represent, while shunning uninsured patients more than ever. The nightmare scenario, says the piece, is that “desirable” patients will altogether abandon public hospitals, with the “desirable” doctors following suit. (The Times’s decision to lead with a trend piece–that is, a piece that could have run just as well a month from now–suggests a deep desire not to wallow in Diana. Evidently, this desire is not universal at the paper, however; for the second day in a row, the op-ed page runs three Diana screeds.)

USA Today leads with the latest news in the death of the princess–the decision by French authorities to investigate six photographers to see if they committed involuntary homicide or violated France’s Good Samaritan law, and the revelation that a new round of toxicology revealed that Diana’s driver was even more alcohol-impaired than originally reported. The LAT, NYT and Washington Post also give prominent front-page space to these developments.

USAT also reports that Hillary Clinton will attend the funeral service and that Di’s oldest son Prince William is insisting on walking behind his mother’s coffin in the ceremony. The following passage from the WP about the photographers under investigation shows the meta-levels the story has now ascended to: “As they were released and their handcuffs removed, the suspects slipped out side entrances to the huge courthouse building, avoiding the waiting banks of television and still cameras. French photographers said they would not have taken pictures of them anyway, out of ‘solidarity.’ The seven also were said by other journalists to have avoided the spotlight because they had sold their stories of detention to tabloid newspapers and wanted to preserve exclusivity.”

The LAT, while keeping up on the Diana front, manages to find more front-page room than most for other hard-news stories. It’s on this front that you’ll find out about how U.S. troops, surrounded by a stick-wielding mob, returned the use of a TV transmitter to Bosnian Serbs loyal to war criminal suspect Radovan Karadzic in return for promises to tone down propaganda emanating from the station and to provide political opponents access to it. And where you’ll be provoked by a piece about a recent Arizona killing involving bounty hunters to realize that this field is preposterously under-regulated.

In the LAT’s coverage of the big stock market move, there’s the usual dueling experts explaining that this is either the sign of bigger things to come or the end of the good times. But there’s also this says-it-all sentence: “[A] typical stock investment grew nearly as much Tuesday as a simple savings account grows in a year.”

According to the Wall Street Journal “Tax Report,” the IRS audited about 14.5 percent of the estate-tax returns filed in 1995. The Journal doesn’t say so, but the overall audit rate is more like 1 percent. So the message is clear: still one of the best ways to avoid taxes is to avoid death.

Both USAT and the NYT report that a study just out concludes that new doctors, steeped though they may be in high-tech medicine, can’t properly use a stethoscope. Doctors in the survey only identified 20 percent of the heart problems that can be routinely diagnosed via the instrument. Doctors who play a musical instrument did better.