Today's Papers

IRS: We Bite Too

The IRS firestorm leads at USA Today, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times. At the Washington Post, the lead national story is President Clinton’s appearance at ceremonies commemorating the 40th anniversary of the forced integration of Central High in Little Rock.

President Clinton used the occasion to issue a warning about the trend toward the re-separation of the races, a trend both the WP and NYT had no trouble observing at Central High, where the dining areas and academic tracks are largely de facto segregated. And both papers noted that the local chapter of the NAACP voted not to support or participate in the ceremonies. More heartening was the revelation in both papers that a white woman famously captured in a 1957 photograph cursing the entering black students was present to publicly apologize for her long-ago actions. (Just wondering: Couldn’t they also have found one of the paratroopers who escorted the students?)

The NYT Little Rock coverage includes a nice little survey of the nine original black students and what they’re doing today. The list includes an investment banker, a writer, a lawyer, a college professor, and an unemployed woman. Two of the nine live overseas. The LAT has a nice photo on its front top of Clinton with some of the nine, but runs the story inside.

The LAT and USAT continue pressing on the IRS story, with leads describing yesterday’s testimony, in which a number of current agents, speaking from behind a screen, their voices electronically altered, blew the whistle on the agency’s shady practices; and in which the acting commissioner, Michael Dolan, continued to apologize and pledge reform. After ignoring the IRS story yesterday, the NYT plays catch-up today. Surprisingly, the WP sticks the story way inside.

The LAT breaks the story that former senior White House aide Harold Ickes has this week told federal investigators that he was in the same room at the White House with President Clinton when Clinton made telephone fund pitches to several Democratic contributors during the run-up to the 1994 elections. This is the first corroboration of the claim that Clinton personally solicited money from inside the White House.

The NYT front page states that Newt Gingrich has ruled out any chance the House will pass the major campaign-reform bill banning all soft money that has been advancing in the Senate. Gingrich favors instead lifting all limits on political contributions.

The Wall Street Journal’s “Washington Wire” reports that the probe into the fund-raising behind the election of Ron Carey as president of the Teamsters could, because some DNC officials allegedly are involved, result in the appointment of yet another independent counsel.

At first, the NYT didn’t even mention the Marv Albert trial, then dealt with it deep inside and at arm’s length. (Yesterday’s Times edit of the AP story about the second woman’s testimony didn’t mention, for example, that she said Albert was wearing women’s clothes.) But today, with the resolution of the case, the Gray Lady hikes her skirts, putting the story on the front page and deigning to mention all the tawdry details. The story is also on the front of the LAT, alongside a picture of Albert that makes him look downright scary, and is the second lead at USAT.

The WP, which was much more aggressive from the git-go, simply raises the ante today, with not just a long front-page piece but also not one, but two additional Albert pieces elsewhere in the paper, one a ramble wondering if Albert can rebound professionally, the other a thumb-sucker about women who stand by their man when he’s in trouble. In the Post’s main Albert piece, the accuser is never mentioned by name, a practice the paper explains thus: “The Washington Post does not identify victims of alleged sexual attacks.” But it turns out that the paper isn’t able to stick to that policy for more than a few paragraphs. A little further down, the paper identifies by name the second woman who testified that she, too, was bitten and sexually assaulted by Albert. So what’s the actual policy, Post?