Today's Papers

More Coffee and Less Coffey

The Washington Post and USA Today both lead with Janet Reno’s admission yesterday that she was “mad” at the White House because she wasn’t told in a timely manner about the coffee videos. The Los Angeles Times leads with the destruction wrought in Acapulco by a hurricane, and the New York Times goes with Germany’s interest rate increase.

The WP says that Reno’s remarks were “an extraordinary public critique” of the president. Reno admitted that the video controversy has strained relations with the White House. The NYT, in its front page Reno piece, says she has just completed “one of the most humiliating weeks in her tenure.” The WP and the NYT say that Sen. Orrin Hatch is considering holding hearings on Reno’s conduct of the fund-raising inquiry. USAT goes further, saying Hatch “would hold a hearing.” Just what we need now: not just another investigation, but an investigation of an investigation.

The top-front-page picture used by the NYT to illustrate its Reno story is also an illustration of how in general papers use photos with news stories. It’s a shot of Clinton, a third person and Reno sitting in a row. Reno has her head turned completely away from Clinton, which is natural enough, since they are listening to a speech, but the posture looks chilly. And that’s why it’s there–after all, certainly there were moments immediately before and after this one in which Clinton and Reno shook hands and spoke to each other.

The NYT’s lead says that Germany’s decision to raise its basic interest rate “sent shivers around the world.” But none of the other majors felt a thing: none of them led with the story nor even gave it any front-page space.

The LAT decision to lead with one hundred deaths caused in Mexico’s leading resort city by Hurricane Pauline was not quite as lonely–the storm is USAT’s second lead and tops the Wall Street Journal’s world-wide news digest–but was no doubt influenced by the paper’s Mexican demographic. Incidentally, for the second week running, the WP is running a complete page (about the soccer World Cup qualifying round) in the sports section in Spanish. This is apparently a first for a major U.S. newspaper, and for good or ill, probably the start of a trend.

The LAT front covers what it calls the unexpected departure of its editor, Shelby Coffey, who is described in the piece by Mark Willes, the recently named publisher of the paper, as “a truly remarkable man and editor.” Howard Kurtz presents a little different picture in his WP piece on the situation. “‘Shelby told me he’s been through four publishers and doesn’t want to do this anymore,’ said Metro Editor Leo Wolinsky. ‘He’s used to running the newsroom his way, and generally speaking he’s been allowed to do that. Mark intends to get involved with everything… . He’s thrown a hand grenade into the middle of the system. He’s blowing up what we have.’” Another LAT veteran tells Kurtz that Willes is “convinced the newspaper business is filled with a lot of dopes who have let the business deteriorate.”

In a NYT op-ed piece, Lyn Nofziger, a former Reagan aide, bristles at the suggestion made earlier in the week by Harold Ickes that Reagan raised money in the White House too. Writes Nofziger: “I have talked to Mr. Reagan’s personal secretary and the two men who served as his personal aides during his eight years in office, and each one is adamant that Mr. Reagan never phoned for or personally solicited money. That coincides with my own knowledge of President Reagan.” Ooops. Today’s WP runs a transcription of a solicitation made by Reagan ten years ago in the East Room at a gathering of Republican fat cats, who in response contributed $1.3 million.