Today's Papers

Ceding, Censoring, Consuming

The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times lead with the Israeli cabinet’s approval of plans to withdraw from the West Bank. The Washington Post leads with online firms’ moves to filter pornography on the Internet. The USA Today lead - “Shoppers hit malls, look for bargains” - bespeaks a slow news day.

The Israeli cabinet agreed in principle to cede more land to Palestinians. The decision, however, appeased Prime Minister Netanyahu’s right-wing backers: It remained vague on how much territory to cede, and when to cede it. The NYT piece frames this as do-nothing action, designed to temporarily quiet demands coming simultaneously from the Israeli right-wing, Palestinians, and the U.S. (which is pressing Netanyahu to cede land quickly). The LAT quotes a Palestinian official terming this a “public relations trick.” The WP has a front-page “reefer” to a page A18 story, and the Wall Street Journal puts it in their World-Wide news box. The USAT front ignores it.

A front-page NYT story says the International Monetary Fund has agreed to bail out the ailing South Korean economy. Details were not yet available, but some reports put the amount at $55 billion, to come from the IMF, the U.S., Japan, and the World Bank. This would make it the largest-ever rescue, eclipsing the $48 billion bailout of Mexico three years ago. USAT, the LAT, and the WSJ all run front-page reefers to the story.

The WP lead says several Internet firms today will announce actions designed to preempt regulation. Companies like America Online and Disney will fund education and filtering devices to help parents keep kids safe from Web smut. Conservatives say filtering devices won’t go far enough; Free-speech advocates say they’ll go too far.

The USAT lead describes the early returns on holiday shopping as “uncertain.” Sales figures are not overwhelming, but analysts think shoppers now hold off on buying until right before Christmas.

A front-page WP story reports on newly released tapes of President Nixon’s White House conversations. The tapes show that Nixon hoped to sway coverage on the television networks by threatening them with anti-trust legislation. In one case, NBC re-aired the broadcast of Nixon-daughter Tricia’s wedding, after repeated demands from the White House. (This column assures you it will not be swayed by threats of anti-trust legislation against Microsoft. Also, Chelsea Clinton continues to thrive at Stanford.)