Today's Papers

Herzo Good

The First Family’s visit to Bosnia-Herzogovina leads at the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and USA Today, and is the top national story at the Washington Post.

The Bosnia stories–all accompanied by big top-of-the page photos of the president, the best one being the LAT’s shot of Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea up close and personal with American soldiers–all point out that Clinton’s quick mission had the dual purpose of boosting the morale of U.S. troops and urging Bosnians to work harder on their country’s recovery. The pitch to the Bosnians, both in private consultations with national leaders and in a public speech in Sarajevo, included Clinton’s insistence on the importance of isolating and arresting indicted war criminals.

The NYT, USAT, and the LAT all go front page with the news that the FDA has approved prescription of an anti-baldness pill. This comes after experiments showing that the substance either promoted hair growth or at least stopped hair loss in 83 percent of the men who took it. The approval came despite recognition that the pills carry a slight risk of impotence and reduced sex drive. (That there is expected to be a strong market for the medication despite these possible side-effects is yet more evidence of the growing narcissism of the American man, who apparently is more interested in looking sexy than being sexy.)

USAT runs a front-page piece about the career-ending spinal injury suffered by Detroit linebacker Reggie Brown in a game Sunday. The piece focuses on the inspirational story of teammates and opponents praying for him on the field while doctors worked on him feverishly, but treads lightly around the NFL’s dirty little not-so-secret: namely, that because of the incredible increases in the size, strength, and speed of the players, serious spinal and head injuries are becoming more common all the time. So much so that pro football is now far more dangerous than those “ultimate fighting championships” that are outlawed in all but a few states.

Call it the integration of church and (solid-) state. The Wall Street Journal reports in a front-page feature on a new trend: telecommunications companies paying churches for the right to put wireless transmission equipment in their steeples. It’s a match made in heaven: The companies get a nifty end-run around local bans on new towers and the churches get an income stream far more reliable than the collection plate.

Yesterday’s LAT front-page story about Bill Clinton’s 1996 fund-raising juggernaut bears revisiting. Closer inspection of the illustration accompanying the piece, purporting to be of Clinton’s schedule for one week in June 1996, reveals that it is deeply deceptive. Although as the fine print says, it is compiled from official sources, it is not a photograph of the president’s daybook, but rather a representation of his schedule concocted by the LAT’s editors made to look like one. And not a very accurate one either: for instance, in a trick that’s repeated throughout the graphic, the fund-raising entries for Monday, June 17 form a solid block of type, but this is a trompe l’oeil achieved only by leaving a bunch of hours out of the “daybook“‘s format. This sleight-of-hand is just as unacceptable as the similar newsmagazine cover practices of sinisterizing OJ and beautifying Quint Mom, or the bygone TV fad of “re-creation.” One hopes that this newspaper variant can also be shamed out of favor.

The WP and LAT fronts report on that nearly $5 million verdict won by actress Hunter Tylo, who sued because she was hired to play a seductress on ‘Melrose Place’ but was then fired by producer Aaron Spelling’s company when it was revealed she was pregnant. Spelling officials had claimed that a visibly pregnant woman couldn’t be credible in the sexy role. The Post quotes Tylo’s lawyer saying it was important for the jury to see that Tylo, who was eight months into another pregnancy during the trial, “looked unbelievably sexy and terrific” as she came to court in short, tight skirts. Spelling’s attorney says there will be an appeal. But the main way Hollywood deals with onrushing bandwagons is to jump right on, so stay tuned in the fall for the new voluptuous pregnant chick series, “Cervixens!”