Today's Papers

Saddam But True

The New York Times leads with a story nobody else is paying much attention to right now–the continued Iraqi failure to provide U.N. weapons inspectors with adequate information. USA Today leads with Ken Starr’s and Paula Jones’ decisions to press on. The Washington Post goes with a story that the NYT got out in front on yesterday: the death of Pol Pot. The Los Angeles Times leads with news that must strike terror deep within the hearts of its readership: the state’s second largest phone company, GTE, mistakenly leased tens of thousands of unlisted phone numbers to telemarketers.

The Times lead is spurred by the latest report from the U.N. chief arms inspector to Kofi Annan concluding that Iraq is no closer now to meeting U.N. requirements for the lifting of sanctions than it was last fall, when Saddam Hussein went to the brink to prevent further arms inspections. The paper sees a further ominous sign in Thursday’s new outburst of Iraqi defiance–a call by the highest levels of the Iraqi government for the immediate lifting of all embargoes.

The NYT has some choice tidbits from that as-yet unpublished U.N. report (and from others as well). Apparently, inspectors found some of the buildings on their list to have been stripped of all equipment and even furniture. Indeed, none of the sites visited outside of Baghdad had either documents or computers. And some inspectors were stunned by the opulence of the presidential palaces. Some rooms in them must have, according to some on the U.N. team, cost millions of dollars to furnish.

The Post reports that Pol Pot died quietly on a flowered mattress. The story goes on to describe televised footage of the death scene: Pot’s body stretched out on a bed, plastic sandals at his bedside. Or you could turn to the NYT top front, which has a large color shot of just this scene. The WP quotes journalist Nate Thayer, who recently did the first interview with Pot in 18 years, saying he had no doubt that the man on the mattress was Pol Pot and dead.

The emotional scars left by Pol Pot’s terror reign are crystallized in a remark made by a “Killing Fields” survivor, quoted by both the WP and NYT: “If he’s dead, hand over his body to the people….I want to see him handcuffed and pushed into a jail, like his cadres did to me 20 years ago.”

Both the Post and Times note that the U.S. is taking the position that Pol Pot’s death should not end efforts to bring to justice other Khmer Rouge leaders implicated in the Cambodian slaughter. The WP lead editorial states that eight to ten members of Pot’s extermination committee are still at large, and the NYT lead editorial says that the current head of Cambodia, Hun Sen, is also a henchmen.

The WP reports that the Republican National Committee’s reaction to Al Gore’s disclosure of his tax return the other day was to label him “Vice President Scrooge” for donating just $353 to charity last year out of his income of $197,729.

The Wall Street Journal reports that in the months leading up to recent Judiciary Committee hearings on Microsoft, the Senate Democrats campaign organization was given $200,000 worth of free software by competitor Oracle.

The NYT picks up today on a story first reported by the South China Morning Post: Apple Computer, in bringing to Hong Kong its “Think Different” ads featuring pictures of famous independent movers and shakers, has decided to drop the Dalai Lama’s portrait from the campaign. The company at first tried to claim that this was because the Tibetan leader’s face is not well-known in the region–until confronted with the information that polls show 80 percent of Hong Kong residents are familiar with him. Now the line is, “In China, he may not get across the message that Apple is trying to send.” True, since apparently the message is money-grubbing phony individualism.

The NYT and LAT fronts report that a Vanderbilt University study, to be published today in Science, indicates that blacks are far less likely than whites to make use of the Internet. The racial divide is particularly pronounced on the lower end of the economic scale. Among households making less than $40,000 a year, whites were six times as likely as blacks to have used the Web. By the way, the LAT story cannot just refer to the “World Wide Web”–oh no, it has to explain that this is “a popular Internet graphical network, encompassing some 62 million Americans, that is revolutionizing business and education.” Now think about this–if a reader doesn’t know what the Web is, would he know what the Internet is, or what a graphical network is?