Today's Papers

Kickin’ Some Rebuttal

The White House’s response to the Starr report leads at all three Sunday papers. The New York Times calls the 42-page counter-attack a “scathing rebuttal,” the Washington Post opts for “blistering counterattack,” and the Los Angeles Times calls it “acid-worded.” It’s sound bite heaven for President Clinton’s legal team, as all three papers’ leads include the White House’s characterization of the Starr investigation as a “hit-and-run smear campaign.” The NYT lead gives the most details about the contents of the document, or “referral,” as it is officially known. The WP and LAT go lighter on the details, but spend more time stressing the significance of House Democrats who want the President to accept some form of punishment.

All the papers run stories on the rest of the world’s reaction to the Starr report. The NYT reports that the British press blasted Clinton for his lying and cheating, while French papers expressed their country’s predominant view on the matter–Clinton’s affair should remain private. The WP notes the “almost funereal somberness” of most world leaders who see Clinton’s troubles as yet another setback in an already difficult summer.

A WP front page piece examines a prickly side-effect of the Starr report’s release: the heightened risk of curious ten-year-olds asking parents what “oral sex” is. Although “ask your mother” seems like an appealing response for dads, the paper cites “therapists” who say parents should discuss the matter with their children and encourage the young’uns to lead the conversation and tell what they already know.

The NYT reports that this weekend’s elections in Bosnia may be the most important since the 43-month war ended in 1995. Voters must choose between hard-line nationalists and moderate, reconciliation-minded politicians. The rejection of the latter could mean the failure of Western diplomats’ peace efforts in the region.

An LAT front page piece claims that despite promises to break up incestuous business-government relationships, South Korea still has not carried out reforms it agreed to as part of last years’ international bail out. Apparently, big-business has actually gained power by profiting from high-interest loans that are driving medium to small-size companies into bankruptcy. Meanwhile, the nation’s economy continues to suffer, with the lower and middle economic classes taking the hardest hit.

The last words of Swissair Flight 111’s pilots–captured by the cockpit voice recorder–will not be released to the public, according to an inside article at the WP. Like most countries aside from the U.S., Canadian law precludes the public disclosure of any dialogue from the cockpit recordings.

A NYT op-ed asks several public figures, including Mario Cuomo and William F. Buckley Jr., to recommend comeback strategies for the down-and-out President. The show is stolen, however, by Donald Trump, recent author of Trump: The Art of the Comeback. No stranger to scandal and hard times, Trump advises the President to rid his mind of troublesome women by dumping his lawyers, wife, and job–so that he can finally have some fun.