Today's Papers

Words of Little Interest

The Los Angeles Times and New York Times lead with news that Alan Greenspan may lower interest rates. The Washington Post ignores Greenspan, but leads with a story no other paper runs on its front: Iran’s likely military action against Afghanistan.

The NYT and LAT lead with Greenspan’s announcement that he may eventually lower interest rates–an action that would cut the cost of borrowing and encourage investors world-wide. Inflation looms as the negative result of such a move. Both leads note that although a rate cut is a mere possibility, its consideration marks a change in Greenspan’s policy: he no longer sees inflation as a far greater threat to the U.S. economy than the global financial crisis. The LAT says that the Fed chairman’s remarks are the first attempt U.S. officials have made to restore confidence in foreign markets by addressing the possibility of lower interest rates.

The WP reports that Iran has positioned about 35,000 troops along its Afghani border in response to reports that the Sunni-dominated Taliban regime has murdered 10 Iranian diplomats and thousands of Shiite civilians in northern Afghanistan. Although U.S. defense officials “don’t have a favorite horse in this fight,” they do criticize the two nations for their hostility towards each other. One U.S. official notes that while war might divert the countries’ resources away from funding international terrorism, it would also hamper their monitoring of domestic terrorist groups.

All three weekend papers run front page stories on President Clinton who, from Ireland, said he is “very sorry about” his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky and called his actions “indefensible.” The NYT’s headline links Clinton’s latest apology to Senator Joseph Lieberman’s recent criticism. The LAT and WP use the word “affair” in their headlines; the NYT opts for the less scandalous “relationship.”

The WP continues its coverage of Natalie Liu, the Beijing-based CBS television producer, who was arrested, locked in a windowless cell for three days, and interrogated for 16 hours by Chinese authorities. Liu was released after signing confessions that she broke laws regarding press accreditation and the interviewing of dissidents. Liu’s release was no doubt hastened by the UN delegation on human rights that arrives in China on Monday.

Mark McGwire’s and Sammy Sosa’s race to break Roger Maris’ single-season home run record merits front-page articles at all three papers. The LAT piece highlights the massive increase in popularity and prestige baseball has garnered as a result of this year’s long ball bonanza. The WP examines the racism angle, noting that in a USA Today survey 79% of Americans said they are rooting for McGwire to break the record instead of the Dominican-born Sosa. The NYT looks at the parallels between Maris and his hometown of Fargo, ND. Residents have mixed feelings about Maris’ record being broken and they feel both he and Fargo have been slighted by history–Maris by his absence from the Hall of Fame and the city by its unflattering portrayal in the movie “Fargo.”