Today's Papers

Not Erection Results

The elections rule. USA Today slugs the story “Democrats Dash GOP Hopes,” and its front-page “cover story” says yesterday brought “good news for the man who wasn’t on the ballot,” Bill Clinton. Similarly, the New York Times main headline reads in part, “Democrats Hold Off G.O.P. Advance, Weakening Impeachment Prospects….” The Los Angeles Times headline lavishes its big type on the victory of Democrat Gray Davis in the California governor’s race, the re-election to the Senate of Barbara Boxer and the victory of the initiative permitting Indian-run casinos. And the headline over the Washington Post lead credits the Democrats with scoring significant upsets– the Post, like everybody else, stressing the defeat of GOP incumbent senators Alfonse D’Amato of New York and Lauch Faircloth of North Carolina.

The papers cite the general satisfaction exiting voters expressed–with Clinton, with the economy, and with their own lot in life. And everybody says 6o percent of voters thought Clinton should not be impeached. The upshot is that the Republicans will not achieve a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. Although, as everybody notes, the Republicans do retain control of both the House and the Senate.

The press consensus is that the only real bright spots for the Republicans are the victories of the brothers Bush in the Texas and Florida gubernatorial races. The LAT says that George W. Bush’s re-election instantly makes him the Republican presidential front-runner. The NYT’s R.W. Apple says both Bushes are to be reckoned serious presidential contenders. And Maureen Dowd only seems to be half-joking when she suggests that the brothers form a Bush-Bush ticket in 2000.

A front-page Wall Street Journal story details a little-noticed aspect of the emerging e-marketplace: large corporations are moving slowly into Internet marketing, not really any longer because of misgivings about its power, but because it threatens to destroy traditional hands-on sales channels, which still constitute about 90 percent of most companies’ order flow. For instance, the Journal ponies up a Seattle GM dealer who has made ten additional sales this year with the help of his automaker’s Web sites, but who also worries that GM might someday just take buyers’ orders directly and get rid of him.

With the papers relentlessly rah-rahing over the latest exploits of the home team, often, amazingly, on the front page, it’s sobering to take in the NYT op-ed on the rampant criminality of professional football players. According to the piece, it’s look-the-other-way day in the front office. Coach Dick Vermeil of the St. Louis Rams is quoted saying this about a linebacker charged last week with involuntary manslaughter in a crash in which the other driver died: “I think it’ll be good for him to get back and get with his teammates and get going again.” Then there’s another Ram who plays on despite having pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in a case where the victim suffered partial paralysis and brain damage. And the Miami Dolphin wide receiver who, despite one conviction and two arrests for beating his fianc,e, was offered a new contract by the club and has never been disciplined by the league. The author, Jeff Benedict, claims that a study he helped conduct shows that 1 out of 5 NFL players has been charged with a serious crime.

An AP story inside the WP reports that the Caldor department store chain has apologized for unwittingly publishing 11 million copies of an advertising circular in which two smiling boys are depicted playing Scrabble around a game board where the pieces clearly spell out the word “RAPE.”

The WP, famous for applying wholesomeness principles to its copy, outdoes itself today. The Reliable Source’s item about an election day get-together of old pols includes this quote from one of them: “If a bomb went off in this place, 50 percent of the country’s known supply of [equine droppings] would be destroyed.” Can’t the Post see that whereas the actual phrase used would go by virtually unnoticed, the paper’s baroque translation only forces the reader to dwell on the matter?