All the papers except the New York Times lead with the recovery of a large piece of wreckage from EgyptAir flight 990 and the discovery of an electronic beacon possibly emitted by its cockpit voice or data recorder (this story also tops the Wall Street Journal’s “Worldwide” box). The NYT fronts this story but leads with a federal judge’s order to New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to restore funding to the Brooklyn Museum, a story fronted by the Los Angeles Times. Citing First Amendment violations, the judge issued a temporary injunction against the city, which said it will appeal and also fight the museum’s efforts to make the injunction permanent.
Many air crash stories are filled with airy nothings. “The large questions … remained unanswered,” the NYT informs us. “Like many aspects of the early investigation, numerous facts begged for interpretation and elaboration … but no immediate conclusions were forthcoming from officials. … In an inquiry that will undoubtedly produce many leads, an intriguing one surfaced Monday” about a possible suitcase tampering. But two paragraphs later, the Times notes that officials “were not attaching much significance to the lead.” The Journal does note that the Boeing 767 has an excellent safety record.
The NYT off-leads the behind-the-scenes maneuvering by the Clinton administration to admit China into the World Trade Organization by Nov. 30, when President Clinton hosts a world trade meeting in Seattle. Clinton walked away from a similar deal in April but restarted negotiations with a call to Chinese Prime Minister Jiang Zemin “late on the night of October 16.” The “secret exchanges” since then are intended to consummate 16 years of American efforts to include China in GATT and its successor, the WTO (which sets the terms for world trade). The Washington Post fronts a story chronicling the preparations of the tens of thousands of WTO critics expected to protest in Seattle. A separate Post story notes that the House put off voting on a bill to strengthen Taiwan-American military relations in deference to the negotiations with China.
The LAT fronts–and the NYT, WP, and USA Today reefer–the death at 45 of football great Walter Payton. Payton, who had bile duct cancer, was the National Football League’s all-time leading rusher. All the obituaries note his legendary training regimen and brute strength, packed into a 5’$2 10”, 204-pound frame. At age 23 he rushed for 275 yards in a game, a league record, and received the first of two MVP awards.
The Post fronts a long history of Bill Bradley’s military service. Unlike Clinton, Bradley did not nurture a strong political opposition to the Vietnam War (eventually he grew cautiously opposed). Also unlike Clinton, Bradley soberly accepted his duty to serve by enlisting in the Air Force Reserves. The Post says he secured an extremely rare reservist position (they numbered in the hundreds)–one which allowed him to tailor his military schedule to Knicks games. Although he discovered the position through tips from military friends, the Post reveals that Bradley’s application did not get special treatment from military personnel and that he specifically asked the Knicks not to lobby on his behalf. Bradley’s choices, the Post notes, “display characteristics that recurred often in his public life: foresight, circumspection, and skill at finding advantage while adhering strictly to the rules.”
Both the NYT and WSJ opinion pages run critiques of the country’s rush to judgment on airline disasters. “An event with a one-in-a-million chance of happening to any American on any given day will, in fact, occur 260 times each day in this country,” notes mathematician John Allen Paulos (NYT), who argues that the EgyptAir crash was almost certainly a random event. (Read Paulos’ “Breakfast Table” dispatches here.) And Barry Glassner writes in the Journal that most differences in safety records between airlines have been shown to be statistically insignificant. Nevertheless, the Post runs a story detailing the (mixed) accident history of EgyptAir. (To read Michael Kinsley on our irrational fear of flying, click here.)
Post columnist Richard Cohen predicts the release of Al Gore, Version 2.0: Alpha Male. “Do not be surprised if, someday soon, you hear Gore growl. Do not be surprised if, at some Rose Garden event, he bares his teeth at Clinton or–in a suit selected by [Naomi] Wolf–sniffs him. He may even come up to him and challenge him to arm wrestle. No one has ever done that to a president before–not in an olive green suit, anyway. This will surely win Gore the respect, admiration, and sighs of countless Americans.”