Today's Papers

Acute Reno Failure

The Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post lead with Janet Reno’s trip to Miami in an attempt to personally manage a resolution of the Elián González matter. Both papers describe how she met with some of Elián’s Miami relatives and the boy himself at the home of one of her longtime friends. The LAT also includes the Miami family’s post-meeting announcement that it would defy the U.S. government’s demand that Elián be turned over to his father. Federal officials then said that he must be brought to an airport near Miami by 2 p.m. ET today. The late metro edition of the New York Times and a “chase” edition of USA Today front these latest developments as well, but lead otherwise. USAT goes with yesterday’s 7 percent-plus Nasdaq drop, which leaves the mostly tech index over 25 percent off its month-ago all-time high. The story says high up that the day’s shrinkage means the Nasdaq is now in a bear market, but doesn’t say why. (As the NYT explains in its Nasdaq off-leader, the convention is that ursinity sets in at a 20 percent drop from a top.) And the NYT goes with the announcement in Peru that President Alberto Fujimori will face a run-off election despite widespread fears that a second election might be avoided by a shady vote count. The news, says the Times set off euphoria in the streets of Lima. Given the low profile Peru has in the U.S., the story grabs surprisingly prime print estate: not just lead at the NYT, but also off-lead at the WP and above the fold at the LAT.

The LAT lead goes high with remarks from Miami family leader Lázaro González, delivered, says the paper with “undisguised bitterness.” He is quoted as saying of the federal government, “They are preparing to attack my house.” USAT quotes Gonzalez as saying, “They will have to take the child from me by force.” No wonder the NYT concludes that “while both sides said they did not want to traumatize the child with an ugly confrontation, there seemed to be no other option going into the early morning hours today.”

The LAT fronts word that Al Gore’s 1992 environmental tome, Earth in the Balance, is about to be reissued. According to the story, a new foreword Gore wrote for the second edition will lay to rest widespread feelings that he planned to soft-pedal his environmental views throughout his presidential campaign, in that the new pages will claim, for instance, that unless current trends are halted, sea levels could rise high enough to cause a “catastrophic mutation in our physical and human geography,” and will include a spirited defense of his 1992 call to abolish the internal combustion engine. The paper says a copy of the foreword was provided to it but leaves out a crucial bit of the provenance it owes the reader. Was it provided by Gore-ites or by Bush-ites?

USAT, which fronts more consumer recalls than the other majors, fronts word that the government is recalling 7 million infant swings because they can strangle babies who aren’t properly restrained. The toll thus far: six children dead and nine seriously injured. Nothing, in other words, like the toll from handguns.

Everybody goes inside with word from Cleveland that the jury in a civil lawsuit rejected the claim of Sam Reese Sheppard that his father, Dr. Sam Sheppard, was innocent of the murder of his wife, a case that inspired the TV show and then the movie The Fugitive. Dr. Sheppard’s original murder conviction was overturned and he was acquitted in the second trial the Supreme Court ordered, but his son had been hoping to, via the use of new DNA technology, fully clear his father’s name.

The NYT’s William Safire offers as an index of the level of freedom currently flourishing in this country the various political rallies and protests coming to Washington, D.C., soon: After this weekend’s IMF/World Bank to-do, he notes, there’ll be the Earth Day rally, the Million Mom March for more gun control, and the gay Millenium Marchers. And don’t forget, he notes, the “Million Mutt March” being held to promote pet dog adoption and to “eliminate canine discrimination.”

According to an item in the Wall Street Journal’s front-page biz news box, Unilever has secured its place in the Vertical Integration Hall of Fame. The company has “agreed to buy Slim-Fast Foods, a maker of weight-loss products, for $2.3 billion. The Anglo-Dutch concern also agreed to pay $326 million for ice-cream maker Ben & Jerry.”


For more political news, go to Slate’sPolitics page.