Today's Papers

The Real Olympic Gold

USA Today, the Washington Post, and the New York Times lead with the not-yet-fully-tallied Yugoslavia election, although their headlines diverge concerning the upshot. USAT: “SERB LEADER TRAILS.” WP: “YUGOSLAV ELECTION FRAUD ALLEGED.” NYT: “BOTH SIDES CLAIM TO HOLD THE LEAD IN YUGOSLAV VOTE.” The Los Angeles Times also fronts the election, under a headline similar to the NYT’s, but goes instead with the three immigration-related bills dominating Congress’ agenda right now: one that would raise the visa quota for skilled foreign workers, one that would grant residence to a large block of illegal immigrants not granted it by the last immigration reform bill (which set 1972 as the cut-off date for this) and to those who fled here illegally from the Central American and Caribbean upheavals of the ‘80s and ‘90s, and one that would loosen requirements bearing on the pay and conditions afforded seasonal migrant farm workers. USAT’s front-page pic of gold-bound Laura Wilkinson is wonderful, but the LAT’s top-fronter of her is transcendent.

The NYT fronts a Felicity Barringer piece about the unprecedented lengths to which the Olympic authorities are going in order to control the images and reports about Sydney, putting up special obstacles, it seems, to Web dissemination. There is, for instance, absolutely no streaming video allowed. The story starts off reporting that three U.S. Olympians had their arrangements to file diaries during the Games for U.S. outlets quashed by the IOC. (Although much further down, it’s noted that at least one other U.S. team member published something in a U.S. paper with no repercussions.) The Times attributes the tight lid to a concern “that the power of the Internet could eventually undermine the economic foundation of the modern Olympic movement.” Right now, the story reminds, that foundation is TV money for exclusive coverage.

In a WP front-pager, Howard Kurtz reports on a growing feeling among “many conservatives, Republican voters and even some journalists” that the mainstream media is tilting toward Al Gore. The hardest piece of evidence the story finds is that the big evening newscasts jumped right on Bush/rat after it broke but ignored Gore/dog for three days.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Volvo is going to make an unprecedented marketing move: With the exception of putting ads in a few enthusiast magazines, it’s going to launch its model S60 completely online, primarily via ads placed on AOL. The story explains that one of the reasons for the move was that the company had already spent tons on TV ads for two other recent vehicle launches and didn’t really have the tube dollars for a third.

The WP’s lead editorial, after reprising the last few years’ worth of bad behavior from Saddam Hussein, winds up with, “As long as Saddam Hussein remains in power, there is always the danger that Iraq will try to win a real war, too.” Now, this is classic editorial vagueness, only just a little more dangerous. What exactly should be done about Saddam then? And who should do it? The editorial doesn’t say, but the reader will be forgiven for thinking of Henry II’s question, “Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?”

A front-pager about the battles families wage over their kids’ independent access to media violence and sex includes these stunning statistics (from a Henry J. Kaiser foundation survey): Sixty-five percent of kids ages 8-18 have televisions in their bedrooms, 45 percent have video game players, and 21 percent have computers there. Compare that, says the story, to 1970 when only 6 percent of sixth graders had sets in their rooms.

On the heels of Sunday’s Times, where Maureen Dowd called Bill and Hillary Clinton the “Tin Cup Couple,” an inside Times story today notes that the non-candidate president attended his 140th political fund-raiser of the … year. And quotes his explanation: “It’s the first time in 26 years I haven’t been on the ballot. My party has a new leader. My family has a new candidate. I’m kind of trading in the title of commander in chief for cheerleader in chief.”

The front of the USAT “Money” section reports that as a result of the economic boom, a surprising demographic sector is experiencing much fuller employment than a few years ago: ex-convicts. Employers are now posting ads in halfway houses and participating in prison job fairs. The story says many of the new hires are kept away from money and the public, but also that many of them get high-tech jobs. The Sunday LAT had yet another surprising sign of labor market tightness: employees are feeling freer about showing their tattoos, piercings, and studs at work, including in front-office jobs. One guy in the story kept his job with a software development firm despite two feet of hair and 10-gauge earrings and a tongue hoop. Oh sure, they kept his photograph out of the company directory, but he kept his job.