Today's Papers

You’ve Got Classified Defense Documents!

The New York Times leads with George W. Bush’s “shifting tactics,” as the governor moves to attack the issues instead of Al Gore’s character. The Washington Post and Los Angeles Times lead with local stories. All three papers place large Olympic flame pics front and center, with accompanying dispatches from the opening ceremony.

The NYT lead says Gov. Bush will actively try to differentiate himself on issues such as “Medicare, the environment, education and tax cuts.” Bush’s previous theme, restoring “dignity and honor” to the White House, lost resonance with voters after Gore named Joseph Lieberman as his running mate, distancing the VP from President Clinton. In other campaign news, a WP front-page story tracks Gore’s search for African-American votes. One out of six Clinton voters was black, says the story, and Gore’s recent poll gains stemmed largely from “consolidating the black vote.” An LAT front-pager faults Bush’s “Iron Triangle” of advisers for being too inflexible, unable to react quickly to changes in campaign dynamics. And a Page A8 WP story says Gore strategists have successfully kept distracting story lines in the news (the “RATS” ad) while Bush struggles to get his daily message heard.

Olympic excitement gets fronted at all the papers. Political angles abound. The NYT and WP note Australia’s efforts to reconcile with its aboriginal population (an Aborigine sprinter lit the Olympic flame). The LAT focuses on North and South Korean athletes marching as a unified team under one flag. Both the NYT and WP stories close with touching human interest tales about, respectively, a resilient U.S. kayaker and an East Timorese boxer who “hid in the mountains” for a month to flee violence.

The WP’s off-lead says former CIA chief John Deutch acted cavalierly with confidential info not only while at the CIA, as already reported, but also during his previous gig at the Defense Department. Deutch, despite 1) issuing a memo that warned against using unsecured computer systems; and 2) declining a DOD request to secure the computers in his own home, used unsecured home computers to download classified documents. He also used his AOL account, which was particularly vulnerable to hackers. The WP compares Deutch’s lapses to Wen Ho Lee’s transgressions. (TP invites guesses as to Deutch’s AOL screen name. ConfidentialDocumentsHere and NSyncSux48 are TP’s best bets.) The LAT reefers the story.

Speaking of Wen Ho Lee, an NYT story says President Clinton doesn’t think race factored in the case but is still “quite troubled” by the Justice Department’s actions. Self-referential moment: Clinton aides blame the ravenous prosecution of Dr. Lee in part on … the NYT! The Times quotes a deputy White House press secretary: “Reading the New York Times coverage of this case is a particularly surreal experience. It’s as though William Randolph Hearst were lamenting the human toll caused by the Spanish-American War.” Reading the Times coverage of flak over the Times coverage is doubly surreal, TP would argue. While the NYT fronts the story above the fold, right next to its lead, the WP puts it on Page A4 and strangely doesn’t mention the Times at all.

A Page A3 WP story says Iowa is losing population fast–particularly young people, who are moving away in droves–but the governor has a few solutions. One is an attempt to convince Iowans who’ve gone to New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles to “return to their home state for a life with less traffic congestion, violent crime and other social ills.” The other plan calls for recruiting 310,000 foreign workers to Iowa, “one of the least diverse states in the nation.” Good luck: “Abrupt changes in ethnic patterns do not always come easily here,” says the WP.

An NYT correction today is a minor gem of the genre: “A film review headline in Weekend yesterday about Crime and Punishment in Suburbia misidentified the character who kills Fred, the father. It is not the mother, Maggie; it is the daughter, Roseanne, with her boyfriend, Jimmy.”