Today's Papers

Touring Test

The Los Angeles Times and New York Times lead with word that yesterday for the first time the pope talked to a public audience about the Catholic church’s sex scandals and said that the “harm done by some priests and religious to the young and vulnerable fills us all with a deep sense of sadness and shame.” The pope, though, added that the “vast majority” of priests haven’t done anything wrong. The Wall Street Journal plays a bit of catch-up with the weekend papers and tops its world-wide newsbox with word that the House passed a bill giving President Bush expanded power to negotiate trade agreements. The Washington Post  and USA Todayboth lead with the Sunday morning rescue of the nine miners who had been trapped 24 stories below ground for about three days. The men were all in remarkably good shape and mostly suffered from only mild hypothermia and dehydration. The LAT had news of the rescue yesterday.

The LAT has the most critical coverage of the pope’s message, noting in its subhead that he did “not apologize to victims.” Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, USAT says that the ailing pope showed “pure grit” as he spoke to “exhilarated” listeners.

The NYT’s off-lead says that the administration is tossing around the idea of trying to topple Saddam Hussein by dropping a small force directly into Baghdad rather than going with a full-sized, head-on invasion. The Times says that the U.S.’s allies in the gulf like this invasion-lite concept because, at least theoretically, it gets rid of Saddam without having to have a big, drawn-out slugfest. The NYT doesn’t mention that yesterday’s WP reported that some Pentagon brass think the U.S. should just skip the whole invasion idea altogether.

Everybody goes inside with news that Israeli settlers walking in a funeral procession in Hebron rioted yesterday, injuring a number of Palestinians as well as Israeli police officers, and killing a 14-year-old girl. The settlers were on their way to bury the body of an Israeli soldier who was murdered last week when his car was ambushed. The Journal’s online newsbox blurb of the attack  describes it as “clash between Jewish settlers and Palestinians.” The other papers skip the facile even-handedness. Everybody basically agrees on what happened: The Israelis and Palestinians began to throw rocks at each other (the papers aren’t sure who started it), then the settlers started to fire guns, attack Palestinian shops, and battle with Israeli police.

The papers all note that the settlers had warned journalists that they weren’t welcome at the funeral. Only the NYT seems to have ignored the warning. Unlike the other papers, the Timesarticle is datelined “Hebron.” The trip paid off: The NYT is the only paper to detail how settlers beat up a bunch of journalists who were covering the episode.

The WSJ says that European allies are concerned that the Afghan government’s plan, supported by the U.S., to stabilize the country won’t work. Specifically, they point out that the plan only calls for 30,000 men to be disarmed and given job-training. There are an estimated 200,000 fighters in Afghanistan.

Everybody notes up high that telecom giant Qwest announced Sunday that it may have overstated its revenue by a total of $1.1 billion from 1999 to 2001. Qwest’s auditor during that time? The Double-A, of course, Arthur Andersen.  

The NYT fronts word that an increasing number of children appear to be living in households without either parent. The Times says that the trend “may” have been caused by the 1996 welfare reform laws, which require parents to work in order to get benefits. The article says there’s some evidence to support that, but adds that some researchers are “not persuaded.” According to the story, nobody has actually “pinpointed” the cause of the increase—except apparently the Times’ editors. The article is headlined, “SIDE EFFECT OF WELFARE LAW: THE NO-PARENT FAMILY.”

The papers all go high with word that American Lance Armstrong yesterday won his fourth consecutive Tour de France. Armstrong won the 2,032-mile race by seven minutes and 17 seconds. Until yesterday, no American had ever won four Tours in a row. The overall record is five.

The LAT has discovered a new phenomenon: The stock market, apparently, is freaking people out. The paper headlines, “DEPLETED INVESTORS ALSO LOSING NERVE.” The subhead reads, “The market drop has damaged psyches as ‘90s riches have largely vanished.”

USAT’s business section announces that it’s done a survey showing that amidst all the depressing economic news, productivity increases in America’s top 100 companies have been chugging along. One caveat: USAT says that its numbers were in some cases skewed by one-time factors such as layoffs and accounting changes. Anyway, which company tops USAT’s list of productivity performers? Enron.

The WSJ tracks down James Glassman and economist Kevin Hassett, the two geniuses who wrote the 1999 best seller, Dow 36,000. Hassett insists that the market will still hit that mark, “I’m just not going to give you a date.” Glassman is also sure stocks are still going to rocket. He’d better hope so. Since they published their book, Glassman says, his own portfolio has dropped about 30 percent.