Today's Papers

Misses Quail, Hits Fox

Nearly everybody leads with Vice President Dick Cheney, in his first post-shooting interview, accepting responsibility for filling his buddy with birdshot. “I’m the guy who pulled the trigger and shot my friend,” Cheney toldFox News’ Brit Hume. Cheney was just a tad less contrite about the fact that the media was kept so far out of the loop. The Los Angeles Timesis the only paper that doesn’t lead with Cheney, but the interview is its top non-local story.

Asked why the media wasn’t told for 18 hours and only then by a private citizen on her own initiative, Cheney said it was respect for the process of informing the press that led him to not inform them. “We didn’t know for sure what kind of shape Harry was in,” said Cheney. “One of the things I’d learned over the years was first reports are often wrong and you need to really wait and nail it down.”

“There were some things you knew,” Hume reminded the veep. “I mean, you knew the man had been shot, you knew he was injured, you knew he was in the hospital, and you knew you’d shot him.”

Whatever, Cheney retorted, “I thought that was the right call. I still do.”

Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff also took fire yesterday, coming in for heavy lashes in Katrina-centered Senate hearings. As the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank notes, Chertoff and Cheney each “accepted responsibility” for their actions while neither could not “come up with much in the way of what he had done wrong.”

Everybody mentions another batch of photos showing abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib back in 2003. The photos, which were broadcast by on Australian TV, show plenty of blood as well as men with fresh burn marks and welts. There are also images of six corpses, though it’s not clear how they died.

So far as TP sees, none of the papers run any of the photos. The Post points out that it has had the images and “hundreds more” since 2004. As the WP’s story notes, the paper’s editor explained backed then: “We are going to publish only those images that give readers essential information. Many of the images are so shocking and in such bad taste, especially the extensive nudity, that they are not publishable in our newspaper or on our Web site.”You can see the photos here and here.

Nobody puts the photos story on Page One. But the Wall Street Journal, which is the only paper to at least go high with its coverage,says “satellite television stations throughout the Muslim world are airing the new footage almost continuously.”

There has never been an independent investigation of the abuses at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere. In fact, the Journal says there is “still no reliable information on the numbers or identities of prisoners who died in U.S. custody.”

Everybody mentions that the cartoon riots were big again yesterday in Pakistan where protesters in a few cities “torched banks, movie houses, and buildings housing Western businesses.” Three people were killed, including an 8-year-old boy.

About a dozen Iraqis were killed by three bombings in Baghdad. One of the attacks killed three children.

The New York Timesgoes Page One with late-breaking word of what appears to be a deal to head off rising trouble in Haiti and declare populist René Préval, the frontrunner in last week’s elections, the winner. There have been growing protests by Préval supporters amid growing evidence he was robbed of votes.

The Postfronts the administration proposing to spend $75 million in Iran to promote democracy and, essentially, regime change. The LAT plays up the potential drawbacks, namely that the plan could backfire.

The NYT stuffs NASA staffers complaining that political appointees pressured them to, in the Times’ words, “cut the flow of news releases” on global warming and other touchy topics prior to the 2004 presidential elections. Bureaucrats also complained about one order this summer to do a search-and-replace from “global warming” to the fuzzier “climate change.”

The NYT fronts and others go inside with a large study showing that calcium and vitamin D appear to be only marginally effective at strengthening bones for most women. The study did show significant improvements for women over 60. But the Times questions whether that’s statistically significant. The Post, on the other hand, sees it is as meaningful.

USA Todayfronts records showing that Republican Sen. Arlen Specter channeled $50 million in defense-related earmarks to clients of a lobbyist who’s married to one of Specter’s top aides. The aide happens to deal with Specter’s work on the Senate Appropriations Committee, where, as it turns out, the earmarks were inserted.