Today's Papers

Writers’ Bloc

The Los Angeles Times leads (and everybody else goes up top) with news of a deal that may end the screenwriters’ strike by midweek. The New York Times leads with, and everyone else fronts, Sen. Barack Obama’s substantial wins in Nebraska, Louisiana, and Washington state. The Washington Post leads local.

The Writers Guild of America announced a deal with the studios that secures them a cut of Internet revenues. If all goes well, they could be working by Tuesday. The NYT says writers are warily optimistic about the deal, while the WP says writers are “jubilant” about “victory.” TP will trust the LAT’s hometown expertise on this one. It says things look good, but the Oscars are still in limbo and—to wit—it ain’t over till it’s over.

Obama racked up huge wins in the Nebraska and Washington caucuses—taking 68 percent of the vote in both—and won the Louisiana primary by 57 percent. The NYT says Clinton doesn’t expect to win any races till Ohio, Rhode Island, and Texas vote in March—though WP thinks Clinton has a leg up among women in Maine. (Virginia may be in play, too.) The WP says the Louisiana vote was the most racially divided of the primary season.

A jovially defiant Mike Huckabee trounced McCain in Kansas and eked out a win in Louisiana. Washington state’s results are still uncertain. The WP says Huckabee is benefiting from conservative anti-McCain votes, while the LAT idly speculates Huckabee is gunning for VP. Asked why he’s still in the race, Huck said, “I have nothing else to do.”

The LAT fronts, and the others go inside with, Yahoo executives rejecting Microsoft’s $44.6 billion offer to buy the company. The LAT thinks it’s probably a ploy to raise the price from $31 to $35 a share, since Yahoo has few defenses against a hostile takeover.

The WP and NYT focus on Yahoo’s bid rejection, but the LAT coverage is much more comprehensive: It says Microsoft’s bid is part of an overall strategy going back to 1995, when Bill Gates wrote a memo—which invoked Pearl Harbor(!)—warning that an Internet giant might emerge to challenge Microsoft’s dominance of the software industry.

The WP and the NYT front obligatory roundups of how the Democratic race might be decided by superdelegates—members of the DNC and elected officials who could swing the primary. (The LAT already covered superdelegates yesterday.) While Obama’s ground game is better in caucus states, the WP makes it sound like Clinton excels at canvassing the halls of Congress.

The NYT fronts news that McCain will start using President Bush as a campaign asset—beginning with a Bush interview on Fox News today. The situation is prickly, since Bush is popular with the base but might turn off independents.

The NYT fronts news that American universities are rushing to open branches in places like Education City in Qatar, which features extensions of Cornell, Georgetown, Texas A&M, and Northwestern. The NYT suggests that universities are mostly in it for the money.

The LAT fronts a piece on U.S.-Iranian competition in Azerbaijan, which it likens to Cold War-era Berlin. Iran is stepping up “subversive activities” to counter U.S. influence there.

The NYT fronts an account 14 would-be terrorists were arrested in Spain last month. The paper says it shows an escalating threat from Pakistan’s ungoverned tribal regions.

The WP fronts a look at the diary of a despondent Iraqi insurgent whose resistance cell fell apart last October—a rare inside glimpse of the Sunni “Awakening” at work.

The NYT fronts news that President Bush is asking Congress for a number of earmarks buried within this year’s requested budget, despite railing against many of the same earmarks when Congress tried to pass them a year ago.