WashPost Puts Bad News for Bush on A-1, Good News Deep Inside
The Washington Post lived up to its typical pattern in coverage of economic good news Saturday morning. The fastest economic growth in several years was banished to D-1 again. While the Post put two bad-news-for-Bush stories on Iraq and terrorism on page 1, it put victories against al-Qaeda in Iraq on page A-10.
On D-1, the Post story acknowledged "Economic Growth Surges to 4.8%." Fred Barbash and Bill Brubaker noted "It was the hottest annualized pace for the gross domestic product in 2 and a half years." That news wasn't even mentioned on the front page. The "Inside" box touted two other, less stunning Business items from D-1:
-- "Pentagon Halts Clearances: High demand and a budget shortfall are blamed for putting security checks for 3,000 contractors on hold."
-- "'Wii': It's Just a Game: Nintendo will launch a new console later this year that, unlike Microsoft and Sony's, is made only for playing games."
President Bush held a news conference yesterday to tout the robust growth. But above the fold, the Post touted an inside story with a Bush photo this way:
'Nuestro Himno,' Darfur Among Questions for Bush: In a Rose Garden news conference, President Bush said that people who want to become U.S. citizens "ought to learn to sing the national anthem in English," not Spanish. He also urged immigrants and activist groups to rethink plans for a nationwide strike on Monday.
The story by Jim VandeHei on page 6 was headlined "President Wants Anthem Sung in English." In the third paragraph, there was this note in passing, that Bush's remarks on immigration came "in a Rose Garden news conference he called to tout new figures showing robust economic growth in the first quarter of this year." That was the only GDP mention in the story.
The front page had two serious bad-news stories on the war front. "In Iraqi Town, Trainees Are Also Suspects: U.S. Troops Wary After Incidents Suggest Betrayal." And also: "Terrorist Attacks Rose Sharply in 2005, State Dept. Says," a large number of them in Iraq. But get a load of what gets demoted to A-10: "Killing of Al-Qaeda 'Emir' Called Blow to Insurgency: Second Leader in Samarra Arrested in Raid, Iraqi Official Says." American media outlets dramatically played up the bombing of the shrine in Samarra on February 22, but when there's good news in Samarra, the Post is signaling to the networks: nothing much here, move along, pick up our Page One gloom, instead.
In case that seems like too rosy a story, don't worry. The Post put its quite regular "Iraq Casualties" box noting all the military and civilian death counts in Iraq since March of 2003 smack in the middle of it.