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June 13, 2003
Above the Fold

Let's take a look at CNN's on-line front page right now.

"Above the fold" we see news of an Israeli ambush, news of Palestinians and Israelis mourning their recent dead, a repeat of a story run before about a "gag order" in the Peterson case, "clashes" erupting around the arrest of a war crimes suspect, a "new threat discovered" for shuttle launches, and GWB falling off his scooter.

"Below the fold" we see, "pregnant woman impaled on mic" as one of the three stories from around the nation worthy of front-page coverage.

Front-page "politics" coverage does (hooray!) mention a Senate panel approving the Medicare bill, but the other political item worth mentioning today seems to be that Bush is "relaxing with family."

There are several hundred legislators in D.C., most of whom work every, single day and many of whom work nights and weekends. The fact that GWB has already started his usual 3-day weekend does not mean that there is no political news to cover, but that's what we got. (On second thought, I think more should be made of GWB's relaxed approach to leading this country People working two jobs to make ends meet, and working nights and weekends, aren't going to be thrilled by the "folksy approach" from a man who doesn't put in a 5-day week.)

(I refresh the page and find, above the fold, a story that they're now blaming the bad breath of cows for "greenhouse gas" emission. For some reason this has been considered more important than the "shuttle launch" trouble, and that story, which was mentioned twice on the page, has completely disappeared. There is, in fact, a chunk o'white space where it used to be. How odd.)

Over at CBS, a "Fearsome U.S. Counterattack" gets top billing. Other than that, we're offered, "Israel Targeting Hamas Leaders", "Is Deflation on Deck?" "Medical Firm Hid Surgery Flaws" "Gen. Bush Slays His Foes" "Jig Is Up For Internet Airline" and, yes, "Laci Judge Says, 'No Talking'". (When I read this website, I find this network becoming distasteful to me. Yes, I know I'm prone to heading my entries with 'clever' titles, but I'm not CBS News, am I? I'm just a random idiot with a computer.)

The lower half of the page is equally filled with coy, cringe-inducing headlines and features a story about a 3-second yellow traffic light and a camera that a county used to raise revenues and a story titled, "House Republicans Amend Tax Cuts" to cover a major breach that's developed between the House and Senate about the budget wrangling. (This was a story that should have been near the top of the page, but at least they covered it. It didn't get a mention on CNN's front page.)

ABC – A Louisiana serial killer who isn't white takes up about 20 percent of the available real estate. (I mention his race because, from, the headline, it appears that that's what the story is about.) Also, a kid who hit someone. A "bloody clashes" in Iraq. (There's so much debris on their front page, especially with that huge, cheesy Yahoo ad, that you can't really see any other headlines without scrolling, so this is all that counts as "above the fold" on this page.)

Below the fold, then, we see most of the same headlines we've seen elsewhere. Except, no, there's new stuff here. Remote-Control Bomb Planted on Busy Afghan Road Is Defused, Iranian Vigilantes on Wheels Chase Protesters With Cattle Prods, Smokers and Speeders to Bear Brunt of Stealth Tax Hikes, Hero’ of Pa. Miner Rescue Commits Suicide (with, bizarrely, a "video" link). The links aren't quite as coyly annoying as those of CBS and I give them points for coverage of items the others didn't cover.

Now let's turn to MC-NBC. Over here, I find that the nation's drinking water is at risk, Thailand has seized, "dirty bomb" material, that shuttle safety story, the fighting in Iraq story, U.S. "backs Israeli crackdown", the Mormon cricket invasion, an eBay fraud, and Bush trying out a new scooter. I like MSNBC for not wasting real estate on banner ads, but it annoys me that you have to go two layers deep on the site to find their "politics" section.

Also, when they covered the tax cut legislation today, I'm puzzled by why they chose a photo of Wall Street to illustrate their coverage of families paying less taxes. (Oh, I see. A bunch of old, white guys buying and selling stock illustrates economic boomtimes.)

Anyhow. Today's topic is headlines. I haven't even read the stories, just the headlines, and I'm uninspired to actually read most of these articles.

Maybe I'm just having a day.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:46 AM