Time for a quick spin through the front pages and their treatment of the big news from Iraq. See if you can see a pattern developing here.
First, a couple of awards. In the How Much Hed Space Can You Occupy and Still Say Nothing category, step forward the Montgomery Advertiser:Saddam's fate may change nothing
And then again, it may, um ... change something
! Would there be a fate we should be discussing here? Just wondering.
Runner-up on the "huh" front, the Modesto Bee:Saddam's fate a further divide
Now, the coveted You Provide the Pictures Award for tabloid jingoism: the New York Daily News in a walk:NEXT STOP, HELL!
Guys? Remember? No travel bookings on behalf of the Unseen Powers? The copydesk never screws around with the supernatural. The supernatural might screw back.
Runner-up and recipient of the Roger Miller Prize, the Miami Herald:saddam hussein verdictHANG HIM
Now the lesser awards, falling into a couple categories. One is mistaking intent for outcome, which we see often enough in local stories. Here it's kind of, well, guesswork:Saddam bound for the gallows
Fresno BeeSaddam to hang for killings
The Day (CT)Saddam to hang
Then there's the usual irrelevant speculation:Verdict could fuel civil strife in Iraq
... and timeless observation:Ex-Iraqi dictator belligerent
Thanks, Denver Post! We've been waiting since, oh, September 1980 for the definitive word on that.
Raleigh sounds as if it's rewriting one of those Bonnie and Clyde poems:For Saddam, death;for Iraq, more strife
Sounds so heavy
until you, like, read it. Side note, though:Reactions from around the world: In the U.S./In the Muslim world
Hmm. N&O having a little trouble figuring out the difference between Arabs and Muslims again? Let's work on that.
OK. Let's say a few nice things. Hats off to The State of Columbia; if you have to second-cycle, it's possible to do it right:Saddam verdict hailed as milestone for Iraq
And congratulations to those papers that just wrote real grownup heds:Saddam sentenced to hang
Long Beach Press-TelegramHussein sentenced to hang for killings
Indianapolis Star (though you have to work to find it)Saddam sentenced to death
Austin American StatesmanHussein sentenced to die by hanging
See? You can write a news hed and not turn to stone! Try it sometime!
[Should the event actually come about, do
take to heart Cousin Strayhorn's admonition below about the distinction between 'hanged' and 'hung.']