December 9, 2007

C.I.A. destroyed interrogation tapes

The C.I.A. destroyed two interrogation tapes, one featuring terrorist suspect Abu Zubaydah.

The videotapes show terrorism suspects being subjected to harsh interrogation techniques, reported the New York Times. The C.I.A. said they destroyed the tapes because they had no intelligence value and could potentially reveal the identities of operatives. One official said that there are many documents that could reveal operatives' identities, but this one was probably destroyed because of the legal implications of the techniques used.

According to the Washington Post, the C.I.A. did not release the tapes to the federal judge of terrorism suspect Zacarias Moussaoui or to the 9/11 commission, both of which requested information of that nature. C.I.A. officials said they didn't judge the tapes to be valuable to those cases.

The two stories were very similar. The New York Times story was better organized and easier to read.

December 2, 2007

L.A. Riders will have to Pay

The Los Angeles transit system, which has long functioned on the honor system, will add turnstyles to prevent customers from riding free.

The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority voted 11-1 last week to add ticket booths to the subway and light rail systems, the New York Times reported. It could cost up to $30 million to install and $1 million a year after that, but is projected to save $6.77 million a year.

According to the L.A. Times, riders had mixed reactions. Some said they hardly ever see anyone boarding without paying, and they see the endeavor as a waste of money. Others say people do it all the time, and the plan is necessary. Around 5% of riders do not pay.

The L.A. Times story had more quotes and spent more time on resident reactions. It also was more specific about how many people weren't paying.

November 18, 2007

Breastfeeding Mom Seperated from Baby in Raid

Immigration officials are creating guidelines for separating at risk children from their parents' after an undocumented immigrant in Ohio was separated from her breastfed baby.

27-year-old Sadya Umanzor, a Honduran immigrant, was arrested two weeks ago when immigration officials came to her house to arrest her brother-in-law, reported the Plain Dealer. A representative from La Leche League of Ohio was unable to get a breast pump to the mother and she experienced pain and swelling as a result. Her 9-month-old baby would not take formula and didn't eat for three days. She was eventually released on humanitarian grounds.

In response Immigration and Customs Enforcement codified guidelines for how to deal with situations like this, reported the New York Times. Officials will have to inquire about children or dependents immigrants being detained have, and will be required to listen to the recommendations of social workers.

The Plain Dealer story was reporting on a local incident, while the New York Times put that incident into a national context, focusing on national guidelines that were created as a result.

November 11, 2007

Broadway Stagehands on Strike

After three months of negotiations, Broadway stagehands are on strike.

According to the New York Times, the strike is partly in response to disagreement over how many stagehands are needed to put on a Broadway production. Stagehands said that they are often understaffed.

The BBC reported that all but eight Broadway shows were canceled. The strike will have a negative economic impact on the city. The BBC said that when a musicians' strike shut down Broadway for four days, four years ago, the city lost about $7 million a day.

The BBC focused most on the economic impact the strike would have, while the New York Times mostly talked about what each side of the argument had to say.

November 4, 2007

Earmark Issues

Despite cuts of up to 50 percent, earmarks still made up $1.8 billion of a military appropriations bill.

According to the New York Times the two politicians with the most earmarks were John P. Murtha, a Pennsylvania Democrat whose earmarks totaled $116 million, and Jerry Lewis, a Florida Republican had $117 million in earmarks.

A large portion of the earmarks usually goes to the politicians' districts, said the New York Times. Many of the businesses who receive earmarked dollars go on to make campaign contributions.

Concurrent Technologies has been the largest receiver of Murtha's earmarks, reported the Washington Post. The company is a non-profit that says it "lessens the burden of government" by doing things such as missile-defense research and construction projects. It has recently been under scrutiny by Congress for connections with a political scandal.

The New York Times story focused on earmarks, while the Washington Post focused on Concurrent.

October 28, 2007

California fires lead to reflection on policy

The California wildfires have led researchers and policy makers to reflect on why these fires have continued to pose such a risk and whether or not there is a solution.

The New York Times
reported that one researcher compared California wildfires with Baja California in Mexico. Baja's wildfires are smaller and burn out on their own, causing less damage. Researchers think this is because of California's policy of fire suppression. Years of suppressing fires means that when a big one comes along it has a huge amount of fuel and no recently burned land to stop it.

According to the Washington Post, some homeowners experienced much less damage than others because their houses and landscaping followed strict guidelines. Five communities were built with those guidelines in mind and most of the buildings survived the fires.

The New York Times and Washington Post stories were very similar. The Washington Post spent a little more time on the communities with the special building ordinances. The New York Times framed the situation as kind of hopeless. They talked about the communities but that was after saying that their really was no viable solution to the fire problem.

October 21, 2007

Evangelicals Meet to Decide which Candidate they will Support

Around 2,000 Evangelical voters gathered in Washington for the Values Voter Summit. On the agenda was choosing a presidential candidate to support, a difficult task now that Sam Brownback plans to drop out of the race.

According to the New York Times, Brownback was an appealing candidate because of his conservative stance on abortion and gay marriage and his focus on religion. He cited lack of support and money as reasons for dropping out.

There is little consensus over which of the remaining candidates should get the conservative vote, reported the Washington Post. Rudy Giuliani is not appealing because of his pro-life and pro-gay rights stances. Mitt Romney isn't ideal because of his Mormon religion and his flip-flopping stance on abortion. Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson are more likely to receive support.

The New York Times focused more on Brownback's withdrawal from the race, while the Washington Post spent a lot of time on the remaining candidates.

October 14, 2007

The Inspector is Inspected

In an unprecedented move, Micheal Hayden, director of the C.I.A., ordered an inquiry into the actions of the agency's inspector general, John Helgerson.

The inspector general acts as a watchdog for the C.I.A. Helgerson has led a series of investigations into the C.I.A.'s detention and interogation procedures, the New York Times reported.

The New York Times went on to say that the investigation is a response to concerns that Helgerson has been overly aggressive and has not acted as a fair impartial judge of what is going on.

A day after the New York Times story broke the Associated Press as printed in the Washington Post reported that a number of lawmakers are expressing concern about this move. Many are worried that it threatens the independence of the inspector general when he is inspected by those he inspects.

The Associated Press story was a follow up to the New York Times story. It mostly talked about people's responses to the news.

October 4, 2007

Bush Vetoes Child Health Bill

President Bush vetoed a bill Thursday that would expand government health insurance to cover more children.

Both Republicans and Democrats objected the veto, said the New York Times. The Senate has enough votes to override the veto, but the House is short 20 votes.

In a move that showed Bush's anticipation of the protests, the bill was vetoed quietly and without the publicity that accompanied some of Bush's other vetoes, the New York Times reported.

According to the Washington Post, the bill would have covered children whose parents made too much to qualify for Medicaid but could who could not afford private health care.

Bush said he was worried that the move would have been a step towards a "federalist" insurance system and that he was willing to set aside some money to help the "poor children," the Washington Post reported.

The Washington Post article was somewhat longer and talked a lot about the political strategies that led up to the current situation.

September 30, 2007

Newt Gingrich Won't Run for President

After many hints to the contrary, Newt Gingrich has decided not to run for president.

The Republican was faced with the decision to either continue as chairman of the political action committee American Solutions or go for the presidency. He could not legally do both. In the end, he chose American Solutions, said the New York Times.

According to the Washington Post, a news conference had been set for Monday to announce Gingrich's formation of an exploratory commitee, and Gingrich has said that he has already been offered millions in would-be campaign contributions.

The Washington Post article was much longer and contained a lot more background information than the New York Times. This is probably because the Post is located in Washington and focuses more on politics.

September 24, 2007

Florida Pushes up Primary

Florida Democratic Party is holding its primary January 29, against the wishes of the Democratic National Convention.

According to the Associated Press as reported in the Washington Post, the Democratic National Committee threatened to strip Florida of its 210 nominating convention delegate if it holds its primary before February 5, the earliest most states are allowed to hold a primary. Democratic candidates have also pledged not to campaign there.

Florida wants to have a more prominent role in choosing the Democratic candidate, and thinks that it is worth the sanctions to go ahead with the January plans, said the New York Times.

Coverage was basically the same in the two papers. Organization varied slightly.

September 16, 2007

Protest in Washington DC

Thousands of activists marched in Washington DC Sept. 15, most in protest of the Iraq war, some in support of it. The protest ended with the arrests of 189 people.

According to the Washington Post, the protest was peaceful for most of the day, but arrests were made after a number of protesters attempted to climb over a barrier. Some protesters said they wanted to be arrested.

There was some conflict between pro-war and anti-war protesters. Heated comments were traded and police were forced to break up at least one altercation, said the New York Times.

The protesters came from all over the country. The ANSWER Coalition brought together a number of anti-war organizations, while the Gathering of Eagles represented many of the pro-war activists.

The main difference between the New York Times coverage and that of the Washington Post is that the New York Times focused almost exclusively on the conflicts and altercations that occured during the protests, while the Washington Post spent a lot of time describing the different views represented and the other events of the day.