White House Leaks

White House Leaks

White House Leaks

A summary of what's in the major U.S. newspapers.
Aug. 3 1998 7:22 AM

White House Leaks

The New York Times and Los Angeles Times lead with important Republican and Democratic lawmakers' calls over the weekend for President Clinton to definitively explain his role in the Lewinsky matter. USA Today's lead covers this too, but higher up and in its headline, emphasizes the possibility that Lewinsky's just-agreed-to grand jury testimony could come this week. The Washington Post lead covers the federal government's response to the Y2K problem.

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Now that "White House leak" has taken on a whole new meaning, presidential liquid imagery has caught on: the NYT notes in its lead headline that Sen. Orrin Hatch said that President Clinton should "pour his heart out" to the American people about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. (Then there's the LAT's economical but imagistically unfortunate headline, "Both Sides Urge Clinton to Tell Truth on Lewinsky.") A theme of the coverage is that the call for a Clinton mea culpa is becoming bipartisan.

The WP lead states that fixing the feds' part of the millenium bug will cost at least $5 billion. There are, after all, 7,336 "mission critical" U.S. government computer systems, ranging from ones controlling Tomahawk missiles to those processing student loans. The WP says 40 percent of these crucial systems can now be declared ready to work on Jan. 1, 2000. Clearly there is an increasing sense of Y2K gravitas among the big dailies: There was yesterday's NYT lead editorial calling for congressional creation of tax incentives and subsidies for solutions, and the Post lead is the second in a series. And inside, the Post runs four more millenium efforts: one on the history of the awareness of the problem, one on the IRS' approach, another stating that the FAA is now back on track with its portion, and one pointing out an easily overlooked aspect of the Pentagon's Y2K troubles--namely that they include planning for the glitches possibly experienced by other militaries.

USAT and the WP continue to work the amazing story they broke last week of the two three-year-old girls discovered to have been switched shortly after birth at the University of Virginia hospital. The WP reports that U-VA officials have decided they will not tell Paula Johnson who has her biological daughter until a court resolves the mess. That's okay--all Ms. Johnson has to do is read today's USAT, which names the child and the couple who had been raising her thinking she was theirs. The Nation's Newspaper adds a further shocker to this real-life O. Henry tale: the couple was killed in a July 4th traffic accident.

Both the NYT and WP fronts cover Castro's warm reception in Granada, where in 1983, U.S. troops clashed with Cuban soldiers and construction workers. The Post piece says Castro is making diplomatic inroads in the English-speaking Caribbean as U.S. aid drops, while the NYT notes that it was the U.S. that actually finished the airport the Cubans were working on at the time of the invasion. Although the NYT text mentions that both U.S. and Cubans were killed in the fighting, the caption under an accompanying picture inside only mentions the Cuban deaths.

The WP runs a fine Walter Pincus story inside on a woefully underreported topic, that of U.S. military sales to foreign governments. It seems that the current Pentagon budget has created a perverse incentive: the more surplus ships are sold overseas, the more extra weapons the Pentagon can purchase. Under the arrangement, the DOD gets an additional $600 million in goodies while near-state-of-the-art ships are going to sworn enemies Turkey (14 vessels) and Greece (11).

Even as the Wall Street Journal editorial page rails against the progressive income tax's bite on high-income types, the Journal's front offers a more grounded look at big earners these days, noting a whiney new development among many professionals with annual incomes of nearly $200,000: envy of those who, thanks to booming job and stock markets, make even more.

The WP's "Science Notebook" reports a finding that may upset many a Greenpeace campaign. Researchers in Scotland and the U.S. have found evidence that adult male bottlenose dolphins sometimes deliberately beat their young to death. Some biologists speculate that they do this so that their mothers would be willing to mate again more quickly.

The NYT reports that the Guggenheim museum is hosting the most highly attended exhibition in its 61-year history, far outstripping Lichtenstein and Rauschenberg retrospectives. Five thousand people a day, most of them who've never before been to the Guggenheim or any other museum, are coming to see a display of motorcycles. One featured lecturer: Dennis Hopper.