Pop-Underhandedness

Pop-Underhandedness

Pop-Underhandedness

A summary of what's in the major U.S. newspapers.
July 24 2001 7:54 AM

Pop-Underhandedness

The Washington Post, New York Times, and Los Angeles Times lead with 180 countries' representatives yesterday agreeing in Brussels on rules for implementing the world's first treaty designed to control global warming. All the stories note in their headlines that the U.S., although represented at the Brussels talks, chose not to sign on, based on President Bush's view that the treaty would harm the U.S. economy and does not impose any standards on developing countries like China and India. The WP says the outcome reflects the determination of the signatory countries to act swiftly on warming and is widely seen as "a major diplomatic setback for the Bush administration." USA Today reefers the warming agreement and leads instead with President Bush's meeting with Pope John Paul II, which included the pope's public reading to Bush of a statement advising against medical research that would involve destroying human embryos.

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With the U.S. on the sidelines, the coverage says the main struggle over how to make the 1997 Kyoto Treaty a reality was between the European Union and Japan, with Japan prevailing against the greener EU with, in the NYT's words, "a fairly painless system" of meeting the accord's targets of having the signatory industrialized countries reduce their annual greenhouse emissions below 1990 levels. In particular, the document signed yesterday allows the developed countries to take their forested areas, which absorb CO2, into account when calculating their greenhouse levels, a provision that particularly benefits Japan, Canada, and Russia. (And, one would think, the U.S., too, if it were playing along, although the papers don't say that.) The WP says that Japan also held out until it got reassurance that penalties against countries that don't meet the treaty's greenhouse levels would not be legally binding. But the NYT says that the treaty is "a binding contract" among signers while the LAT says it will become one after 55 nations representing at least 55 percent of industrialized countries' emissions have ratified it. The NYT plays these details the highest. The WP waits until the 13th paragraph before getting to the forested areas angle and until the 19th before getting to the legal status.

The WP, NYT, and LAT front yesterday's developments in Indonesia: The legislature voted to dismiss President Abdurrahman Wahid after he tried to disband it to keep his job, resulting in the immediate elevation of the vice president, Megawati Sukarnoputri, who is the daughter of the country's first president, Sukarno. There is one problem though: Wahid refuses to leave the presidential palace.

The NYT off-leads a recommendation sent to the White House by an immigration working group headed by Secretary of State Colin Powell and Attorney General John Ashcroft: allow some of the estimated 3 million Mexicans living in the U.S. illegally to apply for permanent resident status. The paper says administration officials and outside experts say this could mean legal residency for between 1 million and 2 million Mexican illegals.

USAT, the WP, NYT, and LAT front a new advisory from the American Heart Association to post-menopausal women: It's no longer clear that hormonal replacement therapy prevents heart disease, even though it used to be recommended by many doctors for just that purpose. The ambiguity of the data is the thrust of the coverage, but the WP goes further with its headline: "Hormones Don't Protect Women From Heart Disease, Study Says."

The Wall Street Journal, which has done a rather good job lately at smacking companies for their past sins, fronts a feature fueled by info from a federal lawsuit against and a New York state investigation into the insurer MetLife, both centered on whether or not the company systematically discriminated against non-whites. The documents quoted in the story show the company ran more rigorous background checks on minority applicants through the early 1960s and then switched to another tactic that had equivalent results--"area underwriting," which curtailed business in inner-city and poor neighborhoods. The company says it began phasing out race-based underwriting in 1948 (even though a previous WSJ story seemed to show it flourishing there in the 1950s) and that it was completely gone by 1960, but the Journal says newly revealed documents show such practices "remained in effect years longer."

The NYT reports inside that "new questions" were raised last week after law enforcement officials investigating the Chandra Levy disappearance learned that Rep. Gary Condit tried to dispose of a watch box just before the police search of his apartment. (A man walking his dog in the neighborhood saw Condit near a trash container and reported that to authorities.) The story says, crediting an unnamed official, that the box was a gift to Condit from a woman other than Levy or the flight attendant who recently claimed that she'd had an affair with Condit.

Under the headline "NOWHERE TO RUN, NOWHERE TO HIDE FROM AD BARRAGE," the LAT fronts the attempt of the advertising industry to find new "in-your-face advertising platforms that can't be ignored." Among the new and/or potential culprits the story mentions are: digitally dropping product images into TV reruns, ads for one product within ads for another, and corporate logos on racing jockeys and their thoroughbreds. There is even a brief mention of those irritating "'pop-under' ads that appear when consumers visit certain Web sites." But the paper holds this for the 25th paragraph and never gives any specific examples of such sites. Oh, how about the LAT online, which uses pop-unders like crazy?