Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Does Clinton Catch a Break on Coverage of Vacations?

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Does Clinton Catch a Break on Coverage of Vacations?

Article excerpt

DOES THE PRESS "cotton up" to President Bill Clinton more than it did to President George Bush?

That's what a few readers accused the Post-Dispatch of having done this past week in covering President Clinton's vacation jaunt to Wyoming.

It did seem that the paper had given a lot of space and pictures to the Clintons on their summer getaway. What would the record show?

I checked to see. Trying to be fair, I looked first at coverage of Bush's vacation one summer when he, too, was neither a newcomer nor a lame duck.

On Aug. 24, 1989, Bush began a 2 1/2-week vacation at his home in Kennebunkport, Maine. A brief item, with a photo showing him and his son on a boat outing, described the gathering of the Bush clan. The story ran on Page 21A.

A week later, a rather long, light-hearted story recounted a golf game with one of his sons. A photo showed him "grimacing as an opponent sank a putt." That ran on Page 5 of Section B. (Admittedly, the Persian Gulf was becomming a big story at that time, although Iraq did not invade Kuwait until 1990.)

The next August, Bush got only a five-paragraph story and photo on his fishing vacation in the Florida Keys. That one made Page 18A.

OK, what about Clinton? His vacation this month generated six big stories, half of them with large photos:

On July 12, a 7 1/2-inch story ran on Page 3A saying Clinton and his family would be vacationing in Wyoming this year instead of Martha's Vineyard.

That story began, "Goodbye, summer glitz. Hello, chuck wagon dinners . . . Clinton is about to become Jackson Hole's own Dude Clinton."

It was a folksy account of relaxation to come, at the home of Sen. Jay Rockefeller at Jackson Hole, set among "terrific scenery and wildlife" with two golf courses, 40 art galleries and 80 restaurants nearby.

"Bison and elk are known to stroll through the golf courses from time to time," the article said, sounding like a travel brochure.

On Aug. 15, on Page 2A, the Clintons headed west "For Peaks And Perks" to take in the "stunning view" of the Grand Tetons, "laced with pine-shaded hiking trails and flanked by the Snake River."

The family would share the park with "elk, moose, pronghorn antelope, buffalo, black bears, bald eagles, osprey, trumpeter swans and Canada geese."

On Aug. 16, a cute photo on Page 2A (the People page) showed the Clintons departing, arms around one another, strolling across the White House lawn, headlined "Goin' Fishing."

On Aug. 21, Page 2A again, an eight-inch story told of plans for a birthday party for the president.

On Aug. 22, still 2A, golf pro Johnny Miller was shown playing a round with the president on his birthday in a big photo with a nine-inch story.

On Aug. 23, still 2A, a big photo showed the president and daughter, Chelsea, riding horses named Buster and Peanut. Mr. Clinton was quoted at the ninth hole, where he put a shot to within three inches of the cup. …

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