Newspapers Publish Starr Report
The Associated Press
Sep. 12, 1998
Newspaper editors across the country worked Friday to make room in weekend editions for Kenneth Starr's huge report on President Clinton, using special editions, pullout sections or their Internet sites.
Editors also had to make some difficult decisions about how to handle the sexually explicit passages in the 445-page report.
Most papers were preparing to run a summary along with excerpts. But several newspapers were planning to run the entire text, among them The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Boston Globe.
At The New York Times, which traditionally runs the full texts of major speeches and significant documents, spokeswoman Nancy Nielsen said no decision had been made on the Starr report.
The Dallas Morning News tentatively planned to add six pages to its A-section, while The Providence Journal, Rhode Island's biggest newspaper, said it would run a special pullout section on Saturday of up to 22 pages, with as much of the report as the paper could handle.
``It's clear to us that many readers want to get their hands on the raw data as opposed to information that has been filtered through editors and reporters,'' said Carol Young, deputy executive editor. ``These are people who want to make their own judgment, and giving them the actual report is the only way to do that.''
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Saturday edition will include some stories on the Starr report, and a ``relatively small number'' of excerpts if space allows, said Managing Editor Richard Weil. Saturday's edition does not include a Mark McGwire special section, Weil said.
Sunday's edition includes a 24-page section about McGwire, the St. Louis Cardinals baseball player who broke Roger Maris' single-season home run record this week. That will leave room for just five pages of excerpts.
On Monday the paper will run the entire report.
The Hartford Courant plans to publish the entire Starr report and all of President Clinton's rebuttal in a 48 page, tabloid size insert.
Managing Editor Clifford L. Tuetsch says the paper discussed the graphic nature of the report, but decided its historic significance outweighed any arguments to censor parts of the report.
``This document is going to be at the root of debate in the House of Representatives and in the public as to whether President Clinton's presidency survives. It's that important to the public discourse.
The Telegram & Gazette of Worcester, Mass., is running an 80-page tabloid section devoted to the full content of the report and a Clinton rebuttal.
It is also printing a warning label on the section, printing a warning label on its section which reads: ``Some of the material in the Starr report contains extremely graphic descriptions of sexual acts. Some may find the material offensive.''
The Saint Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press planned to print the full report in a special 32-page insert in its Sunday newsstand editions and make it available separately next week for $2 over-the-counter or $4 by mail. The full report will not be in Sunday home delivery editions.
``I believe it's a historic document and people should have access to it in its entirety at a reasonable price, but I also believe that because it contains such explicit material that I don't want to throw it on people's doorsteps,'' said managing editor Vicki Gowler.
The Arizona Republic chose to publish the unedited report in a special section that included President Clinton's rebuttal. The report in its entirety hit the Republic's on-line web site around noon.
``We chose to run full details and let the readers make up their own minds,'' said Republic deputy managing editor Jeff Dozbaba. ``Our readers deserve the full details of Ken Starr's charges against the president, charges that could lead to serious ramifications for our country.''
The Detroit Free Press said it would publish the entire Starr report and Clinton's response as a 64-page special edition selling for $1 at retail outlets where the newspaper is sold.
Dave Robinson, a deputy managing editor for the newspaper, said the reason for not including the text in the newspaper was because of space constraints and because of the contents of Starr's report.
``There's some material that we really felt uncomfortable delivering to people's homes,'' he said.
The Mobile (Ala.) Register was also planning to print the whole report. The Gadsden (Ala.) Times said it was planning to make copies of Starr's report available to the public, but interested parties would have to travel to the paper's office to get one. They said they were also going to attempt to include Clinton's rebuttal.
The Fort Myers (Fla.) News-Press is publishing a 32-page section which will include the full Starr report and Clinton's rebuttal. The (Fort Pierce, Fla.) Tribune also planned to run a 32-page insert of the entire Starr report, said executive editor Larry D. Croom.
The (Boulder, Colo.) Daily Camera was planning a 28-page section with the full Starr report and rebuttal.
The sheer size of the report caused headaches for editors. Unable to run the full text, many newspapers hoped to accommodate their readers by publishing the entire report on their Web sites or offering it in other ways.
``It will take 36 to 40 broadsheet pages to run the entire report,'' complained Frank Cagle, managing editor of the Knoxville News-Sentinel in Tennessee. ``We plan to somehow make that available to readers who want to special-order it.''
Newspapers planning to make the report available on their Web sites included: The Wall Street Journal; USA Today; The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger; The Dallas Morning News; the Houston Chronicle; the Atlanta Journal-Constitution; The Philadelphia Inquirer; the (Minneapolis) Star-Tribune and the (Raleigh, N.C.) News & Observer.
North Carolina's largest newspaper, The Charlotte Observer, plans to run an eight-page separate section containing about 30,000 words of the Starr report and the president's rebuttal.
Some salacious details of the president's encounters with Monica Lewinsky will be printed, said Kurt Muller, the Observer's national and foreign editor.
``We're going to run an editor's note explaining that we feel that it is crucial information that needs to be reported and there is sensitive material involved,'' he said. The Observer will also place an editor's note at its World Wide Web site, where the newspaper will post the entire report and Clinton's rebuttal, Muller said.
Concerned about younger readers, some newspapers decided to keep the most salacious material out of the front-section news stories. Among them was the Chicago Sun-Times, which planned to run a 36-page special section in its Sunday editions with as much of the report as possible.
``We're going to in some way advise the reader that X-rated material is in the special section and let them make the decision on how to handle it within their own families,'' said Nigel Wade, editor in chief.
Others said they would probably edit out graphic language and descriptions.
``We will run everything, but we have ways we can treat some language _ and have always done so _ where we use dashes so the meaning is clear,'' said Phil Bronstein, executive editor of the San Francisco Examiner.