Short Cuts

* Hardly ever did the P-D quote critics of Boeing's plane or, conversely, any advocates of Lockheed's plane. Fourth, never the did the paper think of asking the lobbyist/politicians why, if they cared so much about layoffs, had they never pushed for federal money to retrain defense-industry workers to take civilian jobs.

Tim Poor, who, as national editor, has overseen the Washington-bureau coverage of the F-15 tale, says the paper has seen the story in recent months as primarily a story about the loss of jobs. "Certainly our focus has been the jobs, there's no doubt about that," says Poor. "As far as the news value of the story, that was the main thing to St. Louis." And he says the P-D routinely reports campaign donations but saw no reason to report them in the recent Boeing stories. Poor also says that perhaps it's time for the paper to look at the broader questions of why foreign governments want to buy the fighters and what such sales do to the particular regions of the world. "It hasn't been a question of 'Are they going to have fighters or are they not going to have fighters?' It's just 'Are they going to be Boeing or are they going to be Lockheed?'" says Poor, referring to the ongoing story. "And as far as the larger question, 'Do they need fighters at all?' -- I guess that's a good question -- and that's something that we should maybe get into." (SA)

FLOTSAM AND JETSAM: Is money all that matters? Next question. On KSDK (Channel 5) Sunday night, Dan Gray did a "Cover Story" about college graduation that, per usual, didn't cover much of a story. Gray told how much a Washington University graduate with a four-year business degree would earn ($38,000) and how much an M.B.A. degreeholder would rake in ($91,300). There were a few quotes from graduates about how fast they found jobs, and "Chan Dan" William Danforth, the commencement speaker, was reduced to a sound bite: "You got a running start on the competition ... " Gray said parents are "willing to spend $120,000" on such an education. Nary a word was uttered about any other reason to go to college other than making big bucks. Of course, that might have added 30 seconds to the "Cover Story" and exceeded the viewers' gnatlike attention spans.... Tune in CNN or any similar national newscast on Saturday morning and there's usually talk, though not much, of what President Bill Clinton said in his weekly radio address. Often they use audio from the speech, with a mug shot of Wild Bill. To the uninitiated, the image might be that of Franklin Delano Roosevelt giving a fireside chat with families huddled around the wireless. But FDR is dead, and there are many more attractive diversions for a Saturday morning than tuning in Slick Willie -- sleeping, for one. But say you're desperate. Where would you tune the dial? A call to the White House reveals that in the St. Louis metroplex, the only options are the 1,000 red-hot watts of KJFF (1400 AM) in Festus at 9:30 a.m. and its sister station, KREI (800 AM) in Farmington, at 10:25 a.m. In Illinois, only two stations in the whole state broadcast Billy, and they're both in Chicago. (DJW)

Contributors: Safir Ahmed, D.J. Wilson

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