British newspaper front pages review at midnight: Wednesday 3 November 2010

Another slow day for Fleet Street. Pretty poor from all the broadsheets, to be honest.

The Guardian – “Obama prepares for political warfare as America decides” – decides to lead with the US mid-terms, a dubious decision baring in mind that by the morning we will know a lot more than we do right now. It has some exit polls which show that 86% of voters are worried about the economy, which is hardly surprising.

Then it quotes an interview given by Obama and basically just walks through what he did on the last day of campaigning. The editors must be working on the basis that the big picture of Obama is still a big enough draw to get readers. (Update: The polls have started coming out and are on the BBC now, The Guardian is already out of date!)

The Times – “Campaign for bishops ‘is like 1939’” – also has a large picture of Obama, but the main story is about a leading Church of England cleric comparing the ordination of women bishops to the Nazis. It unusually quotes the chairman of the Holocaust Centre condemning the quotes before given the bishop’s quotes themselves. That may be because the quotes are far weaker than the paper makes out (he compares it to 1939 only in the sense that there is a war coming).

The Telegraph – “Shut down videos of hate on YouTube” – has an unusually tabloid-esque title. It is common in red tops for them to use the title to urge action, usually by the government, but it is not a tool you see often in broadsheets, unless it is done with quotation marks. The story claims that British ministers are urging the White House to order US websites to remove al-Qaeda videos after it was revealed the MP Stephen Timms was attacked by a woman who had watched such videos. The source for the story is leaked comments made by Dame Pauline Neville-Jones to an influential US think tank.

The FT – “Sabotage suspected in LSE sabotage” – is another story that is only interesting if you work in the London Stock Exchange. Apparently a high-profile dealing platform went down for two hours. Yawn…

The Independent – “Obama walks into unknown territory” – again leads with a comment piece from David Usborne. He is a good writer, but doesn’t carry the weight of someone like Robert Fisk and for that reason it is little more than fluff. It quotes a couple of US Republicans but the jist of the article is basically just that Obama is in trouble.

If you only read one: The Times, but none are great.


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