Competing Takes on Today’s Summit

Coverage of the morning session of today’s big health care summit focuses, unsurprisingly, on how the assembled political worthies are getting along and whether the president can bring about some bipartisan solution. But even within that frame, there are some interesting discrepancies.

Politico, for example, headlines its coverage “President Obama: Unsure ‘gaps can be bridged’.” The New York Times, on the other hand, goes with, “At Health Care Session, Obama Stresses Areas of Agreement.”

Interestingly, the same Obama quote used in Politico’s headline shows up in the third paragraph of the Times story, which puts a different gloss on it. Consider that a bit of proof for the proposition that when the political press turns to some of its favorite questions—“Are they agreeing?”, “Why can’t they just agree?”, and “Who’s responsible for them not agreeing?”—reporters and editors can find material to support more than one angle.

Sometimes, in fact, all at once. Over at The Washington Post, the summit story itself is headlined, “At summit, Obama urges parties to focus on areas of agreement.” But the headline on the main page takes a different (and less president-focused) tack: “Stark differences quickly emerge at health summit.”

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Greg Marx is an associate editor at CJR. Follow him on Twitter @gregamarx.