It's easy to lose perspective on how big -- or not -- a story is if you live in Washington or New York
Most Americans are just now beginning to pay attention to this Comey memo story
The news that then-FBI Director James Comey had penned a memo in mid-February in which he documented a meeting where President Donald Trump asked him to end the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s ties to Russia was a blockbuster inside the Beltway.
The New York Times, which broke the story, played it big on their front page.
And The Washington Post went even bigger – stripping the various allegations against Trump across the top of their entire front page.
But how did the story play in newspapers located in swing states in the 2016 election? Thanks to the Newseum’s amazing daily collection of front pages from around the country, it’s easy to answer that question.
And the answer is that the Comey memo news was, generally speaking, big-ish news in swing states – though, in most places, nowhere near as big news as it was in the Times and the Post.
Others, like the Arizona Republic and the Raleigh News-Observer (North Carolina), played it slightly smaller. The News-Observer, interestingly, went with an analytical piece focused on the allegations that Trump had leaked classified information in a meeting with two top Russian officials as its featured Trump item on the front page.
The Philadelphia Inquirer, proving the key to all newspaper subscription retention rates is local, went with the surprise victor in the Philadelphia district attorney’s race. The Comey news was on the top right of the front page, signaling the story mattered and was worthy of attention, though.
The Denver Post (Colorado) got the story on its front page but in the lower right-hand corner – the least prominent piece of real estate on the front. (Car insurance claims from a recent hail storm was the bigger story.) The Des Moines Register (Iowa) used a big picture of Trump to tease a story on the Comey memo inside the paper.
And then there was the New Hampshire Union-Leader, a notoriously conservative paper, which made only passing mention of the story with a pro-Trump blurb “White House disputes Comey memo” and teased to a story on B2. The other tease at the top of the front page? “Cloud eggs: They’re hot, versatile and trending.”
It’s easy to lose perspective on how big – or not – a story is if you live in Washington or New York and, like me, spend a lot of time on Twitter and watching cable TV. Most Americans are just now beginning to pay attention to this Comey memo story and deciding how they feel about it.
In other words, we are at the end of the beginning of this story, not the beginning of the end.