front page of the st. cloud times today: "Prepare to bake: It will be 1 hot weekend."
plus an article about a minnesota state house race, plus a blurb about the sherburne county fair, among other things. at the bottom of the page, occupying just under an eighth of the area of the page: "Israeli troops launch a raid deep into Lebanon." the lead story on the nation/world page is "Katrina creates wedding boom." the bombings in india never made it to the front page, and the fluffy "rumsfeld, casey vow to protect baghdad" ran just below "Attackers kill 24 from bus station." no mention of the total death toll over the last several days.
it's entirely possible that none of this matters, that people recognize the difference between a local paper's mandate and actual news, but i'm not sure. it's also entirely possible that no one's really reading local papers anymore, so that none of this matters. buuuuuut...probably not. and given that, from this perspective, nothing outside central minnesota seems to exist with concrete specificity, is it really surprising that there are so many people in the places where i grew up who think that the scariest problem in the world today is The Gays?