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January 17, 1970 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1970-01-17

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l4 £fs~ri$!an Daity
Seventy-nine years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students of the University of Michigan

Footing the government's propaganda bill

20 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.

News Phone: 764-0552

Editorials printed in The Michigan Doily express the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors, This must be noted in all reprints.



The new VP: A man

for all students

IDEALLY, the new v i c e president for
student services would be selected this
spring in the election held for the next
SGC president. The SGC president would'
serve for one year as vice president, shar-
ing executive duties equally with .other
officers. Students would then be repre-
sented in the administration through
their choice of this student andr through
the election of SGC representatives.
There are perhaps valid reasons why
this procedure might not work. For one,
the fact that an SGC president is a full-
time student would prevent him from full
time duties in the administration.
IT WOULD SEEM that the next b e s t
thing would be for students to elect a
board t h a t would determine policy in
student affairs. Students could influence
and effect policy through this board and
through SGC. This board would employ
the services of a vice president who would
be a full-time admrinistrator and repre-
sentative of student interests in the Uni-
versity administration.
But such an arrangement would pre-
vent problems for the University's execu-
tive officers. And well it should. For the
administration sees the new man as one
of them. T h e y cannot reconcile them-
selves to the idea that a vice president
for student services should owe his pri-
mary allegiance to the students.
The University's executive officers de-
fine themselves as olicy makers rather
than as employes o the University who
have been hired to tend to its adminis-
trative affairs. The administrators see
themselves as heading a kind of corpor-
ation, and the selection of a new v i c e
president for student services, is like the
appointment of a company personnel di-
UNFORTUNATELY, the fact that t h e
student -faculty search committee
named several candidates, thereby giving
Fleming a choice, complicated the prob-
lem. The committee should have decided
upon one choice for the job and present-

ed the name to Fleming. If the commit-
tee could not reach a consensus then sev-
eral names could have been presented to
a student vote or to SGC.'
But the committee determined to offer{
Fleming several choices, choices he really
has no right to make. And it seems prob-
able that Fleming's choice will not be the
man who would necessarily best repre-
sent student interests. Already, he has re-
fused to interview Peter Steinberger, who
vants any meeting between himself and
Fleming be made public.
IT IS ALSO apparent that Fleming and
the administration want the new vice
president to have only minimal ties to
the proposed policy board. The argument
goes that a vice president bound to a pol-
icy board would be little more t h a n a
clerk and thus ineffectual in .the admin-
There is no reason to believe that this
need necessarily be true. A vice president
who believes in student input into decis-
ion-making will remain his own m a n
when he follows policy board recommen-
dations. Naturally, the executive officers
prefer to deal with a man who is only
responsible to himself a n d to Fleming,
but it is clear that students know their
own interests and need a representative'
not a consoling guru in the administra-,
STUDENTS MUST make use of the delay
n Fleming's choice to make it clear
that the next vice president is to repre-
sent their interests, and that these in-
terests w ii11 be determined by a policy
board and not by him.
Students must also take steps to insure
the creation of a strong policy b o a r d,
which would mean that the board has the
power to hire and fire the vice president.
for student services.
Only then will student interests be the
purpose of the new vice president's role
and not merely the excuse for it.
Editorial Page Editor

AT A TIME WHEN the administration is asserting the n e e d for
spending priorities, millions of dollars a year are being wasted on
expensive, propagandistic, self-serving public relations efforts.
With $200 billion budgets, the several million dollars spent by gov-
ernment agencies on "public affairs" - the bureaucratic name for
public relations - might not seem important.
But a million dollars can build 200 low-cost housing units, pay a
hundred school teachers for a year, or start the clean-up of a polluted
The Defense Department, for example, has almost 6,000 civilian
and military personnel performing public relations activities oriented
toward the public. Another 684 people are assigned to Congressional
The total bill for these lobbying activities is unknown. The depart-
ment admits spending $9.2 million on public affairs but the pay of
military personnel involved is not included.
SEN. WILLIVM FULBRIGHT (D-Ark.), who is making an investi-
gation into the department's public relations efforts, estimates that the
total amount is a minimum of $28 million. The Defense Department
gives an additional $8.2 million as the cost of its congressional lobbying
This is not to say that public information efforts are totally wrong.
The public has a right to know what its government is doing. However,
it does not take 6,000 people to explain what the military is accom-
Or perhaps it does. With budget priorities so out of touch with real
needs, it is not surprising that federal agencies must employ huge pub-
lic relations staffs to justify their programs.
Far too many of these people spend their time writing glowing
press releases about personnel in their unit, producing propagandistic
unit newspapers and movies, going on speaking tours, and escorting
VIP's around bases and battlefield areas.
Far too few Defense Department public affairs officers are engaged
in working directly with the press, helping the dissemination of infor-
mation. For example, of the 215 people assigned to the office of the As-
sistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs only 20 work in the
Press Division.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is another
agency top-heavy with a public affairs staff that performs functions
other than the distribution of information. Only 82 of NASA's 249-
person public relations staff are concerned with public information
THE REST ARE USED to produce lavish, full-color movies and
publications about NASA's glories, write speeches for space agency of-
ficials, lead VIP's around NASA facilities, and construct exhibits de-
fining the space program and man's trip to the moon.
A final example, the State Department, employs only 10 of the 181
people in its Bureau of Public Affairs for working with the press.
The State Department public affairs effort, now headed by former
astronaut Michael Collins, illustrates another fact of life about most
government public relations operations - they are often blatantly
One of the State Department's series of publications, for example,
is called Vietnam Information Notes. Titles include "Viet-Cong Terror
Tactic in South Vietnam," "Legal Basis for U.S. Military Aid to South
Vietnam," "Why We Fight in Vietnam," and "National Reconcilation in
South Vietnam."
Making assertations such as "If there had been no violation by
North Vietnam of article 10 of the Geneva agreement, calling for total
cessation of hostilities, there would be no war in Vietnam today."
These pamphlets, not surprisingly, present a propagandistic, one-sided
view of U.S. intervention in Vietnam.
Another ploy common to many public affairs staffs is aggrandize-
ment of top officials of the agency involved. The State Department has
issued a number of fancy, elaborate pamphlets with speeches and pho-
tographs of the President and Secretary of State.
Similarly, government public relations operations are far too often
self-serving, effusively presenting good news and hushing-up the bad.
THE SPACE AGENCY is one of the masters of this art. To view
its spectacular launches NASA usually invites five to ten thousand of-
ficials from government, commerce and industry, providing them with
special briefings and transporting them to an exclusive viewing area
near the launch center at Cape Kennedy
NASA provides lavish arrangements for the press during launchings
in a two-story building rented for that purpose. Comprehensive tours,
press conferences, interviews and transportation to a reserved viewing
stand to see the launch are provided..
Despite this open-arm hospitality for launch shows, when prob-
lems develop the space agency clams up.
For example, after the Apollo fire of January, 1967 in which a as-
tronauts died NASA imposed a total blackout on news of the tragedy
for three days, leading to all kinds of wild rumors about what really
Similarly, a week before NASA announced the closing of its Elec-
tronics Research Center public affairs officials denied any knowledge
of plans to shutdown the laboratory.
NASA, AN OLD JOKE among space reporters goes, stands for Nev-
er A Straight Answer.
President Nixon this last week asked for further cuts in the plan-
ned 1971 budget. Rather than slash funds for anti-pollution programs,
urban rehabilitation, education and medical research, the President
should consider scaling down the expensive, propagandistic public af-
fairs operations in the federal government.


What nakes a Regent tick?

WHILE FACING an occasional
crisis, the Regents prefer to
make University policy decisions
in a calm and orderly fashion.
However, this principle was car-
ried to extremes yesterday after-
noon when it took more than two
hours for the Regents to give their
approval to a proposed Bursley
branch of the University Student
Discount Store.
During the course of what
amounted to a two hour filibuster
by Regent Robert Brown, various
other Regents let their thoughts
drift in a calm and orderly fashion
off to some nether world far away
from the University.
Regent Otis Smith napped for
a little while at the beginning of
the meeting. But he awoke and
after gaining a second wind he
alternated between alert comments
and glassy eyes and proposed-up
Sleep being his first priority,
Regent Gerald Dunn, only man-
aged to open his eyes every quarter
of an hour.
During one of his particularly
long snoozes, Regent Robert Ne-
derlander tried throwing notes
across the table at Dunn to wake
him up-but to no avail.
"LET HIM SLEEP, let him
sleep," whispered Regent Gertrude
Huebner, admonishing Nederland-
er. With Mrs. Huebner waving her
arms up and down and stage
whispering to Nederlander across
the table, the other glassy eyed
and nodding Regents gradually
noticed their sleeping comrade,

Dunn jolted awake and good-
naturedly chuckled at himself
when he realized everyone had,
been watching him but immediate-
ly proceeded to go back to sleep.
Dunn periodically awoke and he
tried to stay awake-he really did
try. He rubbed his eyes, he lit
cigarettes-he never did itfe
smoke but held them straight
up in the air and let them burn
down. Dunn also tried walking
around the room but sleep' would
always prevail over his better in-
Regent William Cudlip did not
fall asleep during the afternoon
session because he did not attend
the afternoon session..
Although Regent Lawrence Lin-
demer started off strong, towards
3 p.m. he collapsed and put his
head in his arms on the table.
Lindemer would pick his head up
to argue a point and when he fin-
ished speaking he would collapse
Mrs. Huebner and Nederlander
appeared to be alert during most
of the meeting alt ough they
seemed to enjoy watbhing Dunn
Dunn awoke again during the
discussion on the store's Xerox.
machine. He brightened and ex-
claimed, "Four cent a copy is
Dunn grew grumpy when Linde-
mer told SGC Treasurer Dennis
Webster not to worry if the Re-
gents did not approve the recom-
mendations he wished. "We meet
every month, you know," explain-
ed Lindemer:
Dunn, along with many others,

did not wish to go through those
discussions anymore. There were
several smiles when President
Fleming explained that he ar-
ranged with Webster to have the
question settled this meeting and
not bring it up again.
WITH THAT assurance, Dunn
stretched out in his chair and with
his mouth open went back to sleep.
He awoke again later to say, "Mr.
President, if I don't get home soon
you'll be sued as co-respondent in
a divorce suit."
Everyone laughed and proceeded
to gather up their papers - and
when Brown asked another ques-
tion Dunn fell back asleep.
And one can only wonder just
how alert Regent Paul Goebel was
yesterday afternoon. He made
comments, asked questions, looked
at people when they spoke, and
appeared to be satisfied with the
student store's advocates. When
roll call vote was taken several
people gasped when he voted
against the recommendations for
the store.
Lindemer immediately turned
on Gobel and with his arms raised
in disbelief started to question
Goebel. Goebel just waved a "be-
cause" gesture back.
sneaking suspicion that the Re-
gent's ars not very interested in
student 'concerns. aybe before
those students try o rouse the
Regents interest by taking over a
building, they ought to try leaving
them some no-doze pills by their


School inte ration:
Same sentiments, new tactics

T'HE SUPREME COURT'S ruling that
calls for immediate integration of
schools in six Southern states has won
the nodding approval of .many liberal
civil rights sympathizers. With two-thirds
of the student reshuffling already ac-
complished in Mississippi, and relatively
no violence as of yet, liberals imay well
regard tpie action as a "qualified suc-
cess." They may now see the nation
finally on the road to solving the prob-
lems of black America.
Unfortunately, too few people have tak-
en notice that for the most part the public
school's classrooms .are still .all-black.
Forced integration his resulted in mass
migration of whites into all-white private
schools. In Mississippi, 100 such schools
have been established since September,
and the enrollment in previously existing
private schools has swelled by as much
as 500 per cent in the same period.
Then, too, there are many schools
which are announcing compliance with
the integration order but then continu-
ing with segregation in the classrooms.
The NAACP is aware of this intramural
segregation and hopes to have it declared
illegal by next year.
But the point is that if the intentions
of school integration are to mix white
and black enrollments in the same edu-
caional facilities, then the recent inte-
gration efforts are hardly even a qual-
ified success.
LEGISLATION HAS again failed to
change the entrenched racist atti-
tudes of Southern whites. Once enraged at
having to bus their children 17 miles to
integrate black school districts, they now
unhesitatingly transport their children
even further to insure them of white
Editorial Sta.'

Steps taken by Southern church lead-
ers are also effectively blocking real inte-
gration in many instances. They are re-
sponding to the plaintive cries of their
congregations and setting up all-white
academies in their churches. Just as
Southern whites escaped orders to inte-
grate public eating facilitPer by establish-
ing private clubs, they r avoid inte-
gration in their schools in much the same
Nor can we disregard the promises of
more violent reaction by people 1i k e
Lester Maddox. Maddox describes the
Supremae Court directive as "a declara-
tion of war... . waged against the South
and her people." It is clear that the
Lester/Maddoxes will do almost anything
to "protect" white citizens from the pre-
sence of black people in any public facil-
When white parents go to the extremes
of demanding that toilet seats be chang-
ed in previously black schools, it is clear
that Washington directives are going to
have little effect in changing the atti-
tudes of Southern whites. At least in a
tactical sense, it is certainly question-
able if school integration is really a sign-
ificant approach to the plight of the black
man in the South.
IF THE RESULTS of school integration
look unpromising, perhaps we a r e
grappling with the wrong problem. It
has been several years since J a m e s
Meredith crossed the threshhold of white
educational institutions, and the status
of the black man in the South-or even in
the nation as a whole-has not been ele-
vated to a desirable extent.
Whites in the South, like people a 11
over, have found new methods of react-
ing against change. Skirting issues is far
more effective than meeting them head
on. But sentiments certainly remain the
same. And because the reactions are now


Letters: The Black Manifesto demands a hearing

To the Editor:
IT DOCES seem sadly ironic that
of all the churches and congrega-
tions in Ann Arbor who have been
approached by Mr. Charles Tho-
mas in his request to give a read-
ing of the "Black Manifesto" a
Jewish congregation should be the
only one to have legal proceedings
effected to prevent it. But of even
greater irony is their claim that
it would effect "irreparable dam-.
age" to .them.
I have no doubt that this same
Jewish congregation and all other
Jewish groups would (indeed.
have) hastily defend to the nth
degree the right to protest the
centuries of maltreatment and
discrimination wherever and when-
ever possible with accusations of
anti-semitism cast at whomever
would deny them this right and
opportunity . and not without
great justification!
Can it be that now that they
find themselves cast in the same
light as their historical oppressors
tas the "Black Manifestd" most
certainly does by addressing its
text to "the white Christian
churches and Jewish synagogues
... and to all the white racist im-
perialists who compose it") this
Jewish synagogue is showing its
true colors where questions of
white versus black justice and op-

Jews, Atheists or whatever .
will do themselves a tremendous
social, and soulful service by not
only listening attentively to it
being read, or better yet reading it
yourselves.) whenever and wher-
ever the opportunity presents it-
self, but by reacting positively and
decisevly to its requests before we
are all made to suffer .the irre-
parable damage" of another series
of racial explosions!!
-P. W. Charles
Jan. 12
To the Editor:


YESTERDAY A "large group
of Americans" were portrayed in
the article "See the U.S.A. as it
stagnates away" Daily, Jan. 8).
I attack this article not on the
truth of the superficiality and low
idealism in those American lives,
but on its failure to offer a pro-
ductive channel for the anxiety it
builds. up.
Amid today's growing polariza-
tion of student and society, editor-
ialists on both fides must take the
responsibility of thwarting grow-
ing cynicism by attaching to their
insights into the problem, some of
the. positive alternatives other


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