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March 20, 1966 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1966-03-20

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Seventy-Sixth Year

Faculty Review: Reporting the News

e Opinions Are Free, 420 MAYNARD ST., ANN Ag.BoR, Mice-i.
rt-th Will Prevail

NEws PHONE: 764-0552

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

Proles tor' s Trial:
A Step Forward

DAVID MILLER was indicted last Octo-
ber 23 for publicly burning his draft
card. This week he received a suspended
sentence of three years and two years on
probation. The maximum penalty he
could have received was $10,000 and five
years in prison.
Miller was the first person to be tried
and sentenced under a new law prohibit-
ing the burning or willful destruction of
draft cards. The law had been rushed
through Congress during a. period when
militant peace marchers were taking stri-
dent, sometimes violent, attempts to per-
suade the Johnson administration to
withdraw the troops from Viet Nam.
THE ATMOSPHERE of this period was
near war-hysteria. Peace marchers
were met with red paint, counter pickets
and police cordons, like those that al-
lowed some Hell's Angels in Berkeley to
get through to the marchers and attack;
some of them. Draft board sit-inners had}
their student deferments revoked, and
shades of McCarthyism loomed up.
An army lieutenant who protested the
war (out of uniform and on his own time),
was sentenced to hard labor. Two brain-
washed soldiers released from Viet Cong
captivity voiced dissent for United States
policy, were flown to Okinawa and have
not been heard from since.
The attorney general's office announc-
ed a new crackdown on all left wing:
oriented organizations. The Congress
rushed the draft card burning bill through
with little debate. High elected officials;
were commenting that this would take
care of unpatriotic and subversive ele-
ments who defied the right of the gov-
ernment to conscript for-military service.
NEVERTHELESS, David Miller, aged 23,
a Harvard graduate and staff member
of the radical left publication, The Cath-
olic Worker, publicly burned his draft
card and was arrested under the new law
by FBI. men a' few days later. Lawyers
and civil liberties activists saw the pend-
ing trial as a test case which would go to
the Supreme Court to decide the consti-
tutionality of the law.
Now that Federal District Court Judge
Harold Tyler has given Miller a relatively
mild sentence, the court fight appears un-
likely to materialize. The ruling has be-
come a precedent and the case of five
young men who subsequently burned their

draft cards after Miller will have a better
chance for a lenient sentence.
THE REASONS behind this bizarre turn
of events, especially when one consid-
ers the atmosphere of fear under which
the law was created, are difficult to as-
certain. When one considers popular lib-
eral sentiment towards the law, the con-
sequences of the ruling run something
like this:
Burning a draft card is hardly a crime
warranting such a stiff penalty; the Se-
lective Service offices carry duplicate
records which are all that is necessary
to insure the rapid induction of men.
Draft card burning in a symbolic sense,
however, is indicative of defiance of au-
thority, which, in a war situation, be-.
comes dangerous to the national interest.
The' law aims at being preventive, rather
than curative; it forces militant leftist
sympathizers and sincere conscientious
militantists to take a positive defiant
Miller and others have burned theft
draft cards in defiance of the law and as a
symbol of their refusal to cooperate with
a system contrary to their morality. It
would be easy for the judges in such
cases to iipose a policy of sentencing,
such protestors to the maximum penalty.
However, that position carries strong
overtones of the police state, and, as
Judge Tyler explained, tends to make
martyrs of its victims.
]HE DECISION is commendable in this
light: while it falls within the accept-
able provisions of the law, it clearly rec-
ognizes this law as unjust and incapable
of being enforced by a judicial system
which upholds the rights of individuals.
The growing acceptance of conscien-
tious objection to wars has had a slow
and painful progress in America in the
last century. But the treatment of Miller,
which threatened to set back its progress,
has instead produced a further step f or-
If the rationale for the war in Viet
Nam -.freedom from tyranny and the.
right to self-determination-is. to have
any real meaning, the government and
courts cannot afford, to constrict these
same rights of individuals at home in or-
der to expedite the war.

lections from the Nieman Re-
ports. Edited with an Introduc-
tion by Louis M. Lyons. The
Belknap Press of Harvard Uni-
versity Press 1965. $6.50
Professor of Journalism
were established in 1938. Agnes
W. Nieman, the widow of the
founder of the Milwaukee Journal,
had left her share of that excel-
lent to Harvard. James Conant,
then President, meditated upon
the bequest's vague directive to
"promote and elevate standards
of journalism" and decided on a
simple scheme under which each
year about a dozen newspapermen,
on leave from their papers, would
be brought to the Harvard cam-
pus for a year's study.
There was, and is, no provision
for academic credit or degrees; the
Fellow attends class as he chooses.
Dinners and seminars and special
events provide connections with
Harvard for the Fellows and a
window into the news business for
interested Harvard faculty. That
group has included some of the
University's most distinguished
Eight years after the beginning
of the Fellowships the program's
alumni organized the Society of
Nieman Fellows and started a
quarterly called "Niema'n Reports."
Louis Lyons was editor, and his
first major piece was a review and
evaluation of the newly published
report of the so-called Hutchins
Commission on the press.
THE NEWSPAPER industry al-
ready was lynching Hutchins edi-
torially, but the magazine found
the report good and thus estab-
lished itself in a role as evaluator
and critic of media performance.
Lyons has now retired, and this
collection of fifty-one pieces from
the magazine represents, in his
judgement, a sampling of the best
of the publication during his time
with it. Like most anthologies
made up from a single magazine's
work over a long period of time,
it consists of pieces of widely
varying quality.
'Almost all the articles within'
them are concerned with evaluat-
ing, in one way or another, the
quality of the journalistic profes-
sion today and the impact of cir-
cumstance and human fallibility
upon it.
THE INSIGHT which this book
gives into the difficulties of media
criticism is at least as important

as the direct assesments of per-
formance. Regardless of the
amount of nobility in his pose (or
masochism in his psyche), nobody
really likes to be rapped for his
failings, and media ,people are
notoriously waspish ith critics.
If the critic happens to be with-
in the business, he's called an in-
grate; if he's from outside, he's
accused of self-righteous ignor-
ance. The newsman's variant of
"he never met a payroll" is "he
never met a deadline."
This is no rebuttal at all, of
course. Innocence of detail and
lack of routine experience may be
a help; they can provide a useful
clarity of vision, and the newsman
works on this assumption is his
own reporting of other people's
doings. It is hardly sensible to
become bitter when passing soci-
ologists or activist clerics do the
same thing.
But many press critics go be-
yond empiricism to moralizing.
They explain phenomena that are
essentially institutional on the,
grounds of villainy; the news
comes out the way it does be-
cause newsmen are nasty con-
servatives who deceive the people
(or nasty pinkos who deceive the
THE CHARGE that the selling
of advertising corrupts per se is
likely to provoke impatience in,
say, a publisher who must get
65 per cent of his income from it
if he is to publish at all. It is to
this kind of ethical judgement
that the media man often is re-
sponding when he makes angry
charges about ignorance. His real
case is against arrogance, an ad-
mittedly lesser crime but one with
no redeeming features whatever.
The criticism of the press by
those within the press therefore
tends to demonstrate both humil-
ity and tentativeness. About half
the contributors to Reporting the
News are former Nieman Fellows;
the rest, with the execption - of a
few step-brothers such as Zecha-
riah Chafee and K. J. Galbraith,
are working newsmen.
The dominant tone of the col-
lection is a kind of restless, dif-
fuse dissatisfaction. Almost every-
body reflects concern, but there
are few specific ideas about the
path to improvement.
John Cowles, a member of one
of the most powerful families in
U.S. mass communications, sug-
gests vaguely that something like
the British Press Council might
be a good idea.
THIS AGENCY-there is some-
thing like it now in many coun-

tries-is a review board to which
complaints about press perform-
ance can be brought; the board
can censure sin if it finds it, but
has no further punitive powers.
Mr. Cowles cautiously suggests
that the Minneapolis papers, with
which he is directly connected,
would listen to an "independent
agency" if it were precisely the
right one, but the reader gets a
feeling that Mr. Cowles has little
hope of anybody's organizing the
right one.
An American Press Council, or a
set of regional press councils, does
not seem very probable; more im-
portantly, there seems to be little
evidence in the countries that have
such institutions that they actually
have elevated the level of press
performance. There's much good-
hearted mumbling in Britain to
the, effect that, by George, this
thing has been worth while.
But the tabloids have been the
chief targets of censure actions,
and if there is any evidence that
the British tabloids are better than
they were before the Press Coun-
William Porter is a professor in
the school of journalism here. He
is a graduate of the University of
Kansas and the author' of "Mass
Communication and Education."
His review of "The Kennedy As-
sassination'and the American Peo-
ple" appears in this month's Co-
lumbia Journalism Review.
cil came along, it escapes most
Most of the suggestions about
ways of improving media per-
formance in this collection are ath
this wistful level. Edward R. Mur-
row's famous speech to his col-
leagues of the Radio and Tele-
vision News Directors Association
is here; it is a stinging attack:
upon the cruel pressures of com-
mercial sponsorship upon broad-'
casting, and particularly upon
broadcast news.
MURROW'S ONLY suggestion
for correction, however, is cur-
iously timid and trivial. He sug-
gests that sponsors sometimes give
up the hawking of artifacts to
broadcasting without commercials'.
provide an hour or two of serious,
cause they are venal, or because
are afraid for their jobs, or be-
It is difficult to criticize from
inside the media, not because men
they are backward; it is difficult:
because the man in the communi-'
cations professions is ' unquely
aware of their complexity and the
awful momentum which their in-
stitutional processes develop.
It has occurred to sonie con

nected with broadcasting that a
possible way out is. to invent a
different kind of institution-for
example, a nmajor noncommercial
television network under govern-
ment auspices. This is an idea
worth exploring, obviously; almost
every other country in the world
has such an agency, and some-
times they db very good things
BUT IT IS HARD to imagine
structural changes for the news-
paper which have- possibilities.
Newspapers without advertising,
published iii the public interest?
There have been hundreds of
them, in many societies, and re-
gardless of the purity of their in-
tentions or their politics they have
been dismayingly awful as dis-
tributors of iews.
If there is a real alternative to
the present form of the daily
newspaper which will serve the
same ends, let's hope some one
will set it forth.
1 Meanwhile, a more modest ap-
proach might help. If the press
would report the press thoroughly
everybody would be well ahead.
There is an example of the merit
of this obvious notion in Mr.
Lyon's book.
Conant's annual report on Har-
vard University of 1947 was pick-
ed up and, much distorted, used
as the basis of an editorial by
a public relation firmdtoiling in
the interests of the electric power
companies. This editorial was dis-
'tributed-free, of course-to the
newspaper press. At least 59 papers
picked it up and Used it as their
own, and only., o indicated it
came from an.outside source.
Because Conant was mentioned,
the clipping service which works
for Harvard routinely caught the
editorials, but ,'there must have
been, in addition. to the 59, some
that the clippig service did not
catch. In all these communities
the President -of Harvard was
pictured as a believer in academic
freedom only so lor.g as the teach-
er doesn't attack flee enterprise.
Because the bundle of clippings
came to Lyon's attention, this par-
ticular example of, lazy charla-
tanism was exposed; he wrote a
vigorous piece about it for Nieman
Reports and 'includes it in this
anthology. -
BUT WITHOUT: the clipping
service there would have been no
exposure, which points out the
necessity 'for -systematic applied
study of . the, day.f -day content
of the media. ' fis' never has been

consistently done in this country.
A. J. Liebling did it with wicked
humor for the New Yorker, but
he eventually became so concern-
ed with impersonating A. J. Lieb-
ling that even his admirers no
longer took him seriously.
The Columbia Journalism Re-
view, now four years old, probably
does the best job' of any current
enterprise, but a small quarterly
is hardly enough. The need is not
for jeremiads about the sins of
the media, nor for witty expose
pieces which demonstrate the
commentator to be smarter than
the newsman.
The first need, at least, if for
sustained and orderly analysis--
probably on a regional basis--of
the stuff that's appearing in the
papers and on the air. Universities,
and particularly departments of
jorunalism, should be doing it;
even student newspapers, perhaps.
Nieman Reports continues to
to evaluate media performance;
it has, however, lost some of its
bite. Louis Lyons points this out
in his introduction. There has
been steadily less carping in the
magazine, he says in effect, be-
cause there is less and less to carp
HE FEELS that an important
corner was turned during the Mc-
Carthy era, because 'newsmen be-
came aware of the inadequacy of
the familiar routines for picturing
the work of such a man; Lyons
dates the beginning of so-called
"interpretive reporting" from that
He may be right about the
improvement. The best U.S. news-
papers are better than they were
twenty years ago (and the New
York Times, the inevitable bell-
wether, ,is remarkably better).
The coverage of the running de-
bate over Viet Nam, for example,
has been generally good; the
sharply skeptical coverage of the
Dominican affair, as Walter Lipp-
mann pointed out, may very well
have changed the didection of u.S.
BUT IF WE look at it in terms
of the improvement in the news
media set against the difficulty
of the task of adequate reporting,
the conclusion must be much less
cheerful. The news business is
caught in the classic bind of hav-
ing to run like hell ,to stand still.
If it gets a great deal better in
the next two decades, it may not
fall too far behind in the dis-
charge of its responsibilities.
That may not be a very cheerful
prospect, but at least it's a chal-


Taking the Politicians Too Seriously

Days of Protest:
A Responsibility

IT IS THE SEASON of the cam-
pus politician, that rare breed
of animal willing to transcend the
barriers of University anonymity
and put his picture in 100 store-
front windows, coveting the power
necessary to shape the GOOD
LIFE for students.
And yet in the final analysis,
it can safely be said that never
have so many contended quite so
verbally for what in essence is so
little. Heretical thoughts perhaps,
but they need expression none-
the-less lest the University. com-
munity begin taking the rhetoric
of its own politics too seriously.
There is an inertia to things
economic, social and even educa-
tional, a certain momentum that
defies radical change. The atti-
tudes of most people are rooted
in the status quo. These people are
not hostile to the future so much

as resigned to accepting the pres-
ent-another heretical thought for
a society which prides itself on
a classic case study in the emer-
gence of a permanent status quo
attitude. There is something about
the place, probably its size, which
seems to effectively insensitize all!
but the most sensitive students,
and after finding their niche in
the system most undergraduates
are perfectly willing to mark time
for four years until they graduate.
This appears to be the nature
of human existence, and to run
around flailing one's arms in the
air and yelling "end apathy" is a
denial of the fact that the apa-
thetic attitude, whatever that
phrase really means, is the na-
tural one for a mass society such
as the University.

YET OUT OF THIS apathetic
context arises the politicians, re-
plete with buttons, banners and
posters as well as definitive an-
swers to rather complex problems.
They seem to bloom in the
spring, becoming most prominent
during the two-week period prior
to election day and then settle
down into comfortable oblivion
deep in their offices at the SAB.
Most of them are pretty nice
people-the kind you wouldn't
really mind going out with on a
second date-yet they have an
almost naive, fundamental faith
not only in their own talents as
administrators, but also in their
ability to activate the student body
and transform it into a dynamic
SOMEHOW the flavor of cam-
pus politics borders on the ludi-
crous, not so much because the

candidates themselves are over-
reaching, which most of thers are,
but because they' are trying'to
wage campaigns based on issues
when, in truth, there is no real.
issue which currently divides the
student body.:
All of the students want cheaper
rents and few of them are really
excited about getting drafted, and
yet the SGC candidates, especially
the two running for President, act
as if they are .debating monumen=
tous issues which they could per-'
sonally decide and settle if elected.
The fact is that'they aren't.
But it is fun, and anybody who
likes to laugh can really enjoy.
the junior-grade politicking going
on. Again this is not meant to
imply that there is no difference
in the quality of the candidates
running, for there most certainly.

minutes of the debate between
,Presidential candidates Bodkin
and Robinson could tell imme-
diately that one of them used his
mind and one of them used only
his mouth. Yet, all in all, will it
really make much of a long-range
difference in the life of the Uni-
versity or even the individual stu-
dent who wins? It, seems unlikely.
PERHAPS OURS is a society
which may genuinely have lost
its: sense of humor. Perhaps poli-
tics has really become too serious
'for its own good and even at 'the
student level every political dis-
cussion seems to have an aura of
The Great Debate about it, as if
the .destiny of man would be di-
rectly shaped by the outcome.
Let's hope not, for we need
a good laugh every so often, and
what better place to get it than
from the politicians.

MARCH 25 AND 26 have been designat-
ed International Days of Protest
against the war in Viet Nam. Locally,
there will be campus demonstrations
along' with a protest. march in Detroit.
Unfortunately, many independents, fra-
ternity men, and sorority girls who are
strongly opposed to the war will not take
part in the march. Why
One of the major reasons is that they
don't want to be associated with those or-
ganizations and individuals that have
been, up to now, most vocal in their pro-
test. They don't desire to march along
side those whom they feel are so alien-
ated from "society" that they have be-
come radical for the sake of being "radi-
Many of those against the conflict
look at the most vehement campus anti-
war organization and believe they see
people who aren't intdrested as much as
their cause as in calling attention to
themselves. They feel that many in the
anti-war movement purposely look and
act "grubby." This turns off many of those
who would ordinarily have no qualms
about expressing themselves.
THOSE WHO FEEL strongly against the
war and won't demonstrate because of
association with these individuals, sim-
ply fail to realize that there are literally
hundreds of other well-meaning students
who feel the same way and repress the
expression of their opinions for the same
reason. Their fear of being "typed" with
what they consider to be ,the "rabble" is
One might ask. what good has this so-

More and more distinguished company
-professors, courageous congressmen and
the like-began to speak out against the
war and the administration's activities.
Committee on Foreign Relations inves-
tigations. So we see more and more peo-
ple are beginning to realize the injustice
and sheer stupidity of this war.
Many students ask, "What good will
demonstrations do? What adverse conse-
quences will I face if I do participate?"
Much public doubt and indignation with
the administration's policies has already
clearly risen to the forefront because of
the demonstrations.
CONGRESSMEN of high principle are
gaining the courage to "buck" the ad-
ministration in an area of national lime-
light where pressures can change policies.
Since no laws are going to be broken,
the only consequence one incurs is the
ability to voice his opinion in an activity
that is sure to awaken others.
In such demonstrations and marches,
the stereotype of a beard for males and.
blue jeans and long, dirty hair for females
is erroneous. Remember that you have a
chance to express your opinion as an indi-
vidual. This is true whether you come
alone or with the group that you "iden-
tify" with.
Be yourself, it's your opinion. Shave,
bathe, wear a coat and tie, a cocktail
gown-hell-wear a "tux" if you are so in-
clined. As for those around you, you may
have nothing else in common with them
other than that which is vital: a desire


Anybody who saw even a few

Bodkin Supporters Reply to SGC Officers


To the Editor:
LESS THAN four months ago
the student voters on this
campus seated Robert Bodkin, '67,
to his' third term on SGC with
2,250 votes. Ed Robinson, '67, re-
ceived 1,539. At that date Bodkin
had served SGC since his fresh-
man year with hard work and
acquaintance with every project
and significant piece of legislation
that SGC had considered during
his period of service. Robinson,
seeking his first term at the time,
had previously served on the Con-
temporary Discussions Committee
of the Union.
Bodkin has a lengthy and con-
structive record and he has very
explicit goals for the efficient and
valuable service of SGC. In ad-
dition, he has gained the endorse-
ment of Neil Hollenshead, Dick
Wingfield and Fred Smith whom
he intends to include on his exe-
cutive board as Executive, Admin-
istrative and Coordinating vice-
presidents respectively.
He has worked to solve the
problems of the students here 'and
now. It is no wonder that the per-

undergone an extensive face-
lifting process.
1) In this four-month period
Robinson has disassociated him-
self from GROUP party (the party
ticket he ran on last semester)
which he was apparently instru-
mental in sustaining since the
party is now dead in his abscte.
2) Robinson began to make a
bid for the fraternity-sorority
vote by including on his poster
three endorsements-each a fra-
ternity or sorority. One wonders,
then, why Bodkin-and not Rob-
inson-received the endorsements
of IFC and Panhel.
bid for a different political image
was abortive?
Robinson did gain the endorse-
ments of the executive board of
SGC as shown in yesterday's Daily.
The inevitable questions are: 1)
Why were these endorsements
given, and 2) How valid are they.
1) Robinson presents a "nice-
guy" image to those he works
with; Bodkin is typified as the'
"fact finder" and the individual
irn acin~ico.n fiw ric in n

Bloomer and Charles Cooper.
Mike Gross, as treasurer of SGC
has spoken out in SGC only on
financial matters. One significant
project was the UMSEU Know
Your University Day for which
SGC allocated $1000. On the one-
day event, UMSEU spent $828.39.
Since the treasurer did not spe-
cify detailed use of funds, the
UMSEU sponsored another Know,
Your University Day, spending
$118.68 of SGC funds.
SUMMING UP this escapade,
Gross said (in a statement from
the executive board): "After much
discussion, it is the opinion of
the executive committee that we
were abused, but that the damage
is done.
Also, we realize that there was
negligence on our part. Very few
council members participated in
the program, and we did not watch
closely enough their financial
Harlan Bloomer, executive vice-
president, has served his capacity
well as an activities coordinator.
However, he has served with vir-
'.,ially nn- rnflflit, Ant inn nrk

administrative vice-president, has
done little constructive work with
the committee structure of SGC,
of which he is overseer by virtue
of his position. When Neil Hollens-.
head (Reach candidate for execu-
tive vice-president) assumed di-
rectorship of personnel last fall,
Cooper had a handful of members
on the committee structure.
Hollenshead managed to bring
75 new members into the SdC
committee structure with virtually
no aid from Cooper. Bodkin, who
reportedly cannot get along with
people, has managed to recruit 40
active students into -the SHA.
Cooper's job is one of coordinat-
ing and maintaining membership
in the SGC committee strudture.
However, after Hollerishead's res-
ignation from the personnel com-
mittee late last semester,, it was
noted in an SGC report:(Jan. 20)
that the SGC committee structure
had fallen in membership from the
75 (plus)' that Hollenshead had
accumulated to 50 members.
RIGHT NOW, under Cooper's
administration, the following com-.
mitP- nr nnn . iv tueant

speak out against the two follow-
ing motions: 1) The SIA voter
registration drive, and 2)',A pro-
posed Student-University-Com-
munity Relations Forum (which
city hall officials were very much
in favor of). Bodkin and Hollens-
head supported both of these
measures, and yet Cooper yester-
day charged Bodkin with being
For "qualified" student leaders
who have never set foot into the
SHA office, who never participated'
in the SGC-UAC Academic Con-
ference (which was initiated by
Bodkin), and who never made the
SOC comniittee structure work,
the current Executive Officers of
SGC represent questionable en-
dorsements for any candidate to
The foregoing SGC officers have
not served the student body well,
delivering virtually no exchange
for the $13-20thousand-per-year
price which students pay for the
continuation of SGC. /
You will find no mention in
yesterday's letter of Robinson's
achievements (these 'are impor-
tant for a president to have); you



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