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March 13, 1971 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1971-03-13

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s~a t in
Eighty years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

The

ethics

of

a

newspaper

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich

News Phone: 764-0552

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

SATURDAY, MARCH 13, 1971

NIGHT EDITOR: DAVE CHUDWINI

t

The dignity of the fast

A BURST of tactical imagination by a
group of faculty members, set against
the inner turmoil and fledgling organi-
zation of local radicals in past months,
has brought a visible ray of hope to
potential activists around campus.
The fast in protest of military a n d
classified research has grown precipi-
tously, both in size and visibility, in the
two weeks since the idea was first init-
iated.
THE MOOD of campuses this year has
generally been complacent, cynical
and even resigned. Nevertheless, the is-
sues which held the potential to raise
consciousness and effect participation
have been consistently drowned under a
morass of disorganization.
The Radical Independent Party, for
instance, brought forth a small follow-
ing on the first day of the party's con-
vention. In the midst of chaotic dis-
agreement, emotional appeals to abandon
the party and a constant failure to agree .
on the semantics of many of the party's
positions, the number of supporters
dwindled noticeably every few hours, and
has not increased much since.
Nixonisms
zp'E FOLLOWING, are excerpts from an
interview President Nixon gave to C.
L. Sulzberger, New York Times foreign af-
fairs columnist:
"I can assure you that my words are
those of a devoted pacifist. My very hard-
est job is to give out posthumous Medals
of Honor.
. We must not forget our alliances or
our interests. Other nations must know
that the United States has both the capa-'
bility and the will to defend these allies
and protect these interests ...
I am a strong Navy man myself. I be-
lieve in a strong conventional navy, which
helps us to play a peace-keeping role in
such areas, for example, as Latin Amer-
ica..
I have more confidence in our
people than in the Establishment. The
people seem to see the problem in simple
terms: 'By golly, we have to do the right
thing'.
I am certain a Gallup poll would
show that the great majority of the
people would want to pull out of Vietnam.
But a Gallup poll would also show that
a great majority of the people would
want tol pull three or more divisions out
of Europe. And it would also show that
a great majority of the people would cut
our defense budget.
Polls are not the answer. You must look
at the facts."
-THE NEW YORK TIMES
March 10
Editorial Staff

The attempts to generate mass action
after the Laos invasion were also a dismal
failure. An ad hoc group of leaders drew
up a list of six demands. Some were tan-
gental to the war, one called for a 24
hour day-care center and still another
asked for student control of the Course
Mart program. The effort encountered
difficulty because the issues were too di-
verse to sustain unified support.
The organizers of the fast, by limiting
the scope of their demands to only war
research, have increased the chance that
their movement will endure. Moreover,
of commitment, and as such can bring
a fast involves an unquestionable degree
back the dignity the movement has lost,
a dignity which is essential if it is to
grow.
For a fast entails a tremendous loss of
energy, a gnawing at the stomach and
often dizzy spells. Thus, opponents can-
not simply shrug, as they have at de-
monstration-type tactics, and say "oh,
wou're just having a good time with a
bunch of friends. That's why you protest."
One professor, for instance, who fav-
ors the research, commented "well, over
and above anything, I certainly have to
have respect for their conviction."
YET IT IS important not only to raise
consciousness of those who are still
wavering on the war or who support it,
but also the many who have been mili-
tantly anti-war since 1964 - and in the
seven years since have mellowed, often
becoming embittered and cynical. T h e
guilt of sincere anti-war people who are
downing roast beef sandwiches during the
fast is likely to come to the fore. Per-
haps it will bring them back to the ac-
tivism.
It is easy to rationalize not participat-
ing in a march. They aren't effective, and
we tick off the examples of both hands.
It is easy to rationalize not participating
in petition gathering. "Not effective" is
the cry.
Yet it isn't as easy to rationalize. not
fasting. The act is visible, it is non-vio-
lent, it entails sacrifice. And it is more
difficult for the opposition to' discount
than mass marches or building seizures,
often institutionalized cliches.
WHILE THE future of the fast is open
to question, it is important that, at
least in Ann Arbor, a nucleus for unity
and effective action has been put forth.
In fact, with support for President Nix-
on's Vietnam policies falling sharply (ac-
cording to a recent Harris poll) there is
an unusual opportunity to spread the Ann
Arbor tactics nationwide.
With the weather turning warmer, the
possibility of mobilizing large groups of
people is substantially enhanced. T h e
thought, for instance, that 10,000 com-
mitted people would mass in Washing-
ton's Lafayette Park to begin a long fast
is enticing and exciting. Perhaps the gov-
ernment and the public would take notice
if their children were carried off in am-
bulances, faint from hunger, rather than
in police paddy wagons.

By STEVEN JENNINGS
(Reprinted with permission from
the Oberlin Review.)
A LTHOUGH Vice President Ag-
new's vituperations last year
drew considerable attention to the
media and their role in America,
it is a fair guess that many Amer-
icans tend to take their news
sources for granted.
Few, if any, of the members of
our predominately urban society,
beset by the problems of making a
living and retaining a measure of
sanity in the process, have the
time or energy to take an active
interest, much less participate in
job of giving events an intelligible
public affairs or in the subtle
shape fit to print on page one of
the Times.
Rarely, except in times of a
Vice President's rage, do we call to
task the quality of the news we
hear or read. The front page of a
major newspaper has a certain
air of authority about it; if pap-
ers across the country ran a ban-
ner headline "Dog Bites Man,"
then the event becomes, in effect,
the top news story of the day.
The tendency to take the media,
specifically newspapers, for grant-
ed as final authorities for news
combines with other peculiarly
American attitudes in forming a
rather contradictory mind set to-
ward newspapers. We ; all know
that newspapers are business en-
terprises, yet often lose sight of
the fact. Part of the reason may
be that a free press is venerated in
the Bill of Rights as one of the
public institutions indispensible to
the operation of democracy as we
know it.
But the press, although it is both
a businessand a public institu-
tion, is not comparable to "any
other business or institution. It is
not a business pure and simple.
partly because the product is re-
gularly sold below cost, but chiefly
because the community applies,
one ethical measure to the press
and another to trade or manufac-
turer.
"Ethically a newspaper is judged
as if it were a church or a school.
But if you try to compare it with
these you fail; the taxpayer pays
for the public school, the private
school is endowed or supported by
tuition fees, there are subsidies
(tax exemptions), and collections

Le Figaro are entitled to run their
newspaper as they see fit, which
includes the right to fire (or hire)
an editor-in-chief. We are living
in a capitalist society are we not?"
The staff replied by striking
for one day - a short time which
had an enormous impact on the
upper class Parisian buying pub-
lic. Except for the Nazi Occupa-
tion, Le Figaro had not missed a
day of publication for 102 years.
"The time is over," one Figaro
writer insisted heatedly, "when a
newspaper owner can buy a paper
in the same way as a nineteenth-
century entrepreneur bought a
boat with its consignment of slav-
es."
THE ATMOSPHERE in France
has been singularly conducive for
control of newspapers by journal-
ists. All newspapers that continued
publishing during the Occupation
were branded as collaborationists
and, were seized by the Free
French government after Libera-
tion. The confiscated property of
such newspapers was given to non-
collaborationist journalists a n d
businessmen with the idea that
only when free from the Influenc-
es of government and private
sources of capital can the press
be truly free to carry out its
public trust. Prouvost. for in-
stance. was denied control of Le
Figaro's editorial policy by both
Gaullists and the left since he par-
ticipated briefly in the V i c h y
regime.
In 1967 a French Federation of
Journalists' Societies was formed
to promote the press as;a cultural
medium, not an instrument of
commercial gain.
IN WEST Germany as in Prance
journalists are gaining' control
over their profession. In May 1969
the staff of Der Stern struck to
gain, not a share of ownership,
but absolute control over the de-
termination of editorial policy, edi-
torial personnel, and the right to
veto a change in the ownership of
the enterprise. At Der Spiegel,
another German news magazine,
owner Rudolph Augstein granted
staffers a share of ownership ris-
ing to 50 per cent over the next
few years, a voice in.management.
In the U.S. there is at present
no strong movement towards the
models of Le Monde or Le Figaro
as yet. We do observe, however,
an increase in professional aware-
ness among American journalists.
Several professional critical re-
views, such as the Chicago Jour-
nalism Review and The Unsatis-
fied Man in Colorado, have begun
publication fairly recently.

'4

Reproducing the product

t

for the church," writes Walter
Lippman in his Public Opinion.
ANOTHER PROBLEM inherent
in the free enterprise system of
capitalism under which newspap-
ers are produced is that news is
treated like any other commodity
-it is manufactured, marketed
and retailed. Generally the Amer-
ican belief "that truth is not earn-
ed, but inspired, revealed, supplied
gratis, comes out very plainly in
our economic prejudices as read-
ers of newspapers.
We expect thetnewspaper to
serve us' with truth however un-

ROBERT KRAFTOWITZ
Editor -TONY ;SCHWARTZ

. JAMES WECHSLER
Harris Poll: Labor's
ranks file leftward
T IS TIME some elder statesmen of organized labor were introduced
to their members. The moment has also come for certain political
analysts to revise their estimate of the "conservative tide" allegedly
sweeping through union halls.
These remarks are suggested by a Lou Harris poll published in this
newspaper yesterday. Granting a reasonable margin of error in any
survey, the Harris findings clearly undermine many widely accepted
stereotypes.
The most dramatic phase of the Harris report concerns the attitudes
of unionists toward the Vietnam war. But that is only one aspect of a
generally revealing report.
THROUGHOUT THE JOHNSON and Nixon years, the AFL-CIO high
command has periodically assembled to ratify and even acclaim the U.S.
involvement in Vietnam. Very recently, at one executive council session
in Miami, the same scene was reenacted (with Jerry Wurf, leader of the
State, County and Municipal Employees, reportedly the only recorded
dissenter). George Meany, while blasting Mr. Nixon's economic policies,
once again gave him "good marks" for his foreign policy exercises. Some
correspondents covering the event transmitted the word that George
McGovern had been virtually blacklisted as a prospective Democratic
nominee because of his antiwar stand while Sen. Henry Jackson, a dedi-
cated hawk, received highly favorable comment for second if not first
place on the Democratic ticket.
Now comes Mr. Harris with the news that, among a cross-section of
trade unionists whom he polled, the vote for total withdrawal of American
forces by the end of this year-as projected by the McGovern-Hatfield
amendment-was 64-27 per cent, with the remaining 9 per cent un-
decided.
Thus the myth of pro-war solidarity-long cultivated by both Mr.
Nixon and his predecessor-has been finally and rudely shattered.
The polls are also likely to induce troubled men who have remained
cautiously aloof from the war issue to break their long silences. There
have been, of course, some who have hitherto been willing to speak out,
as Wurf did recently; Pat Gorman of the Amalgamated Meat Cutters,
Jack Potofsky of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers, Leonard Woodcock,
the new UAW leader, and Frank Fitzsimmons of the Teamsters have fre-
quently identified themselves with antiwar utterances, along with such
mavericks as Cesar Chavez, Victor Gotbaum, Leon Davis and David Liv-
ingston and many local officers.
But their voices have been largely blanketed or minimized by the
predominant tendency in the loftier AFL-CIO echelons to "go along with
George" or at least refrain from active disaffection. And many sophisti-
cated opposition politicians have bowed to the fiction of the monolith.
THE PORTRAIT of Mr. Blue-Collar Unionist as the new pillar of
conservatism is sharply challenged in other areas of the Harris poll.
Labor's rank-and-file has often been depicted as especially responsive
to the "law-and-order" issue and extremist legislation in that field. How-
ever, by 50 to 37 per cent, unionists polled were opposed to Attorney
General Mitchell's "preventive detention" formula; by a margin of 53-
30 per cent they condemned "hardhat" violence against student demon-
strators. And by 58-33 they affirmed their support for the Supreme Court's
school desegregation decision. In another context the unionists supported
-by 49-35 per cent-the imposition of price-wage controls.
COINCIDENT WITH the release of Harris' survey, the Wall Street
Journal published a detailed portrait of "The Young Challengers" emerg-
ing in the Steelworkers Union. At the moment they are preoccupied with
the forthcoming steel negotiations, but in larger terms they sound, as the
Journal noted, remarkably like "today's college students fighting for

profitable the truth may be." How
can we expect a publisher, in a
capitalist context, to publish con-
sistently the unadorned mundane
truth and consequently cut his
own financial throat?
Therein lies the dilemma. In
the free enterprise model a large
number of competitors vie for
their share of the market by pro-
ducing the best at the lowest cost.
What is the "best" news is a moot
question; a journalist may say
that in-depth, broad, and fairly
objective coverage characterizes
good news, while a business man-
ager, regarding news as a com-
modity for sale, may say that
news which sells best, and costs
the least to "produce," is the best
news.
AN ADDITIONAL complication
is that newspapers sell more than
public affairs news, society gossip,
fashion, Ann Landers, and comics.
This leads, one to conclude that the
buying public, the essential asset
of any paper's financial existence,
is at least interested in things oth-
er than news, in its newspapers,
and at worst, is interested in other
things at the expense of news.
At this point those who hold the
view that in the American eco-
nomic system a free press is the
best way of keeping the enlight-
ened public enlightened may be
experiencing serious doubts. If so
they are not alone in their doubt.
From a financial point of v i e w
many publishers are feeling con-
straints and contradictions inher-
ent in these circumstances. In the
last thirty years or so the number
of daily papers has dropped by
about 30 per cent, a possible in-
dication that the old free enter-
prise model may not be operable.
Also within the last year, Con-
gress enacted the Newspaper Pre-
servation Act which exempts
newspapers from such anti-trust
law violations as profit pooling
and price fixing. These practices

were found to be fairly widespread,
throughout the country. Publishers
lobbied for the Act using as their
main rationale that without price-
fixing and profit pooling they
would not be able to continue pub-
lication.
IF THE above has raised enough
doubts as to whether the model
current in the U.S. for news-
paper ownership and operation is
the best for supplying the people
with the information they need to
make intelligent decisions w i t h
regard to public affairs, then the
next step is, of course, to find al-
ternative models.'
Several papers in W e s t e r n
Europe operate under circum-
stances quite different from those
in the U.S. Le Monde, the pres-
tigious Paris daily, has been col-
lectively owned and administered
since 1951. In 1968 the Corpora-
tion 'of Journalists of Le Monde,
which includes the entire editorial
staff, increased its holdings in
the paper from 28 per cent to 40
per cent, leaving 29 per cent for
the executive, administrative' and
general staffs, and 40 per cent for
the publishers. Editorial and gen-
eral policies are determined by a
council representing all the above
groups.
At the conservative Le Figaro,
the editorial staff has enjoyed the
power to determine all major deci-
sions affecting the paper since
1950. The journalists did not seek
part, ownership, but demanded
control over the areas in which
their professional responsibilities
lie, editorial policy, accuracy of re-
porting, and an articulate pre-
sentation of a right of center poli-
tical position.
This power was threatened in
May 1969 a when publisher-owner
Jean Prouvost, over the editorial
staff's protests, wanted to succeed
the late Henri Brisson as editor-
in-chief. One Prouvost underling
held that "the legal owners of

t
i
L
t
r

THE LESSONS for American
journalists are many. One is that
it is not unthinkable for journal-
ists, those primarily responsible
for the intellectual and profes-
sional quality of a newspaper, to 'W
gain real control in the area of
their competence. Another is that
the baggage (gossip columns, so-
ciety pages, etc.) present in many
American papers may not be vital
to the sale of the paper. Le Monde,
one of the grayest, blandest look-
ing papers in the world, earned l,
over three million dollars last
year. Finally, we should note that
if big capital is the only source
for financial support (other sourc-
es are possible, such as endow-
ments from foundations and pub-
lic-spirited citizens) then editorial
policy should be placed where it
belongs - in the hands of t h e
journalists themseleves.
One Figaro reporter summed it
up when he said, "A newspaper is
an enterprise of public interest,
not a macaroni factory."

Letters*to- The Daily

1

Recruiting policy
To the Daily:
ALTHOUGH THE American Civil
Liberties Union has issued a very
clear statement indicating the dan-
gers in selective exclusion of em-
ployers for campus interviewing.
the defenders of the attempted O.
S.S. policy have seemed to unduly
minimize or completely ignore the
civil liberties considerations. It
seems to me this "policy" is a re-
vealing example of the kind of ty-
ranny that results from confusing
moral principles with political

opinions. In this case, the Board
holds up the policy of apartheid in
South Africa and then proposes to
deny students the opportunity of
campus interviews with employers
who don't accept its political opin-
ion that an economic boycott is the
way to deal with this evil.
Now, of course, this opinion may
be correct, but many responsible
people don't think so, and if one
should choose to take the other side
of the political argument and de-
mand the banning of employers
who do not operate in South Africa
on the basis that they are failing

to fight the evil constructively on
its own ground, I wonder how
gracefully the O.S.S. would accept
the oppression f which they would
so cheerfully visit on others? I
fancy we would then be treated to
a recital of the civil liberties con-
siderations which were so lightly
dismissed at the Regent's Hearing.
I see no intrinsic difference be-
tween banning employers for such
political reasons and banning out-
side speakers for their political
views. To do so in either case is to
deprive students of Their constitu-
tional freedom of speech and asso-
ciation. -
-John G. Young, Director
Engineering Placement
Service
Feb. 24
Hanson penlty
To the Daily:
RE' THE EDITORIAL by Ji m
Neubacher condemning the pos-
sibility of a gas chamber death
penalty for Manson and "fam-
ily" (Daily, Jan. 27): Would
that there were a slower way.

1..
~1I

-S.L. Gaudioso,
Feb. 1

Grad.

- h.m _ -

-1

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