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November 16, 1980 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-11-16

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

OPINION
Sunday, November 16, 1980

Poge4A

The Michigan Doily

4

Good

behavior

It's not always a

I was one of the two Daily editors arrested at
Crisler Arena October 28 for attempting to gain
access to a meeting of the University's Board
in Control of Intercollegiate Athletics.
In the reportage that followed the incident,
the questions raised were, for the most part,

Obliquity
By Joshua Peck

element of the confrontation that was ignored
both by the police and the press, but which
strikes me now as perhaps the most significant
aspect of the whole affair.
Throughout our brief stay in the Crisler ac-
cess tunnel, there were three women who ap-
peared to be Crisler regulars watching the in-
cident transpire from across the hall. They ap-
peared bewildered and a little shocked that
anyone would have the audacity to do such a
thing.
From their behavior and occasional
snickered comments, it was obvious they saw
no cause for question. Athletic Director Don
Canham and University security had made it
perfectly clear that we were not welcome at the
meeting, and that under no circumstances
were we going to get in. Especially with the
force of law behind them, the women seemed to
be saying it was ridiculous and improper to
take the authorities on.
I AM MOVED to speculate on what it is about
living in-this country that breeds the
unquestioning docility displayed in our three
friends on a small scale, and by millions of
others in far more important ways.
Smug grins of sotisfaction on the women's
faces as Parrent and I were led out of Crisler;
unflagging patriotism on the part of most
Americans while their government killed their
sons in an illegal war in Southeast Asia for

ood idea
more than a decade. Is that too great a leap? I
think not; the motivations (or lack thereof) are
the same.
We are born into a world with clear distin-
ctions made between the order-givers and the
order-takers. Our parents complain about
"The Boss," a mythical figure who seems to
have an almost magical control over their
emotions. They see to it that we accept
Teacher's word as gospel.
Television drains us of contentiousness with
images of heroic good guys in uniform and bad
guys fighting back. We begin to think of the
armed forces as the only protecting force bet-
ween us and the godless animals across the
ocean.
The Daily's part in the Crisler confrontation
Was no big deal-far more courageous things
have been done in rebellion against misguided
authority only a dozen years ago at this very
University.
But I would hope that the new national spirit
of conservatism the Right has been hailing is
met with an academic community at least a
touch scrappier than the three lifeless spectres
we left behind at Crisler.
Joshua Peck is the co-editor of the'
Daily's Opinion page. His column appears
every Sunday.

the obvious ones: Why does the board think
secrecy its natural right? Why was it deemed
necessary to arrest journalists for challenging
that secrecy? Our intentions quite obviously
were peaceful, and we acted in careful con-
sideration of what we believe to be the law, not
against it.
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Mark Parrent and I
have yet to be arraigned, but the county
prosecutor has twice indicated he does intend
to press charges. One would think my concerns
would center on court matters, yet I find
myself thinking instead about a peripheral

Daily Photo by DAVID HARRIS
STAFF SERGEANT ARTHUR Hughes of the Ann Arbor Police Department searches Joshua Peck
after arresting Peck for allegedly trespassing at Crisler Arena October 28. The Opinion page co-
editor and other Daily personnel were attempting to gain entry to a meeting of an athletic depar-
tment policy committee, much to the disapproval of student onlookers.

'

r

.I

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Vol. XCI, No.64

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

Mlinsurance policies
sure seem to discriminate

SHOULD A medical insurance pol-
icy covering conditions existing
before the policy was purchased also
'cover a pregnancy conceived before
the policy was taken out?
It's an interesting question, and one
that was raised recently in the case of
a University student who charged that
a policy she purchased through the
Michigan Student Assembly was
discriminatory on the basis of sex.
The student filed complaints with the
state Department of Civil Rights after
she was told by G-M Underwriters, the
insurance company, that her policy did
not cover the costs of a pregnancy con-
-ceived before the policy was pur-
chased, even though it did cover other
pre-existing medical conditions.
She dropped her complaints,
however, when G-M Underwriters
agreed to pay her $1,500 for her
medical expenses. The company was

convinced by a doctor's statement that
the pregnancy could have been con-
ceived after the policy was purchased,
and hence would have been covered
without question.
In a sense, it's too bad this case was
not decided in the courts. Of course we
are pleased the woman got the money
she needed for her hospital costs. Yet,
an important question about medical
insurance might have been settled had
the case been pursued.
The insurance company has said
that under Michigan law, a pre-
existing condition is defined as a
sickness, and that pregnancy has not in
the past been considered a sickness.
That distinction would certainly
seem to be discriminatory if the intent
of insurance policies is to cover
hospital expenses. We'll just have to
wait for the distinction to be tested.

I'm tired of the moaning and
groaning over the prospects of
four years of Ronald Reagan.
Personally, I'm ecstatic about
the conservative stampede-in
fact, to any aspiring journalist,
the prospects for good copy
during Reagan's tenure in the
White House look very good in-
deed. Reagan's promises to
shrink the government at home
and to bolster the national
strength abroad could turn into a
veritable gold mine for the
media.
The fourth estate has been in a
recession since the Vietnam-
Watergate glory days, when there
were plenty of news and feature
stories to go around. Since then,
demand for copy has clearly ex-
ceeded supply; the Carter years,
despite their catastrophic flaws,
left many a reporter probing
statemandylocal sources forbar-
ticles. But now, we're in a real
"bull market" finally, and
prosperity looks assured for all
newsgatherers.
I have itemized a few of the
especially bright "growth areas"
during the Reagan ad-
ministration-areas that should
lend themselves to probing in-
vestigative analyses, startling
exposes, and fascinating feature
stories. These will soon be the
"blue chip" areas of American
journalism :
ENERGY
The field of energy should offer
some solid story material in the
coming years. First, the new ad-
ministration will promote
nuclear power tirelessly. Bet-
ween disclosures of reactor
mishaps, both major and minor,
and radioactive waste features,
the copy holes should fill right up.
Although the Virginia coal mine
disaster last week drew some
hefty press, it was nothing com-
pared to Three Mile Island: the
reporter's dream story.
Once the windfall profits tax is
repealed, there'll be lots of
provocative reading about those
restored profits-purchases of
department store chains, food
and agriculture industries, etc.
And when the funds stop going to
alternative energy exploration,
such as solar and synfuel, it will
be great fun to read-and write
-about the paralyzed research in
these areas. I foresee plenty of
"stymied progress" and "un-
fulfilled goal" features for all.
The sharp cutting of home
heating assistance to the poor,
elderly, and disabled should
spawn many exciting "frozen
tenant" stories.

By Steve Hook

HEALTH CARE
The anti-abortion lobby is fir-
mly in place now, which will be of
considerable value to the media.
The return of back-alley abor-
tions offers a hopeful sign to
copy-hungry journalists, with
neat human-interest angles in
great abundance, like they were
in the "good old days."
Accompanying the ban on
abortions should be an increase
in unwanted babies, traditionally
most numerous am'ong the lower
classes. This Will involve the
equally traditional increase in
street crime, unemployment, and
welfare-yet another en-
couraging scenario.
With national health insurance
now out of the question, there
should be some increased
demand for those neat features
on financially-crippled
Americans facing skyrocketing
hospital costs-mortgaging their
houses, selling their cars, and
succumbing to loan sharks to get
needed operations.tJournalists
will owe much to the new ad-
ministration in this area.
ENVIRONMENT
Reagan has pledged not to let
the environment interfere with
the nation's economy, and with
his like-minded Senate and
cabinet associates, such a pledge
should be easily fulfilled.
Remember what fun the media
had with "dead Lake Erie" and
"flaming river" stories a decade
ago?
THE COURTS
Fun, fun, fun on the horizon as
we report on the attempts of
Reagan and his judicial totem
Strom Thurmond to appoint pro-
death penalty, pro-life (such a
marvelous paradox), anti-ERA,
and anti-gun control judges. The
candidates themselves are sure
to make fine "profile"
material-you know, "up close
and personal" features. In ad-

dition, you can expect no shor-
tage of stories on the upcoming
rulings on abortion, welfare, and
environmental and energy
decisions, to name a few. Of
course, the grandaddy of them all
hardly needs mentioning: the
death penalty. Talk about the
ideal media event-whether it be
a gas chamber, firing squad, or
gallows affair. You would think
Ben Bradlee and Roone Arledge
hand-picked this administration
to improve businessrfor the
death-penalty beat reporters.
MILITARY AND
INTERNATIONAL
AFFAIRS
I've saved the best for last. The
mind reels at the thought of
covering this area in the next four
years-but where does one
begin? Reagan has pledged a
restoration of American global
supremacy, and I can barely
fathom the potential for quality
journalism here. If, for instance,
the road to renewed dominance is
scarred by, say, a nuclear war
with the Soviets, what sensible
reporter would not want his by-
line above such a story? In-
creased overseas military in-
volvement, inevitable under such
a scheme, is great for inter-
national media employment,
even for budding Stars and
Stripes war correspondents.
In addition, renewed support
of unpopular regimes in the name
of national security, followed by
the predictable revolutions and
military overthrows, have
traditionally secured high-paying
media positions for the
newspeople who cover them.
There should be more anti-
American terrorism and United
Nations humiliation down the
road too, which always makes for
good pr'int and broadcast
coverage. In general, the
deteriorating East-West relations
should really pay off.

A

journalist's
dream

The phones are already ringing
in the offices of likely Reagan
military leaders. For'the up-and-
coming reporter, what could beat
a Henry Jackson or Alexander
Haig "personality feature"? We'll
talk to their wives, children, close
friends; we'll count their
housepets and photograph their
living rooms; we'll find out what
they eat and drink, where they
shop, and what they drive.
Business executives have been
known to claim "What we need is
a good war!" to cure the nation's
financial ailments. I can speak
for my fellow journalists in
echoing this view-a good war, be
it nuclear or conventional, is just
what we need, especially the
photographers.
* .*
Two points need be raised in
conclusion. First, the importance
of the return of demonstrations
and "counter-culture" types in
general cannot be overstated.
With any luck, our society will
once again be riddled with "hip-
pies,"who made the late sixties
and early seventies much more
lively for the media. When the
conservatives get back in' con-
trol, we'll greet the counter-
culture with open arms.
Second, it should be noted that
journalists will hardly be the sole
beneficiaries of the new ad-
ministration. With the squelching
of civil liberties that will soon be
upon us, the legal profession
should see better days ahead; the
mediation of First Amendment
disputes, race 'and sex.
discriminationsuits, et. al.,
should pad the pocket of a lawyer
or two. Psychologists and
sociologists should enjoy
analyzing the upcoming conflicts
between rich and poor, black and
white, capitalist and communist
(political scientists should be in
great demand to follow this latter
area). The rosy outlook for big
business, finally, is ob-
vious-deregulation and lower
taxes will undoubtedly please
business, particularly big
business.
It may not be a great four years
for the rest of the country. But in
the dog-eat-dog, Survival-of-the-
Fittest vision that President-elect
Reagan will bring to the White
House, we journalists couldn't be
more pleased. Go Dutch! Go
America!

4

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4

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Steve Hook is
writer.

a Daily staff

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
Conservatism article hit harsh chords

T-

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