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March 28, 1985 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1985-03-28

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OPINION

Page 4

Thursday, March 28, 1985

The Michigan Dailr

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Media treated Israel unfairly

Vol. XCV, No. 140

420 Maynard St.-
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

Wrongs of passage

N A POLITICAL showdown as bally-
hooed as any Superbowl, the
Republicans, spearheaded by
President Reagan and the defection of
key Democrats, pushed through the
funding for the next group of 21 MX
missiles.
Last week, funding for the missile
system was approved in the Senate by
a margin of 55-45, with many long-time
opponents of the missile coming out in
favor of it. Tuesday's vote in the House
was even closer with 219 voting in
favor and 213 opposed.
The Reagan administration has been
arguing for the past month that
passage of the MX funding is crucial to
the success of the Geneva arms talks.
Without the MX, the administration
claims, the Soviets will not feel
pressured to make significant con-
cessions during the talks.
The administration overlooks,
however, that many experts believe
the Soviets first came to the
bargaining table because of the U.S.
threat to begin working on the
Strategic Defense Initiative project,
better known as "Star Wars." Ad-
ditionally, the existing U.S.
Minutemen missiles, while not as
threatening as the MX, can be used as
an effective bargaining chip without
incurring the additional construction
costs of the MX.
The most important Democrat to ac-

cept the Reagan rhetoric was Les
Aspin (D-Wis.), chairman of the House
Armed Services Committee. Aspin
was a traditional supporter of the MX,
but last year, following the elections,
Aspin indicated he would change his
position on the missile provided he
were elected to the chairmanship.
A skilled political snake, however,
Aspin claims now that he only agreed
to reconsider the issue, not to support it.
Last year, it appeared as if funding
for the MX would not be approved.
Supporters of the missile were able to
work out a compromise proposal that
required it to be approved in the next
session of Congress and gave the
missile another chance. Its passage
Tuesday is frustrating for its opponen-
ts, but it does not guarantee that the
entire MX proposal will be approved.
The full MX proposal calls for 100
missiles, only- 42 of which have been
funded. The Congressional battle over
the funding for the next group of
missiles will not take place until next
year, but opponents of the missile
should begin rallying now. Without the
pressure of the Geneva arms talks and
with a stronger indication of Aspin's
true sentiments, opponents of the
missile stand a good chance of retiring
it. Unfortunately, 21 more missiles,
carrying over 200 separate nuclear
warheads, will have already gone
through.

By Steven E. Herz
Perhaps even more tragic than the death of
two CBS news crewmen in Lebanon last week
was the media's handling of the incident.
CBS immediately condemned the incident
and cancelled plans to do a special report
from Jerusalem. ABC and NBC quickly
followed CBS with public statements
criticizing the action without gathering the
facts, a grave error in reporting. While most
newspapers didn't come right . out as the
major networks did, their handling was also
biased.
Michael Traugott, a University political
science professor who specializes in the
media, commented on the New York Times
news story of the incident by saying, "I think
that's as close to editorializing as you'll ever
see in the New York Times." In its story the
Times quoted the Israelis as saying that the 21
Lebanese citizens it killed in battle that day
were "terrorists." The Times routinely uses
the word "terrorist" in its news stories
without the quotation marks, yet it chose to
use them in this story.
The act was described on television and in
newspapers by a witness as "unprovoked and
deliberate." That witness was a French
journalist. What wasn't considered in the
quote was that the journalist naturally, as any
person would, realized her own vulnerability
to the potential hazards of covering a guerilla
type confrontation.
In addition, there has been a long history of
conflict between the media and the Israeli
Defense Force. The I.D.F., according to the
Herz is a daily staff writer.

media, has been uncooperative and there have
even been accounts of editing on the part of
Israel in the use of the Israeli media wires.
Thus, it can be expected that the media would
show some anti-Israeli sentiment, simply,
based on the difficulties the two sides have
had with each other.
Only on Monday, three days after the initial
story, did the New York Times soften its stan-
ce on the tragedy. But this time, the story
was buried on page eight.
This time the Times quoted a CBS Vice
President who had earlier met with senior
Israeli officials as saying, ... the shooting
could have been a tragic mistake."
Yesterday, as investigation into the even-
ts began to furtherunfold, the statement from
the Vice President was even apologetic. "I
now believe that even without complete un-
formation that it was certainly not a
deliberate attempt to fire guns against our
camera people," he said.
CBS News President Edward Joyce even
looked to retract his original remarks by
saying, ". .. It is entirely possible that the
tank crew was unable to make out the camera
and the press signs on the car."
A tragic mistake is a far cry from an un-
provoked and deliberate attack. Even with
the modified stance that it has sincetaken,
CBS cannot undo the damage done to Israel
worldwide through its harsh attack.
The media, CBS. in particular, failed to
place any emphasis on the underhanded tac-
tics used by the opposition in this battle.
President Reagan must realize, after suicide
bombers killed over 200 innocent U.S.
Marines, that the rules of fair warfare have
ties used in this battle.
Nor did the articles bother to emphasize the
warning given by the Israeli Defense Force

just days earlier to journalists working in the
region. Not only did the I.DF., warn jour-
nalists but it also extended the precaution to
the local population, "not to move around
during their operation." These journalists
from all accounts, were not stationary.
Nobody mentioned the fact that Israel has
been, in fact, safeguarding journalists, taking
them into Lebanon in armed convoys. While
Israel has not been as cooperative as some
members of the media would like, safeguar-
ding journalists seems quite a different story
than what CBS said was an "intent to kill."
Perhaps, ABC news President Roone Arledge
did not consider this when he so quickly
labeled the tragedy as "an apalling act."
Even with the new Israeli account, the CBS
official was quick to note that the Israeli ver-
sion did not jibe with what was given by al
surviving CBS employee and by Lebanese
witnesses. How is this man who had just lost
both legs and had two co-workers killed sup-
posed to react? Anyone who has been through
such trauma should not be expected to react
without extreme bitterness against his at-
tackers. Furthermore, how unbiased are
Lebanese citizens supposed to be considering
Israeli tanks are perpetrating their territory,
and have been for several years now?
Perhaps a senior Israeli official put the
inadequecies of the coverage best when he
said, "CBS had'a gut reaction. They came to
their verdict, called us every name in the
book, punished us, and then said they were
sending someone over to investigate what
happened."-
Perhaps, CBS and the rest of the media
could learn a valuable lesson in investigating
an incident thoroughly before irreversibly
condemning an entire nation.

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Bloody anniversary

4

L AST WEEK in Langa, on the 25th
anniversary of the Sharpeville
massacre of 1960, in which 69 blacks
were killed by police, South African
police fired into a crowd mpurning the
death of 30 blacks who were denied the
right to proper burial. The police killed
19 blacks. Since this incident, 12 more
people have been killed through
vengeance and police actions.
In the official police report, the
crowd was described as provocative.
The witnesses of the shooting told
authorities, including the Reverend
Boesak, president of the World Allian-'
ce of Reformed Churches, that after
the killings, police collected sticks and
stones, and placed them into the hands
of the dead who had been passively
protesting. Boesak, who was refused
entry into the hospital where last
Thursday's wounded are being
treated, called the killings "summary
execution and cold blooded murder."
South African political parties,
enraged by the shooting, have called
for the resignation of Law and Order
Minister Louis LeGrange, but
President Botha insists that LeGrange
was "doing his duty in a situation
where rioters were trying to "make
South Africa ungovernable."
25 years after the Sharpeville
massacre, which began as a non-
violent protest against the white
government's strict Pass Laws, South
Africa is still governed by the policy of
apartheid. Throughout the year, 250
people have died in violence sparked
by poor education, rent increases, and
political powerlessness for blacks.
While the situation has improved in 25
years, blacks must still carry passes
when traveling outside of their

segregated, government-designated
"homelands".
There are 23 million blacks op-
pressed by 4 million whites who rule
the country, but people of all races are
struggling together to change that
government's unjust racial separation
and inequality.
As an economically strong and in-
fluential nation, the United States has
a moral obligation to support these
freedom fighters. The administration's
implementation of the Sullivan Plan to
encourage black employment by
foreign corporations settled in South
Africa applied some pressure on
businesses and thus demonstrates
some concern. But the plan is not
enough.
"This country is tearing itself
apart." proclaimed Sunday's edition of
the Rand Daily Mail, a leading voice
against apartheid.
Ripped by racial tensions and
tragedy, South Africans need to feel
American support. Yet President
Reagan supported last week's police
action as a viable means of riot con-
trol. He claims that change should
evolve without violence. Perhaps the
president should consider our own
fight for independence in the
revolutionary and civil wars.
Historically, real change is always
realized violently. Serious con-
sideration of Reagan's attitude is
necessary; as our Secretary of State
said, the shootings were indicative of
"how awful and oppressive" apartheid
is. As a humane and united nation, the
United States needs to stand behind an
economic policy with South Africa that
will reflect our intolerance for, and
revulsion of apartheid.

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Letters
Gays make Council endorsements

i

To the Daily: _
The Lesbian-Gay Political
Caucus of Washtenaw County
recently sent questionnaires to
all candidates in the Ann Arbor
General Election, asking their
views on civil-rights protection
for lesbians and gay men. We
later met with some of the can-
didates to discuss this issue.
Based on our discussion we en-
dorse the following candidates:
.Mayor: Edward Pierce
.1st Ward: Lowell Peterson
*2nd Ward: James Burchell
.3rd Ward: Jeff Epton
94th Ward: (no endorsement)
95th Ward: Kathy Edgren
The above-mentioned can-
didates expressed interest and
support for protecting and ex-
panding civil-rights protection
for lesbians and gay men, par-
ticularly in terms of
strengthening the implemen-
tation of the Ann Arbor anti-

views about this topic. We can
only conclude that they do not at-
tach much importance to civil
rights for lesbians and gay men
or to voters in the Ann Arbor
lesbian-gay male community.
The Ann Arbor lesbian-gay
male community is socially and
economically very diverse. In the
past, members of the community
have voted both Democratic and
Republican, depending on issues
and candidates in any given elec-
tion. Moreover, many in the
community believe that Ann Ar-
bor's relative openness and
tolerance toward lesbians and
gay men is a permanent part of
the city's political landscape.
But tolerance is a fragile thing:
too many times in the past
seemingly-tolerant majorities
have suddenly turned against one
or another of the minority groups
within their midst. Currently,
BLOOM COUNTY

because of the rightward drift in
national political life and the
;growing homophobic response to
the AIDS epidemic, the political
gains made by lesbians and gay
men during the 1970s are threat-
ened. If we want to stay out of the
closet and retain the respect and
dignity we deserve as human
beings, we should seriously con-
sider how we cast our vote, and
whether our identity and political

rights as lesbians and-gay mel
are more important than our in
dividual membership in a par
ticular social or economic group.
Come out and vote April 1
support the candidates who su
port lesbian and gay male righ
-Fred Feje
Jim To
March2

Letters to the Daily should be typed, triple-
spaced, and signed by the individual authors.4
Names will be withheld only in unusual circum-
stances. Letters may be edited for clarity, gram-
mar, and spelling.
by Berke Breathe

- _ .. ,.

...

I I/r RUT 8 7W £&6O57F,

Aff rll 41 ,,

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