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October 10, 1986 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-10-10

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I

0

OPINION

Page 4

t iigant tuIld
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
Vol. XCVII, No.27 420 Maynard St.
Ann'Arbor, MI 48109
Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board
All other cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Daily.

Friday, October 10, 1986
Media

The Michigan Daily

time

for

Shooting down rhetoric

THE SHOOTING DOWN of a U.S..
built airplane in Nicaragua and the
subsequent death of at least one
American on board, dispels the
myth that the Contras are fighting
a war in which the United States
will play only a limited advisory
role.
The CIA has been working to
supply insurgent units on the Costa
Rican border which have recently
joined the U.S. supported United
Nicaraguan Opposition as part of
President Reagan's strategy to
increase a two-front war effort.
The fact that this specific plane was
shot down when others have not
been does not absolve the CIA, nor
does it minimize the seriousness of
the issue.
The issue is that the Reagan
administration's line, that American
boys will not die in Nicaragua, is
proved false with this incident.
Reports to the contrary and
administrative refusal of respon-
sibility do not alter this unfortunate
fact.
Indeed, it is inconceivable that
helicopters, even if they are
privately flown, could be operated
without the knowledge of U.S.
-military advisers in the area. The
Honduran or El Salvadoran
governments, from whose
countries the plane and
ammunitions were coming from,
would never allow stockpiling of
military supplies for a private U.S.
citizen without government
clearance. And if, as the Reagan
administration claims, the group
was acting privately on this specific
mission, but with approval from
the government, there is still no
justification for private citizens'
carrying out a war against a foreign
government.
Just last year, the state
department refused a request by
Oxfam America, a non-profit relief
organization, to send farm tools,
seeds, and agricultural materials to
Nicaragua because the supplies
were not considered as
humanitarian aid, and were
- supposedly going to Sandinista
groups. The claim is false, since
the supplies were to be distributed
by independent Catholic church
organizations; but it points out the
hypocrisy and motives of the
government. To approve of private

groups supplying bullets, boots,
and other military equipment is
abhorrent.
In addition, this incident shows
how the U.S. government
confuses the public by appeasing
them with insignificant congress-
ional measures. The supposed
congressional ban on Contra aid is
an example of such disinformation.
The ban does not affect a
contingency fund, which can be
used at the CIA's discretion under
the stipulation that it inform at least
two members of Congress of its
intended use. The CIA itself has
said that it was not violating
congressional guidelines in
supplying troops with supplies.
This is correct; the prohibition
banning the use of the CIA's
contingency fund expired on
September 30, the last day of fiscal
1986. The president could thus
use the funds for special projects,
such as escalating the two-front
war on Nicaragua.
The final decisions in
Congress over the allocation of
$100 million dollars of Contra aid
have been delayed and debated
intensely since both the house and
senate approved some form of the
president's original request last
summer.
A crucial aspect of this debate
has been concern about the purpose
of U.S. support for the Contras.
Nicaragua, which is about the size
of Ohio, hardly poses a threat to
United States security. It has
become increasingly clear that the
Reagan administration intends to
overthrow the Sandinista
government and mislead the U.S.
public. Many in congress who
remember Vietnam rhetoric are
skeptical of the United States'
ability to maintain a limited
involvement in Nicaragua.
Already, state governments, such
as Michigan, have. sent their
National Guards, at the president's
request, to practice maneuvers in
Honduras, which is home to
Contra training bases.
It would be naive to believe that
the United States will watch from
the sidelines while supporting the
Contras. In this very real game of
war, the players inevitably are
American soldiers.

By Jeffrey Marc Parness
A tremendous hue and cry was heard
last week emanating from the
Washington press corps and the various
media establishments over the alleged
U.S. "deception campaign" pertaining to
the Administration's intentions towards
Libya's Moammar Khaddafi. I must
admit that I rather enjoyed watching the
moaning and groaning on the part of
some of this country's most popular
journalists and especially T.V. anchormen
as they protested the Administration's use
of the media to deceive and confuse
Khaddafi as to possible U.S. attacks on
his country. This campaign of selected
disinformation, could have theoretically
been carried out by any Administration,
so the issue is not the policies and
directives of the Reagan White House or
Schultz State Department. Rather, the
issue at hand is the relationship between
the government and media and how that
relationship is affected by the coverage of
terrorism.
The media and terrorism are inherently
linked by the shared concept of
sensationalism. As a business, the media
must (and does) print or broadcast news
that sells. When journalists argue that
"truth" is paramount in the media
business, they're not telling the truth
because if it were not for network
rankings or circulation and subscription
rates, journalists would not have the
opportunity to tell you their version of
the "truth." (op. cit. National Enquirer)
Blood and violencetsells--sensationalism
is the media's tool for business success.
On the same note, sensationalism is
the terrorist's tool for political success as
they realize that the larger the explosion
or more dramatic the hijacking, the more
media coverage they can garner to
publicize their political beliefs and
Parness is an LS &A senior

demands. Terrorists calculate that they
are able to influence public opinion by
their cowardly deeds because there will
always be a print journalist or camera -
person nearby to document their actions
and describe their motives. Both the
terrorist and the journalist strive for the
front-page story. It's news. Right?
When NBC's Tom Brokaw aired an in-
depth interview with the terrorist Abul
Abbas, the mastermind of the Achille
Lauro hijacking, one of the newsworthy
points was the whereabouts of Abbas as
Italian and American authorities were
seeking his extradition for the hijacking
and murder of Leon Klinghoffer. Yet,
this detail, his location, went undisclosed
to the two governments as Brokaw and
NBC admitted to a deal enabling the
broadcasting of the interview. Instead,
Brokaw gave Abbas the opportunity to
don a fashionable double-breasted suit,
and talk of how he and his colleagues
planned to expand their war, which at first
was limited to Israel, to the United
States, as he calmly dragged from his
Marlboro cigarette. Abbas, who looked
more like a worldly statesman than a
terrorist as the interview progressed,
basically proclaimed that "no American
would be safe, anywhere in the world."
There was nothing new in what Abbas
said that couldn't already be determined by
his actions or his group's statements.
The interview was the news.
Then, of course, there was Khadafy's
great claim that he would raise a
worldwide army to "set a great fire under
the foot of America!" All any
unemployed terrorist had to do was pick
up a copy of the New York Times to
learn of employment opportunities from
Khadafy as he was ready to pay anyone
who would carry out acts of terror against
the government and people of this
country.
Yet the best example of terrorists

terror
manipulating the media occurred during
the TWA Beruit hijacking in the summer
of 1985. Remember all the cameramen
and photographers at the elaborate new
conference orchestrated by the Shi'it4
terrorists who hijacked flight 847 and
brutally murdered Bobby Steitham? Yes!
A press conference by terrorists-so they
could dictate to the world their skewed and
hostile view of international politics.
Whereas the American hostages were
there against their will, it seemed as
though the American news cameras were
willing participants. I wonder how many
Americans cancelled their trips to Europe1
relinquishing their right to free travel,
with the memory fresh in their minds of
the TWA pilot leaning out the cockpit
window with a gun at his head?
Since we permit the terrorists to
paralyze the populace with fear by their
use of the media, curtailing travel abroad
and creating a feeling of insecurity at
home, why then can't our government
make use of the media to instill the fear
of retribution in the godless terrorists?.
Or does the media give the terrorists
preferential treatment to more media
access since they are both dealing in the
same business of sensationalism?
Last week's protests from print and
electronic journalists seemed as if the
members of the media caught their
spouses cheating on them. Well, the
government and media are not, married.
They are wholly independent institutions.
The government is elected to, among
other things, protect this country from
external threats. The media is in the
business of selecting news that sells.
When it comes to terrorism, the media
must realize that it is no longer on the
sidelines in a position of neutrality. The
media is an active participant, subject to
manipulation by terrorist and government
alike.

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LETTERS:

1I

YOUJ jW1E aANEStED FOR , WIO WERE FLEEING THE
.-' 6ivING SANCTUARY To ./ MILTARY FOR~CES OUR
CENTRAAME~iCN GOVENMT ' I

Animals deserve humane treatment

4

WH~AT IS THE
CAR~GE., YOUR~
H~ONO?

MEtZcY WinnT
INTENrTTo
- EM6ARP5S l
F
s

To the Daily:
I was outraged and
saddened by the extreme
arrogance displayed in
Philosophy Professor Carl
Cohen's position on animal
rights , "Animals don't have
rights, 'U' prof says." (Daily,
10/7/86) Professor Cohen is
quoted as saying, "they
[animals] are not beings of a
kind capable of exercising or
responding to moral claims.
The assertion that all aminals,
only because they are alive and
have interests, also possess the
'right to life' is an abuse of that
phrase and wholly without
warrant."
This anthropocentric
view, while arried to the noint

cause massive, and in some
cases, permanent damage to
Earth.
Earth is made up of an
extremely complex set of
ecosystems. Every species
plays a vital role in
maintaining an ecological
balance. No single species is
more valuable than any other.
In nature, the grass is just as
important as the mouse who
eats that grass. And the mouse
is equally as essential as the
predator who feeds on it. In
this respect, intelligence level
or the ability to make moral
claims have no significance
whatsoever in nature.
If we are to maintain a
balannced ensvsem. then we

ordained value. We must
recognize that animals have a
right to exist purely for their
own sake, and not simply
because it is in our best
interest to allow for their
continued existence.
This is not an idea
that is immediately acceptable
to many people because it goes
against everything we have
come to believe about our
position in relation to the rest
of the world. Because of our
greater intelligence, we all too
often set ourselves apart from
and above all the other
inhabitants of Earth. The idea
that humans are separate allows
us to feel little or no guilt
while we commit ros acts of

tropical rain forest in order to
make room for cattle grazing).
Many of us may be
tempted to dismiss Professor
Cohen's statement as too
ridiculous to be worth paying
any attention to. Yet, if we are
wise, we will take this
opportunity to examine our
own attitudes toward ourselves
and the world around us. It is
imperative that we all
overcome the notion that our
superior intelligence makes us
somehow more worthy of life
than the animals with whom
we share this planet. Until we
can learn to honor and respect
all species of life and
recognize their own intrinsic
right to existence. we cannotd

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