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November 29, 1988 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1988-11-29

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a6

OPINION
Tuesday, November 29, 1988

Page 4
4 -

4

The Michigan Daily

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Ee £ idiunIatitQa
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Objectivity is a relative issue

Vol. IC, No.57

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.

Swo man]
t
w
;THE HIGH LY VISIBLE attempts by
anti -abortionists to bodily block the
entrances of women's clinics have re-
ceived plenty of media exposure in the
last 'month. But even more serious
challenges to women's reproductive
rights are quietly playing themselves
out in the courts.
In one case, the U.S. Supreme Court
recently affirmed an Indiana court's
ruling that denied a husband the right to
stop his wife's abortion. Just about the
same time, the U.S. Justice Department
filed an amicus curiae brief asking the
Court to overturn a federal appeals
court's decision striking down a Mis-
souri abortion statute.
In the Indiana case, Erin Andrew
Conn attempted to prevent his es-
tranged wife from having an abortion.
A state trial court judge issued a
temporary restraining order stopping
Mrs. Conn's ability to have an abor-
tion. However, in accordance with the
previous Court decisions of Roe v.
Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood
of Central Missouri v. Danforth (1976),
the Indiana Supreme Court ruled that
Conn had no standing to stop his
wife's abortion since the state lacks the
power to regulate abortion during the
fjrst trimester of a woman's pregnancy
And therefore cannot require spousal
pconsent.
Mr. Conn then appealed the decision
:to the Supreme Court which affirmed
the Indiana court's ruling without an
opinion; not enlarging or detracting the
scope of constitutional protection for
women in matters of spousal consent.
This case magnifies the current de-
bate over abortion. It attempts to re-
strict women's reproductive decisions
by appealing to a husband's preroga-
tive of decision-making in marriage.
Because his wife's pregnancy was only
six weeks old, Mr. Conn clearly did
not have standing to file a temporary
restraining order since Roe and Dan-
forth laid down the framework for
4 vomen to make decisions of abortion
independent from state intrusion.
However, the' husband's attempt
demonstrates the growing controversy
over abortion. By appealing to his legal
position as a husband, he perpetuated
misconceptions of the role of women in

S

choice

By Victoria Baecher
In recent weeks the Daily's commitment
to objective news coverage has been called
into question by several different individu-
als, including the famous U.S. media ty-
coon/regent, Philip Power. While a con-
cern for objective news coverage is truly
commendable, it's necessary to ask if
these people can really be serious, and if
so, sane. In a nation where the major me-
dia are so reluctant to present information
that seriously conflicts with the govern-
ment line, can any honest person actually
be concerned about the Daily's objectiv-
ity?
For example, one would have no diffi-
culty finding references to such terrorist
U.S. client states as El Salvador,
Guatemala, and Honduras, where the mili-
tary-death squads make sure the votes

One of the individuals never existed and
the other had no knowledge of his reported
murder.) This pro-government bias in re-
porting international news is so extensive
and obvious that it is hard to believe that
any careful reader could have failed to de-
tect it.
The coverage of domestic news is no
better. The economy is covered entirely
from the perspective of the wealthy. The
economic news is filled with stories of
successful businesspeople, corporate take-
overs, and rumors of corporate takeovers.
Strikes, layoffs, and wage-cuts receive
only passing attention when discussed at
all. Even in presenting a general economic
outlook the media can be counted on to
give optimistic accounts based on the
prosperity of the rich, ignoring the fact
that real wages for the bulk of the popula-
tion have been declining for fifteen years.

the realm of marriage contracts.
Women are not nor ought to be
considered subservient to their hus-
bands' whims. A husband cannot con-
trol, by legal adjudication, his wife's
decisions of reproduction.
This misconception of a husband-
wife role still pervades present state
criminal codes. For instance, many
states, still retain inter-spousal immu-
nity clauses in their sexual assault or
rape statutes using the traditional ratio-
nale that women are merely chattel or
property in the legal interpretation of a
marriage contract.
In the Missouri case before the
Court, the Justice Department's filing
of a friend-of-the-court brief in Webster
v. Reproductive Health Services is nei-
ther novel nor surprising. The Justice
Department often enters briefs in favor
of whichever position they feel neces-
sary to support, and the Reagan ad-
ministration doesn't hesitate to oppose
the Court's ruling on abortion.
In Webster, a federal appeals court
struck down a Missouri law as uncon-
stitutional because it infringed on a
women's decision to have an abortion.
The Missouri law declared that human
life begins at conception, barred the use
of public funds to encourage or counsel
a woman to have an abortion, and re-
quired that abortions after the first
trimester of a pregnancy to be done in
hospitals. This statute flies in the face
of the Court's reasoning in Roe.
In Roe v. Wade, Justice Harry
Blackmun, writing for the majority, in-
validated state statutes proscribing
abortion in circumstances other than
exceptional cases. Blackmun based his
decision on the fact that women have
the fundamental right to make decisions
regarding their bodies.
The bottom line of any statute pro-
hibiting abortion is that women who
choose to have an abortion will have to
risk her life by going to unqualified,
unlicensed physicians. However, this
reason by itself does not justify the le-
gality of abortion. The right of privacy
in matters of decisions affecting one's
own destiny and the right to make
decisions of contraception or abortion
are "implicit" in the concept of "ordered
liberty."

In fact almost any pro-U.S. government can be assured that
their human rights abuses will be downplayed if not altogether
ignored in the U.S. media.'

notion that the working class and poor
people should bear the burden of deficit
reduction ignores the obvious truth, that
the huge deficits came about almost en-
tirely as a result of Reagan's military
build-up and his huge tax cuts to the rich.
In other words, people around the country
are being thrown out on the streets, denied
food and medical care, and having their
social security taken away from them in
order to finance multi-million dollar tax
breaks to rich slobs like Tom Monaghan
and our friend Philip Power. You won't
find this arithmetic truth appearing often
in the mainstream media.
The total decadence and corruption of the
media is perhaps best illustrated by the
media conference in Chicago attended by a
number of Daily reporters. Recent times
have provided endless scandals deserving
serious investigation. Among these are the
links of the Reagan-Bush 1980 campaign
team to Khomeni that might have led to a
deal to keep U.S. hostages in Iran until
after the election; the evidence of illegal
CIA interference in U.S. domestic politics
by propagandizing through the media; the
Bush-Noreiga drug links; the North plan
to suspend the constitution and install
martial law.to curb dissent; the list could
be extended considerably. With all these
areas of corruption and criminality in the
Reagan administration there should be
ample material for serious investigative
reporting. Yet, when the distinguished
journalists chose a keynote speaker to lec-
ture them on the art of investigative jour-
nalism, they looked elsewhere. They de-
cided to ask the journalist who took on the
perilous task of following Gary Hart to
determine who he was having sex with.
Clowns like these certainly have noth-
ing to teach the Daily or anyone else.
When the mainstream media is no longer
dominated by crass opportunists desper-
ately seeking to ingratiate themselves to
those in power, we will concern ourselves
with the alleged lack of objectivity in the
Daily..

0

4

come out right, as "democracies" in any
major media organ. In fact almost any pro-
U.S. government can be assured that their
human rights abuses will be downplayed if
not altogether ignored in the U.S. media.
The media also obligingly gives detailed
accounts of human rights transgressions of
governments or guerilla armies not allied
to the U.S. even when it has to invent
them. (The New York Times recently re-
ported the brutal murder of two civilians
by the guerillas fighting to overthrow the
U.S.-backed government of El Salvador.
Victoria Baecher is a former University
student.

Just to make sure that working people
here don't get ideas about how they can
improve their situation, papers like the
The New York Times routinely print dis-
claimers when reporting on countries such
as Sweden. They feel obligated to include
in their "news" coverage some claim to
the effectthat the policies that have
brought such prosperity to the average
citizen in countries with more developed
social welfare systems could not possibly
work in the United States.
When it comes to the federal budget
deficit, the media always finds responsible
experts who issue solemn sermons about
how we'll have to raise taxes and cut so-
cial spending or "tighten our belts." The

40

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..............1111 I:
..............
Letters to the editor ........
........
........
........
........
........
........
........

'Enough is
enough'
To the Daily:
I see a dangerous trend in
your newspaper. Throughout
this term, Jews have had to
suffer through the barrage of
discriminatory accusations and
myths which your Opinion
Page has chosen to publish.
Well, enough is enough.
The Opinion Page policy
states that in the printing of
letters and editorials, the facts
must be correct and non-dis-
criminatory. Not only is the
Daily guilty of violating this
principle in their own editori-
als, but it is also guilty of
violating it by printing in-
flammatory, baiting letters
from the public.
For example, on November
1, the Daily editorial entitled
"Kahane ban token," concern-
ing Israel, calls Zionism racist.
Furthermore, you call all
Zionists racists. Isn't discrimi-
nating against a group of peo-
ple itself racist? Aren't the
Jews allowed a homeland just
like everyone else? By calling
all Zionists racists you are dis-
criminating against Jews, be-
cause Zionism is the dream for
a Jewish homeland. If the Jews
are denied a homeland, this is
discrimination against Jews. If
desiring a homeland is racist,
then the whole world must be
racist, including yourselves.
The term "homeland" implies
that a distinct group of people,
be it French, Canadian, or in-
deed Jewish, is always wel-
come there. Zionism itself be-
came a mass movement pri-
marily as a result of Jewish
persecution in Europe. Israel is
the Jewish homeland just as
France is the French homeland.
It is not "racist.
In this same editorial, you
quote Jabotinsky, a Zionist, as
representing the mainstream of

use their ideas to represent the
ideas of the whole. That is
equivalent to stating that Abu
Nidal represents the main-
stream Palestinian - which is
thankfully not the case. Check
the facts.
It is my hope that blatant
lies and Jew-baiting come to a
stop. It is the Daily's respon-
sibility not to print it, as their
policy states. Only then can
the University community
truly flourish.
-Alan J. Woronoff
November 17
Review
anti-
Christian
To the Daily:
In the name of toleration and
respect, the Daily has a policy
against racist, sexist, and ho-
mophobic writing.
If it was genuine in its
commitment to these princi-
ples, then it should also apply
them to writing that was con-
temptuous and disrespectful to
Christianity.
Yet it doesn't.
An example of this is the
review of Tartuffe on Novem-
ber 21. After a subtitle that
says "inventive Tartuffe mocks
modern evangelism," it says,
"so now we have an evangelist,
hypocrisy, religion, and lust all
of which obviously go hand in
hand."
Especially to a fair and
tolerant mind, it is not obvious
at all that an evangelist,
hypocrisy, religion, and lust go
hand in hand.
My objection is not an in-
stance of inability to take a
joke or criticism. (The abuses
of certain evangelists are de-
plorable, and steps shouldbe
taken to stop them.) It is sim-
ply a matter of respect and
consistency.

Daily's apology for Dean
Baker's article on the Opinion
page on November 16. The
Holocaust is exploited cheaply
to attack - you guessed it -
the Jews, the Jews and the
Jews.
Not one word is uttered
about the recent genocide of
Iraqi citizens by their own
government, using real poison
gas and killing thousands of
Kurdish men, women and chil-
dren in one village in one
night. When it comes to this
act of genocide, the Daily ap-
pears to have joined the estab-
lishment papers in keeping
quiet. No, not even racism in
South Africa is being compared
to Nazi racism. "Zionism is
racism" and only Zionists are
compared to Nazis. What a
great way to blame the vic-
tims.
Just for historical perspec-
tive, let me point out a few
facts. The Jews of Germany
and Austria were loyal citizens.
They fought for their countries
in World War I. They certainly
did not support the enemies of
their country. They did not re-
volt and they did not support
organizations sworn to destroy
their country. They did not fire-
bomb Christian school buses.
They did not throw rocks at the
police. They did not even
demonstrate. And they certainly
did not declare Berlin or Vienna
to be the capital of a Jewish
state. They were content to
leave Germany or Austria pen-
niless but alive.
Six million Jews never got
this chance. I recommend the
Daily staff visit the gas ovens
in Auschwitz. Apologies may
then be necessary.
-Raoul Kopelman
November 16
Daily
idiots, 'not
racists

this intentionally? Of course
not, especially when the party
in question, Student Rights, is
endorsed by the Daily.
So let's stop accusing the
Daily of racism and sexism
just because of a few mistaken
details, and see the Daily staff
for what they are, a bunch of
bumbling idiots who don't un-
derstand what "responsible
journalism" means, not racist
hypocrites.
-Sean O'Connor
November 16
Report off-
campus
incidents
To the Daily:
In response to the article,
"Policy doesn't cover Greeks,"
(Daily, 11/3/88) I would like
to correct a misconception
concerning reporting com-
plaints fo discrimination and
discriminatory harassment.
First, it is accurate that the
policy does not allow the Uni-
versity to discipline an
individual who commits a dis-
criminatory act in an off-cam-
pus setting unless the act
interferes with a person's par-
ticipation in a University-
sponsored activity. However, it
is not accurate, as the article
implies, that incidents that oc-
cur off-campus should not be
reported. Incidents of discrimi-
nation or harassment that occur
off-campus should still be re-
ported for two major reasons:
- Steps can and will be taken
to try to resolve the problem.
While it is accurate that as the
Policy Administrator, I do not
have any "official" disciplinary
authority over what happens
off-campus, informal resolu-
tion of incidents can still oc-
cur.
. A further reason to report
incidents that occur off-campus
is that such reports might en-

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