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February 23, 1990 - Image 15

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-02-23
Note:
This is a tabloid page

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


Here was the news...
Just too much damn media?

Sunday morning, 11:00 -
Another peaceful breakfast has
been shattered by that hulking
brute of a news carrier. He takes
pride in his ability to hurl a
newspaper the size of a six-year-
old child from his speeding car
and SMACK! into the front door.
Next week, I plan to wait on the
porch and throw something back
at him, maybe a rock, or a
crowbar. But now the newspaper
is here, and I am wondering once
again: what sort of people need a
newspaper this big?
This country is full of news
junkies - people who buy two or
three newspapers a day, watch
cNN at every chance and salivate
over Peter Jennings. They are
constantly trying to keep in touch
with the world, as if the Day of
Reckoning is about to happen and
complete information about your
fellow human is required to get
past the Pearly Gates.
I used to think I understood
what the planet was up to, until I
met some serious news freaks. My
great-aunt nearly lost her mind
while visiting me in Dublin. The
entire daily news came to about.
three-quarters of an hour
("where's the national news?"),
and she found the newspapers too
boring. She spent days scouring
the city for People magazine, and
eventually settled for a week-old
copy of usA Today.
When I visited her in the Bronx
last year, she sat me down in front
of the Tv and said "Watch this for
a bit, this is real news." There
was almost two hours of national
and local news. I was stunned. It
was like watching the Death Wish
series back to back - string of
brutal beatings and killings with
garbled family stories in between.
I knew that New York was not
representative of the whole

country, and I felt sure that I
could find a paper or channel that
gave me the news I wanted. I
started with cNN, the first truly
context-free news organization. It
was even more stressful that the
New York news. Watching CNN
requires chess-like concentration.
If you go to the bathroom, you
miss half the day's news and have
to wait another fifteen minutes to
see it again. I found myself
listening for the "over to you,
Fred," so I could tell when one
story was ending and another
starting. There were lots of pretty
colors on the screen, and a
realistic looking newsroom in the
background, but I can't watch
news that has stock market
quotations floating around the
bottom of the screen.
Television news is information
about important people from
important people. Witness the
trio of Jennings, Brokaw and
Rather. Devotees of the big three
dudes tell me that they have an
important job to do, lending
credibility to the news. As far as I
can make out, they get paid
phenomenal salaries for standing
around happening places looking
like Humphrey Bogart and telling
us what they think about the
world. This is a fun job - like
getting paid to kick Sam
Donaldson in the teeth.
Noting my frustration, a friend
advised me to watch ABC's
Nightline, with Ted Koppel,
promising me a more in-depth
approach to the news. So, last
week I watched him chair a
discussion in South Africa, which
globally conscious ABC called "A
Town Meeting." Ted has been
watching too many James Bond
movies - his eyebrows have a
life of their own, he can't resist a
glib comment, and he appears to

think that he has a monopoly on
human intelligence. Then again,
maybe he does. Maybe I'm just
being too harsh.
After all, I did turn on Saturday
Night Live one evening, and
thought Dennis Miller was doing
a real news show. I've since
discovered Bill Bonds, who is
much funnier. And he's serious.
But, it's time to rein in this
particular tangent and get back to
the point. I decided that
television was simply not the
place to find the news. That left
the printed word, and the radio.
But the radio is for highly
amplified music, not news. So
that left the newspapers.
Intellectual sophistication
apparently comes from carrying
the New York Times around
campus, so I decided to give that
a try. Jesus! Does anyone really
read that newspaper? Even with a
dictionary? I tell you solemnly, no
news is that boring. I bet all those
people with the Times tucked
under their arms really don't read
about Bolivia's peasants or the
background pieces on politics in
faraway places. They just read the
movie reviews and the sports
page, and hope they find a copy
of usA Today in the bathroom.
Newspapers love to divide the
past up into neat ten year chunks
called decades. Mercifully, the
"Life in the Eighties" stories are
finished, but you can be sure the
zealous hacks at Time-Life are
already compiling their nineties
stories, and worrying about what
the first decade of the next
century will be called. The
Firsties? The Oneties? It seems
trivial, but this question will cause
grief for many in the business.
The other sort of context
newspapers provide for their
readers is the "slice-of-life" story,

and once in a while one of these
will come along which has wire
editors drooling into their
Styrofoam coffee cups. The vastly
unimportant opening of
McDonalds in Moscow was a
recent example. This story made
front pages across the nation.
They are killing one another in
Beirut, Belfast, El Salvador and
Washington D.C. - but hey, didja
hear that the Ruskies have to pay
half a day's wages for a Big Mac
and fries? Freakin' incredible,
huh? That really slapped the
suffering of the faceless masses
into context.
The advantage of the print
media is that they can develop a
story more fully than television
will allow. So, while television can
only tell you that Donald Trump
is getting divorced, and maybe
show a brief interview with Liz
Smith, the newspapers can tell
you what sort of sex he is having,
and what color underwear he
buys. I couldn't give a flying fuck
if Donald Trump was found
having sex with a bevy of grizzly
bears on the White House lawn,
but some people really care. The
cult of personality and all that.
It has been said that people get
the news they deserve. Now that

the Soviet Union is undergoing a
revolution of sorts, Tass (the
Soviet news agency) has taken to
reporting UFOs. It has also
reported strange creatures
roaming the countryside with
advanced weaponry, although
some claim that this is simply Pat
Buchanan, who has finally gone
off the deep end.
I suppose we should be grateful
that we can at least choose what
we read and watch. Maybe news
will be the trivial pursuit of the
nineties - whoever knows the
most facts wins. If you can learn
to have a shorter attention span,
the endless stream of gibberish
that passes as news does quite
nicely. You just begin to
understand the world in a
different way. If you shove
enough disconnected blathering
into a newspaper, it begins to look
substantial.
There was a "Factoid" break on
CNN Headline News recently. It
said "A Pizza Hut poll showed
that 13% of office employees
admitted to firing rubber bands in
the office." Ponder this. There is
a deeper meaning somewhere.
by Ronan G. Lynch

Media treated
WCBN unfairly
To the editor:
This is in response to Phil
Cohen's article "The Ten
Percent Solution" in the Feb.
16th edition of Weekend
Magazine. Regarding the
publication Ten Percent, which
purports to represent the interests
of the Gay community of
Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor, editor Steve
Culver misrepresents WCBN its
executive staff, and the Gay
Radio Collective. In the premier
issue, Mr Culver alleges that
WCBN tried to cover up anti-gay
incidents which occurred on Dec.
8th and 12th by not reporting the
incidents to the proper
"authorities" at the University of
Michigan.
It is our contention, however,
that WCBN was not given a fair
chance to respond to such
allegations. It is true that WCBN
launched an internal investigation
into the matter and decided not to
reveal facts pertaining to the
incidents immediately, but we
had very good reasons for
conducting our affairs in this
manner. It is NOT true that WCBN
didn't report the incidents; they
were reported to the office of
Affirmative Action on January
16th, Ten Percent published its
article on January 17th. Ten Percent
editor Steve Culver refused to
withhold publication of the article
in spite of the report to the
Affirmative Action office, and to
this day has not offered WCBN's
executive staff a chance to
officially rebut his damaging
assertions. WCBN and the Gay
Radio Collective feel that Steve
Culver is an opportunist and lacks

in journalistic ethics.
That an incident occurred in
the radio station, was investigated
by the people involved, was
resolved to the satisfaction of all
involved, and reported in a timely
manner (little more than 1 month)
is unprecedented in a
bureaucratic institution such as
the University of Michigan. That
a student organization could
empower themselves and handle
their own affairs is an action that
deserves applause, not
condemnation.
In the past, wCBN has been
victimized by certain
individuals"actions, and then
threatened with extinction by the
administration because of these
actions which were essentially
beyond the control of the radio
station's staff. To this day, the
"student radio station at the
University of Michigan" is known
in the national press as the "one
that aired racial jokes." wCBN does
not wish to be known as "the
homophobic station" as well.,
Even the Daily misrepresented
this latest incident by not
reporting all of the facts. On the
front page of the Feb. 1st edition
of the Daily is an article about Ten
Percent which includes the face
page of the publication and a
headline which reads "Anti-gay
acts at wCBN go unreported."
Students who read only the
headlines would get the
impression that wCBN is anti-gay.
Nothing could be further from
the truth, in fact, wCBN is proud to
have the Gay Radio Collective's
program "Closets are for
Clothes," probably the only show
of its kind in the state of
Michigan. There is still a chance
for the Daily to redeem itself by
doing a follow-up piece detailing

the incidents that occurred, or by
giving wCBN some press coverage
which emphasizes our high
quality programming.
For instance, from Feb. 22nd-
25th, wCBN is airing some special
programming which celebrates
African-American contributions to
the culture of America, called
"Listen to the Color of Your
Dreams."
Luis A. Vazquez
Public Affairs Director, WCBN FM
Ten Percent article
questioned
To the editor:
The Gay Radio Collective is
writing in response to what we
feel was inaccurate and damaging
coverage of the incidents at wCBN
88.3 FM in the January cover story
of Ten Percent. These are the facts
about what occurred:
On December 8, 1989 the
"Closets are for Clothes" desk in
Annex A at wCBN was vandalized.
A note was posted in the lobby by
a member of the collective asking
the perpetrator to call her and
discuss the incident. WCBN was
notified, and began its own
investigation. On December 12,
the note was found on the desk
with an offensive response. Two
wCBN staffers saw a member of
wCBN leaving Annex A just after
the note was left. Brad Heavner,
station manager, contacted the
person. On December 22 (the last
day of finals), Heavner met with
the person. This person admitted
guilt, and agreed to the demands
that he resign from wCBN, turn in
his keys, and write a letter of
apology to the collective. The

radio collective had its next
meeting on January 7 (due to the
holiday break), and was given the
note of apology. The guilty party
had not yet turned his keys in to
the key office, because the
University was not officially open
until January 11. Discussion of
reporting the incident to the
Office of Affirmative Action for
statistical purposes began during
this week. It was agreed that
there was no need to report it for
disciplinary reasons, since wCBN
had handled the matter. On
Friday January 12, members of
the collective talked to the author
of this article. He was told that
the incident was going to be
reported on Tuesday January 16
(the first day possible to report it,
since Monday was MLK Day). The
author, a now-former member of
the collective, was also told
repeatedly that the collective and
wCBN did not want these incidents
made public, for fear of
misrepresentation. Our fears were
realized with the publication of
Ten Percent on Tuesday, January
16. The collective was unable to
talk to Jimmy Myers at the Office
of Affirmative Action until

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Weekend Magazine welcome
readers (especially if they are s
two on this page). Letters shoul
the Doily offices on disk, on p(
via MTS-UB to "Weekend Mac
Please make sure a name and
accompanies each submission
with the salutation "To the editc
be edited for space.

Iif

I I

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Day.
Does anyone else find it
particularly disturbing that each
fall we at the University of
Michigan are forced to celebrate
our.arch-rivals on Columbus Day?
Anyone who's ever been to
Columbus knows there is nothing
there worth commemorating. Of
course, we get our just dues from
the Buckeyes every time (Ann)
Arbor Day roles around.
Veteran's Day, I like. We can
keep Veteran's Day. Who could
find offense with those who
sacrifice life and limb to make
sure our pets have all their shots?
Thanksgiving and Christmas/
Chanukah have become so
commercial, I can only wonder

how soon it will be before the
government starts selling official
sponsorships to corporations for
these holidays. Just picture it on
calendars everywhere: Firestone
presents Thanksgiving, A Del
Monte Christmas, or
Manischevitz Chanukah?
Then, of course, there's Get As
Drunk As Possible And Act Like
I'm Having The Absolute Best
Time of My Life, Even Though
I'd Really Rather Just Be In Bed
Watching Dick Clark Live From
Times Square On TV Eve, which
is followed by I Wish I Had
Stayed Home And Watched Dick
Clark Live From Times Square
On TV Rather Than Getting As
Drunk As Possible And Acting

Like I Was Having The Absolute
Best Time of My Life Last
Night, Who's Playing In The
Cotton Bowl Day.
Last, there is Valentine's Day.
Anyone who has ever had to go
through this day without a
Valentine (come on; we all have
at one time or another) will agree
that no other holiday can quite
match this one for making
someone feel miserable,
depressed, lonely, unwanted, and
basically like common pond
scum. Or is that what holidays are
for?
So there it is, enough reasons to
eliminate most every holiday from
the year. There are any number
of equally offensive holidays I've

omitted for space reasons (i.e., St.
Patrick's Day, Sweetest Day,
Passover, Secretaries' Day, and
Cashmir Pulaski's Birthday - we
actually used to get a day off of
school for that one).
Sure, the ramifications of such a
bold move as eliminating all
holidays would be great at first.=
The greeting card industry would
go into a tailspin, but I'm sure
Hallmark could convert all those
factories to defense plants at a
minor cost.
We'd have to do without
Charlie Brown Specials, days off
from school, getting presents,
family reunions, and barbeques
with the neighbors, but then
again we'd do without Osmond

Family
bills, fa
with the
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but I'm
with ne
discoun
So stc
any forr
Thanks
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12 WEEKEND Fsbruuv 23, iflO

WEEKEND

i $ 6 # t 4 !
FeiNMary 23 1990

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