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September 17, 1996 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-09-17

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4- The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, September 17, 1996

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420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Edited and managed by
students at the
University of Michigan

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the Daily 's editorial board. All
other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

Fighting again
MSA falls victim to gridlock

'It's very much as Michigan goes,
so goes America.'
- Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole explaining the importance of
Michigan in the 1996 election. Dole spoke in Freeland, Mich., last Friday.
tO E

Not necessarily
the news


J ust two weeks ago, there was hope. The
Michigan Student Assembly returned
from summer vacation, and its first meeting
benefitted from a spirit of cooperation.
Assembly members - from the president
down to the newest members - talked
about a less partisan, more efficient govern-
meht. Even two prominent members
renounced their party affiliation to focus
more on student issues, instead of partisan
bickering. Barely two weeks later, the hon-
eymoon is over.
Last Tuesday's MSA meeting, which was
held at Trotter House, was marked by a
return to sharp partisan divide. The assem-
bly considered only two major resolutions
-regarding internal spending procedures
and campaign advertising. After long and
rancorous debate, the assembly tabled both
proposals, pending further review.
The meeting was disappointing. Given
that MSA Reps. "Andy Schor (Wolverine
Party) and David Burden (Students' Party)
dropped their party affiliation two weeks
ago, the assembly is effectively in the hands
of the Michigan Party. At that time, MSA
President Fiona Rose said she did not antic-
ipate having trouble passing legislation in
the absence of traditional party-line voting
and coalitions. Unfortunately, Rose may
have spoken too soon.
Tuesday's meeting is an example of past
problems with MSA. The meeting was
plagued with miscommunication - at
times, representatives voiced confusion
over what the assembly was voting on.
Debate often became heated, creating an
uncomfortable atmosphere. These problems
led to an unproductive meeting.
History has proved that partisan bicker-

ing burdens the governing process with
inefficiency. Not only does it stall the legis-
lation at hand, it creates ill will and bad
feelings. Such bickering also undermines
the credibility of the student government.
The majority' of students currently view
MSA as an incompetent, ineffective gov-
ernment. Tuesday's meeting only reinforced
this view. If'MSA is to change this percep-
tion, it must work harder to stop the infight-
Moreover, student turnout at MSA elec-
tions may never increase if the infighting
continues. MSA would do well to overcome
its partisan problems. In the last few elec-
tions, only about 10 percent of the student
body voted.
MSA needs to convince students that it
really does have a positive impact upon
campus life. Getting bogged down in party
politics is a sure path to failure for MSA,
especially at the ballot box.
In an effort to attract student interest,
MSA held last Tuesday's meeting at the
Trotter House instead of its usual location
in the Michigan Union. This is a positive
step forward for the assembly. With
increased visibility comes a greater respon-
sibility to be efficient. Here, MSA clearly
failed, as the meeting became victim to
Parties within MSA are necessary, if
only to stop elections and debates from
degenerating into pure popularity contests
without regard for ability or merit.
However, when it interferes with the busi-
ness of government, assembly members
need to take a step back and reconsider their
elective mission - to serve the best interest
of their constituents, the students.


Undue influence
Dole should focus on election, not Congress
L ast week, Bob Dole exerted his influ- on both sides of the aisle. The bill would
ence over Congress by derailing two double the number of border patrol officers
key bills. He urged the Senate not to ratify and increase workplace inspections.
an international treaty that would ban the Clinton agreed to sign it in its original
development, production and stockpiling of form. Dole effectively killed the legislation
all chemical weapons. Also, Dole insisted by insisting that it include a provision that
on adding a controversial provision to would allow states to deny public education
immigration legislation that would result in to children of illegal immigrants.
a presidential veto. Dole resigned from Increasing governmental deadlock is all
Congress for a reason - he should keep his that Dole's political strategy accomplishes.
pledge to distance himself from the legisla- Consensus building would be a more posi-
ive process. tive approach for a presidential candidate.
The chemical weapons treaty is an Dole relinquished his position as Senate
important step in increasing international Majority Leader to distance himself from
security. The treaty, negotiated during the bills, amendments and motions.
Reagan and Bush administrations, would Unfortunately, trailing by up to 23 percent
require participants to eliminate all chemi- in some polls, Dole is reneging on his
cal weapons within 10 years and would pro- pledge in order to score politically. His
vide for an international agency to set coercion of Republican congressional lead-
guidelines and conduct inspections. Dole ers on the immigration bill and chemical
believes that the treaty should not be rati- weapons treaty is disturbing.
fled because it does not effectively ban A majority of the GOP feels pressure to
chemical weapons from every point on maintain a united front in order to keep con-
Earth. Dole's rationale is unsound - mak- trol of Congress and elect Bob Dole presi-
ing headway toward chemical weapon dent. Dole, knowing that key Republicans
reduction is better than no progress at all. will fall into line, is using this to his advan-
James Baker III, secretary of state under tage. His political opposition to both bills
George Bush, said that he expected a few smacks of cheap political trickery. Dole
rogue states not to sign onto the treaty. does not want Clinton to receive foreign
Nevertheless, the body of nations that did policy acclaim for the chemical treaty.
follow the convention would be able to Furthermore, he wants to gain votes in
exert significant influence in bringing other Florida, California and Texas by making
countries into line. Dole must realize that a Clinton appear to be against immigration
significant reduction in international chem- reform.
ical weapon stockpiles is highly desirable. Dole's resignation from Congress is
Weapons would be less accessible to both meaningless if he insists upon maintaining
terrorists and rogue nations. The treaty lays control from behind the scenes. Vision, not
forth a noble ideal to be worked toward - increasing government deadlock, is the key
Dole should immediately rescind his base- to winning a presidential election. Dole

Reagan years
helped grow
the economy
Let's talk about the econ-
omy. When Ronald Reagan
took office, he cut taxes. Yes,
this caused the income of the
two top classes to increase
faster than the lower class.
And there is a simple expla-
nation. The two higher class-
es have more disposable
income than the lower class;
therefore, they can save and
invest, and make their money
grow at a faster rate than the
lower class can. It's not the
fault of Republicans that it
happens to work like that.
According to the Joint
Committee on Taxation, most
of Clinton's targeted-tax cuts
will end after the year 2000,
meaning taxes will only be
lowered for a short time
when he is in office, but will
increase when he leaves. And
Clinton has planned $64 bil-
lion in new taxes, a fact con-
firmed by the White House
and congressional
Let me add one more cor-
rection: Where was this
depression that Luke Klipp
referred to ("Clinton helps to
improve economy,:" 9/13/96).
There was a recession, but to
describe the 1991-93 econo-
my as a depression is a flat
out lie.
Finally, taxes on the mid-
dle class were not supposed
to stay the same - they were
supposed to decrease.
Instead, the United States
was slapped with the largest
tax increase in history.
President Kennedy cut taxes,
why can't Bill?
Elizabeth is
superior to
Here we go again. In
Wednesday's Miller on Tap
("To whom is the accom-
plished, smart woman mar-
ried," 9/11/96), we once
again see the moronic left at
work. Mrs. Dole very much
deserves every compliment
that Miller offers. However,
he immediately turns around
and insults her by saying
"There's no practical differ-
ence between the two women
(referring to Hillary)." There
is a world of difference
between the two women.
Elizabeth Dole tells the
truth. Hillary is up to her
neck in lies over Whitewater,
Travelgate and the Vince
Foster case. When Mrs. Dole

America as head of the Red
Cross. Hillary's contribution
has been with the Children's
Defense Fund. (Can you say
"Socialist Elitism"?)
As for Republicans not
being able to handle women
in power, let me simply say
that most of us hold Margaret
Thatcher in the same high
regard as we hold Ronald
Finally, Miller closes by
saying, "bear in mind that
one party is gambling on the
fact that you haven't got
enough brains to recognize a
huge, flaming untruth when
you see one. He's right. But
he seems to have missed the
point that the party he's refer-
ring to is the same one that's
held the White House for the
last four years.
Greek I ife
I have read the editorial
titled "What's the rush?"
(9/10/96), and I think you
give some good advice. I
think it is always wise for
students to carefully reflect
on their options.
However, I have a couple
of concerns that I would like
to address. The first is that
you give the advice to post-
pone rush past first semester
and wait a while so one can
experience other campus
activities. I believe that this
advice is slanted. It is true
that rushing and becoming an
associate member takes con-
siderable amounts of time,
but so do other activities. By
your reasoning, a student
should not do any involved
activity because it may inter-
fere with another.
I rushed my first term and
found that the Naval ROTC
program took a greater
amount of time out of my
schedule than my fraternity
did. The Greek system is
another activity to explore
and one I would encourage
others to take a look at. I can
honestly say that I had more
memories and great experi-
ences in my associate-mem-
ber term than I thought I
would in my entire college
career. The reason I would
encourage people to get
involved with any activity
first term of their first year is
so they can bring more into
that organization. The Daily .
does not turn down people
who want to get involved in
their first term because these
people will be able to con-
tribute significantly more
than if they started their

involved on campus.
Examples from my own
house in recent years are:
USAC, creation of Project
Smile, the water ski club, the
Union Board of
Representatives, the baseball
team, University of Michigan
pre-med club executive
board, commander of the
Naval ROTC battalion, the
Interfraternity Council. We
have volunteered our time at
the Ronald McDonald and
Pound House, LSA-Student
Government, the campus
radio station, ResComp,
Omega Chi Epsilon, chemi-
cal engineering honor soci-
ety, ITD, Amazing Blue and
the Marching Band. Every
member of my house fully
supports the people involved
in these activities and realizes
that these activities take time
out of their schedule.
The Greek system does
not exclude or dissuade peo-
ple from being involved; we
encourage it. I think that the
advice you give to students to
understand the commitments
they make when they join an
organization is good advice. I
encourage you to be sure to
apply your advice to all
applicable organizations,
rather than selectively.
OSU reigns
Ah, it is football season
again. And again the
University is looking to the
end of the season when the
greatest rivalry in all of foot-
ball - Michigan vs. Ohio
State - will take place. Last
year something strange hap-
pened in Ann Arbor; the best
team in the nation came into
town and got beat.
Ohio State hasn't had a
team as good as last year's in
15 years. This year most peo-
ple think with Ohio State los-
ing superstars like George,
Hoying, Glen and Dudley
that a Michigan victory is in
the bag.
Well I am here to inform
all Michigan football fans to
think again. Ohio State is not
rebuilding this year - they
are reloading. Sure, Eddie is
gone but let me assure you
that his shoes fit Pepe
Pearson just fine. Yea, but
they lost their team leader
Bob Hoying. Don't worry,
Stanley Jackson is to lead
this team for the next two
years. Also don't worry about
the loss of Terry Glen: OSU
has many explosive receivers
to put in that chamber of the
gun. One more thing that
OSU has on their side this
year is the horseshoe. This
year's game will take place in

omeone once described our cam-
pus as "one square mile surround-
ed by reality;' and this is true for a host
of reasons, one of which is the way
Michigan students get their news.
While the key sources of news for
University students probably include
The New York
Times, National
Public Radio,
CNN or the Daily,
out there in reality
most people get .:*.
their news from a
combination of t,
local newspapers, ~
the networks and
local TV news-
casts. Anyone who
does watch local S A M U E L
TV news, espe- GooDTsrfIN
cially in urban
areas, knows that it is typically domi-
nated by crime storiesor reports of
absurd happenings many local sta-
tions devote about ten minutes to the
local crime/freak-show, and two min-
utes to news before moving on to
weather and sports. This summer, on
my local newscast, before I could ear
about Congress passing health care
reform I had to watch three separate
violent crime stories, a story about a
house in Rhode Island falling into the
water (nobody was hurt) and a story
about a man who ran through the zoo
naked, frightening a group of children.
While all polls indicate that
Americans dislike unnecessary vio-
lence in their local newscasts, the
Nielson ratings tell a different story:
Local stations with high levels of
graphic violence get the top ratings.
While psycho-analysts may attribute
this paradox to the fact that we want
what we detest, I think there is a more
simple explanation: We hardly have a
choice. Competitive local stations
appeal to the lowest common denomi-
nator - senseless crime that has no
impact on the community but looks
really gory on camera - because it is
an easy way to get good ratings.
Furthermore, crime is easy to report.
Every TV station has a police scanner,
so they can immediately find out when
and where crimes have occurred, and it.
takes minimal effort to put together a
good, even sensational, crime story.
Key characters are easy to get on the
air, and easy to interview: Talk to a
few cops, talk to the victim, the vie-.
tim's family and friends, and if you are
a lucky reporter you can even talk t6
the suspect and his or her friends and
family. It all makes for a nice, quick
story that can be prepared by 5 p.m..
"So what?" you ask. If the bulk of the
population gets its news from a source
that stresses crime over civic issues, vio-
lence over real community developments
and freak occurrences over politics, thisĀ°
can easily corode participatory democ-
racy. Even worse, the focus on crime dis-
torts reality. Nationally, and in Michigan,
crime has been going down; however
coverage of crime is going up and fear of
crime is going through the roof
Coincidence? Maybe, but I doubt it.
Fortunately, as reported on NPR,
there is a station in Austin, Texas that
is quietly revolutionizing the way local
stations report the news, and maybe
this revolution will spread. KVUE, the
ABC affiliate in Austin, has decided to
cut gratuitous crime out of their broad-
casts, and focus on issues that really
impact the community. This doesn't
mean that KVUE will never report a
crime, only that they will hold crime
stories up to the same standards that
other potential stories face. In other
words, just because a crime happens
doesn't make it news. Specifically,

KVUE holds each story up to five cri '
teria: Is it an immediate threat to pub-
lic safety? Is it a threat to children? Do
viewers need to take action (this could
include anything from leaving town to
voting for or against a certain person or
ballot question)? Does it have an impact
on the community (the community could
be Austin or it could be the world com-
munity)? And is it a crime prevention
issue (trials are included here)? Using
these criteria, KVUE can still cover
crime without turning the news into a
laundry list of murders, robberies and
oddities. For example, KVUE decided
against running a story about a triple
murder committed after a fight
between a group of drunk men in a
barn outside of Austin, while its main
competitor ran it as the lead story.
It does not surprise me that KVUE is
the ratings leader in Austin; only that
more local stations have yet to catch'
on. While critics claim that KVUE is
violating journalistic ethics by filter-
ing out what they view as "bad" news,
the fact is that every news organization
must use some set of critereia in deter-
mining what to run - some organiza-
tions use better criteria than others.

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