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April 01, 2003 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-04-01

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, April 1, 2003


atb ic Igan Dal


SINCE 1890

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.

These represent the
most significant civil rights
cases the Supreme Court
will have decided in the
last quarter century."
- Theodore Shaw, NAACP associate
counsel, on today's oral arguments in the
University's affirmative action case,
according to CNN.


Good evening. I'm Scott Bakula
/ of TV's "Quantum Leap." Because
of the recent conflict in Iraq, the
creators of "Stick Figures Are
Awesome" have been forced to
withhold several cartoons. What
follows are excerpts from some
of them. B-Sides, if you will.

I don't understand why
we're breaking up.

March 24

It's not you, George.
It's your tax plan.



Sorry, children, but this
is the last time we can
hang out together. Do you
know what a restraining
order is?

March 19

MNV's Spring Break -- A drunken Norah Jones naked on a donkey.
15 miles
March 25

What else is on?
have a friend named already become disenchanted by the media's replete with accounts of death and mishaps
Heath Cerrin Erny willing commodification of war and its and misdeeds, the characteristics of war.
who is both really obfuscation of all other happenings. Even more alarmingly, we also have fewer
intelligent and distinctly Following our evening, one which I had and fewer prominent sources from which we
engaging. A physics prefaced by watching innumerable explo- can retrieve all that we might want to know.
'major as comfortable sions, I went home and rapidly joined The high preponderance of corporate
discussing Gauss's Law Heath in his perspective as I watched mergers and synergy is scary given the
(which he has tattooed shows like CNN's "War in Iraq" and extent to which media can influence our
on his arm) as he is Aris- recalled Dan Rather's almost gleeful prog- opinions, a power that is rarely examined
totle (none of whose nostication that the military endeavor with great depth beyond the world of acade-
work is tattooed anywhere), Heath always against Hussein would likely be the most mia. Neglect of the subject owes to the
keeps our discussions thought provoking. watched television event in history. When absence from MSNBC's news ticker of tid-
He's not without humor, either, so generally, news outlets are preoccupied finding the bits like, "New study finds that we and our
we have a nice time hanging out, and our dis- catchiest title for their endless coverage of industry peers control you, the uninformed
course ranges from the intellectual to the the war and Dan Rather is recasting the herd." But college kids have that time to ask
inane. (How inane? This is a man who used U.S. president as director of programming for more, and a scrutiny of the media effects
to freeze fruit in our refrigerator during instead of commander in chief, the Ameri- literature yields a depressing conclusion.
freshman year solely for the purpose of shat- can public has some serious problems. Most basically, research has conclusive-
tering his assorted apples, oranges and pears Finding fault in news coverage is noth- ly found that news outlets, particularly tele-
in the stairwells of South Quad. Good times.) ing new, so I don't want to be mistaken for vision programs, have a profound and
A few weeks ago, Heath and I met for someone who believes he's rightly rein- decisive influence on the American pub-
dinner, an appointment at which we broke vented the wheel. My point is that watch- lic's agenda, dictating to them which issues
from our standard, varied interaction and ing the war on television provides a matter and why. The results were subse-
spoke almost solely about the nation's war window into reality no more legitimate quently modified, with that power depen-
campaign in the Middle East. While commis- than playing CandyLand. dent upon the topic, the preexisting level of
erating over our shared distrust of President The sensational, jejune coverage which persuasion among individual, and their
G-Dub and bemoaning the aborted diploma- we can watch at all times - please don't. talk respective levels of cognition. An issue like
cy that both led us to a nearly unilateral war to me about the "embedded" reporters who war in a distant place against a people with
and likely threatened all other Axis mem- are taken off air if they actually report and a mostly alien culture perfectly lends itself
bers, Heath mentioned that he had stopped are only allowed their "access" as a means to media manipulation, though.
visiting CNN's website because it had effec- for the military to manage the news sent back Findings like those are worth bearing in
tively morphed into www.war.com. to the States - is only a simulacrum of jour- mind as we continue to "patriotically" watch
Heath had not turned his back on the nalism, one that redirects the media's narrow someone else's cities go up in flames, as we
United States, signaled his disregard for U.S. spotlight from other news and recenters it on continue to ignore the rest of what's happen-
troops or condoned Saddam Hussein and his skewed, consumption-ready information. ing, as we continue to confuse night-vision-
regime - all common accusations hurled by Comparing our country's reporting on the cloaked information with bare truth.
those who adhere to a binary system which war to that of news services in other nations,
makes any dissent un-American, unapprecia- like the BBC ini allied Britain, exposes that Litman can be reached at
tive and dangerous. Instead, he simply had we aren't receiving a clear picture, one litmanj@umich.edu.
Not quite colorblind
ral arguments in wrong and maybe some have truly deluded attempt to play the race card because his name
the University's themselves into believing their fight to give is "Estrada," these activists failed to call their
a f f i r m a t i v e more college seats to whites with better SAT conservative pals to account.
action cases will be scores than minority students is continuing the And which of the euphemistically named
heard by the U.S. struggle of Martin Luther King Jr., as many conservative civil rights groups (including the
Supreme Court today, are fond of claiming. But their efforts to Center for Individual Rights, the Center for
and this summer the achieve colorblindness only go one way. They Equal Opportunity and the American Civil
years-long fight over the never speak up when race is used against Rights Institute) will first take up the cause of
constitutionality of the minorities or to further conservative goals. ending racial profiling? While these groups
University's admission Where were these conservatives civil rights attack affirmative action and other programs
policies - and similar programs around the activists when the Department of Justice used aimed at helping minorities in court, their con-
country - will finally be settled. the Voting Rights Act - which requires it to servative brethren use race to further their goals
Supporters of affirmative action are hopeful approve congressional redistricting in Southern (like the Estrada nomination) and are often
and working hard, rallying and getting their states - to veto a Mississippi redistricting plan indifferent to instances of active racial discrimi-
message out. But the tide turned against affir- that favored Democrats and handed the deci- nation (like the Pickering nomination).
mative action a long time ago and its opponents sion to a panel of Republican judges who Race still means something in this coun-
aren't hoping, but contentedly awaiting the packed minority areas together to help Republi- try. The injection of race into everything
inevitable. Those who chide us for considering can candidates? Didn't these champions of from judicial nominations to who law
race say ending affirmative action is necessary equality find the use of a law meant to prevent enforcement suspects of crimes shows that. It
to repair the racial divisions in our society. discrimination against black voters instead used also has continuing social and economic con-
Many of them - including the product of pref- to keep them from electing more of their pre- sequences. It still affects how you live, how
erences for children of privilege who runs our ferred candidates by segregating congressional others view you and what opportunities you
government - like to tell us not to worry, there districts to be something unjust? have. The struggle to end affirmative action
are other ways to achieve diversity. The conservative civil rights activists also would be a lot more understandable if those
There is President Bush's favored method had little to say about the federal appeals court leading the fight would acknowledge the
of granting the top percentage of students nomination of Charles Pickering who, as a reality that race does still matter and work to
from all high schools admission to state state senator, sponsored laws aimed at reduc- stamp out the many ugly and unjust uses and
schools, shamefully using school segregation ing the political influence of blacks and who, effects of race that persist.
to make up for affirmative action instead of as a law student, authored an article on how a Without such efforts, getting rid of means
recognizing it as an evil in itself. state law against interracial marriage could be to attract and keep minority students in col-
As The New York Times reported over the amended to make it enforceable - advice the lege and the effects that will have on their
weekend, conservative groups are threatening state legislature followed. (Pickering claims it opportunities for social advancement and inte-
to launch lawsuits across the country attacking was an "academic exercise," but surely these gration will only exacerbate our divisions.
programs and scholarships aimed at encourag- civil rights activists saw through that.) Conservative civil rights groups like to tell
ing minorities to attend and stay in college. When liberals objected to the judicial us that race shouldn't matter. But if they get
How long before they attack the percentage nomination of a right-wing lawyer actively their way, it will only matter more.
plans as just an illegal proxy for race? hiding his views from public scrutiny -
I have no doubt these affirmative action which I presume means the public wouldn't Cunife can be reached at
opponents sincerely believe they are righting a like them -- and conservatives shamelessly pcunaff@umich.edu.


Do)frnn resigns from MSZ
Presidency, offers apology
The Jewish people are not fighting a new
battle. Anti-Semitism is as old as Judaism, and
unfortunately, it does not appear that we are
headed for peace anytime soon in Israel. Our
rabbis teach us that peace and redemption will
only come after the Jewish community unites
and returns to the Torah and its command-
ments. According to Rabbi Hillel, the name-

truth advertisements.
After dealing with the initial heartbreak
of being publicly condemned by members
of my own community, I have decided to
reevaluate the rationale of becoming active
in the pro-Israel community. To me the pur-
pose of Israel advocacy is to encourage
Jewish students to return to their communi-
ty; to establish a strong sense of identity
among the University's 6,700 Jews. The
truth is that MSZ's largest support bases
exist outside of campus, in the Metro
Detroit Jewish and national evangelical
Christian communities.
I have strongly held the position that if the

dividing entity in the Jewish community, and
while there may be a base of students on cam-
pus who agree with its ideologies, the effects
of MSZ are contrary to its initial goals. It is
with the concept of achdus in mind, that I
resign my position as president of Michigan
Student Zionists, and recommend its abandon-
ment by the remaining members.
I will continue to work with the North
American Jewish Student Alliance on cam-
pus, and it is my strong desire that I be wel-
comed into the mainstream pro-Israel
community, so that I may best fulfill the
ultimate goals of Israel advocacy. I would
also like to offer a public apology, and ask






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