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March 16, 2005 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-03-16

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 16, 2005



Editor in Chief

Editorial Page Editors

Managing Editor



I'm not sure a
rock star who is
already having
the cream on the
cake would ever
have a Nobel
Peace Prize."
- U2 frontman Bono, downplaying specu-
lation that he might win the Nobel Peace
Prize, in comments backstage at the Rock
and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony
on Monday, according to billboard.com.


ust ice, if al
laws are
derived fror
God, what
happens if yo
don't believei


obviously donu
jy getcto no




T?~ ~




-_ __ _ __ - _ __ __. ._ _ -

The shadow press
t's a night in March, just as fruitless. The last time you surfed the course: They became the actors in the gov-
2009. You're watch- Web, you spent 15 minutes reading an "Asso- ernment commercials, and found the pay a
ing the last few min- ciate Press" story about the spread of free- good deal better than in the working press.
utes of the CBS Evening dom throughout the globe before realizing it Recall that back in 2005, satellite sub-
News with anchor Gwen was in a pop-up window on top of the Asso- scribers could already turn on the Pentagon
Ifill. Scratch that, too ciated Press story you had wanted to read. Channel for the latest positive reports from
optimistic: the CBS Eve- You long for the good old days of 2005, Iraq. But Pentagon spokespeople deflected
ning News with anchor when the government's campaign to counter charges of propaganda by pointing out that
Nondescript Whiteguy. real news reports with fake ones was still in the network provided full press conferences
A correspondent reports its infancy. When most of the time you could without any "spin."
the disturbing results turn on the TV and count on a real journalist Unfortunately, the government press con-
of an investigation into telling you the news. ference became even less informative than
Our nation's schools. It seems that a record Back then, the most popular faux-news before, as political operatives began taking
number of inner-city schools are failing their program was "The Daily Show," which has the seats once occupied by reporters. One
students. Test scores and graduation rates are long since been overtaken in the ratings by pioneer in this field participated in White
dropping across the country. "Good Evening with Armstrong Williams." House press briefings (under the pseud-
After that bit of doom and gloom, Non- People didn't mind that the White House onym Jeff Gannon) as early as 2003, asking
descript signs off and a different news show chief of staff signed Williams's paychecks, President Bush's spokesman such scathing
comes on. The reporter on this program as long as he kept cheering them up at night. questions as, "Doesn't Joe Wilson owe the
looks equally bland, but he has a much sun- Official public relations passed off as news president and America an apology for his
nier message: American schools are doing hardly seemed so pervasive in 2005. Sure, deception and his own intelligence failure?"
better than ever. Thanks to the policies of the once in a while the local news would turn and "I would like to comment on the angry
current administration, kids have self-esteem the mic over to a government shill who the mob that surrounded Karl Rove's house on
in spades and parents brim with pride in their anchor identified as just another reporter for Sunday." These kind of softballs became the
community schools. Just ask this parent. Just Local 7. Those prepackaged reports issued norm in later years.
look at these smiling pupils raising their by the State Department, the Census Bureau
hands. Pay no attention to what you saw in and many other agencies seemed fairly harm- False journalists, make-believe news
that last broadcast. less - except to the folks at the nonparti- reports and propaganda channels -
You turn the TV off, knowing that turn- san Government Accountability Office. The they're all part of the shadow press,
ing to another channel like CNN would GAO reported that the spots were designed amply documented right here in 2005. No
only reveal the same confusing juxtaposi- "to be indistinguishable from news stories science-fiction flights of fancy needed.
tion of traditional and triumphant news. produced by private sector television news I know what you're thinking: Isn't covert
You make a mental note to pick up a copy organizations" and warned against "covert government propaganda better than what's
of the newspaper tomorrow morning. Just propaganda." on the news right now?
remember this time not to accidentally take The real media certainly didn't mind. Even after watching Fox 2 Problem Solv-
one from those other racks. Those other They could rely on this mimicry to fill the ers bring weekly vigilante justice to "gov-
papers look almost identical to the ones gaps left after budget cuts forced them to lay ernment workers goofing off on the job," I
you usually read, but they invariably carry off reporters and producers. Besides, it was still say no. But we may find out sooner than
good news about government programs getting harder and harder to find good staff, we'd like.
beneath mastheads bearing the names "US as plummeting public trust in the media left
Today" and "The New York Time." Close, aspiring journalists with second thoughts. Schrader can be reached at
but no cigar. So where did all those disenchanted com- jtschradCumich.edu.
Going online for current events would be munications majors go? Why into PR, of


Cdum stigywsamzplic
lerghy FDA 4pmwproe
To ThE DpMy:
This letter is in response to Sam Singer's
column (How Adderall slipped through the
cracks, 03/15/2005). While well written and
seemingly thoroughly researched, I think
Singer has followed the lead of the main-
stream media and blown out of proportion
an issue relating to prescription drugs. From
the beginning, he suggests that Adderall is an
example of how pharmaceutical companies
take advantage of the public by stating that
Attention Deficit Disorder is "an epidemic of
the upper class." Singer seems to believe that
ADD is a made-up disorder for misbehaving
or underachieving kids of wealthy parents.
Throughout my years of schooling I (like pre-
sumably most people our age) knew several
people with ADD, and economic standing
had little correlation to who was diagnosed.
I realize this fact hardly constitutes clinical
data, but I did observe Adderall and simi-
lar drugs help struggling friends from many
Next, Singer attacks the FDA by basically
providing arguments frequently heard the
past few months, that the FDA frequently lets
dangerous drugs "slip through the cracks" and
then tries to cover up its mistakes. He men-
tions that Adderall has been linked to about
20 deaths in Canada according to Health
Canada and criticizes the FDA for not seeing
this as evidence that Adderall poses a health
threat. However, this is a very small percent-
age when you consider how much Adderall is
prescribed and the many confounding factors
that may also be contributing to the deaths.
The article goes on to mention the much-
repeated reports of adolescent suicide risks
linked to Paxil and Zoloft and Vioxx's links to
heart complications and death. Unfortunately,
Singer does not present the latest information
in either case. Last month, the FDA backed
off its statement that there was a causal link
between adolescent violent behavior/suicide
and Paxil or Zoloft (drugs that the FDA never
approved for children and teens anyway). In
regards to Vioxx, Singer must not have seen
that the FDA voted to allow Vioxx back on
the market after pulling it last fall, suggesting
the risk is not as great as initially thought.

side effects, and many drugs can kill you if
taken improperly. Adderall was not approved
to treat college students needing to pull all-
nighters during finals week, yet how many of
us know students who have gone to UHS and
faked symptoms to get a prescription? Drugs
are not miracles, and it is not impossible for
drugs with dangerous side effects to make
it to the market. However, I don't think it's
the job of the media to discover these health
Mike Deogracias
The letter writer is a research assistant in
the Pathology Department.
Dr'u tsspr or to we~xe
cwirnct catd, all side efects
I am writing in response to How Adderall
slipped through the cracks (03/15/2005) by Sam
Singer which was a comment on the increas-
ing popularity of the "black market" prescrip-
tion dextroamphetamine, Adderall. I would
like to begin by saying that there are obvious
drawbacks to the current system of checks
and balances the Food and Drug Adminis-
tration uses to monitor and control marketed
prescription drugs. However, I would like to
clear up any misunderstandings one may have
about how a drug is released to the public.
As our current system works, a candidate
drug wishing to make it onto the market will
reach no more than 3,000 people before being
released to the public, so it is virtually impos-
sible to know how severe the toxicity of the
drug is in larger groups of the population.
For example, a certain drug may produce an
"adverse event" - an undesirable side effect
- in a considerable fraction, say 100 cases out
of 100,000 people taking the drug. This num-
ber is significant when the sample size of the
population is so large, but it is only three out of
the 3,000 people that will take the drug before
it is on the market. The significance might or
might not be noticed in clinical trials, but the
point is that is much harder to identify until the
drug reaches large numbers of people.
So in order to balance this problem, the
FDA has a couple different programs in
place. One is where doctors and other health
professionals report adverse events to drug

people may be harmed by a drug so long as it
is obvious enough that a considerably larger
number will benefit from it.
James Michel
RC junior
MSA dws dar dim
boad nukemlelt in canr4xign
This letter is in response to Jeremy David-
son's article (MSA election board questioned
over bias, 03/15/2005). In this, article, David-
son wrote "(Carl) Pogoncheff said the election
board, which is composed of members of (the
Michigan Student Assembly), acted with bias
during the last election when issuing a punish-
ment for Tim Wiggins, a Students 4 Michigan
candidate who was kicked out of campaigning
in the dorms by University Housing last semes-
ter." There is a factual mistake in this passage
that we would like to clear up.
MSA and the election board did not issue
this punishment to Wiggins. The issue was
handled and the punishment was delivered
solely by the Residence Halls Association.
The election board deals with complaints from
candidates or parties against other candidates
or parties. The complaint against Wiggins was
made to RHA and came from students in the
residence halls. The election board played no
part in hearing this complaint, norhanding
down the punishment. Furthermore, there
were no complaints registered with the election
board in the last election, and consequently no
punishments were delivered.
Brian Doughty
Engineering senior
The letter writer is the MSA Election
Russ Garber
LSA junior
The letter writer is the MSA Rules and
Elections Committee Chair.
Immo" bockktmykv should
ha w been rienwd
I am writing to bring your attention to
the recent book review by Bernie Nguyen
(Revamped 'Kama Sutra' blows, 03/08/2005).





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