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March 17, 2006 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-03-17

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, March 17, 2006


clbrj M irbirgtu 43uiI

Editor in Chief

Editorial Page Editors

Managing Editor


Maybe the future
would have shown
that my father was
right and that he was
a pioneer."
- Remy Martinot, after afaulty freezer
thawed his cryogenically frozen parents,
thus ending their quest for immortality, as
reported this morning by guardian.co.uk.

;c c &~

z *. ± *

Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All
other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their author.



That ain't news

ne doesn't need
a doctorate in
tions studies to surmise
that the American news
media has its fair share
of problems. With web-
sites and blogs present-
ing easily digestible
info bites set to a read-
er's political leanings,
sales for standard print journalism have drasti-
cally fallen and print media are facing extensive
cost-cutting measures. Having long endured a
calculated attack 'of "liberal bias," many media
outlets have responded by becoming hyper-
polarized and exploiting political bias. Journal-
istic credibility has been wrought with question
marks the media largely served as a mouthpiece
for the Bush administration during the buildup
to the war in Iraq.
Taking into account all the current issues with
our country's news media, perhaps nothing is
more frightening than the state of American tele-
vision news. Longstanding as the favorite source
information for the majority of Americans, tele-
vised media simply does whatever it can to keep
its viewers tuned in and entertained. Generally,
these tactics focus on special-interest stories and
sensationalism as a means of instant gratifica-
tion, while long-running coverage of international
issues or investigative journalism gets thrown by
the wayside. In between news and extensive com-
mercial breaks, the average network will probably
churn out a dozen blowhard pundits representing
party-line interests who talk around each other in
circles for an hour at a time.
While one could offer a multitude of rea-

sons behind the sorry state of our news, the
most obvious and direct one pertains to its
single-minded corporate interests. Over the
past 20 years, ownership of the country's
major media outlets has become increasingly
concentrated in the hands of a few major con-
glomerates, expanding and increasing profits.
This media takeover is the direct result of
federal policies that have loosened restric-
tions and allowed for a gradual centralization
of power within the industry.
With most time now devoted to marketing
techniques and cost-saving measures, the idea of
public interest has progressively become more of
a painful nuisance than a clear goal of our news
media. We can't really blame the owners of these
companies for approaching the industry with this
mindset; the pursuit of such a lofty ideal as general
welfare of the people isn't likely to thrive within
the business world.
Undoubtedly, the corporate trend is not only
taking place among televised media, as the major
companies that own these stations are also in con-
trol of a large portion of print and i-adio outlets.
But while functioning as American's chief source
for information and remaining highly susceptible
to changes within the marketplace, the impact
that corporate consolidation has had on television
news has been more powerful and harmful than in
any other area.
With the increasing dominance of major media
outlets, efforts to serve or represent groups that are
not necessarily consumers of products advertised
or large contributors to profits - low-income
minorities, for example - are increasingly viewed
as an inconvenience. Areas of coverage that do not
generate instant entertainment - social inequity,
for example - are tossed aside in favor of sensa-

tionalist stories that generate interest among view-
ers who bring the most revenue to a company.
What's even more dangerous than the cov-
erage, however, has been the television news
media's increasingly pliant and subservient rela-
tionship to the presidency. During the Clinton
years, we saw the emergence of aggressive spin,
a political device in which presidential spokes-
men and advisors distorted or approached the
news in a particular way as to twist it totheir
liking. Now mastered and one-upped in the
Bush presidency, the tactics of spin and deceit
the current administration employs - from
attacking unfavorable news stories to placing
fake journalists in ads supporting its Medicare
program - denote a consistent lack of respect
for a free, independent media. More than any
other outlet, network and cable news have func-
tioned as parrots to the rhetoric of the admin-
istration - mimicking its words to the public
without a scant attempt at critical analysis.
OK, so through this whole critique, we must
cede a certain point: Television news is a business
- one that ultimately is interested in profiting and
expanding. And yet why do we get a persistent
feeling that this business must function differently
from some of our other major industries? Perhaps
it's the notion that an informed citizenry, educated
across social and racial divides, is essential for a
country aiming to be representative of the people.
Or maybe it's just that distant, faint voice in our
heads telling us that a state without an indepen-
dent, aggressive media - willing to make serving
the public interest a central objective - does not
deserve the title of democracy.

Bielak can be reached at

True love or weird science?
ove sucks. That dining a girl does not ensure men a positive ROI snag a soulmate. Unfortunately it's not clear
seems to be the (return on investment - a euphemism I'm sure how the service accounts for lengthy flights or
general consen- most of you can figure out by yourselves). Trans- unforeseen delays which, given a bad match,
sus among girls on this lation: Why buy the cow when you can get the could be a problem.
campus. As the weather chickenhead for free? Perhaps the most brutal trend in nontradi-
gets warmer - raising There is a difference between being realisti- tional dating is the background check. Tradi-
temperatures and short- cally selective and holding out for the unattain- tionally, if you wanted information on a mate
ening skirts - spring's able, but the notion that there is something wrong you would have to secretly tap into the local
onset appears to lack the with having expectations is ridiculous. Our entire gossip network, probing friends and exes.
romance usually inher- lives, as both men and women, we are taught to But with sites like Don'tDateHimGirl.com
ent in the season. Even Facebook, the gospel of strive for the best - to aim for the highest glades and WomanSavers.com, sifting through your
collegiate life, reflects a level of cynicism; more or most prestigious jobs, and this is no different. significant other's dirty laundry has become
than 1,000 members from the University display Sorry, but no matter how you slice it, a date at the surprisingly easy. Largely female-centric,
their relationship status as "single" or "it's com- Union Subway does not translate into a trip to a these services list men who have cheated on
plicated," which amounts to a whole lot of Friday quaint French bistro. their partners including pictures of the cul-
nights spent alone. Of course, the business world has responded prits, so that others are saved from having the
How can this be? With a student body of nearly with a host of cures for the lovelorn. A devia- same experience. So much for leaving the past
40,000 intelligent and diverse candidates, where tion from established mediums like match.com, behind. I visited both sites and, luckily for the
has the love gone? the next generation of e-romance offerings is a men of this campus, did not find any students
Perhaps the problem is not so much finding bit more unorthodox. Chemistry.com, a subsid- listed, although anyone dating a Tim B. from
someone as it is finding someone worthwhile. iary of match.com, was started by a "biologi- Ann Arbor should be wary because he alleg-
This feat is more difficult than it seems, for in a cal anthropolpgist and expert in the science of edly "cheated three times and lied continuous-
world where alcohol-induced random hookups - human attraction" and utilizes a patent-pending ly throughout an eight year relationship."
best reserved for Welcome Week - and watching personality assessment. By answering hard-hit- For college students and the larger population
illegally downloaded DVDs in a dorm room con- ting questions about inkblots and the length of of 89 million single adults in this country, it's
stitute courtship, it's no wonder that finding that your ring finger in relation to the index finger, unclear how technology will redefine the art of
meaningful relationship can be nearly impossible. you can find a love match. I suppose my stub- dating. Hopefully the benefits of speed and con-
A common argument is that women are sin- by ring finger explains why all of my matches venience will not overshadow the most important
gle because of their own doing. My guy friends were 40-year-old men from central Michigan. facet of relationships - making a genuine, lasting
are quick to preach that University women are Another unique scheme is AirTroductions. It connection with another human being.
presumptuous snobs whose inflated egos and pairs up travelers with the same flight itinerar-
demands cannot be satisfied by, anyone. Not only ies for an on-air introduction. Perfect for multi- Krishnamurthy can be reached at
that, but, economically speaking, wining and taskers, along with that pack of peanuts you can sowmyak@umich.edu
Send all letters to the editor to
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR tothedaily@michigandaily. com.

... As a party, we will flex our strong relationship with the City of Ann Arbor to force the police to
combat the crimes that really cause harm. Of course, as a primarily political organization, we'll also be
on the streets personally, singing union hymns into the morning while lecturing ne'er-do-wells on the
virtues of socialist collectivism....
From "MPP: 'M' is for Marx," a viewpoint from LSA junior Daniel Ray,
the Michigan Progressive Party's LSA-SG vice-presidential candidate.
Read the rest at our blog, The Podium, at www.michigandaily.com.
Editorial Board Members: Amy Anspach, Andrew Bielak, Kevin Bunkley, Gabrielle D'Angelo,
Whitney Dibo, Milly Dick, Sara Eber, Jesse Forester, Mara Gay, Jared Goldberg, Ashwin Jagan-
nathan, Mark Kuehn, Frank Manley, Kirsty McNamara, Rajiv Prabhakar, Katherine Seid, Ben

Some MSA candidates
are anti-human rights
An anti-human rights position in mainstream
politics is almost unheard of. Opponents of
human rights argue that they're too costly, that
there's nothing we can do and that we don't have
a responsibility to do anything. No successful
politician supports a human rights violation, but
rather washes his hands of the violation and looks
away. The opposition lies in the inaction.
What I saw today on the Diag was extraordi-
nary. Crying "bring back Coke," some Michigan
Student Assembly candidates hope to be elected
on an anti-human-rights platform. Not an ignore-

what they have done to support human rights. I'm
just going to ask if they actively oppose them.
And, if they don't, I'll take their pamphlet, glance
at their name and wait to throw it away until I'm at
a garbage can where they probably won't see me.
Now that's grassroots.
Peter Shapiro
LSA junior
The letter writer is an executive in Amnesty
Taliban no comparison to
American right wing
In his letter to the editor (American right wing

freedom to criticize the administration as much
as he wants to. If you disagreed with the Taliban,
you were killed. Perhaps instead of making ridic-
ulous comparisons between evangelical Christi-
anity and terrorist regimes, Morgan and the rest
of the liberal community should focus on more
positive solutions to war, poverty, health care and
other important issues facing our country. If lib-
erals fail to do so, in 2008 we may find someone
just as conservative as Bush sitting in the White
House for four more years.
Eric Kumbier
LSA freshman
Embattled residential
advisor should be silenced

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