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January 04, 2012 - Image 4

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4A -- Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4A - WednesdayJanuary 4, 2012The Michigan Dil ici.. alyo

4c Midhiian :4at4'1
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board.
All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Imran Syed is the public editor. He can be reached at publiceditor@michigandaily.com.
The Old Hiie
The 2012 EPEs share their vision for the year
t's strange to think a newspaper has a particular voice, yet
nearly all do. The New York Times describes a center-left and
well-educated New Yorker who enjoys politics and art. The
Detroit Free Press is an advocate for a city and state in dire need
of advocacy. The Michigan Daily's voice, however, has been aptly
described in more unusual terms - a liberal, cranky and fiscally
irresponsible old hippie with a penchant for pot.

I think young kids are flocking tc
because he's not always politicallyc
he says what he believes, and th
- Sen. Rand Paul (R
involvement in his father Re
Iowa's two cau(

The Daily's voice is influenced by prec-
edent set by its stance on a wide array of
issues in editorials that run every day on the
left side of the opinion page. The Old Hippie
has endorsed Republicans and Democrats,
supported military engagement in Libya,
called to remove public officials from office -
including former Assistant Attorney General
Andrew Shirvell - and even written about
the horrors of fire trucks - they're too big,
too red and too loud.
Okay, perhapsthat last one warrants further
deliberation - they do put out fires, after all.
But simply applying a "liberal" label to
the voice of The Michigan Daily is mislead-
ing. Through our editorials, we carefully con-
sider the world around us. We independently
and thoroughly address changes that need
to be made immediately. By respecting past
precedent, we recognize that certain values
in society won't change over time, and we
must continue to promote them. But, we also
acknowledge our world is changing, and are
unafraid to set new precedent or challenge
our previous positions. You can to count on
the Daily to continue endorsing social equal-
ity regardless of orientation, gender or race,
environmental conservation and quality,
affordable education.
More than anything, our voice is unabash-
edly and shamelessly an advocate for stu-
dents - student rights, student interests and
student concerns. As University students
ourselves, we recognize the issues that affect

our classmates and campus community.
The Daily has enjoyed 122 years of edito-
rial freedom, and will continue to use that
right to act as a voice for students. We can
objectively evaluate the institutions around
us - the University, state and local govern-
ment, even The Michigan Daily itself.
The opinion page serves two equally
important purposes: promoting our own
interests and providing a forum for all
aspects of life at the University of Michigan.
It's our job to advocate for students and call
on University administrators and others to
change policy. It's also our job to give every
student on this campus a chance to have their
voice heard; a chance to let others in on their
point of view, even if it's only for 500 words.
This year, we're working to increase the
range of viewpoints presented on our page.
It's an elementary school lesson - a diversity
of perspectives leads to better understand-
ing. To that end, we encourage all of our
readers to contribute to the conversation.
As Editorial Page Editors, we promise to
present content relevant to the University
and Ann Arbor, promote spirited debate and
provide excellent and thoughtful writing. As
readers, we humbly ask you to contribute,
keep us accountable and, most importantly,
Ashley Griesshammer and Andrew Weiner
Editorial Page Editors

Des Moines, Iowa - Before
my time here and in Urban-
the small city
outside the capi-
tal where sev-
eral candidates
set up Iowa x
watching last
night's near tie,
I couldn't decide ANDREW
how I felt about WEINER
the Iowa caucus-
es. The structure
itself isn't difficult to understand
- candidates are running, people
argue in hierarchical meetings and
vote there instead of quietly casting
a ballot. From a distance, it's hard to
understand or rationalize the mas-
sive media coverage that descends
on a usually lethargic state.
If you've turned on a television
or read a newspaper in the past two
weeks, you've seen reporting on the
caucuses. News junkies begin to fol-
low Iowa coverage even before the
Ames Straw Poll in August. Iowa
coverage. The state isn't terribly
demographically or economically
representative of the country. In
2010, the U.S. census found that 91.3
percent of Iowa was white - nearly
20 percent higher than the rest of the
country. At the campaign events we
went to, the lack of ethic diversity
was apparent but unsurprising.
Why pay so much attention? The
question is hardly revolutionary, and
it's part of the answer.
Journalists from around the world
have convened to answer this ques-
tion of "Why?" Stephen Bloom, an
Iowa resident and a visiting journal-
ism professor, is one of many journal-
ists to question Iowa's judgment and
relevance. In a piece for the Atlantic,
he summed it up well: In Iowa, "you'd
never get a dog because you might
just want to walk with [it]. No, that's
not a reason to own a dog in Iowa.
You get a dog to track and bag ani-
mals that you want to stuff, mount,
or eat."
Simply put: New York City and

Washington, D.C. are not Iowa. The
East, West and Southern Coasts
aren't Iowa. Ann Arbor is not Iowa
- I've yet to notice a single yoga
studio here.
Yet, every four years the media
circus ensues. Journalists cover the
caucus in every niche imaginable.
Take the word "circus" literally.
Observing the hundreds of reporters
and media sources in Des Moines is
as much as a spectacle as anything
many are writing.
At Ron Paul's Polk County Whistle
Stop on Monday, I watched a French
reporter and his British cameraman
talk to a man in a vest wallpapered
with buttons and stickers and a
floppy, red Dr. Suess hat. They asked
him what about Paul excited him
and stifled their chuckles when he
answered excitedly, "It's the energy,
man. He's got this thing."
I met reporters from a Danish
newspaper, talked to a German mas-
ter's student at Oxford University
and even shook hands with Ander-
son Cooper. In the Des Moines Mar-
riot, the hot spot for candidates and
journalists, I spoke to New York
Times reporter and University
alum Mark Leibovich. He's one of
about 25 reporters from the news-
paper in Iowa, and he spoke to the
difficulty all journalists face in the
days around the caucus. There are
always niche stories to be written -
an article about Santorum's sweat-
ers comes to mind - but many times
it comes down to journalists fight-
ing over a 10-minute advantage on
a story only slightly different from
countless others.
For student journalists, as the
caucuses approached it was increas-
inglys diffieukito finda istory that
hasn't previously been written by an
expert in the field with more money,
sources and credentials. And if they
didn't write it this week, it was writ-
ten in 2008.
The sheer quantity of press cover-
age is astounding. Trying to keep up
reading and watching it all ranges
from overwhelming to impossible.
When a poll comes out it's not just

the message
:orrect, because
ey trust him.'
-Kentucky) about the strong youth
p. Ron Paul's (R-Texas) campaign.
followed by analysis, it's followed
by analysis of the analysis. By that
point, it's outdated and the results
are irrelevant.
When I spoke to Randy Brubaker,
managing editor at the Des Moines
Register, he described Iowans as
open-minded, friendly and, most
importantly, used to the circus. The
Register becomes nationally relevant
every four years, but still reports on
city council meetings and schools. In
The circus
ensues every
four years.
the same vein, Iowans appreciate the
attention, but remain above or below
the national frenzy - it's so 2008.
The reality is the Iowa caucuses
serve two important purposes and
are two distinct but overlapping
caucuses. The capital-C Caucus is
celebrity reporters and interna-
tional camera crews. It's the nation-
al and international media's best
chance to get up close to the candi-
dates, and it's the first opportunity
for the country to get to know them
in painstaking detail.
The lowercase-C caucus is Iowans
voting for their presidential nominee
- they just happen to do it first. Yes,
the candidates put in more effort in
and pretend Iowan interests aretheir
own. Yes, the average Iowan has
shakenthe hand of Ron Paul - twice.
But in the end, 7 p.m. on Jan. 3rd is
just a calendar appointment for about
10,000peoplel. e
Iowa is a big deal because the
capital-C caucus makes it big. The
media creates a monster from a crea-
ture that left alone probably wouldn't
have such sharp teeth. Is itcdeserving
of the attention? Probably not. Is it
fun anyway? You betcha.
-Andrew Weiner can be
reached at anweiner@umich.edu

Kaan Avdan, Ashley Griesshammer, Nirbhay Jain, Jesse Klein,
Patrick Maillet, Erika Mayer, Harsha Nahata, Teddy Papes, Timothy Rabb,
Vanessa Rychlinski, Sarah Skaluba, Caroline Syms, Seth Soderborg, Andrew Weiner
The value of privacy online

As the NewYear greets us, many have decid-
ed to make resolutions. Maybe your resolution
is to work out more or pull fewer all-nighters.
Maybe it's to get along better with your room-
mates or to gossip less. One of mine is to have
less computer screen time. After a hiatus from
Facebook during finals week and the holidays,
I'veenjoyedameasurable amountofrelieffrom
avoiding pointless statuses, embarrassing pho-
tos and targeted advertising. My victory was
certainly a hollow one however, as I deactivat-
ed my account with the full knowledge that all
of my content would be readily available if - or
rather, when - I decided to get back on the bus.
It's no secret that Facebook - so easy and
comprehensive when chatting with friends or
posting pictures - becomes a quagmire when a
user attempts to disengage or ultimately delete
their profile. The issue boils down to a matter
of privacy rights. There is no set of rules that
apply across the board when it comes to pro-
tecting (read: not selling) customer content. It
becomes even trickier when the things a per-
son puts onto the site may not actually belong
to them, even though it was entered and saved
under their name.
A recent Washington Post article discussed
content ownership and how it related to per-
sonal privacy. When Friendster and Google
Buzz shut down they each informed users that
they would not be deleting their data. Their
inaction raises the suspicion that this informa-
tionwillbe auctioned offto prospective buyers.
Of course, whenever you enter your personal
information into a website, you risk the danger
that your information could be sold to a third
party. Sometimes, the company will assure
you during registration that personal informa-
tion will not be accessed by anyone else, but
it seems that bankrupt businesses play by dif-
ferent rules. In the case of a site for gay teens
called XY, a sale of information was stopped by
the FTC. Borders, however, successfully sold
its compilation of customer history to Barnes
and Noble after it went bankrupt last fall.

Not only is privacy a problem for those of us
who wish to simply protect our information,
but the same is true for users attempting to
maintain control of their content. Kodak Gal-
lery, a site for posting and maintaining photo
albums, may soon lose control over the millions
of personal collections uploaded to its servers.
According to a November 3rd article in USA
Today, Eastman Kodak predicted a $400-$600
million loss for the 2011 year. If the company
were to sell or file for bankruptcy, their new
owner would decide what to do with users'
content. Those who post their comings and
goings to Gowalla, a social network special-
izing in contact through location sharing, are
witnesses to a different situation. The social
network is integrating into Facebook in the
near future, and current Gowalla content will
be lost. At that time, userswill no longer be able
to access their posts. However, Gowalla has
informed its customers that they can save their
data through a downloading process.
My retreat from the Web world couldn't
have been complete even if I tried. In addi-
tion to Facebook's sneaky policies, I also have
a Myspace profile to worry about. I know the
avatar of my 14-year-old self is floating out
there somewhere, and I'm shuddering just
thinking of her inevitable kissy faces. The
solution for those of us with skeletons in the
closet - whether we're trying to wrest own-
ership or finally bury them - lies in passivity.
Don't worry too much about your Web woes
and think twice the next time you want to sign
up for a file sharing or social media site. Your
own digital footprints are more pervasive than
you think, and are probably accessible through
a search engine. This is 2012, and technology
is everywhere - the computing cloud hangs
over us. It follows us wherever there is Wi-Fi.
Those who haven't yet should probably antici-
pate surrendering.
Vanessa Rychlinski is a senior
editorial page editor.

This is not a column about
Mitt Romney's results in
yesterday's Iowa caucuses.
This is a column
about the big-
otry that has fol-
lowed Romney
since he became
the GOP's lead-
ing light. It is
also about "All- _
American Mus- SETH
lim," a television SODERBORG
show that, as
the Florida Fam-
ily Association, a
conservative advocacy group, put it,
"profiles only Muslims that appear
to be ordinary folks while excluding
many Islamic believers whose agen-
da poses a clear and present danger
to liberties and traditional values
that the majority of Americans cher-
ish." This column is about the kinds
of people we are allowed to hate.
Over and over when asked who
they intended to support in the
presidential primary race, a certain
kind of Republican voter answered,
"Anyone but Romney." The spec-
tacular, successive rises and falls of
Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann,
Rick Perry, Herman Cain, and Newt
Gingrich again make sense only as
manifestations of that sentiment.
The last candidate who generated
similar personal animosity was Hill-
ary Clinton. A huge part of Barack
Obama's appeal in 2007 was that
he was not Clinton. Romney's flaws
as a candidate - flat delivery and a
mixed partisan record - are very
different from what led Democrats
away from Clinton.
Romney fits the Republican nomi-
nee mold perfectly. He's white, older
than he looks, all-American hand-
some and fabulously wealthy. Not
only is he a successful hostile take-
over artist who saved the 2002 Salt
Lake City Olympics, he also ran

Massachusetts as governor from America. Lowe's, the home-repair
2003-2007 - a notorious den of giant, and Kayak.com, a travel web-
viper-Democrats, genus Kennedy site, were among dozens of busi-
- and goes to church every week. nesses who shamefully decided to
His father ran Michigan as gover- pull their ads from "All-American
nor in the 1960s- a notorious den of Muslim" after being pressured by
viper-Democrats, genus United Auto the Florida Family Association con-
Workers - and never worked on servative groups who objected to
Sundays. None of these explains why the idea that a Muslim could be an
"anyone but Romney" has been the American. To call Obama a "secret
most popular choice in the Republi- Muslim," as certain conservatives
can primary race since it began. do, is to suggest that all Muslims
Romney's problem is his religion. support terrorism. And the furor
It's his Mormon faith, and the fear over the misnamed "Ground Zero
that, were he elected, he would take Mosque" in 2010 makes sense as
orders from Salt Lake City. That is a manifestation of the ridiculous
the motivation behind "anyone but assumption that most Muslims
Romney," which is not the same sympathize with al-Qaeda.
thing as being a real supporter of one Religious intolerance matters
of the other contenders. A certain today, even though Romney doesn't
kind of Republican supports Ron
Paul, and voters for whom the evan-
gelical faith is a necessary precondi- Religious
tion to public office have their own
candidates. "Anyone but Romney" is prejudice is
an unattached camp.
One doesn't often hear people alive today
say, "I won't vote for a Mormon,"
or, "I wouldn't vote for an African-
American," but studies have shown
that people rarely share that kind talk about it and no one is boycotting
of sentiment with pollsters, so polls Lowe's. But there is hope for a more
of attitudes toward religious groups tolerant future.
under-report the degree of animos- In 1960, John F. Kennedy's victory
ity the public feels toward them. in the presidential election proved
A comprehensive Pew Research that Americans could put aside their
Center study of public sentiment distrust of Catholics and put one in
around religion released last year office. Obama is living proof that
asked respondents to rate how the most insidious form of Ameri-
warmly they felt towards vari- can bigotry has weakened. Rom-
ous religious groups. Those polled ney's performance last night is a sign
placed Mormons well below the that another marginalized group
national average, while Muslims is entering that same main stream.
scored even lower. These are sig- One wonders how long it will be
nificant divergences - evangelical before Muslims, too, can be accept-
Christians and atheists, objects of ed for who they are, and the phrase
scorn in their own right, scored only "All-American Muslim" strikes no
slightly below the national average. one as a contradiction in terms.
Surveys like that paint in broad
strokes, but they help us understand -Seth Soderborg can be
that religious prejudice is alive in reached at sethns@umich.edu

4 4

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