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July 19, 1980 - Image 4

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1980-07-19

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Page 4-Saturday July 19, 1980-The Michigan Daily

Irresponsibility is
name of media's game

Kudos to court
THE FEDERAL COURT panel's decision
yesterday declaring the current registration
plan unconstituional is a major victory for the
principle of sexual equality. But it also puts a
temporary hold on the plans to register all men
born in 1960 and 1961 beginning next Monday.
We applaud the federal court appeal panel's
timely and sensible decision, and we congratulate
the American Civil Liberties Union for challenging
President Carter's and Congress' registration plan.
We oppose registration because it is sexist.
Women should be extended equal rights and
privileges tantamount to those of men. With equal
rights come equal duties, such as the duty to defend
our nation in whatever way they are able. 1t is only
just that any registration plan should include
women.
But we are also against registration because, at
this time, it is unnecessary. The very idea runs
antithetical to the roles citizens must play in a
society which is at peace. Registration brings with
it the enhanced possibility that a draft would
rapidly follow.
Registration, it is argued, would demonstrate to
our allies-and to our adversaries-that the United
States would not only be committed to a strong
military, but would check aggression throughout
the world. It is an error to employ this strategy
to maintain peace. A strong military may be
established by making the armed services
financially attractive to skilled people, which
would encourage individuals not only to join, but to
stay. And bolstering the military might lead t6 a
tendency to prempt cooperative and diplomatic

With bloodshot eyes, aching
feet, and bodies eager for exten-
ded repose, thousands of repor-
ters have departed Detroit after a
week that played to the jour-
nalistic beat of a different
drummer. Different in the sense
that this normally esoteric, atten-
tive mob found itself at the center
of attention for its own perfor-
mance by week's end. They knew
Ronald Reagan and George Bush
would be unable to spill enough
pro-campaign rhetoric to cover
the stain that now remains
noticeably splotched upon their
reputation.
This is not to say that the
political press ever had, or
deserved, a heap of praise from
either its consumers or its clieih-
ts. But public officials know that
the media serve as an indispen-
sible means by which they can
create and build images. They
have grown to accept the fact
that in order to engage in such
image building, they must
knowingly submit to the nuances,
peccadilloes, and other charac-
teristics of media behavior that
are normally associated with
racing greyhounds. Every of-
ficial knows the consequences of
dealing with the press (a.k.a. the
risk of having statements
misquoted or misinterpreted, the
possibility that private matters
may be leaked to or uncovered by
reporters, and the submission to
the "poison-pens" of columnists
and editorial writers.
WEDNESDAY night, I glared
in amazement and shock as the
nation's three television net-
works went overboard in
exhibiting all the above
behaviors. Imagine the scene on
the floor of Joe Louis Arena as an
aide to Ronald Reagan tells CBS
newsman Dan Rather that for-
mer president Gerald Ford is
"talking" to the former Califor-
nia governor about the vice

By Alan Fanger
presidency. Only seconds later,
the following exchange between
Rather and anchorman Walter
Cronkite takes place:
Rather: "Walter, I've just been
told by a source extremely close to
Gov. Reagan, an almost unim-
peachable source, that President
Ford is very close to accepting
Governor Reafan's offer.
Cronkite: "Dan, what do you
think is holding Mr. Ford back on
this?"
Rather: "Walter, aides in the
Reagan camp have been unable
to furnish any details, but as I
understand it, the deal is close to
being cut.".
In the next two hours, reporters
scurry the floor, anxious to
secure any confirmation of the
mysterious negotiations. During
one such exchange, NBC's Tom
Pettit queries Sen. Howard Baker
(R-Tenn.), who is strongly in
support of a Reagan-Fprd ticket.
Pettit: "Senator Baker, how
close is Gerald Ford to accepting
Governor Reagan's offer to be his
running mate?"
Baker: "Well, I haven't talked
to the Reagan people, but a
couple of others on the floor have
told me that Mr. Ford is going to
accept."
Baker gave no first-hand
knowledge of the activity that has
been taking place at the Detroit
Plaza Hotel, but Howard Baker is
Howard Baker, and who could
ever doubt the credibility of a
Senate Minority leader. The
story stands.
At the hei'ght of their in-
security, they felt compelled
feed us a constant stream of in-
formation about the Ford (non-)
acceptance. Between trips across
the floor, reporters gave their
counterparts in the skybooths a
chance to elucidate the virtues

and vices okf a Ford candidacy.
Moreover, the White House press
corps was knocking down doors
in an effort to find sources who
could discuss the political
ramifications of a Ford-Reagan
combination.
And all of this was done in the
name of entertainment, not jour-
nalism. The Reagan camp never
publicly stated that Ford even
considered accepting Reagan's
offer; why would the media
quarrel with the notion that a
former president could indeed
resist political temptation and
turn down the opportunity to play
.second fiddle? The answer, as
most television executives will
say, is that the networks are sim-
ply giving people what they
want; suspense, excitement, and
color. But it's done at the expense
of accuracy.
What troubled me more than
anything that occurred that
evening was the way in which the
media shoveled the blame to the
information fracas onto the laps
of everyone with whom they had
engaged in communication
during those frantic few hours.
Reagan, in breaking precedent
by coming to the hall one night in
advance to notify the delegates of
his choice of a running mate,
restrained himself from at-
tacking the press for mandating
his early arrival. His fellow
Republicans followed suit. But
for the media, two dichotomize
the responsibilities for infor-
mation flow during the evening is
simply a half-hearted way of
avoiding the uncomfortable
truth.
Alan Fanger, The Daily's
sports editor, helped cover the
Republican National Conven-
tion for The Daily.

6
I

avenues toward peace.
Both President Carter and presidential eg is
candidate Reagan are storming the countryside
urging boosts in defense spending and expressing We regard any form of channels have failed. When the and registrants, realizing that we
their hope for a strong military. The national military induction to be immoral, law itself refuses to recognize the are in violation of the Selective
sentiment appears to welcome the return of unconstitutional, undemocratic sanctity of human life and liber- Service Act and liable for
American military superiority, an objective which and a danger to the lives and ty, no remedy can be found within prosecution. In taking this risk
makes peace-time registration all the more freedom of humans everywhere. that law. When the law is im- we wish to draw attention to the
makgers pThe power to destroy is infinitely moral, violation of that law is an greater risks which confront all
dangerous. greater now than at any time in act of morality. We, the under- civilizations.
As we go to print, there is a chance that Supreme the past. In such a world, war signed, wish to place ourselves
Court Justice Brennan could order a stay of the cannot contribute to the freedom, outside the selective service law, This article was submitted
panel's decision, thus allowing registration to happiness, or safety of believing that we obey a higher by Carfon Foltz, John Plott,
humankind. For these reasons, law.Kah ren
proceed unfettered next Monday. In additjon, the we believe it the imperative We vow to: Kathy Orchen, Bruce Graves,
Supreme Court could reverse the panel's decision. duty of each individual to resist 1) Pursue non-violent options Jane Heirich, Rose Siri,
Our joyous reception of yesterday's decision must any authority which commands to render draft registration inef- Robert Bryant, Ruth Graves,
be tempered by the possibility that it will be only a destruction and leads to the en- fective and useless; Joe Volk, Thomas Gaughan,
matter of time before anti-registration forces will slavement of people. 2) Urge resistance to draft Benita Kaimowitz, David
have to regroup. The battle must continue against Military conscription is an in- registration by those who cannot Basset, Rick Fuller, Thomas
h stitutional injustice which must in good conscience comply;
this dangerous, unfair and immoral registration not be endured. The Selective 3) Actively support those who Iott, Andrew McGuinness,
animal. Service System is a bureaucracy refuse to register by creating Sol Metz, Lena Rucknagel,
which is intolerable. The draft both legal and moral support Donald Rucknagel, Ingrid
enslaves both person and con- networks; and, Smith, Joseph Pelava, Chuck
science in order to fuel a destruc- 4) Support those who register Thomas, David Cousineau,
Unsigned editorials appearing on the tive military machine which em- but who are opposed to the draft, David Dedarti, Dale Ewart,
ploys human lives as weapons of and ask them to join together
left side of this page represent a majority destruction. with us to fight the draft. Bruce Baechler, Natalie Levin,
opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board. ALL ATTEMPTS TO prevent WE SIGN THIS statement in William Hayes, and Don
° -t registration through {legal, 'sblitlarity w*iti ybungreaisers'Gallagher. -
y1r t se/ Gld~d

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