The Michigan Doily w
. -to- T
Edited and managed by students of the University of Michigan
Vol. XCIX, NO.7-S -420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board. All other
cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion
of the Daily.
Advocacy vs. Objectivity:
What's real news.
THE MICHIGAN Daily is under fire. those of the survivor(s).
At least according to a recent article The U.S. media, despite its preten-
in the May/June issue of the' sions to objectivity, usually does
Michigan Alumnus, which criticizes take sides: promoting U.S. foreign
the Daily for what it terms policy at the expense of the peoples
"advocacy reporting". Through their it exploits; promoting the virtues of
acti in outside groups and orga- U.S. corporations at the expense of
nizations, Daily reporters have been unions and working people they ex-
ploit; and promoting concepts such
accused of "creating the news they as the "melting pot" and "diversity"
cover, as in last year's incident dur- at the expense of the unique histories
ing President Duderstadt's inaugura- and cultures of peoples of color
tion where four Daily reporters were (such as Dudersladt's PR office and
arrested for "disruption" durtng a its promotion of the Michigan
In fact, the brutality of the Police A good reporter and a good
Department's response to journalists advocate can occupy the same
and activists outside the inauguration body-even the same brain. Almost
ceremonies smacks of the lack of re- everyone is an advocate in some
spect activists, whether they are re-' form cr another. Voting is advocacy.
porters or not, receive from institu- Volunteer work is advocacy. So is
tions. Because this position is so waving a flag - or burning one.
threatened in society, it should be Professional journalists know this,
more impetus for journalistic staffs and can still write responsible,
to encourage their writers to become ;professional news.
involved in change on all levels, not The Daily is not necessarily com-
just from within their particular posed of journalism majors and
journalistic environments. would-be professional editors. Being
The premise that a news reporter's a college newspaper reporter should
credibility is automatically compro- broaden the scope of one's university
mised the minute they become an experience, making it more inclu-
"activist" is a dangerous one. For sive, not exclusive. Knowledge in
example, Columbia University's college is supposed to be part of ac-
Columbia Spectator has strict rules tive exchange where students actual-
prohibiting their reporters' involve- ize their beliefs; involvement with
ments in advocacy groups. They be-
lieve that-even wearing a button or
signing a petition could bias their
reporting of the news, and such ac- Reprinted
tivities are therefore not allowed. from
This over-riding philosophy of Michigan
journalistic objectivity ignores the Alutnus
fact that conservatism in and of itself May/June
is both an opinion and an ideology. 1989.
Since most people accept the status G
quo as a reality rather than as an ide-
ology, those on college newspapers - _d _ _
who pretend to strive for objectivity, the campus paper should not sup-
in fact strive for maintenance of the press this active exchange.
status quo. No one lives in a vac- All of us hold certain political,
uum. religious, and social beliefs, and all
Mainstream media continues to of us act upon them, whether we
pretend that there are two sides to choose public or private venues.
every story. Racism, for example, is This does not render anyone inca-
absolutely wrong, and a story about pable of credibility when reporting
racist attacks on people of color does the news; if it did, there would be no
not require that the racist attacker's reliable news sources whatsoever.
views be treated with the same Advocacy and responsible reporting
weight, or given the same space, as are not mutually exclusive.
Webster: dead wrong
MONDAY IN a 5 to 4 decision, the and need public funding in order to winks and nods and knowing glances
U.S. Supreme Court upheld a receive abortions. Willke, et al seem to those who would do away with
Missouri statute in Webster v. willing to settle for a radical state of Roe explicitly....The simple truth is
Reproductive Health Services, mov- inequality between classes in order to that Roe would not survive the plu-
ing toward the eventual overruling of obtain their idea of eventual equality. rality's analysis, and that the plural-
the 1973 opinion in Roe v. Wade. That kind of methodology smacks of ity provides no substitute for Roe's
The Webster decision affirmed a racism and sexism at its most impe- protective umbrella."
Missouri law which barred the use of rialistic and paternalistic level. An overview of the Court's June
public facilities for abortions and re- In the midst of this pseudo-fascist decisions indicates a move on its
stricted public employees from per- "pro-life" celebration, not one men- part from national legislative stan-
forming them. The Court also di- tion was made about women's right dards borne out of the protests of the
rectly challenged Roe v. Wade by to choose, about women's rights to '60's and '70's to protect the consti-
suggesting in the majority opinion their bodies, or about the overall tutional rights of many to a reac-
that "Roe's trimester framework right to self-determination - a right tionary stance sparked by right wing
should be abandoned." which they apparently extend only to political protests to protect the
In the press conference that fol- the unborn, rights of a few. In three of the last
lowed on the steps of the Capitol, General counsel for one of the four decisions the Court handed
spokespersons for the National groups, Jim Bopp, concluded that down in June, it managed to set the
Organization of Women (NOW), the this new decision substantially in- Civil Rights and Women's
National Right to Life Committee creases the opportunity for states to Movements back by at least twenty
(NRLC) and several other groups re- protect unborn lives. Uttered in years. In these decisions the rights of
leased statements. Members of dif- some kind of vacuum, Bopp's Native Americans and women have
ferent "pro-life" groups, such as statement completely ignores the been further restrained, and the spirit
John Willke, Susan Smith and Tom fact that states on several levels have of Affirmative Action violated, just
Glessner, professed a victory on the been successful in placing a number to name a few.
steps of the Capitol and attempted to of restrictions on abortion - such
champion the rights of the unborn. as Michigan's Proposal A, cutting In the wake of the June decisions
Glessner, general counsel for a Medicaid funded abortions - at least it is not surprising that Webster was
Christian "pro-life" group went so ten states have kept 1963 laws out- upheld. What is more discouraging
far as to class himself as following lawing abortion on their books in is the level at which the Webster de-
in the "tradition of abolitionists in hopes that Roe v. Wade would be cision places the debate.
this country." Abolitionists in this overturned. Historically, people of color and
country came from both sides of the States have now been sanctioned women's movements have not had
political spectrum. There were Black by the Court to change to law re- the financial clout to lobby on the
women like Sojourner Truth who strictions on abortion which they state level. The "right to life" cam-
were feminist abolitionists striving have been trying to impose for the paigns across the country have the
for women to have a right to their last 16 years. Anti-abortion and monetary means to do so. Placing
bodies; and those racist abolitionists "democracy" proponents argue that a the decision-making power in state
who strove to "refine white culture" decision in states hands is a decision hands severely limits the debate to
by ridding it of slavery's miscegena- which is more "democratic." But it an upper middle-class, male phe-
tion. Narrowing the scope of his- seems that democracy for the Court nomena, when those most affected
tory, or for that matter, the issue of translates into turning its back on by the Webster decision are women
abortion to unborn babies, com- securing a woman's constitutional who need and cannot find public
pletely misrepresents the debate. right to receive an abortion without funding.
Their crusade for the nation's un- state coercion and interference.
named babies is being lead on the In Justice Blackmun's words, "The The Daily Opinion Page
backs of those women who are poor plurality opinion is filled with
nr is L.EGAL.To BURN Ib is CARTooN
welcomes women ant
people of color to join its
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