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March 04, 1991 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-03-04

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Page 4- The Michigan Daily -Monday, March 4, 1991

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420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
Edited and Managed
. by Students at the
University of Michigan

ANDREW GOTTESMAN
Editor in Chief
STEPHEN HENDERSON
DANIEL POUX
Opinion Editors

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.

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Pentagon house pets
Pathetic Gulf coverage an embarassment to American media

s the nation celebrates the end of the war in the
Persian Gulf and the Bush administration
revels in the stunning, undeniable victory over
Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi forces, the members
of the U.S. media in the region prepare to return
home.
The many television, radio, and print journal-
ists in the Middle East are packing up their satellite
dishes and lap-top computers and heading for their
respective places of employment in the United
States. Undoubtedly, many of them will receive
praise for their coverage of the Gulf War, and a
select fewmay even garnerPulitzer Prizes for their
efforts.
But these reporters - and the media industry
they represent - hardly deserve commendation
for their work during the past six months. In fact,
they should be criticized for the media circus that
was the Persian Gulf War.
While the immediate blame for the poor cover-
age can be placed on the Pentagon - unprec-
edented restrictions limited reporters to "pool"
stories and subjected them to severe censorship-
the larger responsibility for this sham lies with the
media itself, and the lack of resistance it mounted
Against the Pentagon's efforts.
This conflict, like the Vietnam War, was largely
covered first-hand byAmericanmedia. Every major
television and radio network sent envoys to the
Gulf, and many of the nation's newspapers also
boasted datelines from "Somewhere in the Saudi
Desert."
But unlike the information made privy to the
American public during Vietnam, news from the

Gulf consisted of little more than rehashed Penta-
gon press releases. It seemed as though Washing-
ton was advertising its war through the media, and
U.S. citizens saw little reality of the physical
devastation and human suffering this war actually
caused.
Though action against the Pentagon's gag tac-
tics was initiated by several liberal publications,
including The Nation, Harper's and The Village
Voice, these efforts were quickly shouted down not
only by Washington, but by the rest of the media as
well.
The majority of the American press sat back and
permitted the top brass in Washington to tailor this
war into a clean, precise action before presenting it
to the American public. And we were left with
docile, ill-informed and tainted news coverage of
the tragic events in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Israel and
Kuwait while the Pentagon gleamed at the obedi-
ence of its new lap dog, the American media.
Now that the war is over, it is too late for the
media to stand up and assert the public's right to
know what our government and our military are
doing. The Pentagon has now set the precedent for
the outright denial of vital information to the
American people, with little opposition from the
press.
But should this nation ever again become in-
volved in a conflict as violent and destructive as the
Persian Gulf War, hopefully the press - and the
public in general - will not stand idle in the face
of a blatant affront to our rights as citizens of this
"free" country.

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Talk about what?
To the Daily:
While the deaths of the Iraqi
civilians in the Baghdad bunker
was indeed a great tragedy, the
Daily's editorial of Feb. 20 ("Iraqi
bunker: Civilian deaths provide
another reason to be anti-war")
only underscores the consistent
flaws in the Daily's war thinking.
The editorial claims that these
deaths, and the others because of
U. K. attacks, could have been
avoided if President Bush had
used "U.S. might and influence to
pursue peace instead of war."
Tell us, exactly how should
the United States have pursued
peace? Didn't we pursue a
diplomatic solution from Aug. 2
up until Jan. 16? Or should we
have acquiesced to the Iraqi
demand and linked a solution to
the Palestinian problem, and thus
establish a dangerous precedent
for our world?
Since the beginning of this
conflict, the Daily has counseled
us to pursue peace, but not once
has it laid out exactly how we
should have done so. It is easy to
write stirring sentences about
peace and justice, and to declare
the need to negotiate, but what is
there to negotiate?
The world has declared its
solidarity with the United States,
and unless we are prepared to link
this conflict with other issues, or
to allow Iraq to stay in Kuwait,
there is nothing to talk about. And
allowing Iraq a cease-fire, another
of the Daily's brilliant strategies,
will only mean more of our
friends and relatives will come
home in body bags.
No one wants war - and we
all wish for peace - but until you
can advise how we can achieve
peace and still secure the demands
of the United Nations, the Daily
should save its preaching because
it only wreaks of ignorance and
hypocrisy.
Ashok K. Bhatia
LSA sophomore
Waste poses no threat
To the Daily:
The Daily's editorial of 2/18/
91 ("Nuclear dumping: Even low-
level waste should be disposed of
properly") was disturbingly
ignorant of basic scientific facts.
The editorial hypothesizes
death and sickness, and concern
that a new source of radioactivity
will be released into the environ-
ment. It also hints at the existence
of insidious conspiracies by the
University to exploit and injure
the little people of North Campus.
All of these claims are just
silly. The deregulation introduced
by the Nuclear Regulatory
Commission (NRC) is known as
"Below Regulatory Concern."
The Daily claims that this
encompasses 40 percent of the
country's low-level waste. What
the Daily does not mention is that
this figure is 40 percent by
weight.
The fact that is not being
realized in the concern about the
NRC's new policy (and the
University's storage sigh.t) is that
the amount of radiation emitted
by said waste is roughly the same
amount of radiation emitted by
smoke detectors, glow-in-the-dark
wristwatches, and airline steward-
esses.
Everything is radioactive to
some degree. The so-called
"nuclear waste" of North Campus

is basically at this very low level.
It has been regulated in the past
because of its origin in nuclear-

To the Daily:
Hey students! Did you know
that the Michigan League was
founded in 1929 as a social center
for women, who were prohibited
from using the facilities at the
Michigan Union? Today, more
than 60 years later, the League
still provides a variety of student
services for both men and
women.
In addition to the Lydia
Mendelssohn Theater, the League
houses one of the few buffet
restaurants in the area. Several
student organizations also have
offices in the League, and there
are meeting rooms available free
of charge to student groups.
The Koessler Library on the
third floor is a convenient and
beautiful place to study between
classes at the Modern Language
Building or the Chemistry
building.
In addition, campus visitors
will not find a more centrally
located place to stay than the
League's hotel rooms. Our
favorite hang-out in the League is
the "Little League" coffee shop
and deli, where students can find
made-to-order deli sandwiches
and grill items at excellent prices.
As student representatives to
the Michigan League Board of
Governors, we have had a unique
opportunity to learn about the
rich history of the League and
take advantage of all that this
landmark has to offer. We
encourage other students to visit
the League and discover it for

Discover the League!

0
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Michigan League
themselves.
- Angela Prelesnik
Geoffrey Jones
Student Representatives,
League Board of Governors

..American public must share
W hile many rush to criticize the American
media for their coverage of the war, it is
important to realize that the American public also
shares some responsibility for the inadequate
coverage of events in the Gulf. Television viewers
and newspaper readers did not blink an eye as the
military trampled First Amendment rights, and
were silent as the Pentagon censored and sanitized
every image coming out of the Middle East.for the
last six months. The Pentagon did not trust the
American media to exercise their fundamental
freedom of press, and Americans didn't care.
It is clear now that Pentagon brass learned one
valuable lesson from the conflict in Vietnam - no
news is good news. The Pentagon convinced the
public that an unrestricted media is a bad thing. In
the context of the Persian Gulf War, the fewer
pictures of casualties, sick babies, and bombs, the
better. Effectively muzzling the media in its attempt
to cover the war, censored "pool coverage" replaced
any semblance of real reporting. The media was
kept on a short leash in order to be a proper
cheerleader of the Gulf conflict.
If the media's First Amendment rights were
trampled for a reason, it is because the American
people wanted to see the warthrough the Pentagon's
rose-colored glasses. The American public has

blame for poor Gulf coverage
long accepted the idea that the only news of interest
is the kind that makes tidy 30 second "sound-
bites." Pretty charts and pictures were substituted
for hard-hitting coverage of Gulf events, and re-
cycled "military experts" thought up clever ways
to say whatever the Pentagon had fed them.
The American public was allowed to watch
Coalition forces wage a clean, bloodless, Nintendo-
like war, in between episodes of the Cosby show.
Popularopinion encouraged Allied soldiers to fight
for an esoteric concept of freedom, while the
public neglected to defend the basic rights of the
press.
War is hell; people die in wars. Regardless of a
person's feelings about the conflict winding down
in the Gulf, all must agree that war should be
reported properly. As government and military
officials rejoice in their victory, they cannot be
allowed to establish a precedent for disregarding
the freedoms American GIs have died for.
Many people have said the media would only
cover the war's bloody aspects - in an attempt to
further their own anti-war agenda - if they were
allowed free access to information. What the public
needs to realize is that having a First Amendment
means living with what the media shows us, no
matter how inappropriate we think it is.

additional amount of exposure in
question.
Before getting worked up
about nothing, perhaps the Daily
should have listened to the
Nuclear Engineering professors it
had interviewed a few weeks ago.
The professors, of course, said
there was nothing to worry about.
Angela Johnson
President,
University American
Nuclear Society
Jason Boiling
Secretary,
University American
Nuclear Society
More on 14.06
To the Daily:
Once again, University
administrators are offering up
spurious arguments about why the
inclusion of sexual orientation in
the University's non-discrimina-
tion by-law (14.06) is unnecessary
("University community split over
bylaw change," 2/15/91).
Contrary to what President
Duderstadt's assistant, Shirley
Clarkson said in the article, the
requested change in the bylaw is
more than symbolic. The Presi-
dential Policy Statement on
Discrimination Based on Sexual
Orientation is only a statement of
current operating procedure, or
policy.
As such, it can be easily
changed or revoked by any
president with the changing winds
of the social and political climate.
University bylaws, on the
other hand, are difficult to change
and put forth basic principles
upon which the University is
founded. As such, they are
comparable to the laws set forth
in the U.S. Constitution.
A University policy statement

a reality that every other Michi-
gan college and university, MIT,
Harvard, Yale, and 100 other
colleges and universities in the
country have faced: lesbians, gay
men, and bisexuals are already
present in large numbers on
college campuses. The question
is not whether to allow them on
campus. The question is whether,
once a professor or supervisor
discovers that a student or
employee is gay, that student or
employee will be protected from
the superior's homophobia.
Linda Kurtz
Review didn't review
To the Daily:
I just finished reading the
reviewof David Lee Roth's latest
release as written by Peter
Shapiro ("David Lee Roth: A
Little Ain't Enough," 2/21/91)
and frankly I can't believe that it
was printed.
Was Shapiro trying to write a
review, or show that he just ran
out and bought a new thesaurus? I
always thought the purpose of a
review was to impart some
knowledge of the work to the
general public, to aid them in their
decision as to purchase the album,
or see the play or movie, or read
the book.
In what Shapiro laughingly
calls a review, I found absolutely
no references as to the quality of
the album - only attack after
attack against David Lee Roth.
Shapiro was obsessed with Roth's
overzelous sexual innuendos.
I find it hard to believe that the
New York Times, Washington
Post, Ann' Arbor News, or even
the Ann Arbor Pioneer high
school paper would run Shapiro's
article and try to pass it off as a
review. I also can't see any
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