Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options

Download this Issue


Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

This collection, digitized in collaboration with the Michigan Daily and the Board for Student Publications, contains materials that are protected by copyright law. Access to these materials is provided for non-profit educational and research purposes. If you use an item from this collection, it is your responsibility to consider the work's copyright status and obtain any required permission.

November 03, 2021 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

I pity those who did not attend the football game
against Washington last month. Not because we
pummeled the Huskies — although that was a treat
— but rather because you missed the Michigan
Marching Band’s halftime show. Dedicated to the
victims of Sept. 11, 2001, the band performed an
arrangement celebrating New York City and the rich
American musical tradition, all the while decked out
in colored LED lights. For their last song, J.P. Sousa’s
“Stars and Stripes Forever,” the marching band
formed a magnificent 70-yard long American flag.
At sight of the flag, the Big House erupted into
cheers. That surprised me. I have always celebrated
the flag; to me, it is a source of pride and a reminder of
how lucky I am to live in this country. At the same time,
I recognize that my association to the flag is not shared
by all, especially given its currently polarizing character.
On Jan. 6, a sea of American flags, traditional and
unorthodox, descended upon the Capitol building,
carried by a mob bent on obstructing the democratic
process. In Brazil, citizens advocating for anti-
democratic reforms adopted the flag as a symbol of
their struggle, and this past July, a New York farmer
was labeled a Trump supporter for the sin of displaying
an American flag on the side of his potato truck.
It is shameful that our nation’s most iconic symbol
could be co-opted by a single political faction.
According to journalist Marc Leepson in his book,
“Flag: An American Biography,” the Founding
Fathers did not attach much significance to the flag.
The first documented reference to the flag, the Flag
Resolution of 1777, simply reads,
“Resolved, That the flag of the thirteen United States
be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the
union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing
a new constellation.” There might have been fierce debate
between the Founders about the flag’s meaning behind
closed doors, but according to most historians, the flag
was likely born out of the simple necessity to distinguish
the Continental Army in the field of battle.
In the decades after the American Revolution,
mythology began to crop up around the flag that
masks the actual evolution of the flag within the
national conscience. Did you know that Betsy Ross

did not sew the first flag, or that Washington did not
bring it with him when he crossed the Delaware,
even if this famous painting gives that impression? It
was not until the outbreak of the Civil War that the
Stars and Stripes became a national symbol. Another
seemingly primordial institution, the Pledge of
Allegiance, was conceived at the end of the 19th
century (relatively recently) to celebrate Columbus
Day. The phrase “under God” was added in 1954 as
a signal of anti-communism during the Cold War.
Controversy over respect for the flag sparked during
the Vietnam War, when anti-war advocates burned
the flag as a sign of protest and reignited in 2016
when former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick
began kneeling during the national anthem.
History teaches us that the flag’s meaning has
been altered over time to serve a variety of political
purposes, even though the Founders did not view it as
a political symbol. Why, then, does the flag continue
to feature so prominently in national politics?
Perhaps reverberations from the turbulent
flag-burning Vietnam era have yet to settle in the
national memory. Maybe the rapid expansion of
post-9/11 patriotism was immediately soured by the
revelation of the U.S. military’s conduct abroad, like
mass torture, and the surge in Islamophobia at home.
Whatever the reason, our preoccupation with the
flag as a signal of political inclination is unnecessary,
harmful and deserves to be retired.
Our generation should usher in a period of New
Nationalism. Take pride in the flag, not as a symbol of
government, but of people. Claim it as your property.
Pour into it all the hopes you have for the future of the
country, and let that be your American flag. Do not
let any one faction force their version of the flag upon
you. If Biden loses the presidency in 2024, do not retire
your flag. Keep it flying right next to your preferred
candidate’s sign as a signal of your dual commitment to
both your politics and your country as a whole. Direct
your political energy towards organizing, protesting
and campaigning as you see fit, but preserve the
flag as an institution set apart from the politics and
polarization of the day. The nation desperately needs
to remember that we are bound by the same red, white
and blue fabric, and we all have a stake in the future
success of the country. By consigning the old flag to the
annals of history and hoisting a new one in its stead, we
take the first necessary steps towards remembrance.

Over the past decade, the Ultimate
Fighting Championship has enjoyed a
meteoric rise from relative obscurity
to one of the most popular sports and
entertainment products in the United
States. The 2010s saw the UFC’s greatest
stars transcend not just their own sports,
but all sports. Former two-division
champion Conor McGregor is arguably
the most famous athlete on the entire
planet. Former lightweight champion
Khabib Nurmagomedov is the single most
popular athlete in all of Russia, according
to Forbes. UFC President Dana Frederick
White Jr. has led the organization for over
20 years, shepherding it to its status as
the worldwide leader in combat sports.
So why would White, the man largely
responsible for the UFC’s prominence,
have a 55.1% disapproval rating from
MMA fans?
The Athletic’s polling of fight fans
in April 2020 laid out a pretty stark
contrast: Fans love the UFC, but not the
man at its helm. Given the time at which
the poll was administered, it stands to
reason that the pandemic would be a
factor. The responses bore that out: Many
respondents noted the UFC’s attempts
to push forward with holding a pay-per-
view event, UFC 249, at the height of the
pandemic, as a reason for their displeasure
with White. That’s obviously a valid
grievance, but it is itself part-and-parcel
of the overarching problem many MMA
fans and fighters alike have with White:
The man treats his fighters horribly.
While attempting to hold a combat sports
event as an uncontrolled, aerosolized
virus ran rampant across the world would
be enough to convince most people that
White doesn’t value the athletes upon
whom his success is based, there’s actually
more than that. The UFC pays its fighters

an embarrassingly small percentage of its
overall revenues, while White himself has
a net worth of $500 million and an annual
salary of $20 million.
The four major sports leagues in North
America (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL) each
have revenue-sharing deals collectively
bargained between the leagues and
the players’ unions, and each of those
agreements provides for the athletes to
receive at least 48.5% of total revenues
generated by the league. Such equitable
compensation has been par for the course
in North American sports for decades — it
would be unimaginable to the common
sports fan for their favorite athletes to not
receive their fair share of the revenues
they themselves drive. The UFC, though,
has no revenue-sharing deal. In fact, there
is no MMA fighters’ union at all, though
roughly 80% of MMA fighters support
unionization. As a result, White is the sole
arbiter of how the UFC pays its fighters,
and many of the UFC’s
signature stars
have sacrificed some of their prime years
as athletes over White’s refusal to pay
them their worth.
Henry Carlos Cejudo, former two-
division UFC champion and Olympic
gold medal wrestler, retired after his
last bantamweight title defense at (the
later-rescheduled) UFC 249, partly due
to pay concerns. Jon Jones, former light
heavyweight champion and widely
considered the greatest mixed martial
artist to ever live, has not fought in nearly
two years due to continued breakdowns
in contractual negotiations with White.
McGregor has fought three times since
2020, including two blockbuster pay-per-
view main events against Dustin Poirier,
former interim lightweight champion,
this year. However, McGregor’s status as
the highest-paid athlete in the world is
misleading to say the least. According to
Forbes, just $22 million of the $180 million
McGregor had made in the first five
months of this year (after the first Poirier

fight and before the second) came from
his UFC contract. The remaining $158
million came from endorsements and
other outside revenue streams.
While no one should shed a tear for
the wallet of a man worth hundreds of
millions of dollars, McGregor’s income
breakdown is indicative of a systemic
problem that White is clearly responsible
for. The UFC so grossly underpaid
the brightest star in its history to such
a degree that McGregor did not step
into the octagon for nearly two years.
Instead, McGregor turned his attention
to boxing, where the athlete’s earnings
potential is far more lucrative, and put
on a “superfight” against legendary
boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr. Rather
than suspecting that McGregor’s move
was demonstrative of a problem that
required an actual solution, White simply
punished McGregor, stripping him of his
lightweight belt for inactivity.
The Score reports that the UFC has
never paid its fighters more than 20%
of its total revenue, multiple pathetic
steps below the aforementioned revenue
sharing norms in place for major North
American sports. Some of Dana White’s
top stars have publicly lambasted him for
his mistreatment of fighters.
And yet, nothing has changed, and
there is no evidence, in spite of fighters’
overwhelming support for unionizing,
that anything will change. It is clear
that these changes will not come from
within. The only way White will change
his ways is if his current arrangement
becomes untenable, but as the UFC’s
popularity continues to skyrocket, it
seems less and less likely that such a day
will ever come. It is incumbent upon the
leaders of organized labor nationwide,
not to mention the U.S. government, to
impress upon White that there will be
consequences if he continues to hamper
unionization and deprive his athletes of
their rightful paychecks.

The Michigan Daily — michigandaily.com
Wednesday, November 3, 2021 — 9

esley Benedikt was driving home from
the funeral of her husband, Josh Mitnick,
when her phone rang. Josh, a former managing
editor for The Michigan Daily, had gone on
to report in Israel for Bloomberg News, the
Wall Street Journal and other newspapers
before he succumbed to cancer at the age of
50. The call came from a consultant to the
Palestine Authority, who told her that Josh
had always listened to him and, unlike many
other outsiders, understood the Palestinian
That message would have come as no
surprise to anybody who knew Josh — either
as a student journalist in Ann Arbor, or as a
professional. That is how Josh lived his life
and worked his craft: He was earnest and
diligent, and always able to see the humanity
in everybody. He was soft-spoken, serious,
gentle and cerebral — unless he was watching
Michigan sports, in which case he was neurotic,
irrational, emotive and sometimes very, very
knew Josh most of my life. Our parents were
friends from their college days in Ann Arbor.
The Mitnicks lived in New Jersey, and my
family lived in Detroit, but the Mitnicks would
often visit us when they made their pilgrimage
to Ann Arbor.
Josh was two years older than me, and I
looked up to him. He enrolled at the University
of Michigan and joined The Daily, and we’d
sometimes visit him in Ann Arbor. He’d enthrall
me with his stories about the paper, and I knew
I wanted to follow his path.
Two of Josh’s Daily contemporaries, Mona
Qureshi-Hart (Class of 1995) and Yael Citro
(Class of 1994), spoke with several of Josh’s
Daily colleagues, who shared a wide array of
memories with them.
1991 graduate Miguel Cruz, a news editor,
remembers Josh as a calming presence at a
time when The Daily was riven with factional
infighting. “The thing about him that made
the strongest impression on me was how
frustrating he found it when people from
opposite sides of an argument couldn’t find
a reasonable common ground,” Miguel said
now. “In his view, if we would just calm down
and listen to each other, there was always a way
that we could move forward and get back to
solving the problems that were affecting all of
us. He knew when to call me out for being more
concerned about scoring points than about
being constructive, and that part of Josh that
lives inside my head is still making me a better
person today.”

Andy Gottesman, 1992 graduate, was editor-
in-chief at the time. Andy and Josh started
together as first-year students on The Daily.
“I remember him as an extremely serious
journalist. He had no interest in goofball
politics at The Daily,” Andy said. Whenever

there was a question or debate of how to move
things forward, Andy recalled, Josh would say,
“The New York Times wouldn’t do it this way.”
And then, Andy says, Josh would promptly
focus on the task at hand. “He loved putting
out news every day. He was a newsman.”
Daily contemporary Mark Katz (Class of 1992)
started alongside both Josh and Andy and
proceeded to study in Israel after his second
year. In his eulogy to Josh at his funeral, Mark
shared that Josh viewed the opportunity as one
to elevate the news at The Daily. Josh had Mark
string for The Daily from Israel. Mark would
call in with his news pieces and dictate them
into the phone.
1994 graduate Andrew Levy started on the
opinion page but switched to news reporting,
where Josh helped him make the transition.
“Josh was super welcoming and wonderful,” he
recalled. “He was a really good mentor. A lot of
people didn’t have the time (between The Daily
and school) but he made time for me.” 1993
grad Matt Rennie,
someone who had
a lot of personal
his love of jazz
with friends and
colleagues — with
graduate Bethany Robertson, one of Josh’s
reporters, recalled tagging along with him to
a free concert at the Michigan Theater. Karen
Scholl, a 1995 graduate, news editor and friend
of Josh’s sister, Carrie, remembers shopping
for jazz albums with him. They both say the
same thing now: “When I hear jazz, I still think
of him.” Andy shares that as he worked, Josh
would tap his fingers on the table. “He had a
jazz beat in his head,” he said.
My favorite memory of Josh came when we
played together in the annual football game
against the State News. In those days, the game
was pure brutality: eleven on eleven, full tackle.
Until that point, the game had been played six
times, and the State News had won every time.
In 1992 — my sophomore year, his senior year
— The Daily finally got serious and spent some
time practicing and installing plans.
Josh and I handled the two safety positions
in our two-deep zone. At first Josh, having never
played organized football, was utterly terrified of
the responsibility of having multiple opponents
running through his area, knowing one false
step could allow a touchdown. But he picked it
up quickly, and even made an interception, in a
shutout win — The Daily’s first ever.
Josh told me that day that he felt terribly
guilty that he had spent years watching
Michigan games and shouting angrily at the
defensive backs when they let the opposing
receivers catch the ball in front of them. Having
stood in their shoes, and having lived the fear
of giving up a long touchdown pass (but not
having allowed any), he swore he would never
question them again.
Josh’s legacy at The Daily and elsewhere is
how he exemplified the journalist, the human
that worked to understand and appreciate
other humans. The immediate Daily Managing
Editor prior to Josh, Kristine Lalonde, said, “We
lost a mensch (this week) — we all can honor
his memory by bringing more empathy and

compassion to the world.”
Shortly after Josh died, Yair Lapid, Israel’s
foreign minister and prime minister-in-
waiting, eulogized him on the Knesset floor.
There are few journalists — if any at all — who
managed to win the respect and affection of
Israelis and Palestinians alike. His legacy as
a journalist is the exact same as his legacy as a
human being: to understand his fellow humans
and bring enlightenment into the world.
eflections from Daily alumni on Josh
Mitnick: Sept. 2, 2021
Bethany Robertson, Class of 1994
Josh was Bethany’s first editor and she
remembers him as very serious. He was not
looking for the fluff story, ever, and was always
looking for what was underneath. In the
middle of a nightside shift, he mentioned he
was leaving the building.
Bethany asked where he was headed. Josh
replied that he was going to the Michigan
Theatre for some
free music. 501
Jazz used to put on
an hour of free jazz
one night a month.
Being a relatively
new person as a
first-year at The
was surprised to
see this extra layer
in her very serious
editor. And she was
even more excited as a first-year to be asked to
join him.
Bethany walked into the grand venue with
Josh: “It was the most magical thing I’d ever
seen, staring down the staircase at this free
concert. I remember looking at Josh and he
was so transfixed, so present. I still think of him
every time I hear jazz.”
Erin Einhorn, Class of 1995
Erin didn’t know Josh well. She was in her
first year when Josh took the reins as Managing
Editor. But she remembers extremely clearly
an incident shortly after she started with The
Daily. Erin explained that ahead of the Fall 1991
term, that there had been some rioting after
the conclusion of a football game. As Michigan
football prepared to play Michigan State, there
was reason to believe that some additional
rioting on campus might occur.
Erin expressed elation and excitement at
the idea of jumping into a big story because she
was new and well on her way to her journalism
“Josh was appalled,” she said. “He asked,
‘How are you excited about a riot?’” He was
the grown-up in the room and understood that
news isn’t a game. He understood the people
behind it.” Erin indicated that is when she first
learned that lesson.
Andrew Levy, Class of 1994
Andrew mentioned he had a chance to spend
time with Josh for about a year and a half. The
way that Andrew remembers him is the one
who was focused, who made efforts to mentor
and loop in junior reporters, and someone who
avoided politics among his staff.
Andrew also remembers he was a
challenging person when he first joined The
Daily as a first year as a member of its editorial
staff. “It was an intimidating experience so I
tried news. Josh was super welcoming and
wonderful. He was a really good mentor. A lot of
people didn’t have the time (between The Daily

and school) but he made time for me.”
Andrew also recalls Josh’s commitment
to Hillel and Jewish causes and how he
seamlessly meshed this passion with his work
and welcomed junior reporters along. Andrew
recalled a story about Josh recruiting him
to attend an American Israel Public Affairs
Committee event for student journalists in
Baltimore. They attended together. And on
their return, at a time when flights were often
overbooked, and people could get bumped and
get a free plane ticket, Andrew and Josh were
ready to garner some free travel by showing
up early to the airport. Andrew fell asleep after
they indicated they wanted to be on the bump
and free ticket list and then woke to find the
plane boarding and Josh gone. Apparently,
Andrew had missed an additional call to the
desk to confirm a bump, but Josh was able to
take it.
Karen Scholl (Sabgir), Class of 1995
Karen started at The Daily as a first-year on
the news staff while Josh was managing editor.
That fall of 1991, many presidential candidates
came to visit campus and Karen was assigned
to cover Democratic candidate Tom Harkin.
Karen recalls how excited and passionate
Josh was about covering the candidates.
She marveled in it because she didn’t know
anything about Harkin at that point. She recalls
his immense passion for Israel early on.
Karen, like Bethany, shares how Josh
introduced her to jazz: “Whenever I hear jazz, I
think of him.” She reflected on one of their visits
to Tower Records and how she remarked on
how pricey some of the CDs Josh was looking at
were for how few tracks they offered: “He just
looked at me and said, ‘It’s about the quality of
the tracks, not the quantity.’”
Carrie Mitnick, Josh’s sister, lived down the
hall from Karen and came to know his family
well for many reasons, including being big
Michigan fans: “He shaped my whole Michigan
experience, his whole family. He introduced me
to so much.”
Josh also introduced Karen to the joys of
reading non-fiction — even at the beach: “We
were on vacation at the beach and I looked over
and there he was, reading Deborah, Golda,
and Me. I thought you only read non-fiction if
under duress. He was always learning things
and wanted to know the world better. He was
always a student.”
Andy Gottesman, Class of 1992
Andy was editor-in-chief while Josh was on
The Daily. Andy mentioned he took his family
to Israel four years ago and reached out but
wasn’t able to connect.
Andy and Josh started together as first-year
students on The Daily. “I remember him as an
extremely serious journalist. He had no interest

in goofball politics at The Daily.” Whenever
there was a question or debate of how to move
things forward, Andy recalled, Josh would say,
“The New York Times wouldn’t do it this way.”
As he would say something like this, Andy
added that Josh would remove his spectacles
and rub his forehead; “He loved putting out
news every day. He was a newsman.”
Andy remembers Josh’s affections for
music. He would recall that as Josh was
editing, Josh sometimes would tap his fingers
on the table rhythmically: “He had a jazz beat
in his head.” He also remembers the Mitnicks’
affections for Michigan football. He once
invited Josh over to watch an Ohio State game
and his dad joined in: “His Dad was a bigger fan
than anyone!”

Matt Rennie, Class of 1993
Matt was editor-in-chief following Andy
and came from the sports desk during a
streak of years when editors-in-chief came
from sports. Matt recalls that when Josh was
managing editor, he was sitting among a lot
of big personalities: “The other leaders at The
Daily were loud, big personalities. Josh was
more reserved. He was someone who had a lot
of personal and professional integrity.”
That reservation was still powerful,
however. Matt shared that you could usually
see pretty well ahead how things were going
to go with a group during an argument: “Josh
wasn’t afraid, even if it was clear his was going
to be a minority opinion, to stick to his opinion
even if it might be drowned out.”
Miguel Cruz, Class of 1991
Miguel was a news editor and weekend
editor and provided more color about Josh’s
management of conflicts in the newsroom and
how he gravitated even at that time toward
resolution of conflicts:
“The thing about him that made the strongest
impression on me was how frustrating he
found it when people from opposite sides of an
argument couldn’t find a reasonable common
ground. In his view, if we would just calm down
and listen to each other, there was always a way
that we could move forward and get back to
solving the problems that were affecting all of us.

Remembering Daily alumnus Josh Mitnick

Op-ed Contributors

This flag was made for you and me

Opinion Columnist

Dana White: modern-day robber baron

Opinion Columnist

Josh Mitnick with his wife, Lesley Benedikt. Josh is pictured wearing a TMD crewneck. Image courtesy of Lesley Benedikt.

Together, Josh Mitnick and Mark Katz hold up a copy of The
Daily. Image courtesy of Lesley Benedikt.

Read more at MichiganDaily.com

Josh pictured with his wife and their three children. The family
lived in Tel Aviv, Israel. Image courtesy of Lesley Benedikt.

Josh pictured with his father, Stuart Mitnick. Both graduated from
the University of Michigan. Image courtesy of Lesley Benedikt.

Back to Top

© 2024 Regents of the University of Michigan