The Daily should keep its News objective

To the Daily:

Wednesday’s lead page headline (MSA Votes Against Divestment, 03/16/2005) begs the question: Did the Michigan Student Assembly really vote against divestment? The article reports that MSA voted against the creation of “an advisory committee to investigate the moral and ethical implications” of divestment. Maybe I’ve been too busy lately, but I don’t remember the Daily reporting the pro-divestment findings of a committee that never existed. Indeed, I’m pretty sure I would have remembered the adjacent cartoon by Sam Butler depicting President Bush, donning a cowboy hat and chaps furnished by Coca-Cola, riding a nuclear warhead built by Halliburton into a Palestinian hospital while stammering something about tattooing the Ten Commandments on enemy combatants. Luckily for my sanity, I’m pretty sure the headline is simply an irresponsible nonsequitur.

Unless we know what the findings of the advisory committee would have been had the proposal to create such a committee passed and its provisions implemented, we’re one premise short of the headline’s conclusion. If the editors of the Daily know what the findings of the proposed — and let’s hope objective — advisory committee would have been, they should let us know. What the editors should not do is draw a conclusion that is not supported by the article itself. It is entirely possible that the majority of individuals are pro-divestment, but voted against the measure for an array of reasons. Indeed, it appears that to some individuals, including the president of MSA, the insertion of what those considered condemnations of the state of Israel was a significant factor in their vote. A vote of “no” does not, as a matter of course, imply an anti-divestment stance.

If the editors of the Daily want to take a position on divestment, I suggest that they articulate it in a staff editorial. Let’s keep the nonsequiturs to the editorial pages.

Dillon Kuehn

Law School

 

Daily news headlines on divestment were misleading

To the Daily:

The Daily had a particularly bad day with its headlines on March 15. Whether the reason was bias or a lack of due diligence is hard to determine, but improvement is needed.

The headline Israel Divestment Resolution Likely to Pass can certainly be questioned given the overwhelming defeat of the resolution by the Michigan Student Assembly. But more problematic is that the story did not justify the headline. The lead of the story said that some MSA officials thought the resolution had “a reasonable chance of passing.” The story continued that both a Daily survey and an MSA survey showed a nearly even division; in other words, too close to call. The headline tried to call it anyway.

The headline of an Associated Press story read: Palestinian Holy Site will fall on Israeli Side referring to the planned route of Israel’s security barrier. But the story simply said it was a “holy site” not a “Palestinian holy site.” In fact, Rachel’s Tomb, the burial spot of the biblical Rachel on the outskirts of Bethlehem, is the third-holiest site in Judaism. It is true that the Palestinian Authority has begun to call the site the “Bilal Ibn Rabah Mosque” in an effort to undermine any Jewish connection — just as Arafat used to claim that there was never a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, a move that infuriated religious Jews and Christians, as well as Muslims and others with integrity — but certainly the Daily should not be a party to efforts to strip Rachel’s Tomb of its Jewish significance.

Don Cohen

Alum

 

PIRGIM funding violates Constitution and free speech

To the Daily:

Apparently Carolyn Hwang and Michigan Student Assembly Rep. Rese Fox believe that the Constitution amounts to “obstacles and red tape” (The future of PIRGIM at the University, 03/17/2005). Despite the Central Student Judiciary’s ruling that was in accordance with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Southworth v. University of Wisconsin, Hwang and Fox continue to masquerade as victims of some bureaucratic conspiracy.

Unlike Hwang and Fox, I am willing to be honest. I will admit that I am a conservative. I will admit that many organizations claim to be nonpartisan while maintaining a clear right or left-wing bias. Though Public Interest Research Group In Michigan also claims to be non-partisan, it clearly has a left-wing slant. The congressional scorecard section of its website rates liberals highly while giving conservatives failing grades. The group clearly advocates liberal policies and ignores free-market and other solutions. To say that this close-minded organization does not attempt to influence legislation is absurd — it appears to be its sole purpose.

While I am open to finding solutions to problems, such as the cost of education, pollution and poverty, I do not believe we should automatically assume that PIRGIM’s policies are the best. Hwang, Fox and supporters of PIRGIM should keep in mind that thousands of students feel like I do. We do not want our money spent on advocating policies we find disagreeable. Imagine if the state Legislature voted to fund a Republican policy center but not one for the Democrats. Using MSA’s discretionary funds to bankroll a PIRGRIM chapter is analogous to this situation. Both are outrageous and clear violations of the Constitution’s Free Speech Clause.

In our democracy, majority and plurality often rule. But in cases concerning our sacred rights, such as freedom of speech, assembly and religious practice, the law protects the minority from discrimination. Although Hwang and Fox claim to have “so much support on campus,” they cannot usurp the rights of those who do not support PIRGIM.

Eric Weiler

LSA senior

 

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