Coverage of Georgian conflict reflects U.S. bias

To the Daily:
I’m concerned about last week’s news brief on the conflict in Georgia (U.S. to send $1 billion in aid to Georgia, 09/04/2008). Words attributed to Russia, like “aggressive” and “invasion,” don’t take history into account and reflect a broader problem in objective reporting.

First, the history: Russia has reason to be defensive. Russia lost a war against Japan in the early 20th century, and in 1941, the Soviet Union was nearly wiped out by Germany. Thereafter, Russians lived in suspicion and fear during the Cold War. However, their worries didn’t end with the fall of the Berlin Wall. The United States expanded its NATO clique into Russia’s sphere of influence, giving membership to several former Soviet nations and pushing for two more to join: Georgia and Ukraine.

Now, Russia is treating Georgia in much the same way the United States and NATO treated Serbia in 1999, and yet the West resents Russia’s actions. In response, the West has amassed significant military forces in the region. Moreover, President Bush wants to create a missile defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic — on Russia’s doorstep — to allegedly protect against Iran. Why should Russians not be suspicious, paranoid and even aggressive?

In his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, John McCain perpetuated America’s own paranoia and misunderstanding of Eurasian history. He called Russia’s leaders “corrupt,” chastised them for “rejecting democratic ideals” and accused them of expanding the Russian empire and gaining “more control over the world’s oil supply” in Georgia. It seems the propaganda machines of the Cold War have fired up once again.

Second, the reporting: the Daily has joined much of the news media in printing descriptions of world events biased toward the United States. It would be more beneficial to the Daily’s readers if the paper instead provided historical insight and an objective portrayal of the news.

Americans and Russians can’t afford another half-century of misinformation.

Eric Sauck
Engineering senior

Rodriguez needs to be more classy with players

To the Daily:
While the football loss to Utah in the first week of the season was mildly disappointing, what has happened since the game has certainly been worse. As a student at the University, I never missed a Michigan football game even though I was here during losing times — 1963-67. In all the time since then, I don’t remember the coach of our Wolverines ever publicly calling into question his players’ heart, pride or intelligence.

Yet in all of head football coach Rich Rodriguez’s comments I’ve read since the first game, that is basically all Rodriguez has done. Not once have I heard him acknowledge any responsibility for the loss. Rodriguez may not know or care about any Michigan traditions, but someone should educate him about an important one: having class. I know former head football coach Lloyd Carr spoiled us on that score. Maybe it’s time for Rodriquez to take a look at that page of Carr’s playbook.

Michigan has invested too much money in this man to get such pitiful answers. He is the one damaging our pride, not the players.

Christine Inch

Where’s Kilpatrick’s party affiliation?

To the Daily:
Simple question: If Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is going to jail and his party affiliation — Democrat — is rarely, if ever, noted in the national media, why is it that when a Republican politician is the culprit his party affiliation is duly noted? Take Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens to name just one.

Could a person surmise that a media bias is at work? You bet.

Joe Irving

Gay men aren’t to blame for spread of AIDS

To the Daily:
I’m writing in regards to Shakira Smiler’s column Friday about the dangers of gay and bisexual men dating women but not revealing their sexual orientation (Undercover brother, 09/05/2008). It’s safe to say that Smiler’s comments about the fears of coming out are true. Many gay men and women dread the reactions they receive they come out to their families, and I certainly understand these concerns. However, this is about all that Smiler seemed to grasp about the gay community, sex or love in general.

Smiler opened her piece by suggesting that all women have a checklist they go over before considering any man as a potential partner. Call me a hopeless romantic, but I’ve always thought that most people make decisions like dating based on intellectual and physical attraction — not the amount of money in the other’s pocket. To suggest otherwise is harmful and degrading to women everywhere.

Moreover, men who choose to remain “closeted” hurt themselves much more than the women with which they sleep. A man’s reasons for coming out should be personal and related to his need to be honest with himself.

But beyond her bizarre notion of relationships, Smiler showed a total lack of understanding about the cause of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In the United States, at least, HIV/AIDS spread as a result of ignorance and denial. Born during a time of social conservatism and a return to “traditional family values,” funding was sorely lacking for HIV/AIDS research. It took the deaths of many Americans for the president to even take notice. Gay men aren’t to blame for the spread of this virus.

HIV/AIDS is a serious problem in this country and, especially, abroad, but blaming it on gay men is unfair. My advice is, if you want to avoid HIV/AIDS, wear a condom. Even gay semen can’t burn through condoms.

Daniel Pesick
Music senior

Rich Rod overplays lackluster McGuffie

To the Daily:
Head football coach Rich Rodriguez isn’t using the best players on offense. Every time Rodriguez goes with Sam McGuffie at running back, negative yards follow.

Although McGuffie keeps getting a greater number of snaps, Michael Shaw and Brandon Minor have been the most productive backs to date.
Taking your best players off the field while they are hot makes absolutely no sense. Michigan will continue to struggle if Rodriguez keeps treating this season as practice for McGuffie.

Paul Wright

Taking responsibility for teen pregnancy

To the Daily:
After reading the viewpoint in the Daily last week about abstinence-only sexual education programs (The opposite of sex, 09/04/2008), it seems that the author, Emily Michels, may need to take some time away from this campus’s sexual atmosphere — which is often more akin to a pen of animals in heat than a place of higher learning — and spend more time in the real world.

In the real world, people (teenagers included) are held responsible for their conduct, sexual and otherwise. Nowhere in her article did Michels even mention the fact that the pregnant teenage mothers and the fathers of their children might be the first two culprits in the recent spate of youthful procreation.

Instead, she makes a blind logical leap, claiming a completely unsupported correlation between Bush administration policy and teenage pregnancy. Her massive oversight, combined with a lack of any sort of correlative proof, left her ink rather impotent in regard to producing a convincing argument.

Maybe she, too, will soon learn that in the real world people are responsible for their conduct, bad writing included.

Joshua Birk
Law School

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