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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - April 9, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta TuoMtoy, April 1t74 THI LtTHMIDOl MIIULO -1 The right to reply carried to extreme By William New York commentator MIAMI Sooner or later, it had to happen: journalism's invasions of privacy and assertions of privilege under the banner of "the public's right to know" has caused a reaction even more dangerous to individual freedom, under an equally attractive banner: "the right to reply." Two weeks from now, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument in the case of the Miami Herald V. Tonillo. When the newspaper attacked a candidate for the Florida legislature before election day, 1972, the candidate cited a, 1913 statute in that state requiring newspapers to offer their targets free space in which to answer. The candidate, Pat Tornillo, demanded his "right to reply." To everybody's surprise Florida's high court upheld the statute, and carried "freedom of information" to its logical extreme: "The right of the public to know all sides of wrote the Florida judges, "and from such information to be able to make an enlightened choice is being jeopardized by a growing concentration of the ownership of the mass media into fewer hands, resulting ultimately in a form of private censorship freedom of expression was retained by the people through the first amendment for all the people and not for a select few.'' By giving a maligned candidate for office the chance to answer his critics, and by providing voters with both points of view, the court held that the statute "enhances rather than abridges freedom of speech and press." Newsmen, accustomed to wrapping themselves in First Amendment Rights as they subvert a defendant's right to a fair trial, find it difficult to handle an attack from a judi- cial force wrapping itself in the first amendment How can they declare "but the public has a right to know" when the threat comes from someone saying "the public has a right to know both The Miami Herald's editors are troubled, too, by the popular, seemingly unassailable position built into their opponent's case: "the right to reply has a nice ring to it; like 'right to work' or 'truth in it reeks of fairness." Other newsmen .have criticized The Herald for being persnickety about refusing to run Tornillo'5 reply, or for not defending the case on the narrower grounds that the candidate's demand was timed and delivered in a manner calculated to get a rejection and make a court case. The Herald was chosen to fight it out on principle a "demand" for space, if honored, would have set a precedent that would have moved the power to edit news from the editor's chair to the judge's bench. My own knee jerk reaction, often more perceptive than my reasoned analysis, is to cheer on the lonely politician who is denied access to the minds of voters by communications media that decline to communicate him. But be still, my knee; more is at stake'here than the indulgence of resentment at press hubris which Nixon supporters feel today, or which Adlai Stevenson fans felt in 1952 when he castigated the "one party press." The idea of enforcing "fairness" by passing laws or issuing regulations is the most widely embraced and deeply pernicious idea pervading political discourse today. Because rich people are better off at shortage time than poor people, this is regarded as and some fairniks in Congress are prepared to pass energy laws giving near-dictatorial economic powers to the executive branch and the regulatory agenda. Because there has beon corruption In campaign fund- raising, the fairniks are prepared to pan incumbents protection acti, putting control of the process of getting into power in the exclusive hands of men already in power. And because some newspapers and news magazines have abandoned objectivity, the fairniks are calling for "the right to which would bollix up courageous and responsible media while silencing editorial comment entirely in outlets more easily chilled. Conservatives especially should be on guard against radical notions calling for government enforcement of whatever goes under the name of "fairness." Whenever resentment at any inequity wells up, there is all too quick a reaction of "there ought to be a law." However, nun laws mean more government; more "fairness" often means less freedom. It pays to put up with some inequities when the cure is worse than the disease. Life is unfair, as somebody once said, and we wriggle in quicksand as we seek perfection through government regulation. There is that extra constitutional riposte to those who say "there ought to be a law about access to newspaper space, which begins "congress shall make no law____" Does this mean there can be no restraints on journalistic power? Custom and tradition, not federal law, should build a little "candidate's just as it should build a little executive privilege and a little newsman's privilege against revealing sources. One day soon, the Supreme Court will strike a better balance on libtl, which will help, but the great restraint should be the pressure of public opinion, to which almost all journalism reacts. Expanded letters-to-the- editor columns, more "battle pages" at election time, and more corrections (Warren Hastings was acquitted by the House of Lords in his impeachment trial my apologies, Warren) are reforms readers can demand from publishers. The teeth- gnashing sounds in co-ed departments when intellectually unfashionable commentary is set in type is a happier sound than the fiats of editors in judicial robes. I see more danger in heavyhandedness than benefits in evenhandedness. You don't agree? Then write an angry letter, cancel your subscription, start your own newspaper but let's keep it out of court. Nixon and the press By Russell Baker, New York Times commentator WASHINGTON A powerful case exists against American television and press, but Richard Nixon and his men are forever getting it wrong. It is not that the media are hostile to presidents, and to Nixon more than most, but that they are such abject tools so eager to be of presidential use that they have distorted all our perceptions of what news is and what government is about. Some years ago I was assigned to the White House for the Baltimore Sun and as a lean, untempered rookie went with President Eisenhower to vacation in the western air Vacationing was a big part of White House coverage in those days, and Eisenhower did it thoroughly. For five and six weeks at a time he did absolutely nothing that was remotely definable as news. Each day, however, my more professional colleagues would unsheath their typewriters, pound away for an hour or two and wire home stories. It -was not a little disconcerting to a new boy when, after four or five days without having sent a word, I found the veterans joking about how long I could go on reporting nothing from the Rockies and stay on the payroll. The president, I quickly learned, is always news, whether he is involved in any news or not. So we all poured out reams of material daily. The president had eaten beef bacon and skim milk at chase away winter blues! with... BAPCO'S NEW Spring fresh Colors from HOYT'S take advantage of these 0 Interior Flat Latex 1st Quality QUARTS Reg. Price 3.0S SPRING SPECIAL Interior Alkyd Semi-Gloss 1st Quality QUARTS Reg. Price 4.20 SPRING SPECIAL 072 SPRING Interior _ Latex Semi-Gloss 1st Quality QUARTS GALLONS GALLONS Reg. Price 12.50 9 DAYS ONLY ENDS APfllL 20th 325 SPRING SPECIAL GALLONS SPECIAL Reg. Price 13.3S SPRING SPECIAL 3 55 SPRING SPECIAL 11 63 MMhiM StM LiMfrs SfMtZLM 14"" Wren Nylon PAINTBRUSHES 3" Reg. 3 69 H CA Mfgrs Special 4" Reg 5.38 Mfgrs Special 3.49 Pshrfilli 11b. Reg Price Spnng Special 4lb Reg. Price 1.79 Spring Special 1.39 DOWNTOWN BOS-MI Avenue South Phone NORTH LETHBRIDGE Weetmlmter Shopping Plaxa Phone 32S4441 USE YOUR CHARQEX OR HOYT'S OWN CHARGE ACCOUNT breakfast, we told America. He woke at and fished. He had talked on the telephone. He had enjoyed a good day on the golf course He was in good spirits. Two businessmen had paid a courtesy call. He had played bridge. It was worse than nonsense, of course, because it created a totally deceptive impression and, by keeping the president constantly in the "news" for this drivel was published and broadcast extensively through the country it distorted the public's perception of government, leaving the notion that the president, like the planet Jupiter, was a' force constantly in motion Nothing has changed significantly since then in the appetite of both press and television for presidential "news." On any given evening, the top "news" items on the network shows will concern the president On a typical day the New York Times front page will display two or three stories from the White House President Nixon has declared, or rejected, or challenged, or stated, or flown, or worked on, or met with, or released, or issued, or signed, or smiled, or looked tense. And how often is it news? Very rarely. Most often it is, in Daniel Boorstin's splendid phrase, a "pseudo which is to say an event created to satisfy the media's ceaseless craving for something anything to be reported. Presidents since Eisenhower have probably been spoiled by media complaisance and laziness. It is easy to report presidents, and it is hard and dull to report Congress, courts, city halls and zoning commissions And so the media have conditioned us all to think of government, when we think of it at all, in easily simplified presidential terms. The ease with which Nixon has exploited these lazy old media habits with his recent series of pseudo events must make a logical mind wonder why he chose to wage that self destructive war upon them? When they were so deferential, so willing to be of service in the glorification of his office, where was the gain in the niggling quarrel with a handful of reporters, small voices in the storm, Who occasionally tried interposing themselves between him and the picture of glory their papers and networks were painting of his office? Well, he wanted total complaisance, of course. "Media" dreadful word is an advertising term; it implies the use of television and newspapers for ads that sell goods, television and newspapers do not argue with their ads The Nixon people wanted no argument with theirs. After the president had used television to sell, he wanted no reporters following him immediately afterwards to discuss the message. In this insistence on reducing the media to the humiliating status of advertising media, this demand to have everything presented absolutely his way when he already had all the riches the media could bestow upon mortal man, he was like a sultan fuming because there were gnats on the bananas. Hidden meaningi Time is cruel to those who cannot change when change is needed. Photo and text by David Bly Herald reporter The meaning of detente By Norman Cousins, editor of Saturday There is a basic fallacy in much of the thinking about detente. Many people tend to see it as a sort of amity compact or a mutual pledge of friendship. This is not really what detente is all about Basically detente is an agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union to avoid violent confrontation on the great issues that divide them. It is an attempt to set specific limits to their differences. In the most fundamental sense, detente seeks to reduce the dangers of a thermonuclear war that could result in a shattering blow to civilization. The recent crisis in the Middle East was a good working demonstration of what detente is all about. The United States does not wish a change in the balance of power in the Middle East, with the Soviet Union dominating the area. The Soviet Union feels exactly the same way. about the United States. Yet both sides recognize an even greater need to avoid having the Middle East become the nuclear fuse of a world war. Consequently, Mr. Nixon and Communist Party Chairman Leonid Brezhnev had no difficulty in agreeing that they had an overriding mutual interest in keeping the Middle East crisis from reaching a point where they would find themselves at war with one another. This is what detente is all about. Detente was never intended to be dependent on changes in the political or ideological structures of the two countries. The repressive measures inside the Soviet Union against Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Andrei Sakharov and others have produced an outcry inside America against detente. Similarly, the fact that the United States Congress has not acted swiftly to give the Soviet Union "most favored nation" trade status has been interpreted by some Soviet ideologists as evidence that the United States is undermining the spirit of detente. Obviously, from our point of view, it would be a good thing if the Soviet Union were to abandon its totalitarian structure of government and provide full freedom of Book review expression and freedom of emigration to its citizens. But this is not likely to happen all at once. Nor is the United States apt to change its habits or traditions in order to please the Soviet Union. Both societies are going to go their own way. What is necessary and possible is that they avoid a collision course in so doing. Supporting detente does not mean that we support the repressive policy of the Soviet Union toward its artists, or toward its Jewish citizens, or toward any of its minority groups. Support of detente means only that we recognize the facts of life in a nuclear age. On the official level, the United States and the Soviet Union have identified the arms race as the best place to take hold in reducing the dangers of war. The SALT talks are the most specific expression of this mutual 'poncern No one in his right mind can disagree with this proposition At the same time, we can recognize that the SALT negotiators thus far have not addressed themselves to the elimination or reduction of their p-iclerr stockpiles. It has been estimated that both countries, between them, possess megatons of nuclear explosive force. This is Hiroshima multiplied hundreds of thousands of times If only one fourth of the nuclear explosives in the arsenals of the United States and the Soviet Union were to be used, a large part of the human race outside both countries would be condemned to death. The SALT discussions so far have been promising but they haven't yet hit pay dirt. This, then, is the true test of detente whether both sides are going to get at the core danger of the arms race. Public opinion, -in the United States and elsewhere, should fix its attention on these essentials. It is equally true that any disarmament must be tied to the existence of a world organization strong enough to keep the peace Something has to take the place of the armaments if security is to be assured Ultimately, therefore, the cause of detente and the cause of a strengthened United Nations are identical. Role of the crusading spirit "The Captain America Complex: The Dilemma of Zealous Nationalism" by Robert Jewett (Westminster Press, 286 pages, Robert Jewett, professor of religious studies at Morningside College, has interpreted parts of the Old Testament, the book of Revelation in the New Testament, and the history of Israel in terms of two dominant idealogies called "Zealous Nationalism" and "Prophetic Realism." His account of the crusading spirit of the zealous nationalists and the violence engendered by their doctrines has obvious parallels in many parts of the world today. As suggested by his title, Jewett has focused largely on the role of the crusading spirit of zealous nationalism in the American colonies and the United States. According to Jewett, the crusaders' aim of redeeming the world by violently destroying the wicked was and is largely responsible for entry of the United States into several wars and also for subsequent conduct of these wars. Although the author has oversimplified history by neglect of economic and other motives, he has made a good case that biblical zeal played an important role in the national actions of the United States as late as Dulles' tenure as secretary of state. He also shows how a secularized version of zealous nationalism has been fostered and exploited by more recent leaders. Several sweeping generalizations and long leaps to conclusions about causes and effects in complex human affairs are surely debatable and probably mistaken in several respects. Although Jewett deplores the tendency of zealous nationalists toward violence, there is a notable absence of discussion of nonviolence or pacifism. In one of the few mentions of pacifism in the United States, Jewett distinguishes between realists and pacifists This book contains many passages that are well worth reading more than once, and some well selected quotations. The absence of an index makes it difficult to find these gems., LOREN HEPLER ;