New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 19, 1995, New Braunfels, Texas
\ AB Herald-Zeitung ■ Wednesday, April 19,1995
■ To talk with Managing iditor Doug Loveday ibout the Opinion )age, call 625*9144,
OnllM contact x
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“No one wants anarchy in the name of religion, but do we really want more and more government regulation of religion? Pretty soon we’ll have to practice our faith in the closet.”
— Marj Carpenter, news director, 1991
E 13 I
I A I
The Bottom Line
Two networks refuse to air Clinton’s news conference in place of shows
Home Improvement and Frasier have been consistently drawing the largest viewership in prime time this year for the ABC and NBC networks.
Tuesday’s lineup is packed with sitcoms, newsmagazines and other challengers in the ratings war.
But how does a live prime time presidential news conference stack up against those programs? According to NBC and ABC, not very well.
Both networks refused to air President Clinton’s White House news conference Tuesday night, only his fourth news conference in 27 months in office. They cited the lack of news expected to come from the event, leaving the coverage to CBS, CNN and C-SPAN.
Clinton was stung by the disinterest of the networks and forcefully argued that his Presidency still has relevance—relevance granted by the Constitution.
With the Republicans apparently setting the agenda in Washington, D.C. these days, the news conference was an opportunity to take back the momentum lost over the last IOO days to Speaker Newt Gingrich and Senate Majority leader Bob Dole, a challenger for the Republican nomination for President in 19%. That didn’t happen Tuesday.
Scoring political points is definitely a part of news conferences at the White House, but they also offer the American public—Democrats, Republicans and others—a chance to hear from their chief executive.
Democrats should be dismayed that the networks would snub their man. Millions of Americans who may have benefitted from a Q&A session between reporters and the President instead were served up more of the same television fare.
Republicans should be equally upset. They remember all too well the criticism their last two presidents received for the small number of news conferences they held.
Now, when President Clinton stands in front of the feisty Washington, D C. press corps, yawns and sighs can be heard across the country.
These appearances before the American people and the press are important if only to keep the President accountable and cognizant of the fact that Amenca is watching.
But once the networks begin to determine what they believe is newsworthy (when in fact their real concern is ratings and dollars), it will become easier and easier to keep the President off the air.
'The real losers will be the American public and voters especially.
(Today's editorial was written by Managing Editor Doug Loveday)
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Editor and Publisher..........................................................David Sullens
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Anyone can be a Lamp Post Harry
Lamp Post Harry is scary and disgusting. Lamp Post Harry is also the most poorly planned and executed public service campaign I've ever seen. In fact,
I think this program, introduced by the New Braunfels Safe City Commission, may have done more harm than good so far.
But there is hope for Harry.
More on that later.
You've probably seen Lamp Post Harry in public service advertisements on TCI Cable or on the Crime Watch page in this newspaper.
On TV, Lamp Post Harry lurks around the playground at Hinman Island Park eyeing children with evil intent, or trying to get a little girl to get into his car, or trying to give drugs to teen-agers. Harry is a big, scary, Hispanic-looking guy, with long hair, dark glasses, a fedora and a trench coat.
"Harry is disgusting; he's someone you don’t want to see your kids around," said Cheryl Scott, Safe City Commission chairperson.
The intent is to teach children to be wary of strangers, and to make parents aware of the bad characters out there.
So why do I think this program is so bad?
Kids would already be scared of Harry. He is about the scuzziest-looking guy you could imagine.
Ask your child what a stranger looks like. Chances are good that he or she will describe a person like Lamp Post Harry. To most children, stranger equals scary, lf the person is not scary, he is not a stranger. at least to children.
I saw a television news magazine segment not
too long ago that made this point in dramatic fashion. With parents’ permission, they filmed as a nice-looking young man with a dog leash approached children at a park. "Have you seen my puppy," he would ask the kid. Within 30 seconds he had the kid walking with him out of the park to help find the lost puppy. Time after time it worked.
The parents watched, horrified. "But I always tell him not to trust strangers," they told the camera. But to the kids, Randy wasn’t a stranger because he was not scary.
The Safe City Commission’s Lamp Post Hany Campaign just drives home the dangerously mistaken perception that you can pick out a child abuser by the way he looks.
Instead of reinforcing the mistaken idea that a stranger is big, scary, long-haired Mexican, the Safe City Commission should be teaching kids that a stranger is anyone your child does not know, be it the ’nice lady’ with the dog or the kindly old man in the park.
They could teach parents to establish a code word known only by the parents, the child and any adult authorized to escort or care for the child. If the stranger does not know the "magic" word, the child is not to go anyplace with that person.
I talked about these issues with Frank Miller, senior sergeant with the Child Abuse Unit of the Austin Police Department He agreed that it is a bad idea to use somebody obviously scary in these types of advertisements.
"Most of our child abusers are family members or people known to the families," he said. "Only very rarely do we have a ‘who done it’ case where the victim does not know the abuser."
But when the assailant is a stranger, it usually is not
somebody who looks like Lamp Post Harry, he said., “A stranger can be anybody they don't know. We," have kids abducted by people dressed as police offi-/ cere. We have had cases involving real police officers,^ clergy, teachers, doctors. Child abusers and child', sexual abusers are not isolated to the poor. They. often get into positions where they have access tQ. children, like Boy Scout leaders, youth organiza-/ dons, Little League coaches. We’ve worked cases on/ all those people. They work to gain the trust of chil- 7 dren arid their families." '
Even if it is a stranger trying to prey on children in a park, like Harry, "they’d be out there playing with,' the kids. They would go out of their way to look non-threatening. They would not wear a trench coat and dark glasses. They would look just like anybody else in the park," Miller said.
While the movies make it easy to tell the good guys from the bad, real life unfortunately is not so simple,/ You can’t spot child molesters by the way they look,/ because they don't lurk in the shadows wearing/ trench coats and dark glasses. f
. But you couldn’t tell that by the Lamp Post Harry, campaign.
I said before that there is hope for Harry. Scott told me that the next batch of Lamp Post Harry commercials will show Harry go behind a tree and reap-t pear as different characters — a contractor ready to, take advantage of an old person, or a juvenile ready to steal a car. The new commercials will make the point that anybody can be a Lamp Post Harry, no matter what they look like.
That’s more like it. That’s how the campaign should have started.
(Roger Croteau is the Herald-Zeitung city editor.)
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President flip-flops on affirmative action
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Clinton’s knottiest issue is affirmative action. No matter which way he turns, he threatens to anger an important constituency group. And that’s why he can’t seem to make up his mind.
For months, Clinton has been bobbing and weaving on the emotionally charged subject, one day defending the proud Dem<x;ratie history of support for minority preference programs, the next day appealing to party liberals to be more sensitive to “angry white males.’’
One day he seems headed toward giving the entire matter over to a blue-ribbon panel. The next day not.
One day he suggests he’s ready to jettison programs that are no longer effective and that encourage reverse discrimination. Ihe next day aides suggest he’s only talking about nibbling around the edges, and that it's unlikely he’ll cut any of the more than IOO spe
Clinton is trying to pre-empt a fierce GOP attack on set-asides and other affirmative action programs. But the path for him is filled with political nsk.
He can’t afford lo alienate women and minorities who have benefited the most from these programs and who make up a major part of the Democratic core.
But as lie seeks to regain his mantle as a moderate-conservative “New Democrat,” he wants to avoid offending conservatives who are stoking the backlash against affirmative action, including those “angry white males.’’
Where he finally comes down on the subject will have a major bearing on 19% election politics.
Clinton said during a prime-time news conference Tuesday night that the wrapup of the review he ordered “won’t he long.” But he once again displayed his apparent ambivalence on
Today In History
By The Assoc lated Press
Today is Wednesday, April 19, the 109th day of 1995. There are 256 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On April 19, 1775, the American Revolutionary War began with the battles of Lexington and Concord.
On this date:
In 1782, the Netherlands recognized American independence.
In 1892, the prototype of the first
commercially successful American automobile was completed in Springfield, Mass., by Charles E. Duryea and his brother Frank.
In 1893, the Oscar Wilde play “A Woman of No Importance" opened at the Haymarket Theatre in London.
In 1933, the United States went off the gold standard.
In 1943, during World War II, tens of thousands of Jews living in the Warsaw Ghetto began waging a valiant but futile battle against Nazi forces.
In 1945, 50 years ago, the Rodgers
“The earnings of male workers, including white male workers, have been declining when measured against inflation for years now," he said.
“On affirmative action, your principle should be we’re all better off if everybody’s got an even chance, if there is no discrimination, if people have the opportunity to live up to the fullest of their ability. But the government should never give someone who is unqualified anything over someone who is qualified.”
Public opinion polls show definite support for programs that seek to eliminate present discrimination in the workplace, in education and housing, and in obtaining government contracts.
But there’s less support for programs that seek to redress examples of past discrimination.
Affirmative action wasn’t even an issue in the 1994 midterm congres-
and Hammerslein musical “Carousel,” featuring the song, “You’ll Never Walk Alone," opened on Broadway with Jan Clayton as Julie Jordan and John Raitt as Billy Bigelow.
In 1951, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, relieved of his command by President Truman, bade farewell to Congress, quoting a line from a ballad; "Old soldiers never die; they just fade away."
In 1975, 20 years ago, India announced it had.launched its first satellite, from the Soviet Union atop a Soviet rocket.
sional elections, nor was it part of th^ House GOP’s "Contract With Anteri*
But it was stirred up by Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, right now the front-runner among those seeking the GOP presidential nomination. Doles R-Kan., called for outright elimination of many affirmative action programs -4-putting the issue squarely on the list of 19% presidential campaign issues.
He was joined later in the call by House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., and Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas.
Even so, Democratic pollster Gup Molyneux said that, as of now, “oui polling suggests it ranks pretty loi down the list of priorities,” behind health care, the deficit, taxes and wet fare reform.
“In the end, Republicans are proba bly a little closer to the center of publit opinion on this than Democrats art overall,” he said.
In 1989, 47 sailors were kith when a gun turret exploded aboa the USS Iowa.
In 1993, the 51-day siege at ti Branch Davidian compound ne Waco, Texas, ended as fire destroy the structure after federal ager began smashing their way in; doze of people, including David Korei were killed.
Ten year* ago: The space shut Discovery landed at Cape Canavei Fla., after a mission that was man by a deployed satellite that failed operate properly.