Independent from Long Beach, California on January 23, 1975 · Page 28
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Independent from Long Beach, California · Page 28

Long Beach, California
Issue Date:
Thursday, January 23, 1975
Page 28
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Keepiiig W^tck on the news media Every newspaper or TV station has -- or is rumored to have -- a sacredcow. ' : · · The sacred cow, in the jargon of the news business, is a subject, institution or politician about which a disparaging word can never be heard (or Written). ' But according to Ben Cunningham, editor of the Review of Southern California Journalism, the media are the fattest sacred cpw of all.. - . . ' · · "THE MEDIA reports on every- ' one but itself," he said. "It often criticizes others, but almost never criticizes itself. And it resents criticism of itself." .-:'*·" Cunningham, ;a : journalism professor at Long Beach State . : University, is trying to fill the criticism gap. - · . - . ' . . And if the mixture of howls of rage and cries of "right on!" from Southern California newsmen mean anything, the Review is having an effect on local journalism. · 'It's the only media review in Southern California and one of six in the nation. Consider this range of subjects covered by articles that have ap- pe'ared in the-Review since it was born in spring .1971: - r-An attempt by the USC student court to silence a conservative , student newspaper, the Free Trojan. --An attempt by the Los An'.- geies city attorney to take action against student editors at,UCLA for publishing an allegedly obscene picture. ·r-"Why Journalists Are Tools of The Establishment," by Steve Roberts, the Los Angeles correspondent for the New York Times. . ; ' --The struggle of Bill Farr of the Los Angeles Times to defy court orders and refuse to divulge his confidential sources. --Bizarre "puff" stories and staged pictures on 1 high-society , REPORTER'S NOTEBOOK Waft Murray "non-events" that appeared in Orange County newspapers. ,. --The story behind a major staff shake-up in the Washington bureau of the Los Angeles Times. . --"How'Broadcasters Tune Out News and Public Affairs." '--"A Lady; Publisher Confronts Sex Bias in Her Profession." --How the Los Angeles Free Press and other, alternative papers have sunk into the same sensationalism sexism that they were orginally supposed to be alternatives to. - ' ·'' --The tribulations of the Los Angeles 'Newspaper Guild, the union that represents many Southern California newsmen. : No major newspaper or TV station in Southern California has escaped the Review's critical attention. Some have received kind 'words. · ' ' Medicine and you , By BEN ZIftiSER Medical-Science Eilhor American mothers are giving their infants commercially prepared baby foods too soon, researchers warn. What's wrong with this? A high nutrient intake early in life may be a prime cause' of obesity and degenerative diseases in later life. Says Dr. David M. Paige, spokesman for a research group at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md.: "Milk foods alone provide adequate nutrition for most babies for the first six months of life." The group examined a number of two-month-old babies and found that their protein intake was nearly 60 per cent higher than the recommended dietary allowance. , . Calorie intake was 30" per cent higher. - - · · ' . . - . Vitamin A intake was two times higher. ' . . " .'-.' .'.And iron intake was two and one-half times higher than the recommended level. · The report appears in 'Modern Medicine, a periodical for physicians.' ' . ' · · · " Eating large amounts of "raw" eashew nuts may cause a generalized eczema or skin eruption, researchers report. Three doctors at the Hitchcock Clinic, Hanover, N. H., report the cases of five patients with such an eczema. The physicians note that the raw cashew nuts sold in organic food stores contain appreciable amounts of cashew nut oil on their surfaces. . ' , It is the oil that is the culprit, not the nutmeats, they say. The oil is similar to an extract. found in poison ivy plants, and it can cause a generalized eruption when taken into the body in large quantities by sensitive persons. The report is in Archives of Dermatology, a medical journal for skin specialists. Proplast, a "living implant" material that permits body tissue to grow into it, is now being used by specialty surgeons. The material has applications in implant surgery involving the face, ear, mouth and jaw. It is a felt-like composite of Teflon and carbon fibers, with an open-pore structure t h a t encourages tissue growth to the center of the implant. . Five years of animal studies have shown that tissue ingrowth with Proplast is sufficient to stabilize an implant three to six weeks after implantation. '..-·' The material is easily shaped with a sharp scalpel or surgical scissors. · . ' · - .A major application of Proplast has been as a bulk implant for bony tissue augmentation.'In plastic surgery, for example, it has been used in the repair of facial bone defects. - Proplast can also aid persons with ill-fitting dentures caused by the loss of the bony ridge which 'supports the denture. A Proplast implant can augment this ridge to enhance the denture's stability and retention. : . Rats in the United States continue to become immune to rodent killers containing anticlotting components. An immunity rate of up to 77 per cent was found in the rat populations of about one half of 40 cities studied by biologists at Bowling Green (Ohio) University. Researchers say that more rat poisons are needed. THE LOS ANGELES TIMES and local TV outlets have been the targets of the heaviest' doses of criticism. That's because they carry the most influence in the Southern California area, Cunningham said. · "There are things wrong with the media. And newspapers and TV stations should spend less time patting themselves on the back and . more, time listening to what people , in their communities think of them." '. Cunningham shuns criticism of the type leveled by partisan leftist critics or right-wing groups such as "Accuracy in the Media." To be effective, criticism has to come from "people who understand the daily problems of the press and share a belief in a free press," he said. Cunningham himself was a reporter for the Independent, Press- Telegram f r o m 1955-59, then advised the student newspapers at Long Beach City College and Long Beach State University and LBSU's FM radio news operation. PROF, JIM DAVIS, who founded the review in 1971, worked for several Midwestern newspapers and is now on a leave of absence from LBSU as assistant national editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer. - The Review they built has 2,000 subscribers -- many of them working newsmen and editors -- and is financed by local chapters of the Society for Professional Journalists and the Los Angeles Newspaper .Guild. What is wrong with the media? Cunningham said that reporters tend to "pop in and out" of social problems such as poverty and racial conflict without seeking root causes or staying with stories. THEY WAIT for stories to surface in public meetings, protests or riots instead of investigating them earlier. They are too quick to take the words of public officials -- or anyone with a fancy title -- as being truth. And too slow to listen to the voice of the little'guy. The ethics of reporters, editors and owners are sometimes reprehensible. Editors and publishers circulate in upper class social circles and " are often woefully ignorant of true conditions in their communities. "Whites were shocked by the Will Rogers Says . . . "The poor President With a foreign Congress on his hands, that looks like it's too much to add to all his other troubles. Then will come also the argument over how to raise some more money. What to tax? I can't see where the argument over the federal sales tax can stand up. It looks to be (leaving out essentials) a mighty fair tax. "As it is now, you look and can't tell if a man is paying a tax, or not. He may be avoiding it in some way or other. But with the old federal sales tax, if his is driving a Rolls Royce, why, you know the government got a big cut out of him. We don't miss the gasoline tax, it's paid in such a way that it is painless. "Well, anyhow, we will have some excitement in Congress. If they can't be instructive and beneficial, they can at least be amusing -- and they will be, too." December 6,1931 Each group has its standards Thoughts a£ Large: · The most fantastic provincialism that still lingers on these days is the Philistine comment that "professors c a n ' t do a n y t h i n g practical"--Who do they think invented the atomic bomb--two tire salesmen and an ad executive? · Possibly all the inner contradictions in the human race may be summed up in the fact that what every smoker actually wants is a cigarct that is both "mild" and "stimulating." · None of the high-promising books on financial management dares to express the melancholy truth of the matter as put so succinctly by Halevy long ago: "In order to make money, the first thing is to have no need of it." » What the outsider disparages as "the gang" is really quite a . moral and cohesive unit from the inside, instilling the same in-group virtues as any military or patriotic group: Ethan Allen and his Moun- 1 tain Boys were "juvenile delinquents" who simply redirected their aims, t Science, religion and art are the three unique endowments of man as a species; and it is no accident that all three have been corrupted by employment in the service of the state rather than in Sydney Harris the service of mankind, which is their proper function. · Two of the most common redundant expressions are "past experience" (what other kind is there?), and "mental telepathy" (telepathy means the action of one mind on another at a distance.) · The history of all political or religious persecution might be summed up in L. H. Robbing's witty couplet of many years ago: "How a minority, reaching major- ity, Seizing authority, hates a minority!" · You know inflation is really here when it's just about as cheap to park on the street and court a ticket as to put your car into a downtown garage for a few hours. · When a nation begins to speak of its "honor," it is customarily thinking about loot. · It is one of the frustrating paradoxes of persuasion t h a t a man who is entirely wrong can be made to change his position more easily than one who is half right -possession of a part of the truth is often (he greatest obstacle to accepting a contrary part of it. · (In much the same way, education liberates intelligence, but solidific stupidity -- just as a great deal of exercise makes some supple and other muscle-bound.) » If men were biologically equipped to bear children, they would proudly assert that no mere woman could ever stand the pain. Watts Riot in 1965 because their newspapers and TV stations never told them about the resentment breeding in the ghettOi" Cunningham said. The biggest gap in 1975 media coverage is in reporting on the economy, he said. "EDITORS DON'T THINK through priorities and assign reporters where they're really needed. Reporters do the easy stories that signify nothing, such as man- in-the-street reactions to President Ford's new economic policies. They could be doing more research articles on (he economic health of their own communities." "The media should spend the time and money they put into their sports sections and sports broadcasts into coverage of the economy and the energy crisis. Surely the economy is more important than the Super Bowl." Cunningham said that journalism schools have to shoulder at least some of the responsibility for poor reporting. "Journalism schools need to take a look at their own curricula and be sure they're turning out reporters well schooled in the basics and also able to handle complex stories," he said. . CUNNINGHAM said that Long Beach State is currently undertaking such a re-examination. "But it's also important that -editors and station managers be w i l l i n g to utilize well-trained graduates." Although some newsmen have applauded the Review, others have been "downright hostile," Cunningham said. "Just like everyone else, they don't like people second-guessing them. But most professions have professional societies like the American Medical Association that supposedly work to keep up standards in their professions. Journalism doesn't." He said that he has to exercise the same judgment as media editors in selecting stories for the Review -- and rejects many manuscripts by critics with special axes to grind. "Our job is to help the media do a better job, not.push a point of view," he said. And, like media editors, the Review has made its mistakes, he said. "But if we make a mistake, we admit it, and we always welcome dissenting viewpoints." INDEPENDENT (AML George Robeton ', ' , ' ' - , - » Most cloistered to least cloistered A NUN who left the convent wrote a book a few years ago, a book called, "I Leap Over the Wall." The local "longest leaper" surely must be Sylvette Bstandig (yeah, that's the spelling) who spent four years in the most constricting of Carmelite cloisters at Carmel-by- the-Sea, and now runs a bar and restaurant in Long Beach, Clancy's at Broadway and Alamitos. She was Sister Regina of the Angels from 1950 to 1954, entering the convent at the age of 17. "I was raised in a Catholic family," she told me, "and I was plagued by this curiosity to find out what it was all about. It's not so m u c h different f r o m the soul- searching of teenagers today. I needed to find out." She picked one of the toughest orders in the religious community. She slept on a straw-filled mattress covered by a hard-muslin wrapper in a "cell" about 9 feet long by 4 feet wide. She arose every morning at 5 a.m. for an hour of meditation with the other sisters, about 15 of them. That hour she would spend on her knees on a hard, cold floor- nothing like the comparatively comfortable padded kneelers in a Catholic-church. "You'd be surprised how many cloistered nuns s u f f e r from "Housemaid's Knee," she said. "I had it several times in those four years." From 6 to 7 a.m. was "psalm- screaming time," as she puts it. "I say that only because none of us sang very well, although we were supposed to be singing Latin psalms of atonement and supplication. It was screaming only because of our bad voices." At 8 a.m., the Sisters broke their fast with a couple of slices of dry bread, usually stale because it was donated to the cloister once a week by a local bakery, and a cup of tea. "We stood at the long refectory table while we ate," she recalls, but it was not so bad. After all, how long does it take you to eat a couple of slices of bread?" HER ORDER is described as "mendicant"--a begging order. They have no income, and must live within the walls of the convent through the generosity of people who deliver food and other human necessities through a little revolv- ing shelf in the wall that separates ; them from the world. . . ; They do nothing constructive; for anybody, as the world would view it. Their purpose is to suffer and to pray, to somehow expiate all , the sins committed around the. 1 clock by their fellow-beings. : · '· It's tougher than the bare-bread" breakfast (it was a "meatless! 1 order of nuns, she,said, and butter is animal fat, and so it was forbidden). It was a harsher life than the rough cloth and no underwear, harder than the cold floor that ruins the knee-joints during meditation periods. It was four years of silence. Talking with other people is a pleasure, and these women are supposed to avoid pleasure in order to "balance the scales," as Sylvette puts it. "Whenever we needed instruction, or had to ask about our laundering or gardening duties, we would tug on another sister's veil and beckon her to a door-jamb. That was the only place where talking was allowed, but I don't know the origin of the rule." She knows the terror of unaccustomed noise. Shen she decided that the cloistered life was not for her, she couldn't cope with the constant chattering outside the wall. And the sound of traffic was an audio-nightmare. '·"· · There was a very old sister who had been a eloistered.nun for something like 50 years," she said. "She had not seen an automobile when I left the order in 1954, and as far as I know, she died without ever hearing of one." In the years after the "leap," Sylvette took a master's degree in English from UCLA and taught in Southland area high schools for six years. Then she decided to go into business, and the bar-restaurant business looked like the best one. But there are times when she misses the Sisters. "I could look into the eyes of some of the sisters and see paradise," she says. "The tranquility and serenity -they felt was right there .in their eyes, but not, in mine." While she was in the convent, suffering to expiate sins, I was in the Air Force, making sins to''be expiated. I asked her if she thought she had done anything for me. She had a fast answer: "You're here, aren't you?" Member f.D I C. Deposits now insured to S40 000 per account If you have sometnmg special you'd like to buy, we suggest you set up an Automatic Savings Plan at United California Bank. Then, you won't have to worry about setting money aside on a regular baSiS, U6CSUS6 w'8'li uO it loi yuu. You just tell us how much you want to save, and how often, and we'll deduct that amount from your checking account and deposit it into your savings account. 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