Page 4 article text (OCR)
Jtorti)tDEgt Editorial-Opinion Page The Public Merest It The First Concern Of Thii Newspaper 4 * SATURDAY, JUNE 29, 1974 How Special The Session? There are a number of things that per- haps need to be said regarding the special session of the Legislature under way in Little Rock. : First, as with all special sessions, we wish the lawmakers would stick to the substantive matters of the governor's call -- as ;the Constitution prescribes -- and we hope .they don't take too long about it. Second, there's the Mutt Jones business, which hardly needs the cautious guarding against prejudgment (which state senators seem inclined to give it) that is occupying Congress in the Watergate case. Jones has already been judged (in federal court), and he cannot legally serve. The Legislature should acknowledge that fact. Third, is the Dr. Grant Cooper affair. Hopefully the bulk of our legislators will not stampede in the direction of a loyalty oath just because one representative, Bobby Glover of Carlisle, is running pell mell toward the edge oÂ£ hysteria. The stale doesn't need a loyalty oath now anymore than the last time it proved a mistake. We don't suppose there's much hope that Rep. Glover will calm down -- he seems to spook at everything. Surely, though, the majority wisdom of Ihe General Assembly is sufficient lo recognize that the "oath" isn't a part of this special session call, and therefore outside the session's prerogatives; that it is counterproductive in its application (it offends the innocent, and can hardly be expected to deter the guilty); and that it is in no way consistent with the high hopes for enlightenment and academic freedom in higher education which is just now accompanying the hiring of a new president for the University of Arkansas. ON THE NUTS AND BOLTS issues of the session, the evidence is pretty much that the lawmakers will approve state em- ploye and teacher pay raises, and that pertinent construction and operational appropriations will be forthcoming. We would complain about the Assembly's stubborness to recognize the value of a wilderness preservation program, but perhaps the next regular session is a better time to thrash out that issue (since it obviously needs thrashing around as far as some of Ihe state's legislative leadership is concerned) than now. It ought to be a MUST item for the next governor, though. What Others Say.. WHAT'S A "NEWSPERSON"? We received a letter this morning, from H major U.S. corporation, inviting us to order * copy of a new reference book designed to be an invaluable asset to news reporters. We don't mind the company offering us the book at the reasonable price of $12.50. We think the book just might be interesting reading, even if it wouldn't prove to be the useful tool that they describe. We do mind, however, the salutation on the letter itself. "Dear Newsperson:" Now we're all for women's rights. We firmly believe that everyone, male or female, black, white, yellow or red, should have equal rights and equal opportunities. But we cringe to think that From. Our Files; How Time Flies] 10 YEARS AGO Construction of approximately nine miles of three-Inch gas lines to serve Hindsville is in p r o g r e s s . Citizens there recently approved $125,000 :n revenue lionds for construction of the system which will be teased to Arkansas Western for operation- so VEARS AGO $1200 has !)oen raised for school work by the Boosters Club of Cane lliil. An entire t r u c k load of Sears and Roebuck catalogs arrive;! in Fayetleville today. The catalogs are part of (he Chamber 100 YEARS AGO Our friend and former citizen Dr. E. J. Dawne, was elected State Superiniendant of Public 1 Instruction on the Democratic ticket in (he recent Oregon election. Tlie Doctor has recently taken unlo himself one - o f Oregon's fair daughters to share his joys and sorrows through life. We extend our heartiest congratulations. Sweet corn has been in tassel School board members in Springdale voted Saturday night to recommend a $567.000 bond issue and a five mill tax increase to schcwl district voters. The 35-year-old high school teacher from Gentry -- charged with illegal sale of drugs -is scheduled to be arraigned in Circuit Court July 6. of Commerce's "Bill Dollar" campaign. Two Fayctteville cars crashed head-on on the Winslow Highway, south of Greenland, S u n d a y afternoon causing damage of approximately $150. at the Ozark Institute farm for a week. Yellow variety about s e v e n foot high and still growing. Hon. A. W. Dinsmore of Ben- tonvillc informs us that Northwest Arkansas has fairer crops than he saw anywhere in the seven stales through which he recently passed. Vote for good men as delegates to the Convention and be sure to vote "For Convention." any equal rights movement will mean changing our language, wh|ch is already the most confusing and complex method of communication in the world. Nowhere in our copy of Webster's can we find a definition for the word "newsperson." Neither can we find "chairperson," "mailperson" or "milk- person." Newsman is defined, however, as "one who gathers, reports or comments on the news." No mention of sex. it seems to us that either the equal rights advocates are going loo far in their efforts, or the letter-writers are reacting out of fear or reprisals. As said before, our language is confusing enough. Let's not quibble over the gender of words. Just because a syllable of a word contains "man" does not mean the person referred to is male. Many organizations in our community have committee chairmen, that liappen to be female. We pven have a very able and attractive city councilman who is female. We do not think calling the members of our Murray Common Council, "counciipersons" appropriate because the word is not defined in our dictionary (which, by the way, could no out of date it's eight years old). -.Murray (Ky.) Ledger Times PLUMBERS AGAIN A Princeton scientist Dr Carl Pfeiffcr, told a 'group meeting here at Emory University (hat there is evidence of a connection between copper plumbing and mental illness, particularly in places where drinking water is somewhat acid. We knew that the current Washington sickness had some- thing to do with (he Plumbers but we didn't take it that literally. --Atlanta Journal and Consli- tufiun The Funny, Sensuous American A M K K I C A N HUMOR. Arien .1. Ilansen, "Kntropy and Transformation: Two Types of American Humor." The Amni'i- can Scholar, summer 1974, op. 405-421. "In Ihe twentieth century American humor found new expression in two contrasting kinds cf media -- silent movies and radio...When the technology o[ the twentieth century developed silent movies and radio, the two mod^s became more discreet and exploitable. The funny talkers gravitated toward radio; the actors, toward film. And the American audience was equally fascinated with both." "The distinct characteristic! of oral and visual humor in America reveal a fundamental difference in vision and attitude between the two kinds of humorist, 1 ;.... In general, the active, visual humor appeals to the American's fondness tor breaking up systems. It Is Â» humor of entropy. Perhaps an extension of the spirit of democracy, tliis humor presupposes an innate attraction to anarchy, iconoclasm and -- to an extent -- chaos." "American oral humor typically is of another sort. It is founded upon the transforming and creative power of language. Unlike entropy, which describes a system in disintegration, transformation describes the process of synlhesis, the creation of a new and other totality. The humor of transformation is achieved usually by an imaginative persona who generates and sustains fantasies.... The humor of transformation involves creative, tinmalicious fabrication -- the magnificent lie." "You Wouldn't Walk Over Your Own Leader, Would You?" AMERICAN SENSUALITY. Eleanor Links Hoover, "Far Out," Human Behavior, Julv 1974. pp. 12-13. "Americans spend endless amounts of time trying lo become sensuous men or sensuous women. Sociologist-author Robert Glincr thinks it is all time wasted. What we should really be worrying about is that we have become sensuous eunuchs.... The sensuous eunuch makes a perfect cog in the wheel of technological society Glmer writes. 'The individual who consumes without satisfaction also votes without effort- works at jobs he has little control over and gains little satisfaction from; and interacts with peers he is never comfortable with. 1 " "It is nice to know that it is okay to make love in a hundred different ways, but people in love usually know tins naturally. More to the point is why so many people can't love at all. My hunch is we are still victims of guilt about sex and our own bodies, despite our big talk. And since love is only possible between equals we still have further lo go along the road to self-understanding and awareness, passion, coin- passion -- and dispassion -before we can expect sex to get better." "Research and everyday observation constantly underscore how much we are still heirs to irrational anxieties about guilts about sex... How do we get to be sensuous people? Masters and Johnson admit it isn't easy... The words self or definition of self keep cropping uo as a major ingredient of becoming a sensuous person. And it begins lo look like the best place to start may be out of Ihe bedroom rather than in it." Free Access To The Media By SANDRA STENCEL . Editorial Research Reports WASHINGTON -- The historic debate over the rights and responsibilities of a free press is entering a new phase marked by demands for public access to the news media. The Supreme Court is expected tÂ» rule soon on the constitutionality of a disputed Florida right- tq-reply law, It grants any candidate for public office whose character or record is attacked in a newspaper the right to free space in that paper for a reply. The nation's news media are almost unanimous in viewing the law as a serious violation, of the First Amendment. Moreover, if the Florida law in upheld, there is fear that other states or Congress might enact similar or even broader legislation. The case rests on the relatively new concept that the First Amendment's freedom-o(the-press. provision gives all people the right to express their views through existing journalistic institutions. "Freedom of the press must be something more than a guarantee of the property rights of media owners," says Jerome A. Barren, a law professor at George Washington University who is a leading advocate of public access to the media. Professor Barren argued this theory before the Supreme Court in April 1974 on behalf of Pat L. Tornillo, an unsuccessful candidate for the Florida legislature who was criticized editorially by The Miami Herald before the 1972 election. Tornillo demanded space to respond under the state's little- known 1913 right-to-reply statute. The Herald refused and Tornillo went to court. The Bade County Circuit Court dismissed the case on the ground that the law was unconstitutional, but the Florida Supreme Court in July 1973, ruled 6 to 1 in Tornillo's favor. The court said the law "is designed to add to the flow of information and ideas and docs not constitute an incursion upon First Amendment rights." The court., also said that affirmative government action to assure the right of access to the media. was needed to balance the growing concentration of news media ownership. According to Editor Publisher, the number of daily newspapers dropped from 2,042 in 1972 to 1,774 in 1973. Rising labor and production costs and television and radio have forced many dailies to succumb lo absentee chain ownership. Newspaper chains now control more than half of the nation's daily newspapers and more than 60 per cent of the total circulation. Opponents of righl-to-reply contend that such laws would have a "chilling effect" on vigorous newspaper coverage of electoral issues. Instead of permitting the public to hear both sides of a debate, as the Florida Supreme Court intended, the laws could have the opposite effect. Editors, fearing costly demands for free space, might stop covering election campaigns altogether. Press spokesmen see right-to- access laws as the first step toward total government control over newspaper editorial content. Daniel Paul, attorney for The Miami Herald, told the Supreme Court, that: "Forced publication is a form of regulation as pernicious as direct censorship." Although most newspapers oppose any government attempt to regulate accuracy or fairness, they are taking steps to be more aeountable to their readers. One essential factor in restoring credibility is the willingness to admit and correct errors. In response to calls for more diversity of opinion, many newspapers are printing more letters to the editor and are actively encouraging people to write. In addition, many papers have added an "Op-Ed page" of opinion and commentary opposite the paper's own editorials. Another way to strengthen press credibility is assigning an "ombudsman" lo see that public complaints get acted on. Most newspapers use an easier- to-pronounce and more descriptive title such as "Mr. Go- Between," "Reader Contact Editor" or "Public Access Editor." At several papers the ombudsman writes a column informing the public how the paper operates, telling how errors occur or assessing news media performance. THE CREATION OF the National News Council in August 1973 was another attempt lo bridge the gap between the public and Ihe press. The council, proposed and partially funded by the Twentieth Century Fund, reports on complaints about (he accuracy and fairness of news reporting. It also studies issues involving freedom of the press. However, the National News Council has no legal or coercive powers to force compliance with its findings, The council's "only power," Executive Director William B. Arthur has said, is "derived from publicity given its proceedings, and even this power it totally dependent on the judgment of editors to publish or not publish the council's findings." Some major news organizations, including The New York Times and ABC-TV, have withheld their cooperation. Times Publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger expressed fear that that could lead to government intervention. The press council is not a panacea for all the shortcomings of the media. But its establishment, together with the other experiments for making the news media more responsive lo Ihe public, shows that "consumerism" has caught up with the press. The public clearly wants a stronger voice in setting standards for the communications media, and the media cannot afford lo ignore this demand. Arkansas Editors Comment On Seniority, Loyalty Oath, Election Reform ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT - Sen. John L. McClellan obviously has been frantically busy on the floor of t h e lion's . den. He knows [ h a t his 32 years of .seniority in The senate won't mean anything after January. That's when Scruttor-nominate . Dale Bumpers, if he gets past Republican opposition, will go to Washington to take J. William Fulbright's place. And that's when. Bumpers told us d u r i n g the Democratic primary. seniority jus 1 . v.on't mean any- t h i n g anvmorc-. Poof. Ju5t like thai! Amazing! Rut it must be true- Bumpers said it. Not only did Bumpers say it. more than 60 per cent of t h e voters believed it. And McClellan. numbered as h i s days of i n f l u e n c e are, is trying to make Ihe most of the t i m e he has l e f t . One of the most recent chunks be growled away from an Up North group of senators wlto know only t h a t A r k a n s a s is somewhere on the olber side of the Hudson River was about $.1 million more in federal money for poor children in Arkansas. Except to senators like Jacob Javits, D-N.Y.: Harrison A. Williams Jr.. D-N.J. and C l i f ford P. Case. R-N. J.. the stunt went largely unnoticed. What McClellan did was offer his own a m e n d m e n t revising the Title I formula by which school districts are allocated federal money for compensatory education. T h e m a t t e r earhe up in mid May when the Senate debated a bill to extend tiie Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. The McClellan substitute in the Senate, identical to a House version already passed, puts the money where the poorest children are and prevents wealthier, urbanized states from getting more federal Title I funds simply because they can afford a more generous state welfare program. . . . . . McClellan's amendment, was approved on a 56-36 v o t e and an ESEA bill, already approved by the House on March 27. was passed by the Senate on May 20. At last reporting. House and Senate conferees were working on a final compromise bill, but since McClellan's Title f amendment was merely a reiteration of what was already in the House version, it's all over but the roar- in? on that point. But keep working, Senator. Time is running out. Senator nominate Bumpers is coming 5001:. He has some new ruies for life in the lion's den. Be sure and 'ell those folks ;.vho live on the other side of the Hudson River. We bet Ehey don't know it yet. P I N E BLUFF COMMERCIAL ft was very predictable: Bobby Glover now is up to all public employes in his list of nominees for loyalty tests. He started by wanting to fire Just one history prof who ".'as also an off-brand communist. The state representative from Carlisle soon advanced to having all employes of state colleges and universities take thÂ« oath, By why discriminate? He's now proposing that all state em- ployes be given the test. For the moment, .Mr. Glover seems to be omitting schoolteachers because one of his numerous misapprehensions is that teachers already t a k e such an oath. When he gets that straightened out. surely he'll want to include them, too, for despite surfacn appearances, aren't little children even more susceptible to indoctrination than college students? AND WHY LIMIT t h e tests just to public employees? Surely it will soon occur to the Oracle of Carlisle that many people in private life may have even more power to influence others t h a n the fellow at the truck weighing slation or a gardener in tile uneven vinyarrls of the state Highway Department. Other people besides those who work for the state may have suspect !oyalitios: why overlook them? Suspicion can be universal. Surely only Communists and such would object to the privilege of having their loyaltv routinely checked. Or as Â· Bobby puts it: "The only reason any person would refuse to sign an oath that they will support the Constitulion of the state of Arkansas and the Uniled Stales and ihat they will be opposed to the overthrow of the government of (he United States is because they do not want to be exposed..." That's Ihe kind of statement that says a good deal more about the horizons of the speaker than the subject. Those who object to such nn oalh may be (he most reliable of citizens. Maybe they're sensitive to the i n s u l t it renders teachers, professors, public employes, or Americans in general -- depending on the outward boundary of Bobby's ambition for us all. Mr. Glover's presumption (and he has a lot of it) is that good Americans would sign a loyalty oath without hesitation but the other kind who "do not want to be exposed" would hesitate. If only there had been a universal loyalty oath in Rudolph Abel's heyday, no doubt lhat Soviet spy would never have been able to get away with it as long as he did. He'd have been caught as soon as he objected to signing the form. This isn't a case for a loyalty oath, it's a Mort Sail! routine. Nowhere have we seen specified ho\y often the Bobby Glover Surefire Loyally Tune-lip would be administered. Once a year? Surely that's too long. A lot could happen in a y e a r . And if everybody in the country or just in state employ needs to have his loyalty certified, the (shaky) state can scarcely afford that long a lapse between certifications. Perhaps once a day. first thing in the morning, twice a day for anyone who ever criticized a federal court decision, and thrice for anyone who. ever laughed.,at what they do in the Arkansas-legislature. That ought to make it a substantial enterprise for sure. 5EAHCY CITIZEN The national government li considering public financing of political campaigns and the State of California has just adopted by a landslide vote a tough contributor disclosure law that would bare the name of any contributor to a candidate for more than $50. All of this is quick reaction to the Watergate mess and is awfully poor on sound reasoning. If each Arkansan would simply contribute $1 to whatever candidate he chose lo support in a statewide race, the candidates would be rolling in money. Btit the facl, in Arkansas as elsewhere, is that 90 percent of campaign f u n d s come from one percent of the people. This is what has led to the push for public financing through taxes. We agree thai all of us should shoulder the burden of making our system operate properly but the fact is that over 90 per cent of the people Just won't do it ...thinking politics is "dirty". If it's dirty, that's the reason. Why should you or we be (or- ced lo pay taxes to support the campaign of some candidate we strongly oppose? Why should you or we have any more taken out of our paychecks to pay for all the waste and hoopla of a campaign? Why should you or we ... already subsidizing e n o u g h governmental nonsense...have to pick up the tab for politics, too? And, what about "full disclosure" laws on contributors? Will it keep the special interests out? No, they wiil find a new way to cover their contribu- lions. Will it keep small and medium contributors out?. Yes. The banker, the businessman, the tradesman who has customers supporting both candidates in a race aren't about to donate anything that would lose them business. And Ihe laboring man, already beset with inflation that's eating him alive, isn't going to make his employer angry over his support of an opposing candidate. The proposals sounds fine until you look at the realities of the situation. Then you find the problem is a little more complex than the sponsors of these measures would have you believe What the country and the stale really need is a rededication of our people to an effort to make the system work through small-in-amount and massive-in-numbcr contributions lo candidates we individually believe in. That, and only that, will come close to solving the problem... LOG CABIN DEMOCRAT We're glad to sec Gov. Dale Bumpers persistently returning lo the lists again with his wilderness bill, albeit a scaled- down version of Ihe proposal defeated by the legislature in April of 1973. Then he was talking about spending up to $10 million to buy wilderness areas in 0 r d e r to preserve them from agricultural and commercial destruction. Now he's talking about $3 million for Ihe purchase of wilderness lands. We favored Ihe $10 million proposal, and we hope that surely this $3 million version will get legislative approval. Aboul land in general it's often observed. "They aren't m a k i n g any more of it." True, and the same goes for wilderness areas. The encroachment of man is spelling doom for such areas unless farsighted decision-makers can create methods to prevent it. Such a method is contained in the governor's proposal, and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has given conditional approval to the plan. There are arguments coming about whether the lands purchased would be open to hunting and fishing, and there are certain to be other arguments as well, but when the dust settles we're hopeful that the slale moves to preserve one of itj rarest and m o s t treasured resources, wilderness lands. We must take steps lo insure that future generations will have the same privilege iwe have, a privilege we could so easily take for granted; that is. the chance to breathe fresh air and enjoy the forests and streams in their primitive, rela- decisiom we make. As we observed in April of last year, Ihe governor's efforls in this regard show a thoughtful concern for our won quality of life and that of those who will inherit both the good and bad decissions wÂ« make.