Once again the French are out “en masse” to demonstrate, at times violently, against a government law that would require a moderate revision of their long-standing social system. In America, however, people go about their lives with the usual lack of rigeur, complacent and docile, the country having been highjacked by a religious demagogy bent on sending our country back to the Spanish Inquisition or even the Dark Ages.
What is wrong with everyone in this country?!
sit blankly back while men and women lose their lives every day in an unjustified
war in Iraq. We go to Walmart in bigger and bigger droves while our country
is being bankrupted beyond belief. We worry more about the current Prada styles
and the latest iPod toys than we do about lack of basic health care for millions.
Our “Commander in Thief” walks all over our civil rights with illegal
wiretaps, years without legal representation in Guantanamo, secret interrogation
cells in Europe and the best we can do in Minneapolis is a few hundred peaceful
demonstrators walking along Hennepin chanting anti war slogans with less fervor
and urgency than screams for the next American Idol. Americans are ugly, ignorant,
lazy, materialistic and apathetic. We need to take a lesson from the French
(maybe for once we could put the anti-French attitude on hold) before it is
too late, or maybe it already is. America used to mean something to Americans
and the world. It used to stand for something, but these days it just falls
for anything as long as the Malls are still open.
News Council portrayed inaccurately
Jack Baker argued in his piece
on the Minnesota Supreme Court that it had formed corrupt alliance with
the infant Minnesota
News Council, back in 1970. Baker wrote that the News Council was formed
to deal with “faked circulation numbers, gouging and double billing”
by newspapers and “was advertised as a private mediation service.”
Baker further stated that the News Council made a deal to enlist Justice C.
Donald Peterson as News Council chairman to “give their mediation activities
the look and feel of a court of law.”
All of these characterizations are inaccurate.
News Council was never intended to address business matters in the newspaper
industry, and it never has. It does address unresolved complaints about ethical
standards in news stories and editorials. Its public hearings are conducted
as an alternative to libel suits, and attorneys are not permitted to speak.
It does not mediate disputes; it issues determinations that are widely publicized
after being reached by a panel of a dozen journalists and a dozen laypersons,
all of whom represent only themselves.
Complainants using this process must sign a waiver of the right to sue, and
no one has ever challenged such waivers. No complaint that has come to the News
Council with a waiver has ever gone to court, so none can ever reach
the Supreme Court.
The News Council’s activities are all held in public, and five
Supreme Court justices and one retired justice have served as hearing-panel
chairpersons. The reason the News Council first asked to have a Supreme Court
justice chair the proceedings was to help the Council get off the ground by
having someone who could command the respect of sometimes recalcitrant news
The News Council has never had, or wanted, authority to issue sanctions. It
exists to facilitate public discussions between the public and the news media
on standards of fairness. Half the complaints heard since 1971 have been upheld;
half have been denied. In all cases the public has been encouraged to seek,
and the press to provide, the kind of journalism that earns trust.
Executive Director, Minnesota News Council