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10 The Daily Tar HeH Friday February 13, 1S81
(II ORcil Siiaiihoih, LJiisr
Bkad Kutrow. Assmatc Udiior
Pam Kvu.v.Y. AssiViurc Editor
Amy Siiarpk, Production Editor
Kaken Rowley, Mirs Editor
Linda. Brown, University Editor
Ann Small wood, City Editor
Mark Mitchell, State and National Editor
David Poole, Sports Editor '
James Alexander, Features Editor
Tom Moose, Arts Editor
Scott Sharpe, Photography Editor
Ann Peters, Weekender Editor
If - :
! II H N
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jeer of editorial freedom
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From its beginning, the capture of
Americans in the U.S. embassy in Iran
was a media event. Iranian protestors
began their chanting and effigy-burning
when the American television cameras
clicked on, and stopped when the cam
eras clicked off. It was exactly what the
protestors wanted: packaged, made-for-TV
drama, beamed nightly into millions
of American homes to insult and infuriate
Soon the media were expelled from
Iran, but that only changed the focus of
coverage. The .families of hostages be
came the focal point. After the return of
if H. H ( I .It I ill. H H t'Ut r ( US 1 1 ;
77 ") 1 f n fi
the hostages, the omnipresent press was
there to record as much raw emotion as
The press became a frighteningly large
part of what it covered. It had an influ
ence known by few over many of the
events of the crisis. Most newsmen
adapted to this power and used it respon
sibly. CBS and NBC, as well as The New
York Times and Washington Post, did
not leak the information it had concern
ing the six Americans hiding in the Cana
dian embassy in Tehran until they were
back home. 1
Some, however, exploited the situation.
At the root of the problem was an inva-
The transcript of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, though
tactfully phrased, is frightening:
Sen. Joseph Biden: Can you tell me who is the Prime Minister of South
William P.Clark: No, sir, I cannot. .
Biden: Can you tell me who the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe is? '
Clark: It would be a guess.
Biden: What are the countries in Europe, in NATO, that are most reluc
tant to go along with theater nuclear-force modernization?
Clark: I am not in a postion to categorize them.
Biden: Can you tell us, just from the accounts in the newspapers, what is
happening to the British Labor Pary these days?
Clark: I dont think I can tell with specificity what is happening in the
British Labor Party today.
William P. Clark, who apparently does not read the newspapers, is
President Ronald Reagan's nominee for Deputy Secretary of State. He
was utterly unable to answei basic questions about foreign relations, but
was limply approved by the committee, 104, with three members voting
The only qualifications Clark brings to the job are a law degree and a
friendship with Reagan, but he will replace Warren Christopher as Depu
ty Secretary. He has experience as an administrator in California, where
he was chief of staff, but seems blissfully ignorant of international af
fairs. Reagn apparently appointed Clark as a sort of watchdog on
Secretary of State Alexander Haig, who has played fast and loose with
presidential directives since taking office. While he may be able to handle
those responsibilities, we cannot conjecture on his performance
otherwise with any degree of specificity.
'irh 3s -0',
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sion of privacy caused by a constant race
for reactions. Reporters were assigned to
families of the hostages from the very
beginning and kept a constant watch on
them, monitoring each of their hopes
and subsequent letdowns of the past 14.
months. Some families were so angered
by the press' Late-night phone calls and
probing questions that they refused to
One reporter grabbed the telephone
from hostage Bruce German's mother
moments after her son first called and
began asking questions. An NEC corres
pondent got into a shouting match with
hostage James Lopez' mother and de
manded an interview. Helicopters landed
next to hostage Frederick Kupke in
FrancesviUe, Ind., in, search of more
Reporters weren't above politicking
and buying their way into prescious in
terview time, either. They took a hos
tage's wife to the hairdresser, offered to
refurbish a home and just plain offered
money for airtime, all for the good of in
forming the public. .
Perhaps the public should share some
of the blame for the over-zealousness of
the media. Newsmen seek emotion-fi lied
stories because viewers and readers de
light in the revelation of private thoughts
and feelings. Instead of hard facts, the
press is forced to search for the "human
element." Said William Tuohy of t!?e
Los Angeles Times: "Too much press,
too little information."
Fortunately, the most intimate inci
dent the return of the hostages at
West Point, N.Y., and the reunion with
their families was hidden by the gov
ernment from the press and viewers.
Wou'd the hostages have besn reunited
with their families and friends in private
if the press had its way? No, wrote
Thomas Griffith in Time. "Had the hos
tages not beta government employees ...
. sequestered by the government first in
Wiesbaden then at West Point, with the
press held at bay by military police, no
feeling of ethical restraint or human
sympathy would have kept the cameras
. from zooming in on those first awkward,
tense moments of families reunited."
Some reporters, of course, made the
best of some awkward situations and still
provided good coverage. The closeness
and familiarity of reporter-informer sit
uations can be used to an advantage,
says WRAL-TV news reporter Rer.ee
Carpenter. "Sometimes it's an asset to
be so close," she said. "It gives the re
porter a different perspective. Often you
can develop a sensitivity and feel that
can make for a better story."
Seme newsmen retained that sensitivity
even under orders to pursue the news be
yond the limits of decency. Said one
WCBS reporter: "There is a line between
coverage and harassment." Too many
newsmen crossed that line and forgot
that the people they were coveriss were
human beings first, and newsmakers
John Drescher, a junior journalism ma
jor from Raldgh, is editorial, assistant for
The Daily Tar Heel.
Votes for non-candidates can Giving electio
eware black cats
Today is Friday the 1 3th. That might surprise some of you who have
been to class twice this week and can't believe it's already the end of
the week. It might scare those of you who don't understand the history
of this infamous day, but know well its ramifications.
You know black cats should be ignored, ladders avoided and impor
tant decisions postponed. There's nothing about this day that you
haven't heard, nothing that could make you more wary of undertaking
those tasks that could yield long-term results.
Friday the 1 3th is considered by the superstitious as a day of misfor
tune. There is a long history behind the day and the number. At the
last supper, on Friday, 12 disciples and Jesus sat together for the last
time before his Crucifixion. There is a story among Scandinavian
legends about 12 gods who feasted together until Luki came and killed
Balder, one of the twelve. French Lick Springs, Ind., decreed that all
black cats must wear bells on this day and date. Hotel and motel
builders rarely if ever, build 13 floors.
' Then, again, there are people who think the whole thing a ridiculous
hoax. After all, the Titanic didn't sink on Friday the 13th. World War
II didn't begin on Friday the 13th. And, perhaps most important, Sen.
Jesse Helms didn't get elected on Friday the 13th. So, a group of
people, seeing it all for what is it, get together every Friday the 13th to
crack mirrors, spill salt and eat 13-course meals. They also open the
doors to black cats and walk under any ladder they can find.
We don't see what all the fuss is about. After all, Friday the 13th
isn't all that much different from any other day. .
For example, the current imbroglio over the campus elections shows
that Friday the 13 th came three days late for the ever-competent UNC
student Elections Board. Judging by the basketball team's woeful per
formance against Wake Forest Wednesday, it was two days late for
Besides, there are hundreds of superstitions that can work against
you. Then there are things like biorhythms and karma that nobody real
ly understands anyway. If you, or us, really got down to worrying
about all the things that could go wrong, we'd never come out of our
But then, that another day and another superstition altogether.
By GEORGE SHADROUl
What do Snoopy, David Poole, Daffy Duck, Tom
Moore, Johnny C. Holmes and Charles Kuralt have in
common? Certainly, not education.
In fact, each and every one of them had at least one
write-in vote cast for him (it) during Tuesday's election.
That in itself is perhaps not so significant. But circum
stances can make seemingly small things loom large,
particularly when months of hard work and large amounts
of money are involved.
president's race was 1.3959. "That's crucial in this kind
of race," an elections board spokesman said. It is, par
ticularly when write-in candidates can sway percentages
by voiding their votes and reducing the number needed
for a majority.
Gregg James, chairman of the elections board, said
Wednesday night that he felt write-in candidates should
not be able to declare void the votes cast for them. That
makes sense. After all, the voter consciously made the
decision. It was his right." Allowing a candidate to
"void" his votes, as the law does now, puts too much
control into the hands of those few students. That
power should not be theirs.
etters io the editor
One vote counter said David Poole, The Daily Tar
Heel columnist, had support "an inch deep and a mile
wide." In other words, Poole got votes in virtually
every race. That's not to say Poole didn't deserve the
support. But he sure didn't want to win! And he sure
wouldn't have served, I don't believe, if he had.
It would have been a laughable situation were it not
for the fact that write-in votes may have affected the
outcome of the election.
Joe Buckner fell a mere .3 percent of the vote short
of winning an outright majority in the presidential race.
Jim Hummel and Thomas Jessiman were separated by
only 79 votes for DTH editor. Suddenly, write-in votes
became important Tuesday night. Suddenly, no one
who cared about the outcome of the election was laughing.
Jessiman has suggested that he lost crucial support at
Craige dorm because a poll closed early. He's obtained
'signatures to that effect. When one adds the write-in
votes to Jessiman's, Hummel's majority is only 22
In past Student Supreme Court history, candidates
who have contested elections have lost their cases be
cause they could not prove the irregularities materially
affected the outcome of the election. But if Jessiman
can show that 22, as opposed to 79 needed to top Hum
mel, people were disenfranchised, he may have grounds
for a runoff.
That is not to suggest that people who want to write
in a candidate should not. However, many people do it
thinking it won't make any difference when, in fact, as
this situation reveals, it could.
The percentage of write-in votes in the student body
Elections Coard wcrcr3 ccunt vctcs
... Hummel, Jessiman, Jessiman, Hummel, Poo'a
"I think it (not allowing write-in candidates to void
votes cast for them) should be looked into," James said.
As the law now stands, he said, "it causes too much
of a problem when, you're in a close vote like this.
That's who the voter wrote down, so the vote should be
The law says any votes can be voided if the student is
not considered by the elections board chairman to be a
valid candidate. It should be changed so that ail votes
cast (not including blanks) or those cast for ineligible
people should be counted in the totals. Students would
be aware then of the impact their votes might have.
One concern is that write-in votes could cause endless
runoffs by keeping each candidate from gaining a clear
majority. In fact, write-in votes are not allowed in a
Another aside about ballots and the like. There is
some questions about whether the order of names on
ballots affects results. The races for DTH editor, stu
dent body president and CAA president came down to
fractions of percenters. If a candidate receives votes
pimply because he or she is first ca the ballet, then the
least the elections board "can do is ensure that every
candidate has an equal chance. That can be done by
printing an equal number of ballots with each different
candidate listed first. It would not be difficult to do
and it might be more equitable.
About 500 write-in votes were cast Tuesday. Many of
them were cast with thought, others for fun. DTH staf
fers Tom Moore and Matt Cooper playfully asked stu
dents to vote for them for DTH editor in an effort to
reduce tension in the DTH office. It was a weO-btentioned
ploy, but nine voters took them for their word.
But Cooper and Moore never expected to become a
factor in the race. Neither did David Poole, Mickey
Mantle, Phyllis Schlafiy, or Slim Whitman; all received
votes and some of them will count (sorry Slim; as the
law now exists you have to be a student for those votes
not to be voided).
Had those votes been cast elsewhere, had they net
been cast at all, the write-in joke syndrome would net
have ceased to be funny so quickly Tuesday night when
candidates held their breath, fir.gers crossed, and
watched as every vote became crucial to their chances
George Shadroul, a senior journalism end history ma
jor from Salisbury, is editor of The Daily Tar Heel.
To the editor:
After a long, lingering illness, a death
occurred on this campus during spring
registration week. The obituary did not
appear in the DTH for several weeks
("Course review suspended," DTH,
Feb. 11). The article made the victim,
the Carolina Course Review, sound like
a seriously ill patient rather than what it
is: a corpse. The Carolina Course Review
died from a lack of interest and support,
.. and from incompetence.
The lack of interest is obvious. Aside
from some facu'.sy members In my depart
ment, and apparently some in the
sociology department, no one seemed
to notice or care that the teaching scores
were a Lit!: tow this time around. Several
issues relating to the hck of support were
discussed, though superficially, in the
DTH article. The issue of incompetence
was crJy hinted z by the DTH.
The Daily Tar Heel
welcomes letters to the editor
and contributions of columns
for the editorial ,
Such contributions should
be typed, trip!e$pacei, on a
GO-spce line, end r.rc subject
Column writers should tn.
elude their majors 2nd home
towns; each Setter should
include th writer's nn-e, ad
drtu and telephone number.
I realized that something was wrong in
the Carolina Course Review when I dis
covered that while my percentile ranking
in classroom teaching was 2 percent
(that is, out of 100 professors, only two
were ranked as being worse teachers),
100 percent of my students would recom
rnent me to majors, non-majors, or both.
Could it be that my students were so sa
distic that they would lead, other unsus
pecting students into a class that was
obviously a fate worse than 'death? I
tend to doubt that conclusion.
There is an interesting property of per
centile scores. If you took a group of
people, scored them on any criterion,
and constructed percentiles, you would
find that one-half of the people in the
group would be above the 50th percentile
and one-half would be below the 50th
percentile. A quick lock through the
Review reveals that there are vitual'y no
scores above the 5C;h percentile cn any
Armed with this information it is rel
atively safe to conclude, as the DTH did,
that "incorrect data was evident in the
review..,," but a safer conclusion is that
the errors in the Revitw are of sufficient
mru! ude and unknown source to make
the Review entirely vzdtss.
A fital error occurred somewhere in
the procesiirg; after that point all that
was left was garbage numbers. To state
thit "the prctlem cf inccursey in the
percentile rsnlin-t was compounded by
rrefer.ors not rti pending to the survey"
is as ridiculous as stating that the effects
of the hU. St. Helena eruptia-.i were com-
pounded by an abnormally warm spring.
The review suffered from sampling prob
lems and lack of participation by faculty
members, but it died when the computer
printed out garbage and there was no
one there with the technical competence
to know what had happened.
Stating that there are errors in the cur
rent Carolina Course Review is not suf
ficient. The current edition of the Review
is nothing less than slander by negligence.
A complete retraction should be issued
and an apology to all faculty members
who participated in the review should be
but what are women supposed to think
after someone attempts to attack us
while walking in pairs?
On Tuesday evening, my roommate
and I were walking to Morrison when a
.man attempted to attack us between the
Cell Tower and Kenan Stadium.
We were lucky enough to react quickly
and to escape, but "what about the un
lucky ones who don't escape? There are
probably few male students who have
experienced a haunting fear when walk
ing home .or the terrible nightmares
which often follow an attempted attack.
Does this mean women should walk in
groups cf 10 or call a RAPE escort for
three wcenen? I thl-.k it's time we seriou:'
address an issue which confronts women
every time we wedk cn campus after dark.
The Carolina Course Review b dead
and I would argue that it should not be
resurrected until the support, the techni
cal expertise and the responsible super
vision and control to guarantee quality
can be assured. '
John F. Stewart
Assistant professor cf economics
V p eel rt iSLi3
During the recent campus campaign,
it issues: racism, student apathy and
student budget, tut r.c:.t cf the can-
iates failed to address a verv real rrob-
lem which faces mere tha.vhilf of the
student body. The ksue is the tafety cf
J.: students walking cn campus
rclc'dy du fin the evenin
Tie University Pciice Izm repeatedly
U hed omen to walk in rairs cr to call
flepe and Assault Prevention lecrt.
f 1 I '
. oft2 TO