The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour
Intro ROBERT MacNEIL: Good evening. Leading the news this Monday, Syria said it expects the early release of the latest American hostage in Beirut, Charles Glass. The Supreme Court said hypnosis could be acceptable in criminal trials. The President of South Korea agreed to talk with opposition leaders to end violent protests. Dancer Fred Astaire died at 88. We'll have details in our news summary in a moment. Judy Woodruff is in Washington tonight. Judy? JUDY WOODRUFF: After the news summary we have these focuses on the NewsHour tonight. First, paying for congressional campaigns. We have a Cokie Roberts report, and Senators Boren and McConnell square off on the issue. A documentary look at whether AIDS test results should be kept private. A conversation with one of America's leading novelists, Saul Bellow. Essayist Roger Rosenblatt on what has been learned at half time in the Iran contra hearings. And finally, we remember Fred Astaire.News Summary WOODRUFF: A top Syrian official said today he was determined to win the release of American journalist Charles Glass and the son of a Lebanese Defense Minister, in his words, ''at all costs. '' The Chief of Syrian Military Intelligence was quoted on state run Beirut radio as saying he thought the pair kidnapped in Lebanon last Wednesday would be freed soon. But the Christian controlled Voice of Lebanon Radio said the kidnappers were demanding a guarantee that West Germany would not extradite Mohammed Ali Hamadei to the United States. Hamadei is the Lebanese accused of hijacking a TWA jet to Beirut in 1985 and killing U. S. Navy diver. Meanwhile, in West Germany, government sources told reporters that the government there has decided against extraditing Hamadei. The sources said the decision was based on fear for the lives of two West German hostages kidnapped earlier this year in Beirut. Those same sources said that U. S. Attorney General Edwin Meese is expected to visit Bonn tomorrow to try to get West German officials to change their minds. Robin? MacNEIL: The President of South Korea, Chun Doo Hwan, today agreed to meet leaders of the opposition to end nearly two weeks of violent street demonstrations. Chun thus appeared to follow advice from Washington to avoid violence and to resume a dialogue with the opposition. The riots began on June 10, after Chun announced a handpicked successor. Police say that at least 8,000 people have been arrested in the recent disturbances, and 1,000 are still in jail. There were fewer reports of violence today, but there were still clashes in the universities. At four Seoul campuses, thousands of students hurling firebombs and rocks battled with police, using tear gas and armored cars. President Chun reportedly is giving consideration to ending the two month old house arrest of opposition leader Kim Dae Jung. The South Korean leader has also agreed to consider demands for democratic reform. Opposition leaders have demanded that all political detainees be freed before the talks with Chun begin, probably later this week. The Reagan administration, concerned about the mounting violence and the possibility of a military crackdown, has sent Assistant Secretary of State Gaston Sigur to Seoul tomorrow. WOODRUFF: There is a report today that investigators for the Congressional Iran contra Committees have reached tentative agreement with attorneys for former White House aide Oliver North on terms that would lead to North's testifying publicly before the committees next month. Anonymous sources told the Associated Press that the agreement calls for North to undergo limited private questioning before he appears in public session. At the same time, committee sources said that North is demanding a limit on the number of hours he testifies in public session, among other conditions, none of which the committees apparently accepted. Elsewhere a federal judge today ordered former Reagan aide Michael Deaver to stand trial July 13 on perjury charges, despite Deaver's expected appeal to the Supreme Court. Among other things, Deaver is accused of lying to a Grand Jury about alleged lobbying activities while he was still at the White House. MacNEIL: The Supreme Court said today that some testimony given as a result of hypnosis may not be banned from a criminal trial. The justices ruled five to four on a case involving an Arkansas woman convicted of shooting her husband in 1983. A lower court had refused to let her tell jurors about her memory of what happened after she underwent hypnosis. That ruling was upheld by a state court, but set aside by the Supreme Court today. In San Juan, three former DuPont Plaza Hotel employees were given lengthy sentences today for the New Year's eve fire in which 97 persons died. The fire was the second worst in U. S. hotel history. It occurred while the DuPont Plaza was in the midst of a labor dispute with Teamsters Local 901. All three men involved in the blaze pleaded guilty in federal court to arson charges. Two, Hector Escudero Aponte, and Jose Rivera Lopez, received 99 year sentences, while a third, Armando Jimenez Rivera, was given a 75 year jail term. WOODRUFF: A Justice Department official said today the department was wrong to bring charges against former NASA Administrator James Beggs and General Dynamics. Friday the government dropped a $3. 2 million contracting fraud case against them. The department said there was insufficient evidence. Beggs resigned as NASA head in 1985, after he was accused of defrauding the Pentagon when he worked earlier with General Dynamics. William Wells, the head of the Justice Department's criminal division said the case was flawed and the government is ''standing up and saying we were wrong. '' Today, Beggs held a news conference. He said he had not been disillusioned by the 19 month case.
JAMES BEGGS, former NASA Administrator: I'm not at all discouraged about the system of justice in this country. I think the system of justice is fine. It obviously works well. We were vindicated. But it doesn't work well enough. and I would question the grand jury system in this country, and in particular the destructive consequences it has for innocent citizens. And generally, the Department of Justice does these things very professionally, and that is shown by the statistics -- they win over 80% of the criminal cases they bring. So I can't gainsay that. It's just that in this one area of defense fraud that I think they've run off the track. WOODRUFF: At Ft. Hood, Texas, ten people were killed today when a military helicopter crashed during training exercises. A spokesman said the victims were all reserve officers, most of them from an engineer battalion based in Little Rock, Arkansas. The helicopter was a UH 1 Huie. A spokesman said investigators could not immediately determine what caused it to crash. MacNEIL: Pope John Paul II is going ahead with plans to receive Austrian Chancellor Kurt Waldheim, despite protests from Israel and Jewish communities round the world. Yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir said the Pope legitimatized Nazi war crimes by the meeting. Waldheim has been accused of complicity in some crimes when he was a German soldier during World War II. But he's denied it. Diplomats accredited to the Holy See, reported today that they have received invitations to the formal Vatican ceremony welcoming Waldheim on Thursday. The U. S. , which has barred Waldheim from entering this country, will be represented by the Number Three official of the Embassy. WOODRUFF: The man who gave new meaning to the word dance died today. Fred Astaire succumbed to pneumonia at the age of 88. He had caught a cold earlier this month and had been admitted to a hospital in Los Angeles ten days go. Astaire enchanted movie goers for generations with at least 40 credits to his name, including almost a dozen with Ginger Rogers. President Reagan today called Astaire ''a living legend -- in every sense of the word a superstar. '' That wraps up ours news summary for the day. Just ahead on the NewsHour, paying for congressional campaigns. The controversy over keeping AIDS test results private. A conversation with novelist Saul Bellow. Roger Rosenblatt sizes up the Iran contra hearings so far, and we remember Fred Astaire. PAC Reform WOODRUFF: We turn first tonight to the bitter partisan fight on Capitol Hill on campaign spending. Since the beginning of the month, the U. S. Senate has been locked in a filibuster over legislation to overhaul the way candidates raise and spend money in their congressional campaigns. It's an issue that has split the senate along party lines. We will talk with two of the key players. But first, our congressional correspondent, Cokie Roberts, has this background report.
COKIE ROBERTS: The 1986 congressional campaign was the most expensive in history. In California alone, the two candidates for the U. S. Senate spent a combined total of more than $22 million. The time and effort spent going after that money has created an outcry for changes in the way campaigns are financed. Spearheading the call for reform in the Senate is Majority Leader Robert Byrd. ROBERT BYRD, Senate Majority Leader: The time has come for this kind of legislation. The money chase that members have to engage in in order to remain in public service is just taking them away from their work and from their families, and is undermining the institution.
ROBERTS: Byrd has lined up 24 co sponsors for legislation to change campaign financing, but there is still plenty of opposition to the measure. Minnesota's Senator Rudy Boschwitz heads the Republican Campaign Committee. Sen. RUDY BOSCHWITZ, (R) Minnesota: It does take time to raise money. And frankly, you have to study the issues that affect your constituents in order to raise money so that they can hear your views. You really formulate your opinions and you really are driven to formulate ideas and bring yourself to bear on what the issues are for your constituents when you have to go out and ask them for money.
ROBERTS: But the search for the political dollar has taken members of Congress far beyond their own districts. Last year, they scoured the country to come up with the $410 million spent on house and senate races. In order to raise that kind of money, candidates have come to depend on constituents less and political action committees more. FRED WERTHEIMER, Common Cause: The number of representatives dependent on PACS for at least half of their campsign funds has more than doubled in recent years. From 94 representatives in 1982, to 194 representatives in 1986.
ROBERTS: The lobbying group Common Cause has fought the political action committees for years, arguing these representatives of business and labor exercise too much control over congress -- more than a quarter of last year's campaign contributions came from PACS. Mick Staton, representing the U. S. Chamber of Commerce, insists that political action committees are misunderstood. MICK STATON, U. S. Chamber of Commerce: We work here at the Chamber of Commerce on telling people to get involved in PACS. To start a PACS is a good way to get your employees politically active and politically aware. This is what the reformers say they want to occur -- to bring the citizen back into the process. But by cutting out the PACS and portraying them as evil, it simply goes the opposite way. Sen. BYRD: But the perception is these are special interests. And that the influence which they wield with a particular member is much greater than their numbers really would justify.
ROBERTS: Byrd argues the only way to get away from large amounts of PAC giving is to change the rules. And surprisingly, some political action committees showed up at a recent hearings to agree with him. BONNIE REISS, Political fundraiser: In our three years of fundraising for political candidates and issues, we've experienced intimately the politics of campaign financing. It has not been pleasant. Hardly a week goes by when one or more candidates aren't in Los Angeles trying to raise money for a race one, two, four, or even six years down the road. Just one day after the 1986 elections, our office was already receiving calls from senators whose seats would not be up until 1988 or 1990.
ROBERTS: Bonnie Reiss's group, the Hollywood Women's Political Committee, staged one of the biggest fundraisers ever last year. The starstudded event raised $1. 5 million for a number of candidates. ROBIN WILLIAMS: -- five thousand dollars a seat (laughter). What is that? This must be the most expensive chicken in the world. This is chicken's so young it never knew love (laughter).
ROBERTS: The bill to provide a different set of rules would place limits on the amounts of money candidates could take from political action committees, and it would place limits on the total amounts of money candidates could spend in campaign. Much of the funding would come from taxpayers, similar to the way presidential campaigns are currently financed. The better financed Republicans have been fighting the campaign bill since it came to the Senate floor two weeks ago, focusing most of their attack on the public financing portion, saying Democrats want to put the burden of fundraisisng on the taxpayers. Sen. BOSCHWITZ: The FEC, the Federal Election Commission, has estimated that the cost to the taxpayer of the senate races -- because again the Byrd/Boren bill only deals with the senate -- was $90 million in 1988. And more than that in 1990. And to cast that on the taxpayer, I think is wrong.
ROBERTS: Republicans have kept a successful filibuster going against the campaign finance bill, claiming they're willing to talk compromise on political action committees, but not on public financing or limits on total spending. Sen. MITCH McCONNELL, (R) Kentucky: That's not reform, that's a limitation on participation. A candidate's ability to gather support should not be limited. And for most Americans, the form of support that is easiest to give is a small contribution. Sen. DAVID BOREN, (D) Oklahoma: Yes, we want competition in politics. Fair competition on ideas, ideals and qualifications. Not competition based upon money, money, money, and more money, to auction off the high offices of this land to the highest bidder.
ROBERTS: If the Democrats are unable to close off debate to get the bill they want, they promise to keep up the heat in the hopes of using campaign money as a political issue. WOODRUFF: Late last week I talked with the two senators we just saw, Democrat David Boren of Oklahoma, one of the authors of the campaign finance bill, and Republican Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who has introduced an alternate bill. I first asked Senator Boren why it was necessary to go after campaign financing now. Sen. BOREN: Well, Judy, every time we wait, the situation just gets worse. Ten years ago it was costing about $600,000 on the average to run for the United States Senate. We didn't act, we waited. Now, here we are and the last election cycle it cost $3 million on the average for a person to run for the United States'slnate. And that's just not good for the country. More and more candidates are having to go outside of their home states to raise these vast amounts of money. Almost half the people elected last year got more than half of their money from outside groups, not from the people back home. And people are having to spend all of their time out raising money instead of solving the problems that they were elected to deal with. WOODRUFF: Well, let's go down the three basic elements in the proposed legislation, the first one, being the PAC reform. Now, as Cokie just explained, there has been some agreement reached on PAC reform between the Democrats and Republicans. Senator Boren, can you explain that? Sen. BOREN: Well, I think that both of us -- Senator McConnell and I on the floor -- made it clear in debate that we're both concerned about the undue influence of the special interest groups, the fact that more and more they're financing the campaigns instead of the people back home. And I think there's a pretty general agreement on both sides of the aisle that we should put some kind of aggregate limits on the amount of money that candidates can receive from PACS. In fact, some -- including Senator McConnell, and I would say that that would not bother me a bit if we moved in that direction -- would ban all political action committee contributions and put us back to having the citizens and let the grassroots finance campaigns. And I think that would be very good and positive,. WOODRUFF: All right, number two, what about the public financing aspect of the bill? Sen. BOREN: Well, the public financing -- we have some problems. None of us really, I think, want to use the public financing mechanism as a substitute for having the people finance the elections. The problem is the Supreme Court decision. A few years ago the Supreme Court said we could no longer put mandatory spending limits on candidates. So the only way you can have spending limits was to have voluntary spending limits. Now, we have to do something to get the candidates to accept a voluntary spending limits. Here he's worried that his opponents may spend so much more, they're afraid to accept these spending limits. So you have to come up with a package of incentives that causes a candidate to agree to voluntary spending limits. And we simply had difficulty figuring out how we can give incentives that would be effective, short of offering them some sort of partial public financing, or matching fund, as we use in the Presidential system, or some other kind of incentive to draw them in. I might say we've already signalled our willingness to compromise on this. We're trying to reduce the amount of any public funds to a bare minimum, and I'm hoping we can come up with a way -- like doing away with newsletters for congressmen, or some other way, to pay for it, so it will not end up having any net cost to the taxpayers at all. WOODRUFF: Senator McConnell, lot of that sounds very reasonable. What's wrong with it? Why have you seen fit to introduce your alternate bill? Sen. McCONNELL: Well, first, Judy, there isn't much money being spent in politics in America. American spent more on bottled water last year than we're spending in the United States Senate races. A limitation on what one can give to a race is simply saying to a candidate today, ''You can't get a whole lot of support. '' You've got to bear in mind that with the exception of prominent millionaires, which Senator Boren's bill can't cure, and mine can't cure, because of a constitutional problem, all of this money is coming from a whole lot of people. There's a rather small limit on what one can contribute to the race of another. And so the real story of races across American in the last few year is the participation is way up. In addition to that, there's an interesting correlation between the amount of money raised and spent and voter turnout. The races that are very competitive and which a lot of support is garnered and a lot of money spent are the races in which there's a high turnout and the interest level is high. The races in which there is a low turnout tend to be non competitive, not much money spent, not much interest, and the voters just don't care about it. So we're dealing here with apples and oranges. One is a question of limitation on spending that's completely unacceptable. The other problem is the question of undue influence. I would be more than happy to eliminate political action committees altogether -- both their contributions to candidates and their contributions to parties. That is what gives the system the appearance of undue influence. And I say to everyone, we'd be glad to see the PACs gone tomorrow, but Senator Boren's bill doesn't do that. WOODRUFF: All right. So -- but wait a minute. I thought I just heard Senator Boren say there had been some agreement on PAC reform, on the political action committee reform. Sen. BOREN: Well, I think we both want to reduce the amount of influence of PACS, we want to reduce the amount that candidates can receive from PACS. Senator McConnell wants to take it all the way down to zero. We have about a 20% limit of total contributions coming from PACS in our bill. And I certainly am willing to yield on that point. But, you know, I have trouble understanding -- and I know Senator McConnell's very sincere about this -- I have trouble understanding why we have to compete on the basis of money in politics. I think we should compete on ideas, we should compete on qualifications. And let me say, the number of people voting keeps going down. We're down to 37% of the electorate. And polls indicate that the people are very, very discouraged by the amount of money that's being spent. Only 8% of the people polled indicated that they didn't think that the amount of money being spent on campaigns was a problem. Most of them think that it's a very serious problem. And I think it's making people cynical about politics. WOODRUFF: Senator McConnell? Sen. McCONNELL: Well, there's clearly no correlation whatsoever between the amount of money spent and low turnout. The stimulated races, the interesting races, the races in which a lot of support is garnered are the races in which people come out. So there's simply no correlation between them. The real issue here is whether we want to tell a political candidate, ''you can only get so much support. '' That's not reform. That's not a step in the right direction. We ought not to have a limit on how much support a candidate can get. What we ought to do is eliminate the political action committee contributions. Because those are the ones that raise the spectre of undue influence. And those can be gone tomorrow. We can pass a bill tomorrow to take care of that problem. WOODRUFF: Senator Boren, it sounds like the two of you are not going to come to any agreement on limits. Do you see a possibility for compromise? Sen. BOREN: I think so. Because frankly I think there are enough people on both sides of the aisle who do want to have spending limits. Now, there are various disagreements about public financing. I'm not a great enthusiast for public financing myself -- beyond what the Supreme Court decision would require us to do. I want to see the people finance the campaigns. But I think there are a lot of people who see something wrong with spending going out of control. I talked toa group of high school students the other day -- just to put it in perspective. I said to them, ''How many of you would like to run for the U. S. Senate some day?'' And a lot of hands went up. And I said, ''You know, in twelve years, if we just use the current rate of increase in campaign costs, it's going to cost $15 million in an average size state to run for the senate. '' I wish you could have seen the look on their faces. We just can't let that happen. Sen. McCONNELL: Well, it isn't going to happen. The rate of increase in campaign spending is beginning to drop off. There's no chance that's going to happen. And if we want to do something about the cost of campaigns, which is a different issue, we ought to mandate that the TV stations sell the time at a lower rate. Because what they've been doing is ripping off the candidates by raising the lowest unit rate chargeable to all of their customers, so they can do that to the politicians going down the homestretch. We could pass a piece of legislation tomorrow mandating that they charge us lower rates, and it will save a huge amount of money. WOODRUFF: What about that, Senator Boren? Sen. BOREN: Well, I think that we do need to look at something like that. And our bill, for example, at the current time, all candidates get the lowest rate that is charged for any advertisement. One of the things that we do in our bill is say that only those candidates that agree to voluntary spending limits should get that preferential rate. But,you know, I just don't understand how there's not some point -- Senator McConnell says he's just philosophically opposed to spending limits -- I don't think we should allow the possibility for people to buy elections in this country. Surely, there's some outer limit -- whether it be a $50 million or hundred million -- Sen. McCONNELL: Nobody's buying elections. You can only give a thousand dollars in the primary and a thousand in the general. A whole lot of people are participating in order to raise for the candidate that overall amount of money. These elections are not being bought. Those are American people who are participating, and they're participating in larger and larger (unintelligible), all across America. Sen. BOREN: In small states, you simply can't raise millions and millions within the state, so candidates are having to go out to other places to talk to people and raise the money (unintelligible) -- Sen. McCONNELL: And the races in those small states that my good friend from Oklahoma talks about, the last cycle where the races -- in which the turnout was a very high level, because there was a great deal of interest in participation. WOODRUFF: All right. The two of you were getting carried away, and that's just fine. Senator Boren, some critics are saying that the reason the Democrats are doing this is they just haven't been able to raise as much money as the Republicans have. And it's much more in the interest of the Democrats to put spending limits on. Sen. BOREN: Well, I know that that's being said. But all I can say is I certainly don't view this as a partisan matter. I think this is an American problem. I think the limits should be high enough. They should be reasonably high enough to give the minority party -- or a challenger in some states is the democrat that's the challenger -- a chance to get himself known, or herself known, in order to run for office. I just don't think it's good for America, whether it's Democrats or Republicans, to leave open the possibility that you could just spend millions and millions of dollars without the limits in order to get an advantage in an election. I go back to what we should be competing on is ideas and qualifications -- Sen. McCONNELL: Judy. Solutions to problems. WOODRUFF: Senator McConnell, how long are you going to continue this filibuster? Sen. McCONNELL: Well, Judy, we're going to continue it until we can come up with a reasonable bill. And of course, the question you just asked Dave Boren, I really must respond to. This is a very partisan bill. If you put a cap on an individual donor participation, you're penalizing the Republican Party, and you're enhancing the power of organized labor and all the special interest groups that Senator Boren's party has done better with. That's the real unstated issue here. WOODRUFF: All right, Senator Boren, you want to quickly respond to that? Sen. BOREN: I speak as one senator that has been endorsed by the business community, has never received a penny from labor unions. And I can just tell you that I think it's the bicentennial of the Constitution. Elections are just absolutely fundamental. They're the heart and soul of the democratic process, and we just cannot allow them to be bought and sold. WOODRUFF: Quick yes or no, Senators. Are we going to see a meaningful campaign finance reform bill come out of the Senate? Senate Boren? Sen. BOREN: I think we will. I think there are going to be people on both sides of the aisle that are going to make it happen. Sen. McCONNELL: Not if it includes the limitation on participation or taxpayers' financing. WOODRUFF: All right. Thank you both. You've both had your last words. Senator McConnell, Senator Boren, thank you both for joining us MacNEIL: Still ahead on the NewsHour, confidentiality in AIDS testing. A conversation with Saul Bellow. A Roger Rosenblatt essay. And a remembrance of Fred Astaire. Testing and Privacy MacNEIL: Next tonight, we return to the subject of AIDS. The fear of AIDS has prompted calls for expanded and even mandatory testing to detect carriers and potential victims of the disease. That has spawned yet another debate on privacy of the test results. Who should know, just the patients or also the medical professionals who care for them? The debate is raging now in the California State Legislature, which is considering dozens of bills dealing with AIDS. We have a report from Elizabeth Farnsworth of Public Station KQED, San Francisco.
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH, KQED, San Francisco: In the Northern California community of Redding, the dispute over just how private AIDS testing should be has erupted in a case at Shasta County Hospital. A man we'll call John Doe, a laborer at a motel who showed no symptoms of AIDS was recently refused surgery for a hernia because he had tested positive for the AIDS virus. JOHN DOE: I was very upset, because I didn't know what I was going to do. They were being very cruel, very prejudiced.
FARNSWORTH: In a claim filed against the hospital, John Doe alleges that his urologist, Dr. Ziad Niazi ordered the AIDS test run without his written authorization, which is illegal. When the test came back positive, the surgeon, Dr. Labayit Said, was allegedly informed. If so, that was illegal, too. Dr. Said refused to operate. He told us he feared coming in contact with the AIDS virus in surgery. Dr. Niazi told John Doe a different story. Mr. DOE: He told me that I could not have the operation done in Redding or at Shasta General Hospital, because there was a chance that I could die from surgery, because they did not have the proper facilities to take care of an AIDS patient. He obviously thought that I was dying of AIDS -- which is not true.
FARNSWORTH: Dr. Niazi claims that he had his patient's verbal permission to do the AIDS test. And he is critical of the law that makes it illegal for him to discuss test results with a surgeon in a case like this. Dr. ZIAD NIAZI, Urologist: Why should we put ourself in danger because of a stupid piece of legislation? Every time the surgeon goes to the operating room and do a surgery on such a patient, he is putting himself at risk because every time he prick himself, he may encounter the disease. ALICE PHILIPSON, John Doe Attorney: It's been written now in your medical record that you have AIDS -- which is of course wrong. This is a diagnosis signed. So he's diagnosed you as having AIDS.
FARNSWORTH: After he sought the help of attorney Alice Philipson, John Doe was operated on by Dr. Said at Shasta General Hospital. But he is leaving Redding now, because he fears further discrimination. His attorney has begun legal action against the hospital, and is asking $250,000 in damages. Ms. PHILIPSON: It's a case of fear. It's a case of ignorance. It's a case of AIDS hysteria taking over in a population that is supposed to be the most educated. The Shasta County case is so bad because it involves people that you trust. Our society as a whole trying to cope with an epidemic is going to suffer if we create such a climate of fear and prejudice that people will not surface enough to go and run the risks of getting tested.
FARNSWORTH: In 1985, when the AIDS antibody test was first made available to protect the nation's blood supply, the California legislature passed stringent laws protecting the confidentiality of test results. But now there is increasing pressure from doctors, among others, to change those laws. Dr. NIAZI: I feel strongly that if the test comes positive it should be documented in the chart. And I think when that happens so that every doctor, nurse or personnel working in that hospital should know.
FARNSWORTH: But experience shows that if even a few people know about AIDS test results, word can leak out, and discrimination is often the result. Flight attendant Gare Trainer, who died recently of AIDS, lost his job with the airline in 1983, after he was diagnosed with the disease. Greg Duff, from San Jose, lost his job as a salesman of computer parts because he refused his boss's demands that he take the AIDS test. Attorneys who handle cases like Duff' say their workload is increasing each day. BEN SCHATZ, attorney: I can't tell you how many calls I have to deal with every week. Every week. Every day. From people who have been fired from their job because they have AIDS, or are perceived to have AIDS. From people who have been kicked out of their homes. From people who have been denied their insurance, or who have insurance and then the insurance company doesn't want to pay for them because they think maybe they'll die before they can challenge them. Or people who won't be allowed -- aren't allowed in businesses. Or people who are kept away from their children. The problems are vast and they're continuing to increase. JOHN DOOLITTLE, California State Senator: All he focuses on is the discrimination -- isn't it terrible this person is being discriminated against? What about over here? Isn't it terrible that these people are dying because they're being infected with AIDS by people who don't know they have it because we have a stupid law in California that prevents testing and that mandates total confidentiality to the point that health officials can't deal with the disease. ART AGNOS, California Assemblyman: The key to this disease, to preventing it, to curing it, to dealing with it as a civilized society, is education. Not any kind of breakdown of occupational relationship, not violating one's confidentiality. Because people have other alternatives that are very unattractive, but nevertheless available to them -- to go underground. And that's not what we want.
FARNSWORTH: A 1985 California law on confidentiality, which Assemblyman Art Agnos wrote, is specifically aimed at assuring that those at risk for AIDS not be driven underground. The Agnos law won the praise of Surgeon General C. Everett Koop when he visited California last March. Koop is also supporting a new Agnos bill which would make it legal for doctors involved in a patient's care to confer about AIDS test results, but would otherwise reinforce existing laws on confidentiality. The new Agnos bill counsels people to seek not only confidential, but anonymous testing, like that offered at San Francisco at District Health Center No. 1. TESTER: Okay, we need to set an appointment for you. As you know, this is anonymous, so I don't want your name. I want you to give me two letters and two numbers. We'll use that in place of your name.
FARNSWORTH: Anonymous testing is considered by many health officials and attorneys to be one way to prevent leaks of test results, and the subsequent discrimination. On the day we visited the San Francisco Public Health Department AIDS Testing Laboratory, about one third of the samples were positive. The people from whom this blood was drawn will be counseled about how to avoid transmitting AIDS. But unless someone want to reveal his or her results, it is possible that no one will ever know. In Sacramento, Senator John Doolittle thinks in some cases we should know. And he wants to change the nature of the AIDS debate. Sen. DOOLITTLE: AIDS is 100% fatal. And we're still having arguments about protecting people's rights about the disease. I mean, we oughta be focusing on what we do to prevent all of us -- to prevent our husbands and wives, our children, from getting the disease themselves and dying. Mr. DOE: There's always going to be some other legislation going through and it's going to get to the point where we're all going to be locked up just because we have it in our blood.
FARNSWORTH: Whatever John Doe's fear, he has the law on his side. At least for now. But the level of anxiety about AIDS is high. And political struggle over the epidemic are likely to be fierce. The debate over confidentiality may be an early skirmish in a much larger battle ahead. MacNEIL: AIDS testing was the major topic today in Chicago at the annual convention of the American Medical Association's House of Delegates. Tomorrow, the AMA's governing body will vote on a series of proposals that call for broader AIDS testing. Bellow's Gift MacNEIL: One of the most widely praised books this spring is the latest by the man who's been called America's premier novelist, Saul Bellow. And this evening we have a conversation with him. [voice over] Bellow's writing career began over 40 years ago, with the publication of a novel called, ''Dangling Men'' in 1944. Since then his list of honors is unique. Bellow is the only novelist to receive three National Book Awards -- for ''The Adventures of Augie March'' in 1953, ''Herzog'' in 1964, and ''Mr. Sammler's Planet'' in 1970. In 1975 he won the Pulitzer Prize for ''Humboldt's Gift. '' The following year, Bellow was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for ''The Human Understanding'' and ''Subtle Analysis of Contemporary Culture,'' that are combined in his work. Bellow's latest novel is called ''More Die of Heartbreak. '' It's published by William Morrow and Company. Bellow has lived for many years in Chicago. He was in New York recently and talked with us about his latest book. [on camera] Mr. Bellow, may we talk about your new novel, ''More Die of Heartbreak. '' I'm intrigued by a view of America which emerges from a series of passages in it. And I would like to quote some of them to you. But first of all, I would like to ask you a general question. Do you believe -- as it seems to me it emerges from the book -- that we understand the difficulties and dangers of life in the closed society of the Soviet Union very well, but we do not understand the difficulties and dangers of life in the West, and particularly America, very well. SAUL BELLOW: That's one of the points of the book, yes. I think that we've been overpowered by the Russian picture of tyranny and despotism. That presents us with very clearly defined forms of human suffering, privation of freedom, and terrible concentration camps, periods of terror and all the rest of that. These are easily recognizable by people who know some history. These are the traditional forms of oppression. What is it people suffer from in the United States? An interesting question. We concede suffering to the Soviet Union, or countries like it. And it seems to me there's a sort of totalitarianism about it. That is to say, unless you experience that kind of pain, you don't know what pain is. That premise seems to me to have something wrong with it. MacNEIL: Because there is pain here? Mr. BELLOW: Yes, I think unfamiliar and therefore undetected forms. We have our ordeal here, as the East has its ordeal. In the book, I speak of the ordeals of privation which Eastern Europe knows -- some other parts of the world. Then I speak of the ordeals of desire, which we have here in this country. MacNEIL: Ordeals of desire? Mr. BELLOW: Yes. MacNEIL: May I quote you a passage from the book? You say every age has its gross hazards, and we think of things like the black death and forced labor. And then you said, ''It may seem odd'' -- or your character says, ''It may seem odd to list our gross hazards, the erotic ones, for instance, with war or forced labor, but whatever it is that snatches souls away by the hundreds of millions, has to be reckoned with. This needs to be restated at a time when intelligent observers are warning America that in order to cease being a superficial monster, she must prepare for bad times. America therefore requires an ordeal of major scope, an old style ordeal. '' Now, can I just go over that with you? What are the erotic ones? The erotic hazards? Mr. BELLOW: Well, I think people lead unregulated lives. They've been told -- under the influence of liberated education and psychology -- that they're free now to realize themselves. The only way there is for human beings under our notion of what human life is to gratify themselves physically, because they're physical beings, they're mortal, their mortality is brief, they had better for the sake of hygiene obtain sexual gratification. So they rush to it. And the results as we begin to see are filled with all kinds of misfortune, heartbreak. And that's what I'm trying to get at. To say, ''What is there that stands between us and gratification of desire?'' Well, there are certain rules of human life, which have been overridden. MacNEIL: You're not talking about anything -- although you mention -- as literal as the hazard of AIDS. That's just a metaphor, is it, for other -- ? Mr. BELLOW: Well, yes. People thought they had access to unlimited gratification without penalty. Now nature seems to have turned on them and penalized them with incurable and fatal diseases. Working up to scale through the venereal diseases and finally with AIDS. You can't do these things with impunity, it seems, after all. MacNEIL: Do you see that as putting the soul at risk? Your phrase is -- and I read -- ''whatever it is that snatches souls away by the hundreds and millions. '' Do you see this hunger for gratification or this sort of pressure to gratify one's self as snatching souls away? Mr. BELLOW: Well, it's so transient that there is no opportunity to develop permanent connections. And permanent connections are a permanent need of human nature. Of course, we've gotten to put human nature aside altogether on the premise that the human being is a pliable creature, and is infinitely plastic, and he's totally formed by his surroundings, and therefore anything can be done with him. He can do anything with himself. But supposing there are violations of fundamental human needs involved in this. Well, we suffer from them. And we suffer from this kind of impossibility of forming and maintaining attachments with other human beings. MacNEIL: Coming to the title of the book. Your central character says, and it's repeated several times in the book, commenting on the Soviet Chernobyl nuclear accident, ''I think more people die of heartbreak than of radiation. '' This again is reference to the heartbreak that comes in a society that's so open that you feel it's this extraordinary pressure to gratify yourself. Mr. BELLOW: Well, we pay the price of our freedom, because we don't know what the limits of freedom are. We don't know what -- we're not instructed in what constitutes the proper use of our political privileges -- which -- we have to struggle with these things. We are put in the position of being autonomous. So we formulate our own rules, so to speak. And this is a cause of pain, to say the least. Trying to hack it your own way. Going at it in your own style. And making up your own rules, or breaking them as you go along. Of course, it puts us in a desperate situation. And we don't recognize very readily the fact that we are in agonies, because we're obviously enjoying ourselves at the same time. MacNEIL: In fact, in another passage you say, ''There aren't any words for what happens to the soul in the free world. Never mind rising entitlements, never mind the luxury lifestyle, our buried judgment knows better. That all of this is seen by remote centers of consciousness which struggle against full wakefulness. Because full wakefulness would make us face up to the new death, the peculiar ordeal of our side of the world. '' Is this just the United States? Is it America? Mr. BELLOW: No, no. I said the Western World. I think it's the Western World, cosmopolitan Western World, which has lost touch with its ancient traditions and whose culture is in the process of violent transformation. You see it everywhere in the West. MacNEIL: Do you see this as principally a male problem? Your -- Mr. BELLOW: No, I don't think of it as a male problem principally. I think of it as a joint problem of both genders. There are things that only women can do for the species, for society, for mankind. There are peculiar sorts -- there are sorts of intelligence which are peculiar to women, without which society's loss is very great. There is -- MacNEIL: But the moral agony in your book is given to the men, is it not? In this book. Mr. BELLOW: Well, I'm not so sure about that. There are other persons in the book -- the implication is that they don't know that they're suffering. Some of the women, of course, are exposed to heartbreak, like Diselle undergoes this ordeal with the skin doctor for the sake of love. And then comes out just where she was to begin with. MacNEIL: Do you think that it's a fair comment -- the critic Frederick Carl, who's quoted in the New York Times Book Review, remarking that in your fiction, women are always the cause of man's death, be it spiritual or physical. Is that a fair comment? Mr. BELLOW: No. I don't think it's a fair comment at all. I think he misses the point that I've just made to you -- namely that there is a kind of feminine power which seems to have lost its model temporarily. Especially educated women who wish to advance themselves have no proper female models for their development. They adopt the masculine ones. The masculine ones are unsuitable to them and to everybody else. Therefore, there's a kind of fabrication that goes on. If you're going to be a Chief Executive Officer, there's only the masculine way to be the Chief Executive Officer. You either adopt that manner, or you're not a real Chief Executive Officer. MacNEIL: You can't be a feminine Chief Executive Officer. Mr. BELLOW: I've never seen it done in a distinctly feminine way. So I think that Mr. Carl was carried away by the war between the sexes -- which I don't acknowledge. MacNEIL: To come back to where we started -- if you as an observer of the scene and the human condition at the moment, see this dilemma for the Western soul as you described it, how acute is it, and is it going to cure itself? I mean, if you've observed it, presumably other people are observing it, and is it going to be changed by a cycle of history replacing it with something else? Mr. BELLOW: Well, it seems to many artists, if I may force myself into that beautiful community for a moment, that human beings in the West undergoing most extraordinary transformation -- that is, technological, modernizing transformation -- are apt to become more and more the instruments of that transformation. And to lose themselves in the process. The force that advances the extraordinary power that we manifest, or that we see manifested, demands of us surrender of certain individual human powers. It's no longer the genius of an individual that organizes the future for us -- by what we call history. It is these tremendous powers back home which did it. And I think that we are all in the grip of these things, and there is no easy way for us to resist them. They overcome us whether we like it or not. We're picked up and wafted through the air at 500 miles an hour, ground speed, six hundred miles an hour. We don't know why or wherefore. We have to adapt ourselves to these new circumstances. And in all of this, a certain amount of individuality is lost. And that's what I was getting at in this book. MacNEIL: Saul Bellow, thank you very much for joining us. Half Time WOODRUFF: With the Iran contra hearings about the resume tomorrow, our regular essayist Roger Rosenblatt looks at what we know so far.
ROGERROSENBLATT: What is there to learn from the Iran contra hearings with half the hearings finished? Very little. We know that the President approved of arms sales to Iran while admonishing our allies not to do the same. We know that despite his initial denials, he attempted to trade arms for U. S. hostages. We know that Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams deliberately misled Congress about soliciting $10 million in aid from Brunei for the contras. We know that there was a shredding and concealing of documents relating to the arms deal. We know that one of the arms dealers, Albert Hakim, set aside $200,000 for the family of Col. Oliver North. All of that we know. And much of it we already had wind of before the hearings began. Unlike the Watergate investigation, whose efforts were to trace the scandal to the President, here the scandal was traced to the President almost from the start. After some memory lapses, hedges, and incorrect statements, the President owned up. We still may learn whether he actually authorized North and Poindexter their deceits. But yes or no, no question of the President's general culpability lingers. We are present at one of those old fashioned dramas then, in which the end is known at the outset, and the rest of the tale is spent recounting how and why it came about. The end is in the beginning. And the rest is -- what? Well, part of the rest is entertainment -- albeit entertainment of a high and spritely type. A memorable cast of characters have already appeared in the first half of the hearings. The combative General Richard Secord, who clearly believes that the best defense for the indefensible is to take the offense. Gen. RICHARD SECORD: But I did not come here to be badgered.
ROSENBLATT: The hair splitting Mr. Abrams. Who offers an interesting study of a man conflicted by pure intelligence and a ruling political passion. COMMITTEE COUNSEL: And so unless the senators knew the facts in advance so that they could frame their questions in exactly the right words, they wouldn't find out, and they didn't find out. Isn't that what happened? ELLIOTT ABRAMS: Correct. That's exactly what happened.
ROSENBLATT: One suspects that Mr. Abrams will be considering the limits of pure intelligence when these hearings are over. The preposterous Mr. Hakim, who, open faced as the sun, tried to present a payoff to Col. North as a testament of affection. ALBERT HAKIM: I had become emotionally very attached to Ollie -- still am -- and I really love this man.
ROSENBLATT: At top billing, North's former secretary Fawn Hall. Who, before thinking better of it, speaks of the necessity of going above the written law, while much of the press described the length of her skirts. FAWN HALL: I believed in Col. North. And there was a very solid and very valid reason he must have been doing this. And sometimes you have to go above the written law.
ROSENBLATT: What else to learn? Details. One always wants to know how deceitful operation is carried out. The code names. The slips of paper. The secret meetings. Motives? Shall we learn motives? Yes, but even they are likely to turn out disappointingly simple and shallow. Some of the deceivers are in the game for a cause they believed in too strongly. Some were in it for personal gain. That's about it as far as range. As for the President, we are likely to learn even less. Eventually it will be the people who must decide whether he behaved as a ruthlessly arrogant leader, an overzealous patriot, or simply as a foolish and careless man. So. What is there to learn from the hearings so far? Two things. Both of which we knew from the beginning as well. First, that the people make the government. And the government makes the laws. And the government is accountable to the people through the laws. In this summer of constitutional celebrations, we learn once again that this is how the arrangement works. And second, we learn that the arrangement is still monumentally important to us. What these hearings teach is that for all our hardening experiences of recent years, we remain an essentially innocent country when it comes to our system of rule. Forever capable of shock and anger when that system is corrupted. That innocence is our saving grace. The more we feel it, the more we learn. MacNEIL: Again the top stories. Syria sounded optimistic about the early release of Charles Glass, the newest American hostage in Beirut. South Korea's president agreed to hold talks with the opposition. And Fred Astaire died at the age of 88. We close tonight with one of his most celebrated numbers -- Night and Day with Ginger Rogers in the 1934 movie, ''The Gay Divorcee. ''
film clip MacNEIL: Good night, Judy. WOODRUFF: Good night, Robin. That's our NewsHour for tonight. We'll be back tomorrow night. I'm Judy Woodruff. Thank you and good night.
- The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour
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- This episode's headline: PAC Reform; Testing and Privacy; Bellow's Gift; Half Time. The guests include In Washington: Sen. DAVID BOREN, (D) Oklahoma; Sen. MITCH McCONNELL, (R) Kentucky; In New York: SAUL BELLOW, Author; REPORTS FROM NEWSHOUR CORRESPONDENTS: COKIE ROBERTS, ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH, KQED, San Francisco. Byline: In New York: ROBERT MacNEIL, Executive Editor; In Washington: JUDY WOODRUFF, Chief Washington Correspondent
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- MLA: “The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour.” 1987-06-22. NewsHour Productions, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 2, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-507-n872v2d49q>.
- APA: The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. Boston, MA: NewsHour Productions, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-507-n872v2d49q