WGBH Journal; Freedom Of Press
Trying to prove the mandate a myth today by an overwhelming vote the House dealt a stunning blow to the tax cap plan and it scuttled an amendment which would restore the proposed freeze on local spending. The house is presently debating a bill which would allow communities a 4 percent increase in local taxes by a vote of 119 to 37 the house showed its opposition to what some legislators feel is King's underestimation of inflation. The feeling was summed up by Representative Dennis Davern of the House Ways and Means Committee who admitted that taxpayers are frustrated with higher taxes. But he added They are also going out to the grocery store. They know about inflation. Just hours before the House voted down the tax cap freeze the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation a private business funded research organization released a survey of local property taxes in the Bay State. The Foundation reported that taxes in Massachusetts rose by an average of two point one percent in 1979 the smallest rise since 1966. The foundation noted that some two hundred forty three million dollars in additional state aid to local cities and towns helped keep tax bills down. Local spending rose by a five point eight percent or two
hundred fifty five million dollars. On a three level strike at Boston University continued today at the Charles River campus this morning members of district 65 of the distributive workers union of America representing B use clerical workers voted to continue their walkout in support of striking faculty and to force the administration to recognize district 65 as the legal bargaining unit for clerical workers on the campus. The NLRB has certified district 65 but the BUA administration has not followed suit. Members of local 4:51 Boston University librarians are also supporting the faculty strike. Faculty negotiators met with members of buse board over the weekend but no progress was reported. And what the faculty is calling a reversal of progress made by the union and the original administration negotiators. The print and politics battle over two paintings recently bought from the Boston Athenian continues to have Gilbert Stewart's paintings of George and Martha Washington were sold at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington recently since the 5 million dollar sale Boston Mayor White Boston's
Mayor White and The Boston Globe have protested the sale contending the transaction will Rob Boston of part of its heritage. The Massachusetts Supreme Court today attorneys for the city sought a restraining order to block the sale. Mayor White said he viewed the sale of the two hundred year old paintings with the same reluctance that the ancient Athenians would have shown and auctioning off the Acropolis. The Washington DC media are beginning to return fire on the Boston press. Today The Washington Post chided the globe and white as being parochial. And that's the news. Two of the most prominent spokespeople on the issue of nuclear power met face to face last night at Northeastern University's Ford hall forum lecture series. Norman Rasmussen head of the Department of Nuclear Engineering at MIT was director of a study for the Nuclear
Regulatory Commission which was a key element in the valley and devaluing the chance of accidents in nuclear power plants. And we Kendall a physics professor at MIT is also a founding member of the Union of Concerned Scientists which has led the way in criticizing the development of nuclear power. Here's Marcia Hurd with more on that debate. Given the fact that last night's Fort Hall forum debate occurred only a week and a half after this country's closest call with a nuclear plant disaster the discussion at Northeastern University was surprisingly polite. The two MIT professors Norman Rasmussen and Henry Kendall each gave a presentation after which they answered audience questions. But they made only brief references to the events of last week. Rasmussen and Kendall disagreed on most everything. Rasmussen in spite of the accident claimed that nuclear power is the cleanest and most efficient form of energy available for development while Kendall stated that nuclear power plants Three Mile Island included are not adequately equipped to deal with failure.
Rasmussen opened the discussion by listing alternative energy sources notably solar and wind power claiming that they are both expensive and impractical. The energy sources which we already use coal and nuclear both have risks. But the point he made again and again was that the benefits of nuclear power far outweigh those risks. Any reasonable assessment of that risk I believe still leads to the conclusion that there are small compared to many other risks that we're exposed to and acceptance. The fact that we have had 500 planned years of experience with large power stations of the type we build in the United States 400 planned years in the United States and 100 planned years a century US designed reactors overseas without such an accident gives an upper limit of what the risk might be and using that upper limit. One concludes that these risks are relatively small compared to the
risks of being accidentally killed associated with fires explosions damn failures which are one of the sources of electricity airplane crashes the release of poisonous chemicals. So we are still in the beginnings of the nuclear age where it is an unknown agent to most. And unexplained agent to most and with it is the psychological the apprehension man has always had for the unknown. Whether this psychological impact alone can be enough to deter the use of nuclear power. I have no idea. I think if we think carefully and rationally about it I will understand that it adds a risk when we look at its benefits and the risk of other alternatives open to it. I think we will continue to use I hope we will continue to use nuclear power as part of the solution of the energy problem that we face as evidence that the
nuclear industry does not learn from its mistakes. Henry Kendall pointed to the nuclear accident in Browns Ferry Alabama in 1975 when a worker looking for an air leak with a candle set off a serious fire precautionary recommendations came out of that incident. But many of them have not been implemented in nuclear plants around the country. KANDEL sees the danger of nuclear energy growing as additional nuclear plants are built. But the main reason for his pessimism about the future is that up until now those in charge of nuclear power have failed us. These failures came from somewhere. They had roots in things which were not technical. They had roots in the way that the government and the nuclear industry has pushed ahead for decades on nuclear power. I've had and my colleagues have had with me great experience in investigating these things and it's become clear to us that in this program of promoting nuclear power safety has been subordinated
to the expansion. The government has delayed or frustrated critical research which has been identified as important by their own studies and they have concealed. Or misrepresented the risks of nuclear radiations and nuclear power. And this continued in the course of the Three Mile Island accident so that it became a major part of the public reporting of the event. What this amounts to in aggregate is that those in charge of the nuclear program in my opinion have failed us and that the government has violated the public trust and in consequence the United States is faced with a difficult thorny problem as to what to do. Here are some suggestions that there now has to be an absolute priority on adequate safety
as the prime requirement of a nuclear program. The program has to has to be above suspicion particularly and especially in view of the particular sensitivity that people have generally to radiation and possible exposure to it. In order to get to gain this the program the hardware in these many plants and in the plants under construction need massive repairs and retrofit and we need a cleaning of the house in the regulatory agencies and in the Department of Energy so that we can have people in there who will bring competence and a dish but dispassionate view to the regulation of nuclear power and to its promotion. And we have not had that and this has been a prime source of our great professors Henry Kendall and Norman Rasmussen both of MIT speaking at last night's Ford hall forum for GBH Journal. This is Marsha Hertz.
You can hear the rest of the Kendall Rasmussen debate tonight at 8:00 here on GBH. Six women have been murdered in Boston this year and eight have been raped that we know of. Not all violent assaults on women are reported. The murders of black women in the south and Roxbury Jamaica Plain and Dorchester and the rapes of white women in Allston Brighton have sparked a large and angry meetings in both communities and in the case of the South and generated a more long term neighborhood organizing effort. But today the two communities have worked separately. Leaders from the black community were not visible at any of the Allston Brighton meetings in February and no spokesperson from Alton Brighton has made the journey over to the Southend or Dorchester for the meetings there yet are articulate and energetic women have taken strong leadership in both communities and have had some
similar things to say. So tonight we decided to bring two of them together. They are Rachelle Lee who has been very active in the Southland and Gen Y Dell and outspoken woman from Austin Brighton. The first question I asked them was how do you feel about statements made at various times in both communities that women should not go out alone at night anymore. And I think the trust issue. You know their parents about the murders for example that there are very clear and you know obviously these were killed at home. But one of them was found in her apartment. And I think that that sort of tells you just how significant staying off the street may or may not be at a given time. If we could say that all men should stay off the street after certain no. Then I guarantee the element of safety will probably be a hundred fold. You know children in Allston Brighton what have women been saying or feeling that you know about the murders in the black community.
I think most of whom have felt you know that we're lucky that we haven't been killed. The thing that worries me is that there was another rape in Brighton and since supposedly the suspect was arrested I wonder whether he's really the guy whether there's more than one whether the Dorchester person is coming to Brighton with a brain person is going to Dorchester you know what's going on with her and and just the whole thing of you know raping and murdering women. It goes beyond to me goes beyond racial lines goes beyond. Just doesn't have anything to do with with things other than violence against women and violence against women who because they live alone because they walk the streets are wrong. Michelle what are women over south and Dorchester October saying about the rapes in Austin right now.
We heard about the Mona quite. Often rapist. I mean how how he does the right. Well just a description from what we would say the same kind of what he was wearing the kind of high belt of the of features on his distinguishing marks on his face the first thing we said was didn't he sound like. Then I sound like the guy that we were having trouble with all last summer and there'd been all kinds of incidences due out this summer and we tried to I personally took down two women who one woman was assaulted and attempted to reweigh in another woman was badly beaten and when we heard about these these descriptions he said This guy sounds like he's the same guy I need to work in brightness sensually you know statistics show that rapes in Boston have gone up. The police told me that two point four rapes happen every month in Austin. Right. So last summer it was in Roxbury and this winter it was in Allston Brighton and next summer you know it'll be in Back Bay and whether the guy that they caught is the guy or whether it's a series of men. The issue is why do men.
What can we do to change it. The police have served in both communities that the murders are connected in the south and Dorchester Jaypee in Roxbury except for the first two. So and that in re And at the rate the last two rapes you know one of the last two rapes and also in Brighton were unconnected to the first six. OK how do you feel about that statement of the unconnected. Well yeah I think the one thing I kind of thought about was what as long a Son of Sam in New York was allegedly the same person committing all these crimes. There was a massive manhunt and massive mobilization of powers to try to apprehend this one lonely suspect. And for some reason my sense is that maybe when police say there's no connection it is a it's a message to the to the police community that there's no need to put together a massive call a manhunt to find him apprehend this one suspect.
OK you two of both each one active in your communities. Do you see any potential for. Working together in the future I think all Boston women at this point are beginning to at least more so than a police department could break them. The dividing lines of neighborhoods and just talk about women in Boston period. As victims of a song in my head there isn't a neighborhood problem. I mean you know the Allston Brighton rapist was working in Austin Brighton the Roxbury killers working in Roxbury but it's a problem of women in Boston getting attacked. We sense a conspiracy that these things quote unquote are not connected that Allston Brighton is a situation that differs from Roxbury. It's all connected because women are getting attacked. And now that's the inherent political. You know activity. I'm asking that women just care enough to to talk
to other women to just even have these conversations with other women. CHINOY Dela Boston Brighton and Rachelle Lee a South End activist there appears to be a move afoot to bring women from both these and other areas of Boston together around the issue of violence against women. A meeting quote to end violence against women in our communities unquote has been called for this Saturday April 14th from 11:30 to 4:15 at the Boston YWCA groups already planning to attend according to meeting organizers include crisis a South End group and Cambridge safehouse a Cambridge Board group. More information on the meeting is available at 3 5 4 8 8 0 7. A few years ago a college student handed in a special project which explained how to construct an
atomic bomb. To the surprise of his teachers the student had written the paper from declassified information available in the library. The Progressive magazine in Madison Wisconsin is now trying to do almost the same thing. The magazine had planned to publish an article on the hydrogen bomb secret construction until a federal court injunction was issued against the magazine. The judge agreed with the federal government that the information in the article was classified and a threat to national security. And right on cue the progressive has claimed that their First Amendment rights are at stake. Bernard Reuben recently discussed the controversial case with Everett dentist professor of journalism at the University of Minnesota. This is the kind of age old argument that goes back a long way and you're right it is a classic case it's the one that people have always looted to which figure they figured wouldn't wouldn't come up and there's an old adage in the law which is great cases make bad law and there's never and never it seems that there's never a perfect case their progressive case in some ways not unlike the Pentagon Papers
case are similarities it's an interpretation of different area law I believe that the government is bringing this case under some interpretations of the Atomic Energy Act which have to do with the passage of information. And I think question might eventually be won over. Is this all public information. If so is it appropriate to go ahead and print it. None of us have seen the article trying and and therefore we don't know whether it is or is not a recipe kind of article. Yes there is also the claim made by some people that it will help terrorists wander around various cities with suitcases with hydrogen bombs. The Russians know about it. Most scientists in the world of any capability know about I don't think there's really any secret about hydrogen bomb production anymore in terms of the basic physics of it. At any rate when we deal with a subject that is vital to the security of the United States.
Have we amended the First Amendment. That's very difficult to say because the Founding Fathers were somewhat vague on what the First Amendment actually meant. And from what I can determine in reading a good deal about this and reading some of the philosophical foundations which the founding fathers based their thinking on was that the first man was envisioned as a right of dissemination of information and that one of the purposes of that dissemination was to keep government honest to keep a they have a kind of surveillance or what later became known as the watchdog function of the of the press. In looking at government. So whether or not they would have envisioned this kind of situation I suspect they might have because there were always exceptions made by Milton by John Locke by many of the libertarian philosophers who talked about freedom of expression that freedom expression could never go so
far as to totally destroy and disrupt the society so I suppose if it were a situation that would bring down would be it would destroy a government. Or cause foreign power to seize control or something like that. That would definitely be a constraint on freedom. I happen to know just to shift the subject just a little bit that you do not sympathize with those who feel that the press is wise in seeking redress of its grievances through what is becoming more constant appeals to the judiciary. You feel that the right is found in the First Amendment and in the in the proper restraint of editorial judgment rather than in winning court cases could you explain that a bit more. Yeah I think one of the best ways to do that is to go back and look at what Fessor Alexander Bickel said after the New York Times case the Pentagon Papers
case he was the attorney for the times and it argued the case before the Supreme Court and as you know the the Times and Washington Post prevailed a 6 to 3 decision and they did stave off the efforts of the Nixon administration to restrain publication. Well one would have thought that that was a great victory for freedom of the press and it certainly was trumpeted as such in the in the country's news media but in a very thoughtful book afterwards said that any time you test the limits of freedom. You're actually curtail freedom and that he felt he felt that by spelling out and explicating in great detail the nature of the First Amendment that is one of the total dimensions of the First Amendment to whom does it apply. What exactly does it mean. Would actually begin to set barriers. Now listen Professor Everett Dennis talking with Bernard Ruben. Louis Lyons is next tonight he explores the history of the contested Stuart paintings of George and
Martha Washington and the role of art museums in providing access to such famous art pieces. Now it involves that the famous Washington paintings by Gilbert Stuart will never leave Boston. He asked the state Supreme Court today to block the plan to move them to the National Portrait Gallery. He calls it as absurd as a louver trying to sell them on a lizard to the arms. Some might turn that around to call it as appropriate as placing them on a little over. These are the most priceless historical paintings in America. Some have protests. That of course is what the National Portrait Gallery is for. It did not exist when a group of philanthropic Bostonians purchased the paintings for fifteen hundred dollars from Stewart's destitute widow. The only available Depository they had for the paintings in 1831 was a private library an art center to which most of them belonged. The athenæum but his public spirited citizens their descendants moved the Stuart portraits to the Museum of Fine Arts as soon as it opened
in 1876. Had they not a man of that time would surely have let a demand for this public access that they have been on no more than a hundred years. Now the paintings are the only asset of the Athenaeum sufficient to put it in repair the museum also under financial pressure cannot match the five millions of Smithsonian institutions can provide to establish them in the National Portrait Gallery. Besides this most suitable site for national viewing the National Gallery provides security for the permanent public possession of this national heritage. The Stuarts will be safe from a forced sale to the highest bidder. Fantastic figures of the sale of distinguished out objects make front page news. They're worth tens to be rated by the prices they bring from private or public collectors appraising the money value of a noted painting is one of the most lucrative occupations acquisition is the name of the game and they are a competitive acquisition is the most demanding
role of museum directors. It is ironic. That the highest expression of civilization seems to evoke the most overweening motives of possession sometimes carried beyond tolerable limits. Boston was scandalized a few years ago to discover that rare objects had by illegal roundabout means found their way from Italy to the Boston Museum. The shocked reactions suggest development of a public conscience about art collecting Lord Byron was a minority voice. Hundred sixty five years ago when he denounced as vandalism the purchase by the British ambassador to sculptures the Turks had ravished from the Greek Parthenon But parliament took a different view of Lord elegans coup and authorized thirty five thousand pounds to secure the sculptures for the British Museum. But unlike twinge of public conscience cause the British a few years ago to return the Elgin Marbles to Greece. I museums educational function of course calls for it seeking to show the finest specimens it
can of every culture a Sagitta tenor CASSIO. But there's something less than cultural in seeking a monopoly. Now the most the most expensive be cast out. It smacks of snob appeal. Rather than sequester that is a national heritage a local museum has a special opportunity to preserve what is most characteristic of the arts and artifacts in the history of its own region. New England is richest in the preservation of its history partly because it's the oldest region and because the wealth of its merchants could build things to last that house is furnished by the most skilled craftsman and ornamented by imports of rare beauty and value. Its long been the in thing for the descendants of the Yankee sea captains and traders to deposit their inherited treasures in the museums of the area and the finest in Boston's Museum of Fine Arts but a museum is not a warehouse. A problem of all the museums is a seperate of art stacked in that cellars for lack of
space to display. A former director of the Boston Museum used to tell of his embarrassment on asking about a painting that attracted him in an exhibition in New York. To be told it was from the Boston Museum he found it had been hanging in so dim a corridor as to escape his attention he had rehung in the corridors brightened the present curator of paintings protest what he calls the capital raid on the Stuart paintings but is it occasion to sound like a New Englander of 1812 or a parochial Texan defying the national concern for oil. Where are these most famous of American paintings isolated in Denver or Seattle. Boston would feel a reason to complain. The practice is speculating important among leading museums may be stimulated by the negotiations to return the Stewart portraits to Boston for Wanya and fun. Every school child in America knows these paintings as male white. That cultural heritage is that
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