I read with interest "Channel One outrageously biased"(Forum Dec. 8), and I take exception to much of what the author had to say. As an educator I particularly resent the implication that there is some sinister plot on the part of Utah teachers to subvert the minds of our children. And to suggest that the real reason students watch Channel One is so that teachers can "enjoy a free period with no preparation and no instruction" is a bit more than I can take without responding.
The author of the letter states that educators "vehemently support this program as an answer to the lack of current-events curricula in the schools, but what they won't tell you is that Channel One is their baby sitter." Educators won't tell you that because, simply put, it isn't true. In fact, Channel One lasts a grand total of 12 minutes. That hardly qualifies as a free period with no instruction, nor does it constitute a period of baby sitting.I watch the presentation with my students, as do most of my colleagues of whom I'm aware, and occasionally respond to and discuss the day's news. In addition, as a history instructor I particularly appreciate the days when Channel One remembers a significant event from the past, thus providing a lead-in and opportunity to discuss the historical event (for example, the activities of Dec. 7, 1941).
The charge of bias is a strong one and made without support. One may ask, in what present media is there no bias? Surely you can't mean the evening news or weekly magazines or even newspapers. Biases exist in media simply by virtue of the fact that somebody somewhere makes decisions about what will be presented and how it will be presented to the public.
I would also like to know what experience the author has had with Channel One. Is she an educator? Has she watched Channel One on a daily basis for several years and, therefore, come to these conclusions or are they based merely on hearsay?
Likewise I resent the insinuation that Utah teachers have relinquished their mandate to "teach their students to think" and instead "pat themselves on the back for providing them with information without regard to the source." Does any thinking person seriously believe, even assuming the accusation of bias to be true, that teachers throughout the state have such a purpose in mind? Is there anyone who seriously believes that there could be such a calculated effort on the part of an entire profession? The suggestion is ludicrous.
It is not my purpose to be a defender of Channel One - there are days when I would prefer not to watch it. There is room for improvement, and I believe that the producers are attempting to address the concerns of educators. But I do want to defend my profession from accusations that suggest the callous and purely opportunistic use of Channel One.
Roland H. Williams