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Ex-Hostage, TV Journalist Address Grads

June 7, 1993

DARTMOUTH, Mass. (AP) _ Former hostage Terry Anderson urged college graduates not to lose faith in religion or politics, while broadcast journalist Jim Lehrer blasted the ″arrogance″ of the American media.

Anderson was chosen as the University of Massachusetts commencement speaker after Arthur Ashe, who had been scheduled to speak, died of AIDS. Ashe was awarded a posthumous honorary degree.

A former Associated Press reporter who was kidnapped in Beirut in 1985 and held for seven years, Anderson said he was a skeptic early in his career.

But ″all the knowledge I stuffed my head with had not been enough to explain the pain and suffering I saw in Asia and Africa and the Middle East and here in the United States, or the hope and courage and stubborn glory of ordinary people in the midst of their terrible trials,″ he said Sunday.

Anderson credited his Catholic faith with helping him get through seven years as a hostage.

As for American politics, he told the 1,388 graduates, ″there are lots of worse ways to conduct our public life. I’ve seen them. I’ll take democratic life any day.″

At Williams College in Williamstown, public broadcasting’s Jim Lehrer delivered a blistering attack on American journalism.

Associate editor and co-anchor of the ″MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour,″ Lehrer said many of his fellow journalists act as if only they ″are pure enough to judge all others.″

″This snide arrogance is a kind of plague on and in the newsrooms of America, and unless something is done about it, the credibility of all of us in the business will continue to erode,″ he said.

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