Thursday, February 3, 2011

Feb. 3: Why pick on the Moncton Times and Transcript?

This blog is about a newspaper in the very small city of Moncton, New Brunswick. Not only is the city small, but the whole province of New Brunswick has a population that, all squashed together, would be less than a medium-size city. All I talk about is a small daily newspaper in a very small city. That's why I thought it so odd to learn that the blog readership stretches across Canada, with strong numbers into the US, and even into Britain, The Netherlands, Slovenia, India, Singapore....  Why?

It may be that these are all travelling salesman from Moncton who want to keep in touch with things at home. But that doesn't seem likely. So, why would a person outside Moncton - let alone in Singapore and in The Netherlands - check on a blog about The Moncton Times&Transcript?

I suspect there are two reasons. One is that The Moncton Times&Transcript is like most of the world's media. Most of the world's media serve as propaganda agents for political parties, social groups, economic systrens, for their owners (often all of these at the same time)....just like the Moncton T&T.

Most of them leave out news that doesn't fit their propaganda role. That is not much different from Moncton to Beijing. The same is true of almost all news media and popular journals. They keep their readers informed about trivia - like which celebrities we have never heard of are having a birthday today; but they keep them ignorant of anything that might stir them to thought. In that respect, they serve the purpose that the Roman games did in amusing the public, and diverting them from noticing that they were in eternal poverty.They also go a step beyond Ancient Rome in adding the propaganda angle.  The Moncton T&T is most of the world of journalism shrunk into one miserable speciman in a very small city. For a reader in Slovenia, reading a blog on this local paper is much like looking at a tiny bit of a cockroach under a microscope.

In much thesame sense, New Brunswick is a tiny but very accurate model of North America in its political life. Governments are pretty much run by big business, just as they are across Canada and the US. But the smallness and simplicity of the New Brunswick scene, the tiny circle of major players,  make it far more obvious what is going on.

New Brunswick is largely the poperty of one family. Other, bigger places have a dozen and more such families so that the scene can become confusing. But New Brunswick has only a few people on stage. That makes it easier to follow the role each is playing.

The Moncton Times is often  misleading and biased as a news source. But so, quite often, is the Toronto Globe and Mail, The New York Times. But on a big stage, the big news media can hide their warts under glitz and sophisticated lighting.  The story of the Moncton Times is not unique to Moncton (or even to New Brunswick.)

But seeing what it is, up close, helps all of us to understand our own news media better and our own political worlds better. (The Moncton T&T always  reminds me of the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong.)

1 comment:

  1. .and yet ANOTHER page one ad in the form of a "story' on...wait for it.THE RIVALY CUP..competition between junior hockey teams owned by the Irvings and the McCains. The Irvings have NO SHAME...allowing such crass commercialism on the front page.
    Its really sad......

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