Monday, May 23, 2011

May 23: Avoiding the News with The Moncton Times&Transcript

The lead story, locally, was that Metro (that busy, packed and humming giant of a city) is enjoying the hokday weekend. Thanks for that flash. We would never have known it without you.

In national and international affairs, the big news is that Manitoba police and firefighters are treating flood vicitms to  circus tickets. Oh, and a BC man who won a lottery is going to become a cowboy in Texas.
Obviously, God's in his heaven an all's right with the world.

Unfortunately, there wasn't room for two, lesser stories.

1. Locally, the hunt for shale gas has begun, and well within the  "range" of Metro.  This is the future of New Brunswick. We are the new Saudi Arabia, ready to float to prosperity on great clouds of methance, a new source of energy that can drive the world. This might even make it possible to show our gratitude to Irving and friends by offering them electricity at cheaper than the current special rate. (Unless, of course, Mr. Irving already owns or controls the rights to shale gas.)

You might think that a local newspaper would be cheering this, perhaps sending reporters and photographers to cover the event. But not a word is there - until the Letter to the Editor page. There, we learn from readers that there are severe dangers in the search for shale gas, ranging from the poisoning of drinking water to dangerous depletion of our whole fresh water supply..

There was no mention of any of this in the paper, and no mention of the US exploration firm that was just fined a million dollars plus heavy costs for its poisoning of wells over a large area.

But, hey, great weekend, eh?

As to world news, President Obama this weekend received the most crushing and public humiliation ever suffered by an Americna president. He told Netanyahu that Israel must  stop illegally taking Palistinian land, accept its 1967 borders, and get serious about the peace process.

Netanyahu, whose country depends on US aid (mostly military, and greater than the aid delivered to any other country in the world) publicly told Obama to get lost. Nor can Obama expect the slightest help from his Congress wince almost all congressmen depend on the support of a very powerful Israeli lobby - and from defence industries which make billions of taxpayers' dollars from sending weapons to Israel.

There isn't going to be peace in the middle east. And we'll all pay a price for that.

Oh, forget the poor little Israel surrounded by evil arabs stuff. Israel has over 200 nuclear-armed rockets. Nobody else in the region has any. It also has the public commitment of both the US and Canada to come to its aid. (So far as I know, it is not committed to come to our aid.)

Brunswick Press and its Moncton Times are a success story. Their purpose iis to keep New Burnswickers uninformed and unthinking so that we will continue to submit to generations of being ripped off and abused. As a result, New Brunswickers are surely the most passive people in Canada. The closest they have come to being assertive is voting out the Liberals and voting for their twin borthers the Conservatives. Then they get mad at the Conservatives for roughly the same reason, and vote in the Liberals.

Even the churches are inellecually amd morally comatose. Ain't no Martin Luther Kings in New Brunswick.


  1. The point in the above commentary that struck home the nmost was with respect to the passivity of New Brunswickers. Werll said. How many times have I heard (or ever read) of some situation and thought to myself that a real, free and unemcumbered press would investigate and report. Not so in Irvingland. Only the CBC (thank God for Robert Jones and Jacques Poitras (who once worked for the glorious T&T) seems to be doing anything at all of an investigative nature. Meanwhile. "Brunswick News", which brags about its great journalism in every advertisement and horn-blowing endeavour, turns out such bile (absolute rubbish) as Saturday's "we love Mike Murphy editon. I expect any day now to see a tiny photo of Murphy in ther masthead,complete with a countdown to the day this man who "never minces his words" can pussy-foot his way into the Liberal party leadership. I have been reading this "newspaper" for many years and I have to confess that the "Mike Murphy Edition" has to be one of the lowest points. It must be hellish difficult to conduct an èxtensive`interview while on your knees.

  2. Everyone with at least four out of six working cylinders can spot a biased news report. But a more subtle bias comes in story selection and non-selection, a theme of Graeme Decarie’s blog. In this instance a powerful six cylinders are needed to detect the bias.

    One newspaper editorial position makes story exclusion possible. The assignment editor gets to decide what will be in the newspaper tomorrow, this lone man (maybe woman) gets to decide what the community discussion will be. And while newspapers are reportedly in decline, they are still setting the assignment agenda for the rest of the media. So what you have is a bias with a larger reach, intended, or if not because of ignorance.

    Printing all the news, even putting important stories such as the shale gas on the inside pages, is good newspapering. The only worry the editing desk can have in printing this kind of report is that a young journalist wanting to make a name in the business will treat the assignment as an investigative report. This often leads to exaggeration and sketchy facts.

    In these situations I have always asked reporters for a boring vanilla story, because the real facts will hit home harder and without a legal comeback.

    David Leonardo
    St-Lambert Journal

  3. Great post. Environmental reporting in Brunswick News is always left to the letters to the editor. This reinforces the view that some raving tree hugger has problem and it is not a serious news item. Meanwhile the business section is loaded with the lastest musings by a gas industry consultant on the golden oppurtunities of shale gas for rural New Brunswickers. I can't read this crap.