Friday, May 6, 2011

May 6: You know it's going to be a slow day when...

....the main, front page story of The Moncton Times and Transcript is a SPECIAL REPORT which is really a free ad and kiss-up for the local casino. The ads are thicker than ever, and the editorials are back to normal idiocy. Ain't nothing there to bother with. So let's take a look at the letters to the editor. They tell you a lot about the paper and the community.

The impression given of the community is pretty good. All the letters were well written, dealt with topics worth writing about, and were generally well-informed. Well, there was one exception.

One of the letters, from a radio station manager, is nothiing more than a free ad for the station, but designed to look like a thank you note. That's not the fault of the station manager. Hey, you see a chance for a free ad - you grab it. But quality newspapers don't publish that sort of thing.

Generally, though, the letters suggest this is a thoughtful and reasonable community.

Though a born arguer, I found that I could disagree on with only one letter, and only with a part of it. That is not to say the writer is wrong - simply to say I disagree. I mention my disagreement only because it has to do with bias we get from our news media.

The letter is headed "Congratulations on bin Laden". It credits the President Obama for the killiing of bin Laden. He commends the men who did it for their skill and bravery. Now, the writer is by no means a bigot or a chauvinist of any kind.. He shows that quite clearly in the last half of his letter. So why does he commend the president for his act of murder, and commend the bravery and skill of the men who carried it out?

The answer to that is in his third line which refers to bin Laden as "the world's number one criminal".

Actually, bin Laden was pretty small stuff as a criminal. He was involved in the killing, according to our newspapers, of thousands of innocent people.

In the history of the world, that's very small stuff. Mao-Tse Tung killed at least fifty million. Chiang Kai-Sheck, who was supported by the US, may have killed even more. The US, in the days of the slave trade, probably killed more than either of them. Then there were Stalin and Hitler. That puts bin Laden pretty low on the scale.

But let's stick to very recent times. Let's consider just killers. Let's consider just those who killed innocent people, and those who happily killed women and children indiscriminately.Let's consider just those who are still alive.  Here are the rankings:

1. George Bush 2 and Tony Blair. Some one and a half million, most of them civilians, in Iraq..
2.George Bush 1 - as head of the CIA, he supervised the genocide of 200,000 Mayans in Guatemala.
3.President Obama, winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace, who has killed unknown thousands of civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and who has ordered assassinations to be carried out by "special ops" all over Africa and Latin America.  (It's impossible to get even estimates on this because the government doesn't talk, and our news media don't ask.) He also authorizes torture at bases around the world, and torture of American citizens, like the young private involved in the Wikkileaks affair. He also authorizes arrest and indefinite imprisonment of American citizens with no charge and no trial. (We shall skip lightly over Canada which happily turned over Canadians to the US for torture, and whose CSIS collaborates in the torture.)

Why should it indicate bravery and skill if a gang of young, well trained, and heavily armed men attack and murder and elderly man who has no guards and no weapons. (Not a single member of the attack team was even scratched.)

The letter writer is clearly a thoughtful, reasonable and compassionate person. So why would he have such skewed perceptions of bin Laden, the Bushes and Obama?

Hint - he gets his news from The Moncton Times@Transcript and, in fairness. other North American news media.)

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