Friday, June 24, 2011

June 24: The news as "dumb down" and as propaganda

Leading scientists, after years of research, have warned that the oceans of the world could be dead within fifty years. It will be the greatest dsaster since the extinction of the dinosaurs. If life in the oceans becomes extinct, so do we. We have perhaps, ten years to roll back the damage of oil spills, plastics, etc. that are poisoning our waters. Meanwhile, big business is rolling back the regulations on oil drilling in the very fragile environment of the Arctic.

The only word of it that has appeared in The Moncton Times and Transcript came from an opinion columnist.The editor must have read it, and yawned. The column was well written, but the front page already had two, far more important stories..

Dieppe is planning to create a dog park. And, for the third day in a row, we had a big story (plus an editorial and a cartoon again) on the thundering issue of bicycle lanes.

Keep 'em dumbed down.

The issue of 'fracking' for natural gas made it to p. C4, under a more important story (that said nothing) about an animal cruelty case.

It's a good example of how a lying press can slant the news.  Since they were not allowed in the meeting, reporters could only write what the"stake-holders' told them to write. It gives no indication that reporters were permitted to ask questions about it. And, oh my, there were big questions that lay there, wide open.
1. The government announced it now has regulations in place to control fracking. Really? The day before, it said it was working on them. They must have finished within hours of that statement. Fast work. Do much background research?
2. The information people are getting on the web is biased (unlike the information we are getting from frackers, I guess; And the complete absence of any information from the government.).
3. The government will hold public consultations in the coming months. And here I thought a consultation was something you heard BEFORE a decision, not after.
4. Has the government done environtmental studies to help guide their regulations? If so, can we see them?
5. Crain Lesonard, our Minister of Energy, announced that fracking has been going on for years in New Brunswick. What? It been going on for years, and we just got regulations for it yesterday?  How come the Times newshounds have never reported on it?

The minister of Natural Resrouces added, ( in semi-literate style), "Our number one thing is the environment and water; that's our number one concern." It is?  Then how come you've done nothing for all those  years? And how come the truthful Transcript has never reported on it?

He also pontificated that the government has to engage the people more fully on this issue. So - how come you weren't engaging them years ago? You had a great chance as recently as the last election.

6. Nobody asked why France and Quebec have both put a moratorium on fracking, why a drilling company in the US got hit with a fine for careless practices, or why US banks are refusing to give mortgages on properties close to fracking operations.

7. The CEO of a company doing the drilling in NB, SWN Resources, said he's thrilled at the regulations. Ever since he came here, X years ago, he's been pushing for regulation and enforcement. (yeah. Gas drilling companies are noted for their love for the environment.)
Let's see. A big business has been pushing for regulations and enforcement- and the NB goveronment has refused for all these years? If you can believe either of those statements, you must be a life subscriber to The Moncton Times&Transcript.

8. Who is SWN Resources? Is it possibly a subsidiary of another company? Who are its major shareholders and directors? Is it possible any NBers are in there?

9. In burial style, people opposed to fracking are placed well below the middle of the story, and just before some more propaganda pitches from the government. That's a jounralist's way of hiding them.
Oh, it also made them look petulant, childish. The trick to this lay in the last sentence of the paragaprh before them whcih said all views were heard. (How would the reporter know that if they weren't allowed to be there?)

Then, the next sentence begins, "And yet many of the demonstrators outside felt they were not represented...."

The "And yet" carfries the message that the demonstrators were unreasonable. This whole story is a good example of how newspapers lie while seeming to tell the truth.

The demonstrators are also introduced as being trivial. "They spent most of the day waving signs, chanting, ..."

The reason they did so is because nobody in New Brunswick gives a damn about voters. Not even most of the voters. Most will accept all the lying and the propaganda and the abusethat will be  shovelled at them  until their "leaders"  have sucked the last drop of blood out of them.

Demonstrators are rare in New Brunswick. A hundred of them should be big news in t his province. When a dozen or so out of more than a thousand parents demonstrated against the closing of Moncton High, the Moncton news media gave it a full court press.   I can think of very few places where TV, radio, and print would devlote so much of their resources to such an irrelevant story.

(I can understand the coverage of The Moncton Times. It used the mini-demo of parents to build up its campaign of hatred for the public schools. I don't understand the radio and TV coverage at all.)

A dozen demonstrators were then a big story. A hundred in Salisbury were treated as no more than a footnote to government and business propagandists.

Oh, I have to answer a aletter to the editor from George Crossman. He says the system is flawed, and the teachers are to blame for all the students who don't finish high school. I have some experience in this area.
1. New Brunswick has the best  high school completion rate in Canada - which makes it one of the highest in the world.
2. How can one blame the teachers for failing students when we don't have the money to fund our schools - but do have it to give to our business leaders in reduced taxes, loans, grants, and cut rate electricity. And a hundred million dollar hockey rink.
3. I am a high school drop out. I never did complete it. I was in a pretty high-powered class. Three became doctors, one of them with a world reputation. Several became lawyers. More became hgihly successful in business. Three became university teachers. One became an opera singer, and was, until recently, drama critic for the Londton Times.

I became an office boy at Bell Telephone.

There was nothing wrong with my teachers. I didn't study. I skipped school frequently. I paid no attention in class. I failed because I grew up in a part of the city where finishing high school wasn't even on our radar. Of my grade one class, not one person finished high school.  They weren't stupid. They had good teachers. But a world in which one learned was not their world. In many ways, it still isn't mine.

Yes, something can be done for children who become lost in the system. But it takes money and trained people with the time do devote themselves to it. We don't have such people in New Brunswick. We don't have them because we are so eager to satisfy the wants of our economic masters, but we don't care enough about our own children to give the schools the money they need for even a basic system.

In this province, we're damned lucky to have the good teachers we  have.

Sorry, I forgot to check which famous nobody has a birthday today.

1 comment:

  1. Fracking...

    I just wanted to add this as a footnote. It will be something to look out for in the upcoming weeks. I was at a conference recently where the vice premier, Paul Robichaud spoke. He mentionned that in Arkansas, the governement used profit from natural gas to invest in the education system. I am wondering if sometime next fall, the governement will be announcing that as well, a sort of way to maintain the fracking, all while trying to keep the thousands of parents who recently signed a petition against education cuts, at bay..

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