Thursday, July 14, 2011

July 14: The journalistic art of hiding a story

story - Sackville Town Council wants a moratorium. on fracking.
problem - The Moncton T&T does not want to publicize news that is critical of fracking. But Sackville is a sizable town, and one with a university.

step one - make the story as short and uninformative as possible. (this one is kept to six, brief paragraphs - with over half of the story devoted to other topics.)
Step 2. Hide it in the paper. Do not put it in section A. (People read that section.) Save section A for important stories like the one on A11 that is really a free ad for the Casino.
Step 3. To hide it, put in on C 11 where it is entirely lost among ads. (Do not put it on the first or last page of a section. People notice thost pages, if only by accident.)
That's how  you hide a story.

As the world tumbles deeper into an economic crisis, as NB faces serious damage health risks from fracking, as Canadians are bombing Libya for reasons that are unclear, as war and poverty and starvation are spreading, the editorial is about the moose draw.

There is an excellent column by Alec Bruce on the global economic crisis. This is a crisis that Canada cannot escape. No country in the world can.

And it wasn't caused by terrorists or welfare spending or climate change or unions or even by a faulty moose draw in New Brunswick. It was caused by the greedy and irresponsible behaviour of leading capitalists all over the world - who then demanded to be bailed out by us so they could then hand each other billions of dollars in bonuses for their good work.

There's a special lesson here for New Brunswick. Our premier has recently handed over what is normally a government job - the planning of our economic future - to the leading capitalists of the province. These are the same breed who caused the worst economic crisis we have even seen. They are also the same ones who think this is a great time to borrow a hundred million to build a hockey rink. Does that make you confident that the economic future of New Brunswick is in good hands?

Linked to this question is another excellent opinon column by Jody Dallaire. She talks about domestic servants - cleaners, cooks, nannies, etc. - a dirtier business even than she shows it to be. They  have no legal protection whatever concerning hours of work,  minimum wage (or any wage at all), conditions of work....  They are the most helpless and vulnerable workers - mostly women, many immigrants, many lured into jobs by criminals who exploit them as prostitutes. The lucky ones are imported by wealthier families who then get dirt-cheap labour and long hours out of them.

This is a racket that has been going on for centuries. A colleague of mine who specialized in historical statistics studied this subject in some depth. He found that female domestic workers, many of them really children, were commonly raped by males in the employer's family. There was no recourse. If they complained, they were fired with no reference - and therefore unable to find any work but walking the streets for a pimp. If they got pregnant, they were fired for immorality. It still goes on.

New Brunswick is the worst province in Canada for its refusal to protect domestic workers.

The International Labor Organization has called for laws to offer basic protection for domestic workers. Note that the call somes from a Labor orgatinzation, not from Exxon or Canada Trust or Walmart.

It was also not Ganong or McCain's or Irving Industries that fought for minimum wage, universal pensions, or medicare. On the contrary, these corporations are of the same breed that brought us the economic crisis. But these are the people that the Alward government has decided are the ideal ones to plan our economic future.

And the editorial staff of The Moncton Times&Transcript agrees. There are many kinds of pimps in this world.

Oh, boy. Maybe our corporate leaders will get right down to business and fix up our biggest problems. How do we improve the moose draw, and get rid of the horror of bicycle lanes?

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