Wednesday, July 6, 2011

July 6: Lots of ads.

It was over 60 years ago that the CCF party (now the NDP) won a landslide victory to form the government of Saskatchewan, a province with then the second-highest debt in Canada. Worse, its heavily rural population meant that it gained little from the industrial properity of the rest of the country.

Not a single daily newspaper in the province supported the CCF. Indeed, they actively campaigned against it.

The government, mostly under Tommy Douglas for a generation, produced a surplus every year to pay down the debt. It rationalized electrical energy supplies to transform rural life, and to pruduce a profit. At the same time, it introduced social services like medicare and adequate pensions. Indeed, much of our modern social legislation across Canada arose from the pressure put on other parties by the Saskatchewan example.

That CCF government in Saskatchewar was arguably the outstanding provincial government for economic responsibility and social advance n Canadian history. And never, in all those years, did a single daily newspaper support it.

In North America, at least, newspapers do not exist to inform us about the news. They exist to t o sell  ads (thus the free "news" stories about reliable advertisers); to distribute the owners' propaganda, and to keep people in the dark. In this, they are ably assisted by private radio and television - and for much the same reasons -advertising and wealthy ownership.

In this respect, The Moncton Times&Transcript is not different in purpose from any other North American daily. It's special only in its degree of sleaze and flimsiness. So be suspicious.

Be suspicious when you see the T&T exulting in not one but two editorials for the new Moncton High School to be built on land where it will just happen to benefit a developer - who will also buy and fix up the old school, Any reasoning for that location is still pretty murky.

Then there's the pitch  that converting the old school into condos will move more people downtown, a plus for the preservtion of downtown. Really? Then why do we want to spend a hundred million on a hockey rink? If hockey rinks encourage people to move into the area, then the old rink would be surrounded by condos instead of buttercups.

This whole story leaves the impression that council has not the slightest idea of how to plan development and, in any case, will do whatever it is told to do.

It also shows the T&Ts "flexibility". Just monhs ago, it was blaming the DEC for district 2 for the condition of the old high school. In fact, all the local news media were buying into a hate compaign against the public schools in general. It was obvious at the time that all were either lying or gullible. Now, we all know that the fault lay in irresonposible provincial governments. But we don't hear anything about that.

The NewsToday section features a picture of Willy and Katie with their mouths open. Undoubtedly a collectors' item.

The other big news is that many Canadian didn't bother to vote in the last federal election. Wow! Stop the presses! But for those who find this news, surely the reasons are obvious. How ofren in this country (and this province) have you heard a party campaigning on any clear programme? All the Conservatives had going for them in the last provincial election was thegeneral  dislike for the Liberals. they had not programme during the campaign, and don't seem to have developed any since.

The news media, for the most part, made no attempt to point this out. They just told us to vote for whoever their owners watned to see in power.

Today, the editorial page has two, good columns. One, by Alec Bruce, gives an example of a failure of our provincial government to plan. The other is in intriguing commeentary on health care, on how it may not the the pending disaster the news medea will be.

Of course, the news media have a stake in getting rid of medicare. Most of their owners would like to go back to the good old days when sickness ment money in the bank for private health companies.

Eric Lewis, a staff writer, contributes the usual staff writer's pious reflections on how successful our troops have been in Afghanistan.

How can we judge how successful we have been in Afghanistan where we still haven't been told why we went in t he first place?  How do we claim success when top authorities (of whom the staff writer has probably never heard) say the war is lost?

How many people have we killed? Why? How many dead people are made up for by building a school or a road?  Why did Canadian die? To establish a democracy? We haven't. And the government we have put in power is rated the most currupt in the world. To get revenge for 9/11?  Wasn't that why the US and Britain killed over a million civilians in Iraq? To get revenge on the Taliban? There is no evidence that the Taliban knew anything about 9/11. Nor is it likely they would have been informed. In fact, 9/11 seems to have been carried out by Saudi Arabians living in Europe. So why ae we now killiing people in Afghanistan? And, if the Taliban are evil, why is the US now carrying out talks with Taliban leaders? (Oops. sorry. Don't the news experts at the T&T know about that?) Why did most of NATO refuse to play any significant role in this war? Why are most of them bailing out now? Why are American commentators talking openly about "getting out with honour"?

Mr.Lewis concludes with T&T piety, "We should all make more of an effort to be aware of the influence our countrymen and women are having around the world."

Yes, we certainly should. But it's hard when we can't get it from our own news media. Nor does it help to be fed the pap in The Moncton Times&Trasncript.

Here's a hint, Eric,. Show your news editor where Libya is on the map,and ask him to explain why we are there. Ask him, too, what international law and agreements we  have signed have to say about our killing  Libyans (or Afghanis).

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