The central purpose of a newspaper, especially in a democracy, is to give us the information we need to understand what is happening around us, and to respond to it as we see fit - but in an informed way
Any newspaper that has a story on its front page that U2 officials are impressed by Moncton is not a serious newspaper at all. These are people who have been to Beijing, Paris, London, New York, Toronto, Melbourne... but Wow! Moncton really blew their socks off.
This worse that trivial. It's embarrassingly childish.
Monton's a nice place - just as a thousand and more small cities are nice places. But to imagine that world travellers (or even people who have seen only the maritimes) would get all excited just looking at the architecture along main street, or at shopping malls that look exactly like --well -- shopping malls...this simply makes Moncton look childish.
Meanwhile, the essential job of a newspaper in Moncton remains undone. Today, for example, for the first time in weeks, there's an article on fracking for shale gas. Like the few earlier reports, it's heavily slanted to favour the views of a drilling executive.
At no time has The Moncton Times&Transcript reported on any unbiased studies of the effects of fracking. When it does report, it devotes respectful attention to drilling execs and, notably, has never mentioned any of the problems that have undeniably been created by fracking. (It quotes opponents; but never quotes evidence they have.) It does, however, end with a sappy statement by Tom Alexander, general manager of SWN Resources, "We want to leave it (NB) in a better place than when we came."
(I skip lightly over the crashing error in that quotation. Obviously the reporter and the editor both failed to notice it.. Talk about professional!)
But even if he did say he wants to leave us in a better place (the south Pacific would be nice), who could be dumb enough to believe that Mr. Alexaander is the Easter bunny who is just here to do nice things for us?
If this province were a democracy, we would have news media giving us full information on this issue.
If this province were a democracy, we would have had that information at least ten years ago.
If this province were a democracy, the opposition Liberals would be organizing public meetings to tell us why they are critical of the government on this issue. (Instead, they will oppose it in the hope of wining votes, then will do the same as the Conservatives.)
If this were a democracy, people would go to such meetings to get information.
If this were a democracy, the Conservative government would stop listening to us, and tell us exactly what it's policy on shale gas is - and why? (And why they did not bother mentioning it to us ten years ago.)
But New Brunswick isn't a democracy. The elections are for show. The newspapers tell us nothing unless it's trivial or untrue. New Brunswick isn't a democracy because the people of New Brunswick have never demonstrated they want one.
Jana Giles, in the youth section, has some good advice on this problem in her column "Just tell the truth".
Tell the truth about the quality of our newspapers.
Tell the truth about the lack of democracy in New Brunswick.
And let's tell each other the truth about how we have for generations allowed a gang of hangers-on in jounalism and politics to destroy democracy in New Brunswick, and to turn us over to a ruthless and greedy power bloc.
(Sorry about this being late. I pushed the wrong button.)