Tuesday, August 2, 2011

August 2: How to tell when a newspaper is lying...

On p. A4, there is a story that isn't really a story, that gives almost no information and, in fact, appears to be part of a fraud.

1. A basc rule is that you begin a story wth the basics of the incident it is reporting. In this case, the story is that an "expert" on education says there is an excellent report on education from ten years ago which should be applied to New Brunswick education.
What expert? What qualifications does he/she have in edcuation? We don't even know the "expert's" name until a third of the way through he story. And it never does tell us why he is an expert on education.
2. Two paragraphs later, it tells us that the "expert" was telling us about some internation standradized test applied to NB schools? What international test? What is the reputation of that test among educational scholars? It also refers to the test as "the" test on the subject. In fact, there are many such tests, some a great deal more honest than others.
3.Then we are told another expert named Elena Scaba was paid $50,000 to write a report suggesting changes to NB education.. Who the hell is Elena Scaba? What qualifications does she have? I checked her name in Google. Eight hundred entries pop up - of which a half dozen or so are actually about her at all - and two are duplicates.. The rest of the entires have no connection with her at all.
None of them give any indication of what she does for a living, or what qualificiations she has on anything.  That is very unusual.

I have 30,000 listing in Goggle - of which perhaps a thousand are actually about me.. Many of them have references to education. But no government has ever offered me 50 thou to write a report on education. Did our government in a countryfull of thousands with substantial qualifications in education actually squander 50,000 on somebody nobody has ever heard of?

So let's start with education "expert" Charles Cirtwill. Surprise! Surprise! Mr. Cirtwill is the president and CEO of Atlantic Insitute of Market Studies, a favourite child of the Irvings and their friends. He has no training whatever in education. It's a safe bet, too, that the "international standardized test" was designed by "think-tank" hacks like Mr. Cirtwill.

And who is Elena Scaba? Well, a safe guess is that she is probably a "Senior Educational Research Fellow" f or a propaganda house connected to AIMS - possibly the Frontier Institute, one of those.

As a "news story", this half page isn't a story at all. It's badly written, missing so much basic information that it amounts to misleading and lying. This, on every ground, would be unacceptable in any reputable (or half-reputable) newspaper.

I don't blame the reporter for this. The instruction to prepare such a story would come from the eidtor.

There is a similar  artcle in the half page above this one. I would guess that AIMS is getting set to ramp up its attacks on public education so ti can be used as a cash cow for big business; so the owner of the T&T  has given marching orders to his wind-up editors.

There is also a story that in the last federal election. the NDP beat the Liberals in Moncton, and were not far behind the Conservative winner, while the Greens polled a respectable number. Just the NDP and the Greens came close to the winning Conervative.

So how come in its final election issue, the T&T interviewed only the liberal and Conservative candidates?

A pat on the head - the T&T did a good job on reporting the anti-fracking demonstration in Fredericton. Unenthsiastic; but at  least mentioning it.

Alec Bruce's column is  excellent, and still sound - though almost certainly written before all the details of the US debt  "deal" were known. In fact, there is no deal if, by deal, one means a strategy for handling the debt. The only deal has been to raise the ceiling while putting off any decision about how to remedy the problem. All the steps from here go down, not just economically but socially and politically.

And, an apology to young Norbert Cunningham. When the T&T published months of lying and ignorant attacks on the public schools,  I assumed it was Norbert who either wrote them or approved them. Now, as I read his own, signed columns, he seems to be to be too intelligent to have either written or approved of those editorials. They were done by somebody higher in the food chain.

That gives us a pretty naoor choice of who the culprit miight be - perhaps as narrow as a choice of one.  But we do know this much about the person.

The person who wrote those eidtorials on putlic education is ignorant of education; is a bully for such unprincipled attacks on people in no position to fight back (and who were completely abandoned by Home and School and by Parents' Association who were either gutless or as ignorant as the editorial writer - perhaps both); and a coward for never putting his/her own name to those disgusting editorials.

Ignorance, bullying, cowardice. Three words that neatly sum up The Moncton Times&Transcript. My sympathy to all who have no choice but to work there.

1 comment:

  1. Don't be to hard on the poor buggers who DO have to work there. I know a couple of them and they KNOW its a rag...but they have to make a living, just like the rest of us.