Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sept. 15: headlines and and "special reports" as propaganda

"Metro backs shale gas: poll" That's the head that blasts in the middle of page 1 in today's Moncton Times and Transcript. Wow! So all the protestors are wrong. But, wait a minute....

When you read the story, it says 41 percent  in Moncton support shale gas exploration.. Since when has 41% been most? Those who oppose it are 36%, a number within the margin of error for such a poll which means the poll shows no significant difference between the two sides. Fully 20% have no opinion at all. How could they? They haven't had any information about it. That whole story is a lie.

When the story continues on p. A6, the headline is "Poll finds support for shale gas exploration". Well, yes. If it can find one person who supports shale gas exploration and thousands against it, then it has found support - I suppose. Not much support. But some. I imagine similar polls could also find support for Stalin, for farting in public, and for spitting on restaurant floors. The headline is true. But it gives a false impression - and that's lying.

In fact, shale glass exploration means fracking. And, when you call it fracking, the 41% support drops to 29%. In other words, when the meaning of the poll is made clear, then the real issue, fracking, has very, very little support.

And this was in an urban poll. Expect the shale gas option to do much, much worse in a rural poll.

This whole story is a classic example of how to slant the news to give the impression it says something different from what it does say.

Right below this story on the front page is a SPECIAL REPORT.  Why is it called a SPECIAL REPORT? After all, it's really quite a minor news story, Well, that's another, old news game. It's called a SPECIAL REPORT because that gives it an air of authority and excitement.

The head is "Students get shale gas experience". It's simply a story of NB students who worked in the shale gas industry this summer. It's a feel good story. SWN resources took them on for summer jobs in the southern US. The real messages?
1. Students loved the experience. Have positive feelings about fracking.
2, SWN cares about New Brunswickers, and is looking after their children and their children's futures.
3. SWN will provide jobs for New Brunswickers.

This is soft sell propaganda - and pretty sleazy stuff for a newspaper to run.

Oh, there is still no story about the serious fracking accidents in Pennsylvania, no story about the law companies making money out of law suits for fracking damage, no stories about other countries who are banning fracking.

Nor have we yet had any of the impartial evidence we have many times been promised by Alward, by Brunswick Media, and by the shale gas industry.  What we're getting instead is some pretty crude propaganda.  The industry is going to have to find a better propaganda writer than Brent Mazerolle..

The editorial is a booster speech, something like Shakespeare would have written for Henry V rallying his troops - if Shakespeare had been a really bad writer.

Interesting column by Norbert Cunningham on multi-culturism. One of the key problems is that so few people understand what culture means. There is no such thing as a Moslem culture or a Christian culture or a French or English... We each have a culture - a way we react to the world. There are many ways in which I react to the world in much the way a Moslem or an Acadian does. There are many ways I don't react as my parents did. Our children will not have the same culture as us. Cultures, as reactions to the world, also change constantly as the world changes. Good luck to anyone who tries to define something that no two people completely share, and that is constantly changing, anyway.

Superb column by Jody Dallaire. Well worth a read.

Interesting letter by M. Sullivan in "Direct efforts to right place". It 's a well deserved jab at those who confuse self-righteousness and finger-pointing with religious faith.

A p.s. to this blog. The US SAT scores for reading skill at high school graduation have hit the lowest level in the long history of these scores. This comes at the same time as other tests have shown US education to have declined shaprtly, putting it far below standards in the rest of the developed world.

This is a result of the massive shift in the US to statistical ratings of public schools, and to crereping privatization. This has all come at the urging of "think-tanks" eager to make it possible for private business to get control of public education, and to run it on a "for profit" basis.

The Atlantic Institute for Market Studies and other think-tanks like The Fraser Institute have been publishing their pseudo-scientific studies to duplicate in Canada what has happened in the US. That's why New Brunswick now has school raings, administered by the people at The Atlantic Institute who are quite ignorant of education, but very well-informed on greed and self-interest, and who really runs New Brusnwick.

That's why the T and T last year ran a crude and unethical campaign to vilify the public shools, to destroy confidence in them, and to call for more intrusions by the private interests who have done so much to destroy american public schools. I have to assume that the TandT's boss, who is also affiliated with AIMS, wants the public schools to be discredited and, as much as possible, run by a public/private partnership.like the one that destroyed education in the US. (We currently have a system that ranks in the top ten in the world. (No thanks to AIMS or to our puppet ministers of education or to the political and economic bosses of New Brunwick.)

There is a small group who have our forests. The dominate the provincial economy. They get handsome tax breaks that we have to pay for. They get subsidized electricity that we have to pay for. Now, they want our children. If we go along with this, we're on a downward road that has no end except in poverty and hopelessness. And our children and grandchildren will live to curse us for what we allowed to  happen.

1 comment:

  1. Here, here. I agree with you on all counts. This P3 activity will eventually come to a head and our children's children will be the slaves of industry.
    But a revolution is coming, you can hear it from the cries of protesters around the world. And it may not be a peaceful one as people watch the banks and mega corporations ruining their lives.

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