Friday, September 16, 2011

Sept. 16: Journalists and "personalities"

Today's is a thoroughly annoying edition of The Moncton Times and Transcript. There is nothing really disgusting about it. It is just shoddy and amateurish and a waste of good trees.
Let's start with a point that is small, but illustrates the  hicktown boosterism that characterizes so much of this paper..

The front page lead story is about a national  TV programme doing a show at Hopewell Cape. It refers to the host of the show as a 'personality'. Look, Mr. editor; check with Norbert Cunningham on this.  A person in not a personality. Not ever. Not any more than a fish is a fishality or a tree a treeality.

A person, even a TV host, is a person. Such a person may HAVE a personality, just as he may have a great haircut without BEING a great haircut. Get it, Mr. editor? (And Mr. Mazerolle?)

We are told that a crowd of a hundred turned out to watch. A hundred watching a national TV shoot is not very many. I have often seen far more turned out for a live radio broadcast - including at least one occasion here in Moncton..

They were there "to show their pride in the Bay of Fundy". Oh? A reporter is supposed to report what he sees. I doubt very much that Mr. Mazerolle has any evidence that the hundred were there for that reason. There's nothing small about that. TandT reporters have a habit of making up things as they go along - anything that sounds good and boosterish.

Even as PR, this story is amateurish. It's supposed to be the bay that's in the national spotlight. I hope the TV show gave more play to this than the story did. The news story is all about trivia like the premier packing sardines. I can just see a family in Toronto sitting around the TV,  "Mummy, daddy, we want to go the the Bay of Fundy to see premier Alward pack sardines."

(Actually, if you look closely at the picture, he's not packing sardines. He seems to be listening to them.)

NewsToday has its usual story on Libya. Like all the others, it came from Reuters. So we still have no idea how many were killed in this humanitarian mission. Nor do we have any idea what  form the government will take. We do know, though, that the NATO countries who supported the rebels will get preferential treatment in taking over the Libyan oil industry. Gee! Who would have guessed?

The day's editorial is its usual, half-wit self.  It advocates saving money by giving free flu shots only to those who qualify under a means test. The obivous idiocy is that the cost of administering the means test would equal or come close to the cost of the shots. It would also mean that many people would not get the shot, especially children whose parents would not take the extra offort to apply for the means test. As a consequence, we could face heightened medicare costs if this flu proves to be a deadly one.

Read some history, Mr. editor. The great flu epidemic of 1919 killed more people than World War One did.

How come this government is so eager to save fifteen bucks on a flu shot - but gives gas companies a gift of no taxes until 2016?

Alec Bruce's column is, to say the least, disappointing. He practically foams at the mouth about shale gas protestors who demanded that the mayor of Fredericton write and sign a promise to keep shale gas exploration out of the city region.  He asserts that such a signed document would have no legally binding worth for anyone.

Thus far, Bruce is quite right. But he goes on to suggest that protestors are not fully aware of all the laws (neither are most lawyers; that's why some specialize). Then he says protestors are deliberately kept uninformed by their leaders. Does he have any evidence of that? Most of the protestors I have met seem to be far better informed of the issues than is the paper Mr. Bruce writes for. Indeed, the TandT has worked very hard for years to keep people uninformed.

Then he compare the protesters to the Tea Party movement in the US. Why didn't he go all the way and compare it to Mao's cultural revolution?

The rage of the protestors is incoherent? I'm not surprised. They live in a province in which most of the news media treat them like idiots, helps big business rip them off, and even lies to them. And they have governments that for a hundred and fifty years and more have served the interests of economic bosses instead of the people who elected them.

Protestors cheapen the quality of the debate? What debate? What are you babbling about? Until very recently, thanks to our governments and most of our news media, we didn't even know there was anything to debate. And Brunswick Media has certainly done nothing to encourage or even inform a debate at any time.

Mr. Bruce say, "Protesting is not a lifestyle choice....., it's a somber duty." Do you have evidence that those who protest are simply making a lifetstyle choice? Was George Washington making a lifestle choice? Martin Luther King? The protestors against slavery?  Women who demanded the vote?

I'm sorry to write this. Alec Bruce is one of the best columnists I have ever read. But this time -  its just a grade nine rant.

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