I correspond with numbers of journalists in Canada and Asia. One of them is a special type of journalist, the type that will not see what he does not want to see. I have long since learned there is no point in arguing with him. If you give him evidence, he will ignore it or wiggle around it.
Based now in China, he thinks China is a wonderfully free country. Tell him about people jailed for their political views, and he will reply that at least he's allowed to smoke in restaurants. Tell him about the CIA led massacre of Maya in Guatemala; and he will say there must have been a good reason. It took him a long, long time to recognize that the US was torturing prisoners - and then he said it wasn't real torture. I mean not - real.
Norbert Cunningham is one of those. He pronounces that the Occupy movement is made of up dilletantes. Let's see, now. this is a movement all over the world. How many of them has Norbert met? or even seen?
The police actions, he tells us, have not been brutal. Really? Shooting a veteran in the face and splitting his skull is not brutal? Swinging clubs at people lying on the ground is not brutal? Have you seen any of the videos of the riot police, Norbert? Have you ever actually seen riot police in action? Ever known any?
The demonstrators - those people he has never seen - are all "whiners with smart phones". Kids. Spoiled brats. Norbert, I am an Occupy Moncton Protester. I and not a kid. I would happily debate you in public on just about any topic your little mind should choose. You could even come with that whole collection of kissups that you call an editorial staff.
But that won't happen, will it?
In fact, your lying newspaper won't even list my current events group at the library (first Tuesday of the month, 7 pm) even though it lists all other library events.
Oh, he also says that revolution worked in Libya because the people supported the revolutionaries. It's hard to know where to start on his ignorance. In fact, there is no such single group as "the revolutionaries" in Libya. (They are now fighting with each other.) And the victory had something to do with the riot squad we sent to bomb the daylights out of civilians.
He is baffled that the occupy movement wants democracy restored. "Gee," says Norbert. "We have democracy already."
Do you know what democracy means, Norbert? First, It means we have access to information through - you know - newspapers and stuff. Norbert. You work for the Irving news media. Do you seriously suggest we have access to the information we need in order to make democratic decisions? Has your paper kept us up on scientific and legal news about fracking for shale gas? Has it even kept us up to date on what's happening in New Brunswick?
Democracy also means that people we elect represent us. Are you seriously suggesting that a Minister of Finance who was an Irving exec, and who is advised by a committee appointed by Irving, represents us?
You were the editorial page editor who published a column by Irving in which he named himself a member of the government - without being elected. Is this democracy? Did you whimper a word about it?
Have you ever said a word critical of corporate power in this province?
Mind you, Norbert, I'm not arguing with you. You're a type who will never see what he doesn't want to see. I have seen the people at Occupy Moncton. What I saw were people of all ages. The young people I saw were intelligent - for the most part, rather more intelligent than you are. And, far from spoiled, they're trying to clean up the mess that people like you have left as their inheritance.
Moving on -There's a standing joke in jouranlism about the editorial writer who rants on some subject he obviously knows nothing about, then concludes with a thunderous, "something must be done." We have one of those today.
It's about the Atlantic Institute of Market Studies report (which is, in itself, a fraud perpetrated by corporate New Brunswick, one which has no scientific value, and is damaging to the schools.) Their report shows no great change in results over the years. (Considering that NB public schools rank among the dozen or so best systems in the world - and way ahead of the US and Britain - that seems decent.)
But no. The editorial writer is firm. "It's time to get back to basics".
Now, I've been in education and teaching at all levels from elementary to university for close to fifty years. But I ain't real smart like these here editorial writers that Mr. Irving picks. So tell me. What the hell are basics?
Does it mean the 3 Rs? So far as I know, the schools have never stopped doing that. Does it mean teaching them to memorize by chanting while the teacher beats a stick on the board? Been there. Doesn't work.
Here we have an editorial on education by someone who obviously knows nothing about it, has nothing to say, but still comes down with a thundering opinion.
On the op ed page, Louis Leger, president of Downtown Moncton Cetnreville Inc. contributes a column written in bureaucrateze that few will read. That's just as well. It's column on revitalizing downtown that shows no understanding of the subject at all - and is really a soft sell for the half wit idea of borrowing a couple of hundred million to build a hockey rink that one of the Irvings can make money out of while we pay for it - forever.