The Moncton Times and Transcript actually ran a story on a speech to be delivered to tonight at the Capitol Theatre tonight. It's on the front page. It's a full story and a fair one, a first rate job by reporter Craig Babstock. The same story also reported that Conservative MLA Kirk MacDonald presented a 16,000 signature petition to the legislature protesting against fracking - and one of the signatories was Mr. MacDonald himself.
Full marks for the reporter on that story. Why not full marks for the paper?
Well, it gets marks for running the story. And the editor gets marks for a clear and impartial headline to it. But...
There is a newsworthy letter to the editor by Anna MacDonald of Miramichi. It's about the appalling behaviour of the Alward government MLAs during meetings of the assembly. We thank ms. MacDonald for her letter - but wonder why the TandT has never reported on this behaviour.
There's a less praiseworthy story on p. 2. "Liberals try to start feud" It's made worse by an opening paragraph that seems to support the idea that Liberal MLAs tried to start a feud between labour minister Martine Coulombe and her brother, federal ACOA minister Bernard Valcourt..
In fact, if you read the story, you learn that the Liberals did no such thing. Indeed, they took pains to avoid making any connection between the two.
That's a serious bias bias the paper showed. Any journalist knows that many, perhaps most, readers look at only the headline and the first paragraph. So this story looks very much like one that was deliberately persented in such a way as to give a false impression. And that's called lying.
In national news, we read that the civil service has grown hugely in the Harper years. No surprise there. Since 1867, the biggest spenders have been the Conservatives - you know, the ones who always talk about small government. Ditto in the US where the Republicans have generally been big spenders - though the Democrats have been no angels in this category.
In Canada, Liberals have generally been a little better. The most careful governments in spending have generally been NDP.
Here, in New Brunswick, we don't really know much about government spending because we get no information at all on what the big corprorations cost us.
In foreign news, amazingly, the NATO attack that killed some 30 Pakistani soldiers has still not been mentioned. The TandT must be leading the world in ignoring this one. Even the Pakistani government, though bought and paid for by the US, has had to respond by cutting off all American supplies to Afghanistan (which is one half of all US supplies for the war). Pakistan, itself, has been brought to the edge if civil war. Both China and Russia have made it clear they have a stake in what happens (and they really do). So this is - kind of - dangerous.
Reuters reports the Iranian demonstrations at the British embassy in Tehran. It generally reinforces the usual western view of Iran's irresponsible behaviour towards the West. There is no mention that Britain took control of Iran about 1920, ripped off its oil, and even forced Iran to supply free oil for the whole Royal Navy from 1920 to the late 1940s.
When the democratically elected government of Iran objected to this, Britain, France and the US overthrew it - and installed a brutal and corrupt dictator. That's why Iran now has a government that doesn't like the west. That's why people who have been bombed, robbed, tortured, sabotaged by the west for a hundred years stage riots when the west promises more of the same.
The editorial and op ed pages are better than usual. The editorial is reasonable enough, even if one disagrees with it. The Alec Bruce column is superb. Norbert's column is quite decent.
Cormier writes about how black coffee is becoming popular. This was given almost half the op ed page. I have no idea why.
Some things that I am sure we all would like to know never appear in this paper. How much does it cost us to supply cheap electricity, loans, tax breaks, grants...to corporations in this province? It would really be quite nice to know that at budget time.
What is the wage gap in New Brunswick? I suspect it's the biggest in Canada - which makes it one of the biggest in the developed world.
Exactly how much do corporations pay in provincial taxes? (not the tax rate. what to they actually pay?) How does that compare with what we give them?)
What has been the cost of a dozen years of shale gas exploration to us? What have we received in return?
New Brunswick is a have-not province. But isn't that because some New Brunswickers, a very few, have. And have a hell of a lot.
This province produces money. There doesn't seem to be a problem in that area. The problem is that most of the wealth it produces gets ripped off - and that's been going on for over a century and a half.