Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Nov. 8: amateur hour at the Moncton Times and Transcript.

It seems like a small thing. This Tuesday's paper has the word Wednesday at the top. It seems small. But it's not. I have never before even heard of such an error in a newspaper. It 's not small. It's an indication of how carelessly the whole paper is put together.

The A section, supposedly local news, carries the story of the victory of The Saskatchewan Party in its provincial election. NewsToday is supposedly for world and Canadian news. But it also has the almost daily local stories of two people holding a huge cheque  donating money for some cause,  three women accepting a donation of school supplies, and four, bored-looking people in a nursing home posing with a medical machine.

What NewsToday doesn't have is a word about the wars we are on the edge of in Syria, Iran,  Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan. Two, at least, of those wars have the potential for the use of nuclear weapons. All of them have the potential to trigger much larger wars.

But the big story in the TandT is a a newfoundland woman who had French fries on her 106th birthday. As usual, almost all the non-local news comes from just two sources, Reuters and Postmedia. Both are notoriously unreliable. Pastmedia, in particularly is highly biased. Hey, editors. You could save time and money by simply lifting your news from google. Google's not wonderful. But it's far superior to anything I have seen in the Irving papers.

The big, front page stories are that new coffees are showing up in the coffee shops. Wow! Hold me back. The other, even more dreary news, is a story about priorities of our local MLAs.  They list all the usual "motherhood and apple pie concerns" (fix roads, add nursing home beds).

They don't mention shale gas - though that's been the biggest concern of New Brunswickers this past year. ( Mind you, the TandT and the Conservatives who had both pledged themselves to make us better informed on the issue have not said a word, either.)

Then there's this testy business of the Occupy movement and the crisis of democracy in the western world. Almost nothing of the movement in Canada, the US, or the world is mentioned by either the TandT or our politicians. Are our MLAs in favour of democracy? Do they know what it means? Do they think democracy exists when a team of trained seals from the Irving circus takes over government functions like planning the budget - and who gets taxed how much?

Oh!  What do our MLAs think about about more jail terms and longer ones? The RCMP says our serious crime rate is third lowest in Canada, and is declining. But Alward, ever the doormat, supports Harper's view there's a crisis. A good deal of the money for ineffective  use of jails will be pure waste- and will come from our provincial taxes. (And I wouldn't be surprised if Mr. Alward decides to make it worse by legislating public/private partnerships for jails with - oh - you know, somebody who has lots of money and doesn't  have to worry about going to jail for taking what isn't his.)

There are two not-very-thoughtful  op ed columns, both on Remembrance Day.  We should certainly remember those who fell. But we should also remember that we send people to get killed. So when we send them, we should be sure this a a matter worth risking Canadian lives for.

In the Boer War, Canadians were killed or broken in health for a war that had nothing to do with Canada.  We have just killed civilians in Libya, almost certainly thousands of them. It was a war that was fought to put the Libyan oil fields into the hands of British, French and American companies. It had nothing to do with Canada.(or most British, French, or Americans.)

So - what do we remember? The courage of our pilots in Libya who flew over undefended cities, destroying homes and lives? Maybe we should remember that because we are facing years, probably decades, of such wars.

Could we find a moment this November 11 to think of those we have sent to fight other people's wars?
Could we pause to remember that we have an obligation to think first of whether we should send people to fight wars for American and Canadian corporations as we once sent them to fight for British corporations?

Alec Bruce has one of the few, thoughful and impartial columns I've seen on the Occupy movement. It is a movement that asks us to look at the root of the spread of poverty in the western world. Corporations have become - more than ever - our government. The process has gone so far, it has bred the arrogance of power - as Mr. Irving demonstrated when he publicly declared himself in coalition with the government.

Democracy is close to death all over the western world, and nowhere more so than in New Brunswick where most of the news media don't even mention it. We are very close to, perhaps already in, that form of fascism called corporatism that appeared in the 1920s and 30s.. Not all the fascists of that time wore brown shirts and marched in goosestep. Some wore expensively tailored business suits (including large numbers in Britain, the US and Canada.)

That's the reality. Now take a look again at the front page story in which our MLAs list their priorities such as fixing roads.

New Brunswickers and western nations in general have to wake up and smell the coffee. That's what the Occupy movement is trying to achieve. We don't have much time. Put down your Irving newspaper very soon - or order a new wardrobe with brown shirts and jackboots.

That will show the right people that you're on their side, and you read the TandT.

1 comment:

  1. I am a newcomer to this blog, and I have to say it is hard to take it serious, especially the comment about "amateur hour" given the "Wednesday" in dateline remark when the author of the blog can't get the paper's name correct. It is the Times&Transcript, not the Times@Transcript in the blog's name. If you are going to be so critical of others' mistakes, you should make a greater effort to get your facts straight.