Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Jan. 3: No news news

I didn't even attempt to write a blog on yesterday's Times and Transcript. There was simply nothing in it. The whole day after New Year's Day edition was about what happened in 1911. But we already knew that.

Today's, January 3, is almost as bad. The front page has a big story about a TV start who advises brides on what sort of wedding gown to buy, a story on how good  Mayor Leblanc was in 2011 and he'll be even better in 2012 (from the horse's mouth), and a real "stop the presses" story on how you have to plan your new year's resultions.

Oh, and there's an assurance from Mr. Irving himself that he plants three trees for ever two he cuts down to make Majesta toilet paper. I've often wondered about that during reflective moments of solitude in the bathroom. It makes me proud to think I'm doing my bit to rebuild the forests of New Brunswick.

P. A2 announces the first meeting of the Moncton Knitting Club tonight at the library.. (Sure wish I could get them to announce my current events groups at the library. It`s tonight, too, at 7 pm.

Then, of course, we have two, big stories on how the mayors of Dieppe and Riverview had good years in 2011, and plan even gooder ones for 2012, just like Moncton.

In this whole paper, the only item worth reading is the column by Alec Bruce.

The Times and Transcript is deliberate trivia. And it works. It keeps us ignorant of the news by reporting only trivia. By doing so, it discourages any serious discussion of what`s going on, and focusses attention on meaningless prattle by politicians, and on issues that really count - like whether our liquor stores are selling enough booze.

It`s quite deliberate. The paper is owned Irving who also owns pretty much everything else in the province. That`s why we have newspapers that tell us which movie star is having a birthday today - but not how our government tries to manipulate us into agreeing to poison our land and water; and not how little Irving pays in taxes.

This is where a Norbert Cunningham comes in. Ì can never decide whether he is a willing dupe. I suspect, rather, he`s one of those people who truly believes, but will forever believe only what he wants to believe.  I have a friend who genuinely believed  that the torture at Guantanamo didn't hurt. It was love taps There are many people like that.

In today`s column, for example, Norbert makes a point that citizens have a responsibility to keep well informed so they can make responsible decisions when they vote. Hello, Norbert, are you (all) there?
Where are we supposed to get this information from? Certainly not from any Irving paper or from any privately-owned radio or TV station.

Norbert also says we should teach our children more history because that would make them less cynical about politics if they did. Yes, indeed, studying how John A. Macdonald dealt privately in real estate for the railways while he was prime minister, and how Mulroney took a suitcase full of money in a hotel room, and how K.C. Irving moved to Bermuda to avoid income tax would do a lot to build pride and interest in our political and economic system.

Norbert begins by saying we should guard against any attempts to weaken democracy. He particularly opposes legilation favouring special interests. Oh, Norbert, that's cute. And I'll even consider it possible you believe what you're saying - even though you have consistently worked for the good of special interests.

Yes, we citizens have a right to speak out, says Norbert. But if we do, then he has a paragraph ranting that we are irresonsible and anti-democratic.  Indeed, if we complain about a threat to democracy, then  we are attacking democracy itself. This 'spoiled brat syndrome' threatens democracy itself. Yes.

Oh, and there's a big threat to democracy that has come in the form of the net. The net has a sinister, dangerous side that endangers democracy. There is nothing worse than allowing individuals (spoiled brats) to criticize their social betters.

On the other hand, a monopoly of control by one newspaper owner is good for democracy.

Tomottow, Norbert will explain how the web is a threat to true democracy which can only work when governments and news media are owned by giant corporations. (That's what used to be called fascism. That's how the dictionary still defines it.)

So why doesn't Norbert say he's writing a column in defence of fascism? Because Norbert is one of those who sees only what he wants to see. He sees trivia, and calls it information essential to democracy. He sees a government (elected by a minority of the  eligible voters), watches it pushing through a project that has massive public opposition - and says the majority has spoken. He sees government run by and for corporations and calls it democracy. This is a terminal case of seeing only what he wants to see.

In a quotation from Stanfield, Norbert concludes, "It is a very simplistic view that politicians are to blame for everthing.."  Quite so.

The reality is that much of the blame has to be shared by corporate bosses who buy politicians, and by "journalists" who work as propaganda agents for the corporate bosses.

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