exhibit 1. headline p. A3 "Highfield Square Tenant ready to move on" Duh - well, yeah. The place is closing. We all know that. So it was kind of expected that the few tenants would move on.. Also that the doors will be closed, the lights turned off, and the cleaning staff dismissed. Are we going to get a big story on each of those,too? Here is a half page of the first section wasted on a story that really is no story at all. Oh, and another followup might be that people won't go shopping there any more.
In all, over two thirds of the section A is devoted to ads and non-stories.
exhibit 2. Three pages of the Sports section is devoted to the figure-skating championship. Okay. It was a big, sports event. But it was already the biggest story - almost two pages - of section A.
Moving on to NewsToday...
exhibit 3 "Giffords on road to recovery". This is about US Congress representative, Gabrielle Giffords who was shot in the head about a year ago during the Congressional elections. But her being on the road to recovery was not the story. In fact, she has been on the road to recovery for the best part of the past year. The story, as carried by other news media across North America, is that she is resigning her seat in Congress. Read the subhead. It says she's stepping down. That's the story. Read it. It doesn't say a word about how she is recovering.
That's not a small mistake. It's rather like running the story of the suprise attack of 1941 with a headline saying "US government plans renovations to Pearl Harbour". This is really sloppy editing. And it show how the editors themselves don't give a damn what's printed - so long as Mr. Irving doesn't give a damn.
exhibit 4 "BC family shaken up by close encounter with cougar". This is the lead story in NewsToday, the general and world news section - so I guess that makes it the leading world news of the day - though there is another big one on the same page...
exhibit 5 "Calgarians don't like new slogan". Apparently the city has a new slogan "Be part of the energy". (Does that remind New Brunswickers of anything?)
Both of those are news items we could have lived without. Meanwhile, in events that are heating up and may well involve us in wars, civil war in threatening in both Nigeria and Libya. we hear nothing. And for the frosting on the cake, we could be looking at a dangerous showdown between us and the Russians and Chinese over Syria and Iran. Nothing on that, either.
They're also silent on the statement by the governor of the Bank of Canada that he thinks the US economy will never fully recover from the recession. Thank about that. Think of what that means to us. No - sorry - slip of t he tongue. This is an Irving paper. Don't think. For God's sake, don't think.
But who cares? Hey, wasn't that a great story about the Cougar?
exhibit 6. The Your Investments page(always a pretty feeble one). The lead story is that a Vancouver investment house has bought up some main street property. That might not be a bad story - except for three things.
a) they have already run the same story on at least two occasions.
b) the use emotional language to influence our reaction to it. The company is, for example "showing confidence" in Moncton. Sure. Would they say a pickpocket is showing confidence that you have money in your pocket? What the investment company and the pickpocket are showing is confidence they can get something out of us.
c) they use the story, once again, to beat the drum for a hockey stadium/conference centre on Main St.
exhibit 7. Once again (as in again and again and again and again), they have a big ad for the autobiography of ex-Irvingite Ralph Costello. And, more excitement, it gives a list of "fine" merhant locations where it can be purchased - but only until February 4. (However, it is really not necessary to panic. Most store shelves seem to have more than ample copies in stock.)
exhibit 8. There's a big, big editorial about the importance of government help to re-establish the Enterprise foundry that burned down. But no editorial about how the elderly poor now have to pay up front for dental care - then hope for a refund.
That meams. that many, probably most, of the elderly poor will not be able to get dental care at all. Money spent on them would not only help people who need it, but would also create more jobs across the province than Enterprise did.
But who gives a damn about the elderly poor. Certainly not the editors of the TandT. In these recession times, their message is clear. We must cut back on unnecessary spending for the poor so we can keep up our unnecessary spending for the rich.
exhibit 9. The op ed page has its usual, pointless story by a staff writer, followed by the usual, pointless comments on life in the US contributed by Allen Abel.
In short, in this whole paper, there is virtually nothing of any importance or even relevance to read about. But I began by asking whether the editors of The Moncton Times and Transcript are incompetent or careless. In fact, they are neither.
The Irving newspapers are designed to keep people in ignorance of what is going on, fill them up with trivia until it trickles out of their mouths, all of it in loaded language to give the most favourable impression possible of our masters. The purpose is to ensure we never think of how we are manipulated and cheated, indeed that we never think of anything.
That takes a certain kind of editorial skill. It takes a certain kind of editor, one who knows who the boss is, and exactly what the boss wants. Aren't we lucky?