Monday, February 13, 2012

Feb. 13:...keeping up with what's important...

I was surprised to read we had a snowstorm over the weekend. But there's no doubt about it. There were two, front page stories about it and, for snowstorms deniers, a full page of pictures of snow on the ground. I wondered why it took so long to get my car out of its parking space.

In section D, there were three stories on the death of Whitney Houston.

The people of Moncton now have been told more about a snowstorm and the death of Whitney Houston than they have been told about shale gas and the strange choice of location for Moncton High School.

There was also a lead story "Metro embraces wet/dry program." But I didn't read it. It's bad enough to read garbage without reading garbage about garbage.

Much of the rest of Section A is taken up with entertainment events that just happened, and more that are to come.

Oh, and Riverview council will vote on whether to return to its old slogan, A Great Place to Grow.  I can't wait to see the musical.

The motto of The Moncton Times and Tribune should be Keep 'em in the Dark. Keep 'em entertained. Just like ancient Rome.

The editorial for today sums up the only thing that interests the Irving media, investment. Today's editorial is enthusiastic approval of the possibility that air service to Moncton will be expanded. The assumption is that all investment is good, and investment will take care of all our problems. And that is just simple-minded.

All investment is not good. We probably would not cheer for investment in a huge storage facility to hold poison gas - but that, in effect, is what we are doing with shale gas with its poison we will spread not just over New Brunswick, but wherever the stuff is burned.

Yes, investment brings us jobs But how much do those jobs cost? New Brunswick has certainly attracted a lot of investment. So how come our budget deficit it so high? We draw visitors to Moncton, visitors who apend money here. How much does it cost us to bring them? How much of their money stays in New Brunswick pockets? How much of it finds its way down to the average New Brunswicker?

Ever see a story on that in the TandT? No. And you won't.Nor will you see investment solving social problems. What kind of social problems will Moncton face in the next twenty years? Well, among them will be suitable housing and mass transportation. Every city in the world faces those problems.  Those problems are not being solved by investment. On the contrary, they're being made worse in Moncton by encouraging a 1950s style suburb like Royal Oaks.

There is no planning in Moncton. there is only an eagerness to snatch up make-a-fast-buck schemes by promoters.

It was very good of the Irvings to invest in newspapers for us. It provides jobs for journalists. But what do readers get? Only the propaganda that Irving wants us to get. The rest is trivia.

As an example of how the news is filtered, today's TandT did not carry the story on how a man from Saudi Arabia is in jail for writing something on Twitter that made light of Mohammed. He was in Malaysia at the time. He has now been extradited to Saudi Arabia where he is likely to be beheaded for the offense.

Saudi Arabia is an absolute dictatorship where the strictest rules of Islam are enforced. Recently, a woman was sentenced to beating with a cane for driving a car. Women are not allowed to drive cars in Saudi Arabia. Al Quaeda is a human rights organization compared to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

But in our news media, Al Quaeda is routinely described as extremist. Saudi Arabia never is. That's because Saudi Arabia is on our side.  It is also the leading figure of the Arab league that is demanding democracy for Syria. Right. The royal dictators of the Arab league are very big on democracy.

And if that doesn't make you cynical about the motives of our leaders, read Alec Bruce's column in which he wonders why we are dragging our feet in switching to more systainable energy supply with, for example, windmills.

Well, it's all about investment. If we build windmills, how will those nice investors sell us shale gas, oil, coal, and uranium? I mean, we need those investors to pay off the debt we've run up by buying energy from them, selliing it to them at below market price, letting them destroy the enironment, and giving them lavish tax breaks.


  1. Once again, an entertainment story gets promoted as a major world event. It's a big event in the entertainment world, yes. She was a talented singer, yes. Her talent ended up being swallowed in a whole litany of personal demons that overshadowed how bright she shined early on, yes.

    The coverage of the story everywhere is ridiculous, as if she were a world leader or the inventor of music. And of course the T&T jumps on the bandwagon, as if somehow her death affected the average New Brunswicker more than just making them grieve for a lost talent.

  2. The Whitney Houston death story was far from being overdone. Should it not be mentoned at all?? Of course the "newspaper" is a rag but like it or not, Whitney Houston was a well known person and her death certainly rated a mention. The T&T didn't "jump on the bandwagon" received rather pedestian coverage on the third section front.

  3. The Whitney Houston story was certainly important enough to be published. Once. There were two stories side by side.

    It is sad that she died. A great many sad things happened in the world that day. Some were even sadder than the death of Whitney Houston. But they didn't get mentioned at all.

    Indeed, in one copy of the TandT, we learned more about the death of Whitney Houston than we have learned in years about shale gas, forestry practice, city planning, the real story about Moncton High, civilian casualties in Libya and Afghanistan..and one could go on with a very long list. Yes, the TandT was right to cover her death. No, it should not spend so much space on relatively minor news.