Tuesday, May 8, 2012

May6: Civic elections? what civic elections?

In fairness, the Moncton Times and Transcript has three stories on city politics. One is on the last meeting before the election for the Moncton council. One is about the last meeting before the election for the Deippe Council.  One is about a defamatory flyer sent to Dieppe voters by mail - a flier that everybody denies sending.

There is nothing about issues in these elections. Not a word. Earlier, there were brief statements from most of the candidates - but few of them had much to say. How can voters possibly make intelligent decisions when most of them have no idea what the issues are or what the arguments for and against are?

A newspaper is supposed to supply us with that information so we can make informed decisions. But all this newspaper has done is to try to pump up excitement for a so-called events centre. And, even of that, it has not reported a word of argument against it. That's not journalism. That's propaganda.

As well, the whole first section is organized (by the editor) as a confusing shambles. For example, beclow the story on the last meeting of Riverview counil (which tells us nothing because there was nothing to tell in the first place) is a story in which we suddenly find ourselves in Vienna with the European Union discussing Syria.

In  a way, these are stories that go together since neither tells us anything. But when a newspaper groups its stories, it really should put together two stories that say nothing - about the same subject. In fairness, they did carry a story about Moncton council that said nothing, and it's just above the one about Riverview council that said nothing. So that's at least a step in the right direction.

Page 8 has the only other big story in section A. It features a picture of Premier Alward with Crandall University officials. He received the Distinguished Alumni Award. You can guess what Alward is saying because everybody is smiling, and the university president looks as though he's about to clap hands. That tells us that what Alward is saying is that he'll be happy to sign a document assuring Crandall he is not gay. (If you check his body language, though, especially his hands, it raises doubts about that.)

Two stories in NewsToday deserve a close read.

1. Appeals board fails veterans.

Canadian and American governments have been slow to meet the needs of veterans.  (After all, we don't them any more. So let's move on so we can cut taxes.) The dead are easily enough disposed of with a coffin, a flag, and an annual Nov. 11 speech in which politicians say how grateful they are.

But the lasting wounds, both physical and mental, cost money. And that's money we can better spend by cuttinig taxes for the rich, and giving out overpriced contracts for jet fighters.

2. N.B profs want say in spending.

This is bigger than it looks. Universities are coming to be dominated by the businessmen who sit on their boards. It is bad enough that they are reorganizing universites to be service centres to add to corporate profits. But they are also spreading corporation methods to university administrators.

About ten years ago, I was asked to accept a nomination to be president of a university. (The request came from businessmen on the board, but it was delivered through one of their teams of lawyers.)  When I expressed doubts, they laid out the terms. I was astonished.

Not only was the pay very high, but it would continue for the rest of my career, and would greatly ncrease my pension. My mortgage would become interest-free. If I did a really bad job, and they had to fire me, I would not only keep my huge salary but would also get a magnificent bonus.  And there was more.

I turned it down. (Damn fool!)

This sort of thing has businessified university administrations, creating a whole new class of professional administrators who generally know nothing about education, but who enjoy the company and benefits of their new social circle, the corporation presidents.

Now to the editorial and oped pages.

The editorial, to be fair, does discuss what it sees as a mnicipal election issue - tax relief. It would be more convincing if this were not the same editorial columnist who wants us to borrow a hundred million to buy a hockey rink for a rich man.

Skip Norbert's column. It's on universities; and he knows nothing whatever about them. Even his citation in 'The Last Word' shows an ignorance that surprises me coming as it does from G.K.Chesterton.

Norbert constantly talks about education being in the nineteenth century (which is certainly true of the universities.) The trouble is that his own ideas belong to the eighteenth century.

Alan Cochrane (staff writer) writes a hard-nosed, well-researched, investigative story on a crucial issue of our time - playing paintball.

  Louise Gilbert writes a more useful one in her 'seniority rules' column.

Generally, though, this issue is a prime example of The Moncton Times and Tribune doing what it is designed to do - keep people in the dark.

1 comment:

  1. I just ordered a book about inverted totalitarianism. you should check it out as well.