Friday, June 1, 2012

June 1: Lots of ads....

...but really , really light on news today. Perhaps the story for the day is on section A, p.8. It's a type of photo and story at which The Moncton Times and Transcript has beccome a leader - a group of smiling execs as they hold up a giant cheque, this one for Dalhousie University. Just below it is an equally inspried ad for a flooring company that says, "Our prices will floor you"  But once you're past those two items, it goes downhill fast.

The headline on p. 1 sets the pace for paper's usual slanted reporting and bad grammar. (The word 'impact', for example, is not a verb. It's a noun. So solumn two on the story about SWN delaying gas exploration should not say it will "impact' everyone. The correct word is "affect". It reminds me of the day I saw a big ad in this paper for a "truck with wench" for sale."

Bad reporting ono the SWN story? The whole story is about the money that will not be spent here while SWN suspends its testing for shale gas. The message is clear. Any limitation on shale gas exploration is bad for New Brunswick. There is not a word of mention of the widespread concern that the search for shale gas can be toxic, can pollute fresh water supples, and generally cause irreversible damage. It's just moaning because, "Gee. The drivers won't be coming in and buying coffee this summer." That one-sided reporting is dishonest reporting. It's quite deliberately designed to build up support for what could be a highly dangerous and destructive project for the sake of the short-term gain of a relatively small number of jobs.

     Reporting means telling the whole story -not just writing a piece of propaganda for the gas industry.

Great picture of smiling people holding that big cheque on A8, though. And that's it for section A.

NewsToday features a story on changes to federal Employment Insurance which could have a severe impact (using 'impact' properly - as a noun) on rural New Brunswick. The only trouble is it doesn't say anything. "Changes to EI won't gut system: Flaherty" Well, that's nice. But there isn't a word about why it won't gut the system. This isn't a news story The is just a federal politico (Finance Minister Flaherty) saying over and over that the changes aren't tough and they're quite reasonable. But never a word about how they aren't tough and why they're reasonable.

Are TandT reporters trained not to ask questions? Do they always just write blurbs and propaganda? On balance, I prefer to read the flooring ad on A8. At least, it tells me how much flooring costs. (49 cents per square foot.)

There's a very short story on C3. There's no source given for the story - but I would guess it comes largely from rebel sources. The head is "Syria on brink of civil war". Really? I mean, it's been going on for a year, and there's 10,000 dead. It that's the brink of a civil war, then I'd hate to see a real one.

Anyway, a civil war means one which Syrians are fighting each other. In this one, large numbers of the rebels are mercenaries recruited, paid, equipped, and trained by Saudi Arabia and Turkey - apparently with assistance from the US and NATO.

That's not called a civil war. That's called an invasion.

There's another story on the student strike in Quebec which explains nothing at all of what it's about.
That's why my talk at the Moncton Library, Tuesday, June 5 at 7 pm will be about the student strike - and why it's a highly significant event in our history.

There's a commentary about it by New Brunswicker Jacques Gallant who now a journalism student at Concordia University. (That warmed my heart right away because I taught History at Concordia, and also taught for the Journalism department in China.)  Gallant's is far the best piece on the strike that has appeared in the TandT. The weakness is that Gallant is not a Quebecker - so he misses why this is so important. That's the ground I hope to cover on Tuesday Moncton Library, 8 pm..

The editorial says nothing. But still manages to fit in a plug for the hundred million dollar "events" centre. It says that  will draw families with children to live in Metro. Really? Can he name a single city in the world in which that has happened?

Norbert fell unexpectedly flat in his promised column on baby boomers. He ends by quoting John Lennon on the subiect of responsibility. Now, there were many nice things about John Lennon. But his sense of responsibility was surely not one of them.

Finally - Our provincial government has, at great expemse, produced a 57 page booklet you can find on the web. It's called Responsible Environmental management of Oil and Gas Activities in New Brunswick.

It will serve as a guide for the ForumE discussions.

As such, it was surely read closely by civil servants and politicians at the highest level, including our highly educated minister of the environment and, surely including our highly professional journalists.

It begins, as many such documents do, with a Foreword (a page of so words and comment before gettiing into the formal part  Fore word - a word before.). 

But it is spelled Forward.

That's in a class with "Truck with wench for sale".

And none of those esteemed and highly educated people caught it.  Here is glaring proof that illiteracy is not the fault of schools. Illiteracy does not start at the bottom with students. It starts at the top with parents, political leaders, journalists. Then it works its way down.


  1. Maybe, just maybe, that truck does come with a wench!