Friday, September 28, 2012

Sept. 28: Big stories in the news...

Headline, p. 1: Read all about it.
"Moncton Wal-Mart to become  Supercentre"
"Moncton Hospital to open area for smoking"   ( outdoors).
p. A10: "Red Leaf Grill and Lounge set to open"
.....and the beat goes on.

As Norbert would say, who needs the CBC for fast-breaking news that YOU NEED to know?

I mean, for example, who cares about shale gas? Who cares about where our new high school will be? And why? Who cares that the new school will be heavily dependent on motor transit when we are on the edge of that becoming prohibitively expensive and environmentally suicide? For an example of how ghastly that can get, take a look at Riverview High. How would you like to spend all your lunch hours strolling around there?

And, certainly, don't worry about a major report that most real newspapers all over the world covered yesterday - that people all over the world (though mostly in poor countries) are dying at the rate of 5 million a year as a result of climate change which, itself, is a result of our reliance on fossil fuels. That number will increase.

Climate change in also cutting down on food supplies which, as well as creating starvation, will dramatically reduce GDP all over the world. The report says immediate action is essential.

And Moncton is taking actio. I mean, for openers, you've got that big story up top.  Moncton Wal-Mart is going to become a Supercentre.

The business page has an exciting story about how Moncton business people are holding an event to give each other awards for their excellence. That may explain why there was no room for the other, big, business  story that three senior executives of Nortel have just been found guilty of  cooking the company books to make it seem there had been a big profit, thus giving each other multi-million dollar bonuses while the company went down the toilet.

But, hey, you can't expect a business editor to notice everything.

In NewsToday, I looked for a story (with a lie) which I was pretty sure would be there. And it was.

Two days, Iran President Ahmadinejad addressed the UN assembly. Most news sources around the world reported him as saying "any small problems created by Israel would be eliminated", a pretty clear reference to Israeli computer hacking, assassinations of Iranian scientists, etc. And small problems would be eliminated. That sounds clear.

But the TandT gets its news from Reuters. And the Reuters version is that he said Israel will be eliminated - and this is not the first time Reuters  (and a few others) have done this.

You'll find this 'quotation' on p. C5, under Netanyahu speaks, fourth paragraph from the bottom.

In a competent and ethical newspaper (of which this world has few) the news editor is supposed to be aware of these errors, and to choose news stories accordingly.

Norbert  has a column that begins with an attack on silly stories in the news. As usual,  he does not give a single example from his own, miserable paper. Nor does he mention private radio which lives on silly and/or irrelevant stories. Nor does he mention the silliest, most ignorant, most dishonest TV news station in the English-speaking world, privately-owned Fox News.  But he does slip in his usual attack on CBC - and this time adds BBC and, as usual, without offering any reason for his opinion.

There's something else he doesn't mention. In most cities, private radio depends heavily on newspapers for its news. That's because private radio usually has only a small news staff. But it's tough to do that in Moncton  because the newspaper news is so trivial. As a result, if you want news in or of this region, you have go to CBC. Check it out some time. Google CBC. Check out its news stories. compare them to the stories in the Irving Press.

But don't worry. Harper is fixing that. When he gets through with the CBC budget, you won't even have to think about news ever again.

Norbert then goes on to defend the merging of Canadian and British embassies in some countries. Alas! He seems to understand none of the issues - and seems not even to have read any significant commentary on it.

The editorial, God help us, is about the closing of a restaurant. It's a restaurant I liked, going way back to its early days. Loved it. But a subject for an editorial?

Three, very readable columns by Alec Bruce, Lynda MacGibbon, and David Suzuki. Bruce's column is a warning of what happens when a crown corporation (VIA Rail) is run by a government with a private corporation mind set. Lynda MacGibbon raises a point that Moncton should have been planning for twenty years ago - and that Riverview should have thought of from the start.

Now, the painful part....

On Tuesday, Oct. 2, at 7 p.m., the current events group will meet at Moncton Library on Main St.  All are welcome. (You will sometimes find it listed with other events in The Moncton Times and Transcript - but usually not.)

The painful part? Well, this blog attracts a large readership. It's true that many readers are a long commute (the U.S., Russia, India...).  But the majority must almost certainly be from the Moncton area.

I have led current events groups for over 15 years, with regular audiences that were rarely under 200, and commonly twice that. But, oh, Moncton is a tough gig. I have rarely had more than a very few, though usually the same ones. I don't understand how a large readership can translate into such a small discussion group.

I seldom announce topics in advance because it's hard to know even a day in advance what will be important in the news. However, I am open to any suggestion for topics you would like to hear about. Just drop a note in the comments space below this post.


  1. I see you are still hard at it taking "actio". LOL!

  2. The editorial also said the restaurant is "centrally located", a head-scratcher I am still trying to puzzle out.