When journalists don't like the people they're reporting on, they try to discredit everything those people say. And that's not bad if the journalist has evidence. But if there is no evidence and if, in fact, the journalist doesn't even know if there's any, then you see a headline like the one in today's National Post.
"North Korea arrests American citizen for 'crime'."
Why the ' ' around crime? That's to hint to readers there was no crime. North Korea is lying. But is North Korea lying? The reporter doesn't know.
The story also says that the American was arrested at the time of protest of North Korea's firing of a rocket. What does that have to do with it? Nothing - except that it hints, again with no evidence, the the arrest was simply a revenge attack on the US.
Interestingly, I have rarely, if ever, seen such a use of insinuation where the situation is reversed - with our side arresting a foreigner for a crime. It simply doesn't happen. And so we are conditioned to see the world as our governments want us to see it. Our side is good. The other side lies and is evil.
A reporter is supposed to report what is known to be true. If someone says the story is doubtful, then the reporter quotes that someone so we know where the opinion is coming from, and can make up our own minds about whether it is credible.
But that would be news reporting. And most North American news media much prefer propaganda reporting.
A picture can tell a thousand words, so they say. The picture on the front page of today's Moncton Times and Transcript tells ten thousand. It a stunning picture of great rows of food boxes filled with donations and now being delivered by volunteers. It's a story that tells ten thousand words about the generosity and the voluntary efforts of Monctonians. They are, without doubt, the most public-spirited people I have ever seen.
But it's tough to control a message delivered by picture. I saw ten thousands words about generosity in this one. But I also saw one, stunning story about a society which does not make sure that its people, especially the young and the elderly, are fed properly every day.
I'm not suggesting even more volunteer effort. That would never do it. I am suggesting that as a society and through our governments, we have a responsibility to ensure that all people are adequately fed. And, no, I'm not talking about charity. I'm talking about decent pay, about the rich being forced to put something back into the society they fleece so shamelessly, about giving the children of the poor a chance by making sure they go to school on even terms. If you check grade scores for example, you will find they are not related to intelligence or to teaching nearly so much as they are to income levels, opportunity for intellectual stimulation, adequate diet. (These are matters the Atlantic Intstitute rarely mentions in its bogus ideas about education.)
The business page has get another story of a Moncton CEO getting a prestigious-sounding honour. He's head of a communications (which includes propaganda) company; and he's now a member of The Canadian Public Relations Society's College of Fellows.
Well, it's a start. The business world is now launched on collecting nearly as many poumpous-ass titles as professors do.
On p. C3, we learn that our provincial government isn't crazy about a recommendation from its medical professionals for a drug insurance plan. Many people, lacking insurance or the ability to get any, simply cannot get the drugs they need. This is particularly true in North America where we have a pharmaceutical industry so greedy and out of control that it makes the oil industry look like Santa Claus.
Our provincial finance minister says it can't be done at this time given our financial reality. Right. Our top priorities have to be building hundred million dollar events centres, cutting taxes for the very rich (who are actually enjoying their biggest profits in history), and lending money to companies that go broke anyway.
There is a huge gap between the generosity of New Brunswickers in general, and they're indifference to needs as a society.
The editorial is, well, the editorial. It says Monctonians are generous, and I agree. But, for pete's sake, that's the message of at least half the news stories. Yes, I agree we do well as individuals. But, as a society, we just don't seem to give a damn.
Alec Bruce has better economic news than I had hoped to see. It's intriguing. Nice column by Norbert. On op ed, there's an intriguing take on the Christmas story by Lynda Mac Gibbon. There's also a column on railways by David Lindsay of the Forest Products Association of Canada. He looks at our failure to appreciate the value of railways from an industry point of view. And I think he's right - on many points more than he has room for. I also think we need to take a serious look at them for mass transit in a province so heavily rural.
There's a whole, cutesy section on letters to Santa. But I chose not to read it. I don't like to fwow up.