Friday, March 1, 2013

March 1: dangerous misreporting....

Yesterday, Ecole Champlain filled with smoke and noxious fumes.The obvious first reaction? Well, evacuate the children, of course. And that the Moncton Times and Transcript reported it as though that is what happened. But, as you can read in a comment at the foot of yesterday's column, that is not what happened. Emergency services was called. But the children remained in the that very dangerous building all that time, and then were evacuated.

I don't intend to pick on the staff of Ecole Champlain. I can see the problem of turning out hundreds of children on a cold day. Where would they go? Home? How? And what if, as in many cases, nobody was at home? There are problems here.

But hundreds of children trapped in burning school, or even just in a school filled with dangerous fumes (possibly explosive fumes?)  would have been a much bigger problem. Indeed, it might have caused a fuss - and departments of education hate fusses.

That erroneous report may not have been the reporter's fault. I can well imagine a school official, anxious to avoid fuss and embarrassment, ringing up an editor friend to ask for a favour in "fixing" the report.And from what I've seen of ethics and the TandT, it would be an easy matter.

A truthful report could have been one that would save children's lives in the future. It could have prodded DECs across the province to set down clear standards of action in such situations. It might even have roused home and school, and Parent-Teachers our of their historic stupor.

That would be wonderful for our children. But it won't happen. A misleading report in the Times and Transcript made sure of that.
BIG story on p. 1. Lots of people like maple sugar.

P.2 has the word that Frank McKenna has given a million dollars to St. Thomas U for the Frank Mckenna Centre of Communications and Public Policy. Communications - that's means skilful propaganda. And public policy is what you get control of with effective propaganda. That's what Fixer Frank is really all about. We'll probably spare a sentence or two on that subject in the Sunday blog. Frank McKenna - everybody's friend.

Just in time for summer, A4 has a helpful page for the thousands of us who are looking for $200,000 motor homes that use four litres of gas to a mile. Boy, there'll be a huge market for them among women working at Walmart.
NewsToday has a flash "U.S. will work with Syrian rebels". Big news. In fact, the U.S. has been supplying the rebels with aid from the start. Still, that leaves the TandT only a year or so behind in the news - and that's a big improvement.

In Your Business, The Fraser Institute, a major propaganda agency for big business, has named New Brunswick as having elite mining status. That means poor environment protection (that isn't enforced, anyway) cheap labour and scandalously low taxes.

I'm so proud. I mean, it's like being name cheapest hooker in a brothel.

C-11 has yet another big story on how President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela is struggling with cancer. Why this big interest in Chavez?

It's not secret. American governments in that past have considered killing him or stirring up a rebellion. Chavez has enormously improved living conditions and services for Venezuelans. He has done it by the terrible impudence of making the rich pay taxes, and taking control of Venezuela's oil to benefit all Venezuelans instead of just American oil billionaires.

So you can imagine the CIA just rubbing its hands as Chavez dies. What a great chance to stir up confusion and disorder, and get the right sort of people back into power!
Editorial 1 is not bright, but at least not harmful since it is so boring that few will read it.
Editorial 2 "Doing the right thing" is hilarious. It defends the laying-off of staff at the Brandon Street Fire Station on the grounds it will send a message to the fire-fighters union that, at 4.5 percent their annual raises have been too high. He says that raises in the private sector are much lower.

Well,  yeah, they've been lower in the private sector if you're a single mother working at Walmart. But single mothers and Walmart do not constitute the whole, private sector. Take a look at top executives, university presidents, etc. They've been cranking out well over 10% a year for many years now.

Norbert's column will be a very enjoyable one for people who enjoy Norbert's column. This time, it's four (count them, four) very short topics, none of which matters a damn.

Good column on the Senate by Alec Bruce. The reality is that the Senate cannot be reformed. It was designed to be an undemocratic body in the first place, and to represent the interests of the rich. ( Our founding fathers were not nearly so democratic as you might have been told in school.  John A., Sir Charles Tupper, George Etienne Cartier and friends were scoundrels and on the take -  in a big way.)

Any change made in the Senate that would give it power can do that only by taking power away from the House of Commons - the people we elect, thus weakening democracy even more. No.The only route to go is to get rid of the Senate. Electing it would only make it stronger by taking that power from the Commons. So where's the gain?

Steve Malloy gets better with every column. Unlike the staff writers, he never discusses topics he knows nothing about. And he can take issues from everyday life - without trivializing them or making feeble jokes about them. Instead, he brings a very human understanding and a compassionate insight to events in our daily lives. And he writes in a clear, simple and direct style which is a joy to read.

He mentions today that he was once a small businessman, managing two stores. That may explain a good deal. The TandT spends most of its time kissing up to big business, something very remote from our daily lives, and something utterly without either insight or compassion.

David Suzuki has a powerful column in which he reminds us that everything we do to nature has a price - no matter how far away it might be or how unnoticeable the effect might be. That is something, I suspect, that New Brunswickers will learn only after it's too late.

Once again, yesterday's  Moncton Times and Transcript failed to list my current events group as one of the events of the coming week. They're so - shy.
We meet at Moncton Library, 7 p.m., on Tuesday, March 5.
Generally speaking, today's Tand T has no news worth reading about. None. It has three good columns, one on the editorial page, and two and the op ed. That's it.

A good high school paper could do better.


  1. They even got the sports wrong. There was a headline about how "last night's game helped the Miracles" (basketball team), but the article is focused entirely on Moncton's Monday game against Halifax, and does not even mention the other games played (Oshawa losing two games, and Saint John losing one, both competing with Moncton for the playoffs).

    It's a minor thing. But if you're looking to the newspaper for news about the local team, this is coverage that is completely borked. (Of course, they would never display this sort of indifference with the Irving-owned Moncton Wildcats).

  2. I know this is a little off topic of this post, but recently watched Aaron Russo's film 'America: Freedom to Fascism'.

    Interesting film of you already know the story, but graet film if you don't.

    There is actually no written law that states Americans have to pay the Fed any income tax. Many former IRS agents no longer pay income tax as a result of what they've discovered.

    And...the Federal Reserve is privately run by private banks that remain unknown except to a few, and charge interest on the money it prints for the American government. Oh, and BTW, it runs everything. And it creates wars, etc.

    It all sounds so crazy, it reminds me once again of how insane Frank McKenna is who was mentioned in this post.

    Do we really think McKenna spent a million of his money to give to St.Thomas, or was it actually fronted to him by our friendly local oil company in payment for his recent support of their gas and oil campaign for NB?

    Doesn't all the events of the last few weeks seem very coordinated? Alward going to Alberta on a fact-finding mission; Mckenna returning here to lend his weight in favor of a pipeline deal, and/or fracking; Irving editorials in favor of it all; McKenna giving money to bring more big-buisness speakers to the journalism school at St.Thomas while appearing generous to the public, and did I hear Micheal Camp from St.Thomas ask a leading question about whether Saint John is positioned to be the next energy center for North America?

    Funny how it's all so transparent isn't it?