Wednesday, August 14, 2013

August 14: Yesterday, two pigeons sat on my windowsill...

They sat there, unmoving, for five or six hours, eyes open, unblinking. They were more interesting than the Moncton TandT. They certainly beat the big, front page, read-it-now story about a leaky toilet. And for those who haven't noticed, the big, front picture and a big story are all about how we get mosquitoes in summer.  (Hint for the TandT - if we get mosquitoes in January, that's front page news. If we get them in August, it isn't.)

All news media put pressure on their editors and reporters to avoid certain stories. On CBC in Montreal, we were cautioned to avoid being critical about separatism. Generally, I had freedom - but not on that issue. And when I broke the rule, I got fired.

The Moncton TandT, along with the whole, Irving press, has rules, too.
1. Fill people's minds with trivia. Like leaky toilets. Or mosquitoes. Or two, whole pages on a kite festival.
2. Mention the Irvings only when they look good. This time, it's a big story about them giving thirty thousand dollars for a charity bicycle ride. Wow! Phil-an-thro- py. So there's a big photo of people holding up a giant cheque. (What a brilliant photographic innovation!)  And there's a big story.
This comes to us from a paper that never even mentioned Dr. Cleary getting a national award for her warnings about shale gas. But that takes us to rule three.
3. Never publish anything that even hints at criticism of the Irvings. Think hard. Have you ever seen a word of criticism of the Irvings in any edition of the Irving press?  Notice the continuing lack of any questions about the Megantic disaster.  - even though that  train was bound for a New Brunswick city.
4, NewsToday is mostly meaningless trivia, selected , seemingly, by throws of the dice from a few news agencies.  Anyone who reads this will be left almost entirely ignorant of what is happening anywhere in the world - including Canada. Whoever chooses these items is either under orders to keep readers ignorant or is hopelessly incompetent to be an editor of any sort.
5. And, in general, it's understood that the newspaper either lies or hides information whenever Mr. Irving wants it to. This is an extraordinary arrogance - and an anti-democratic one. Mr. Irving has, in effect, become the dictator of New Brunswick. Sieg Heil.

Good column by Alec Bruce about Harper and his effective destruction of the census. It is, as Bruce says, directed at maintaining ignorance in order to give Mr. Harper more control. But that's not because he's a conservative. In fact, there's nothing about him of conservatism or any other ideology. Harper is not a thinker of any sort. He's a man obsessed with power and control. And, with his mindless flunkies like Robert Goguen, he is one, very dangerous man for all the people of this country.

Norbert's column is, as usual, designed to impress the gullible with a respect for his scholarship - which appears to amount, mostly, to reading clippings.

Brian Cormier delivers a sermonette just like the ones on the faith page on Saturdays. Only even more boring.

Eric Lewis does his desperate best to write a column that takes a moral stance - and one that won't offend Mr. Irving.  That much succeeds. But I am, day after day, left in wonder at the rage directed at Russia for its anti-gay attitudes. Certainly, I think those attitudes are wrong. But I find it amazing we can work up so much rage about the sort of hatred that was common across Canada just a generation ago. And I am amazed that Eric Lewis et al never wrote a word about similar behaviour by a very local university.  Nor do I understand how we in the western world get the gall to criticize any country for anything.

On the wall of a priest's office in Guatemala are what's left of the priest's brains splattered on that wall. His killer was actively cooperating with American money and leadership in the massacre of a quarter million people. And, no, the TandT never even reported it - though one of the victims was a Catholic layman from a New Brunswick village not at all far from the temple of the Irvings. We in the west have killed or tortured or raped or orphaned millions just in the last dozen years in order to plunder oil and cheap labour and other resources. Who the hell are we to give moral direction to anybody?

Surely, Eric Lewis can find things in our own act we should be cleaning up - starting with the dreadful mistreatment of the people of this province by a handful of corporation bosses who have made themselves rich out of our work and our resources - and who then have the nerve to hand out the occasional cheque for a charity and expect to be praised for it.

Then there's a letter about the courage of Mr. Baird in expressing his outrage at the treatment of gays in Russia. Yes. What wonderful courage. Now, if only he would carry it a step further and express his outrage at the brutalities inflicted by Canadian companies in third world countries, at the mass murder and torture that is now normal for the US, at the treatment by our federal government of charities that doesn't toe the far right political line, and maybe even at a chain of newspapers that is manipulative, lying and demeaning.

Oh, and forget all this chatter about "the olympic way". The whole idea that the Olympics is devoted to anything but making money is pure myth. The Olympic movement has nothing to do with human rights. It never has.

This is, I know, a terribly negative day. There really was almost nothing to say about this paper that could be constructive. No person who works for the paper can have a shred of journalistic integrity.

I am definitely off for a few days of RandR. But be warned. My apartment will be guarded by my son and a trained, killer cat.

I thank Terry Wishart for sending me copies of Media Co-op. I received them by mail so soon after I moved in that he must have known my mailing address before I did. Scary. Good thing he's on our side.

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