Saturday, January 18, 2014

Jan. 18: Sit back, Cole Hobson.....

...and see how a real spin doctor does it.

Today, Brent Mazerolle takes over on the  Moncton "economic summit"   (my, what a grand term), and shows what a real master of spin and propaganda can do. The "news" story begins on page one, and fills a full page of journalism so dishonest and manipulative that it would make a real journalist feel ill.

We begin with the term "economic summit", rather a grand one for a self-selected group of people who have no right to decide our economy in the first place.

"Actually", says Mazerolle, " it is personal, and it isn't just business."

"It's how we feed and shelter our we give our children the hope and promise of a future."

Barf !

Yessirree, that's  why the better sort of people, the socially prominent, are going to decide how we should live. I mean, us common slobs are too stupid to know what we need and what's good for our children.

I mean - there's delegates there who run business, one who owns a hockey team, some who collect old clothes for the poor - who would know better than us what we need and how to get it. We peasants wait, humbly, but secure in the arms of our social betters.

There's also another "news story" by Mazerolle, this one about a similar "summit" organized 25 years ago by the blessed Frank McKenna. Mazerolle credits that one with the supercharged word "miracle". It certainly was a miracle for Frank Mckenna, making him a multi-milionaire and a buddy of a great social leader concerned only with the welfare of  his people - George Bush Jr.

This is truly disgusting - not just Mazerolle's slobbering propaganda disguised as news, but the contempt this shows for democracy.

In a democracy, decisions like this are not made by the social and financial elite. (an elite which has no capacity to make such decisions, anyway.) In a democracy, we are governed only by people  whom we elect. And they answer to us for what they do.

Of course, a democracy also has an honest press so we have some idea of realities.

By the way, what qualifies Robert Irving to sit on such a committee, and to chair it? And does he still have those qualifications even when he isn't wearing his pockets?

I wasn't able to find out what journalism school Mazerolle attended. Maybe the school pays to keep it a secret.

NewsToday has the story that the pope has defrocked 400 priests for sexual abuse. He has also taken clear and strong positions on the behaviour of world leaders - on all sides.  On the TandT Faith Page, First North River church is having a pancake and beans dinner. The sermonette on that page is about aging.

Somehow, it seems to me that if Jesus were to visit, he'd skip the pancake and beans dinner, and have a long talk with the Pope. He might, for example, want to talk about a society in which business leaders believe (and I am not making this up) that greed and covetousness are good. (You don't think so? Read Ayn Rand, the gospeller of big business.) Or He might want to talk about a country that thinks it has the right to invade anybody and to kill whenever it feels like it, a country that now has killer squads operating in some 143 countries. Or He might want to talk about drug companies that demand full retail price when governments order essential medicines for suffering countries.

Two days ago, real reporters (not the ones from Irving press) were complaining that they could not see or get information about the cleanup at Plaster Rock. Today, NewsToday reports (p. C3) that environment minister Danny Soucy toured the site and was given a report that all is well.

Isn't that nice?

Well, the journalists were not allowed to tour with the minister. And he did not answer many of their question because, he said, somebody else was supposed to do that. But he assured the reporters any questions he asked were answered.

That's nice. And I bet he asked some toughies.

Read the story carefully, It says virtually nothing.

The strikes of university professors are, I think, more than they appear to be. I taught university for some forty years, and rarely heard even a whisper of a strike. Now faculty strikes are popping up like social leaders at an economic summit.

I think this is caused by a much deeper problem that almost nobody in the universities or government has recognized. And its a problem than can only be dealt with by government because the universities, at all levels, professors and administrators are smothered in delusions of intellectual grandeur and prestige. They also refuse to give serious attention to teaching.

It's always been that way, and is now made worse by those half-wit university evaluations published by Maclean's Magazine.

And if that weren't bad enough, the  universities are under intensive attack by big business that wants them to produce research just for it, to produce professors who will lie to help big business, and even some who will propagandize their students.

The universities desperately need changes. But there is not a hope in hell they will recognize that. Nor will government. Big business is quite happy with its relatively cheap takeover of universities -and have you ever heard of New Bunswick government that challenged big business?
As usual,  there are lots of good columns by students in Whatever. This week, I was particular struck by Mike Elliot writing on how children have lost the sense of imagination. I think he's right. I think this is not just a "kids today are losers, now, when I was a kid..."

Imagination is not just cute. It's an essential basis of thinking, of reasoning, judging....

This is a perceptive column. It's also an important one.

The editorial is, predictably, about the "economic summit". It is led, we are told, by "great business leaders" like its chairman, Robert Irving.

Yeah. Let's think about that. What makes Robert Irving a great business leader? Is it an oustandingly bright mind? Is it an excellent education with high distinction because of his great mind? Was it long hours of work in humble and difficult conditions as he won his way, step by step, up the ladder?

Or was it daddy?

There are op-ed columns by Brent Mazerolle and Gwynne Dyer on closely related subjects. Read both.
Which is the one that seems to know something, and says something?
There's an interesting letter to the editor "Some fashion tips for UNB strikers" It makes fun of a teacher at UNB who was photographed  at a demonstration demanding a pay raise from Alward. The writer points out that someone looking for a raise should not be wearing $250 mittens and a $750 parka. So true.

However, it would be perfectly all right for a multi-billionaire looking for a $400 million dollar forgiveable loan and several thousands of acres from that same Mr. Alward to wear $2000 mittens and a ten thousand dollar coat.

1 comment:

  1. Re: Economic summit:
    Says it all.