Monday, February 23, 2015

What is 'news'?

There's a question I've daily had reason to ask as I suffer through the pages of the Irving press. It struck me again, forcibly, as I read section A of the TandT for February 23. There is not a 'news' story in it worth reading. Some of it is absurdly trivial  as in "Monctoners love the game of  hockey"; and the front page story that people are going to a local RV show because they're thinking of going camping. Even the Larry's Gulch item (on the same front page) has nothing to say. (There's going to be a report on it. Big deal.  We could have been told that in one sentence.)

But it's more than that. News has no meaning to it without some analysis, some discussion of what it all means. That is what commentary sections are for. But most of them in the TandT don't do it.

The editorial writers seem incapable of writing opinion on anything unless it's very, very local and, commonly, very,  very trivial.  (This time, it's about the return of martial arts fighting to Moncton.) Norbert rarely has anything to say - and then, it's  loaded with obvious bias.

True, the Monday edition is better than usual. Steve Malloy is excellent on the story about people who want to go to Mars. His explanation is better than I've seen in the dozens of news stories I've read about it.  Alec Bruce has another good one that adds to our understanding of the danger Harper poses with his anti-terrorism bill.

Craig Babstock has a useful one on the dangers we expose children to when we let them play with toy guns that look very, very real. Whenever I see them  in stores, I am reminded of the irresponsibility of companies in making them, of stores in selling them, and of parents in buying them.

There's also an excellent letter to the editor "Concerts don't help ordinary citizens". I don't know whether its argument is true - but it's something we should think about, and demand answers to. The only other item in section A worth reading is on A3 - and it's not really a news story. 'Making the right choice when it comes to French immersion" is really an information column by a school subject coordinator. And well done.

But that's a total of less that one and a half pages of worthwhile reading in a section of 8 pages.

That's not enough to encourage informed discussion or thought. The Irving press badly needs more comment, and more intelligent comment. Otherwise, most of the news is meaningless - and much of it is pure propaganda.

Section B, Canada&World, includes everything from the city limits of western Moncton going west all the way to the city climits of eastern Moncton. Most of it is quite meaningless and all of it in just four pages. "Two killed by bomb" in Ukraine. "Protesters gather in Moscow to strike out against Ukraine and the West." Yeah. So? Do we now understand better what's happening in the world?

Oh, and there's a big story from the Pentagon that the Afghan army is powerful. Sure. That's why, after 13 years of heavy fighting - and a trillion dollars or so - the US military can't leave yet, and nobody even has a guess of when it will be able to leave..

In fact, the US, with its massive armed forces, it's contracted mercenaries, the biggest and most modern navy in the world, its superb equipment, has achieved decisive victory only once since 1945 when it heroically invaded Grenada. (There's an unexplained story in that, too. Grenada was a British possession. The British government was furious at the invasion - but they didn't learn about until it happened. That's a bit unusual.) Oh, sorry. There was another triumph of American arms. The US was successful in overthrowing the elected (and popular) president of Haiti.

Korea was, at best, a draw. Libya? Afghanistan? Iraq? Hell, we've never even been told why they were fought.

There is no reason to believe the US is capable of defeating Russia or China (or almost anybody) except with nuclear weapons. And that would probably not be a good idea since some ten countries all have nuclear weapons, and some are dying to use them.

As well, American behaviour has recently led to a boom  in countries seeking a closer relationship with Russia and China as the US has become the most hated nation in the world.

Even South America, dominated by the US for over a century, is looking for relationships elsewhere, having had enough of being robbed blind by billionaires. That's been made much worse after the US recently got caught red-handed trying to overthrow the elected government of Venezuela so American capitalists could take over the oil fields. (Of course, you must have read the whole story in the Irving press, as well as all the stories about elected leaders in South America who have been murdered by the US.)

What all of this is about is the determination of a handful of capitalists to control every economy in the world. Would they murder for that? Well, they've already murdered millions. Would they put the whole, human race at risk? That's what they're doing right now.

That's why Norbert calls then entrepreneurs instead of what they really are.


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