Thursday, May 28, 2015

May 28: The bottom of the pit? Probably not.

There is only one item worth noting in today's news section A. It's an error in the front page headline.
"Involve students in dress code talks, says teachers association." Did you spot it?  Teachers
should have an apostrophe because the association belongs to the teachers. Thus, it should be teachers' association.

It's not a small matter. This sort of thing is common in the Irving press. I know I make such errors too; but I don't have a staff of editors and sub-editors and proof-readers.  In fairness, it's possible that the Irving press doesn't have such a staff, either. These are newspapers that have always been run on the cheap. put out on the cheap. It fired all its photographers. Commentaries are commonly written by reporters and editors IN ADDITION  to their regular work. That part, alone is cheap and very bad; and it also means large numbers of commentaries that are uninformed and trivial.

Then you have commentaries that are not commentaries at all but space given to politicians and special interest groups. All they pump out is their own propaganda. And, I suspect, they cost the paper nothing. As well, there seems to have been quite a decline in the few, expert columns the paper used to have. World analysis has disappeared. So has environmental analysis. Even local columnists, who were probably very low paid for their work, seem to be vanishing.

The editorial writer and Norbert Cunningham pump out nothing but Irving propaganda. Currently, the target is premier Gallant (as well he might be). But I shall never forget what a dolt the Conservative premier Alward was. In particular, I remember the day a police search of the hundreds of people at the Rexton demonstration turned up a couple of hunting rifles and pocket knives. "It's an armed camp down there"  said Alward in a  burst of hysteria. What an utterly irresponsible statement to make in such a tense situation!

And now, the editorial tells us the great one has spoken. Yes. McKenna is in favour of shale gas. O-0-ooh, it gushes, Mr. McKenna was an ambassador to the US. So he must know all about shale gas. Now, tell me the last time MdKenna wasn't in favour of something Irving really wanted.

Even the cartoon is propaganda. I have never seen a cartoon in this paper that Mr. Irving wouldn't approve of. A different sort of cartoonist, an old friend, is Terry Mosher at the Montreal Gazette. He works under the name of Aislin - and he might well be the best cartoonist in Canada. I'm quite sure he has often offended the boss. Certainly, I know he has offended some influential people. But there's no way he would allow any boss to make him back off.

Today's (probably unpaid) commentator is Paul Bennett. I knew Mr Bennett as principal of a private school - and a very good one, indeed. But I think he has made a bad judgement in his retirement by associating himself with AIMS. (Atlantic Institute of Market Studies). This is simply a propaganda mouthpiece for big business. Nothing that comes under its name can be trusted.

In this case,Mr. Bennett hails an educational  innovation - a small school that deals with children who suffer from fear and severe learning problems. We have one. It costs $11,700 a year for tuition. So Bennett advises that the provincial government should subsidize such private schools. I can almost agree with him But -----

---the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies is a front for big business and greed. So why should it care about such a proposal?

Because it gives business another opening to make money out of the education system, an opening that it can expand..

Public education should be public. There is no reason why business should have any hand in it. Government should not subsidize such a programme because 1.a subsidy sill leaves many children with family incomes that are too low to go to the schools.  2. All children, all of them, should have equal opportunities. That means the provincial government should budget to offer such programmes as a part of public education. Perhaps it could pay for it by cutting all those handouts to businesses that don't really need them.

With the exception of Alec Bruce's excellent and "must read" column, section A is just the shoddy product of cheap and unethical  labour. It is without ethics and without substance of any sort.


B4 has an important story largely because it's a demonstration of Harper's contempt for democracy. "Concerns over retroactive law......." is about how Harper's Conservatives  are wiping out a law under which the RCMP are accused of illegal behaviour. The change will date back to 2011. How thoughtful!

B5 has "Energy East wins backing of 60 municipalities". Essentially, it is a story that says three cheers for an energy east pipeline.  There is almost no indication of where in the province these municipalities are, no indication of the size of opposition -  and no reason why municipalities have the information needed to make such a judgement. In short, this is a set-up by, of course, an Irving press reporter.

There is virtually nothing about world news. Let's see. We have a war on in Yemen for no very clear reason. Saudi Arabia has announced it intends to get nuclear weapons - almost certainly for use against Iran - and almost certainly in cooperation with Israel.

The US is concentrating ships and aircraft for a showdown with China over the South China Sea. Neither is likely to back off.

The US is also marshalling its own and NATO forces for an attack on Russia. You think it's being done to bring democracy and freedom to Ukraine? Well, God bless you for your sweet innocence. But the US is itself the world's biggest imperial power. It doesn't give freedom and democracy to anybody.

And even if it did - think. Does it make sense to risk world nuclear war, possibly destroying the whole planet to bring democracy to Ukraine? What Ukraine would there be left to bring democracy back to?

As well, remember it was the US that organized and paid for the rioting that destroyed Ukraine's elected government. That's what caused the crisis. And remember the powerful Nazi presence in the Ukraine's 'democratic' government. And read up on how representatives in international banking in the Ukraine government are bleeding Ukraine dry. The situation is so serious that a general uprising is possible.

Things are very similar in Greece where international bankers are running wild with demands. But none of this is being reported in the Irving press.

Now - read Alec Bruce's column about how international bankers have stolen uncounted billions from countries all over the world, how they were found guilty - and how the punishment was a slap on the wrist. And, of course, no jail terms. These are much the same people who are pouring billions into the campaign funds for the campaigns of both Republicans and Democrats in the US, and the campaigns of Trudeau and Harper - but mostly Harper.

Always an abysmal news source, the Irving press has become noticeably worse recently. The decline seems to have begun with the appointment of Jamie Irving as VP. We are told he is a graduate of a journalism school. There is certainly no sign of any such training in his newspaper.

We are in the midst of three crises - Middle East, China, and Russia. All carry the high possibility of world nuclear war.  I remember the Cuban crisis when the US and Russia were on the brink of nuclear war. People were scared. All people were scared. And their fear was certainly obvious.

Why are we, in these far more dangerous crises, so indifferent to it all?

New Brunswickers have always, so far as I know,  been fearful of having opinions about anything. And I think I can understand why.But this time, the whole of North America relaxes in blissful ignorance.  Why?

I might take a try at that tomorrow.

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