Tuesday, May 5, 2015

May 5: The meaning of ethics in journalism.

"Events centre needed, council told"
"He spoke as an ordinary citizen,..."

But, we learn, he was not an ordinary citizen. He was a (drumroll) real estate salesman. And we are told he said  simply "...this is good for the province." That word 'simply' is an opinion, and the reporter's opinion should not be part of a story.  Much worse is that use of that word to set the tone - a simply, ordinary citizen." And so it goes on, all just as good.

This, with its banner headline, is the lead story under a banner headline for this day in Moncton. And the story goes referring to "this citizen" and his simple ways. Brent Mazerolle, - this is not a story. It is yet another smarmy pitch for the events centre. It is is not news of any sort. And it is most certainly not a front page, banner headline story. As a reporter, Brent, you must know that. The editor must know that. This is what is called unethical journalism.

"He spoke as an ordinary citizen.." Hey! He IS an ordinary citizen. But this image of mock humility runs through the whole article. In fact, he's an "ordinary citizen" who almost certainly has a stake in the events centre. This isn't news. This is yet another Irving press free ad for the events centre. This isn't journalism at all. It's  just another TandT push for something  that an Irving wants. This is manipulative. And it's damned dishonest journalism.

The rest of the news in section A tells us nothing. Again, it leans heavily on cheap and easy to get stories of people stealing gas or crossing against a light.

The editorial page is the usual pretty bland mush about money. This time, it's about the ministry of health and privatization of some health services. The editorial writer (perhaps honestly, but almost certainly simple-mindedly) sees this an exercise in saving money. It isn't - because such moves rarely save money and, if they do, it's at the cost of quality.

This is more likely a step in the process to privatize all health care. It's also something called union-busting. Oh, I know. I know. Unions are all selfish in the eyes of the Irving press. Thank you for reminding me. In fact, I've worked in both unionized and non-unionized jobs. And the unions brought our salaries up to livable levels In fact, it was the unions, not big business, who were responsible for the prosperity of the 1950s and 60s.

But I realize we must now make sacrifices to support the royal family of New Brunswick.

Norbert's column on how to improve democracy in New Brunswick is just childish. One thing he suggests - this for the childcare question - is mass demonstrations in the streets with masses of toddlers playing and running loose among them so the police wouldn't dare to use clubs or tear gas.

Can you imagine how he would react if environmentalists did this?

There really is nothing to say about this. It's just unspeakably ignorant and simple-minded.

Then there's something new in commentary - a column by a New York Times writer. (Never kid yourself about the NYT. It is quite as dishonest and biased as the Irving press, but with more class.) This commentary actually blames the Baltimore riots on police unions. And he uses that as an excuse to call for an end to all public service unions.

He also uses that reasoning to include teachers' union because, he writes, they are just used to protect incompetent people. He offers no evidence for any of this. As a teacher of elementary school and high school, I had no union at first, and my salary was so low, it was not possible to live on it. (It was 2700 a year. Women started at 2400.) Yes, things were cheaper then, but not that much cheaper. Our salaries didn't become livable until we unionized.

This is just a Norbert-style column on union-bashing. I've never seen a column on the commentary page from another newspaper before. This is so unusual, it looks very much as though the Irving press is going on a crusade to destroy unions.

Good commentary by the Irving press Ombudswoman.

Also a good, light, column by Alec Bruce on the campaign to drop "Progressive" from the Progressive Conservative party.

Actually, they should call themselves the Liberal party because they stand for what the word 'Liberal" actually means. The Liberal platforms of the mid-nineteenth century were ones Harper would love. That's because the world "liberal" means giving people,  especially rich ones, complete freedom to do as they wish.
The Liberals were anti-union, anti-business regulation. That individualism is what Liberalism means. It does not mean socially progressive or generous or left-wing or any of that. So the Liberal government of New Brunswick is genuinely Liberal - as is the Conservative government of Harper.

Nor is the Conservative party conservative. To be conservative really means to see society as a whole, and not just as a lot of individuals. It means to pay attention to the maintenance of social institutions (which is why the Royal family belongs to the official Church of England.) And those social institutions now include unions, social programmes.... But it really doesn't matter.. In fact, the Conservative Party and the Liberal Party have  not been liberal or conservative for over a century. Both have been simply the tools of big money. The only significant change for both has been the introduction of fascist elements - that is, admitting the very wealthy to the inner circles of government. Harper does it. Gallant does it, and Alward did it before.

As for the word "Progressive", it has no meaning whatever. The original Progressive Party of Canada was founded to make government in Canada more honest and principled. But it soon split into very different parts One became the CCF and, later, the NDP. The other became a conservative wing - for a time dominated by nutbars like the Social Credit Party of Alberta. In the 1930s, when the federal Conservatives were desperate for a leader, they they got a provincial leader of the progressives to take on job. He agreed, but only if the party were to rename itself as Progressive Conservative. But the party remained exactly what it always had been, the friend of big business. That's why the  word 'progressive", in this case, has no meaning whatever.

Canada&World has little in it.

B4 hss a story on a massive demonstration of parents (and students) against sex education in the schools.  That sort of thing is a common problem in schools. When I was teaching grade seven, it was forbidden by my school board to even say the word 'sex'. But it was already quite obvious I had nothing to teach them. They had already learned all about it on the streets. (I was a pretty naive young teacher.)

There are similar problems throughout the system. Any teacher who told the truth  about Canadian history  (or any history) would be fired. I was warned not even to mention the theory of evolution because I had one student from a very literalist religious sect. (I could, if I had wished to, attack Catholics - it was a Protestant school board.)  As a high school teacher, I was advisor to the school film society. There was once a great tumult among some parents when we showed a film by Ingmar Berman which did not have any sex it, but did have a ten or fifteen second scene which suggested some people do it.

Many parents don't want their children to learn because they don't want them to think - unless it's thinking just like them. And, often, that's not thinking at all.

The same page also has a story about the rise of the NDP in Alberta. That is stunning. Alberta has a long history of being either Conservative or crackpot (as it was in Social Credit party days.) This is an astonishing shift that should be getting more attention. B5 has a small piece about Mexican gangsters shooting down a Mexican army helicopter with a sophisticated rocket grenade. Mexico doesn't get much coverage in the North American press. And  that's strange

Drug cartels control much of that country, just as if they were the government. And, in fact, they are major factors in the government. They are so numerous now, and so powerful, no police force can cope with them - and few even attempt to. And no significant military action has been taken against them despite the fact that they routinely commit mass murders (of the sort that ISIS would envy; and ISIS gets lots of news coverage). As well, the cartels are the cartels are the major source of drugs for the US. Funny how US border patrols and the most sophisticated. military in the world can't deal with it. And funny how our news media so seldom mention it. It's almost as if the    US government were in partnership with the cartel.

There are stories about that, and I'm beginning to think the stories are true - that the cartels, with their numerous Latin American connections, act as agents for the US government in dealing with Latin American countries that want silly things like decent pay, safe environments, and social programmes. American and Canadian resource companies don't like that sort of wild talk. They can also be useful for assassinations It would be interesting to know where that grenade rocket came from.

The most important story in Canada and World news is, of course, the B1 headline that moose licences for New Brunswick in short supply. But another story on the last page of B section is worth a glance. It's about serious rioting in Israel by Ethiopian Jews. Ethiopian Jews are black. And, yes, this is Baltimore all over again.

Israeli leaders have completed the work  undertaken by Hitler and others. They have made Jews into a race.
(They aren't a race by any definition - and most of the definitions are silly, anyway.) But Israel is racist. It doesn't like to see blacks of any sort, not even those that are Jewish, as the Ethiopians in Israel are. Racism drives Israel. It's the reason Israeli Palestinians are treated so badly - and the Palestinians of Palestine even worse. Netanyahu and his sort have completed the work of condemning even large numbers of their own citizens. And have you ever wondered why the refugees who have drowned trying to get to Sicily don't  simply go the Middle East, instead?

And Canada, as represented by Harper, has bought that racism. He has spoken of making it illegal (through his anti-terror act) to criticize Israel on the grounds this is because all Jews are one race, and any criticism of Israel is necessarily anti-semitism. Hitler couldn't have said it any better.

And what isn't here?  Well, remember how, every Nov. 11, we say we shall always remember them? There are Canadians fighting in Iraq/Syria. So far as I can tell from the Irving press, we've forgotten them already - and the war is still on.

Then there has been no attempt to explain why the US has such a powerful fleet near Iran. Or why it's there.

Nor have we heard about Ukraine despite
1. We have troops there.

 2. The country is being torn apart, almost made uninhabitable, by the greed of the international bankers who are, in effect, the government of "our side". Almost every nickle possible has been taken from that country. The best land has been taken. It has been pillaged by the banks to such a degree, it will be impoverished for generations to come.

3. The US is obviously planning an invasion of Russia and China. It probably wants Iran out of the way, first - then Russia and China.

Meanwhile, as we haven't heard, the US economy itself is in great trouble. Most billionaires don't care because they now don't need the US for a market. Americans have become poor - but the billionaires are still making record profits. What we are going to see is more disorder in the US. The billionaires don't need the US for anything but cannon fodder. And we are already so far into the use of mercenaries that it's quite possible for the billionaires to have their own armies.

Norbert will love that - the privatization of war.

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