Tuesday, June 9, 2015

June 9: A few points of journalistic integrity..

Read the lead story on p.1 about how a "noted economist and public policy analuyst" says we must pay higher taxes and perhaps cut services to avoid New Brunswick going broke. The noted person is, of course, Richard Saillant, director of The Canadian institute of public policy and public administration at U de Moncton. Noted?

Do we call Francis the "noted" pope? Ever seen an article referring to the "noted" Stephen Harper? the "noted"  president Obama? There's a reason you don't see those. .First, ff you have to say a person is "noted", then he almost certainly isn't.

Secondly, "noted" is not a fact. It's an opinion. Opinions belong on the editorial and commentary pages - not in a page 1 news story. So why use it?  In fact, why does this news story not only say he's 'noted', but also gives every impressive title the writer can give him - except possibility that he might have won a school race when he was six?

That's because this story is propaganda.  This isn't news. This is preaching somebody's message, and using a front page news story to do it.

You don't run a story unless it's news. This is not news. Saillant wrote a book on the subject of his speech that is reported here. In that speech there is not a word that is not in his book. The book was heavily reported on in the Irving press when it came out. It received flattering comment in the editorial and commentary pages of the Irving press which, it itself, might be a hint. You don't run an old story that you've long ago reported on - unless you're doing it for propaganda.

The theme of his book is impressive and up to the minute - or, rather, it was in was impressive and up to the minute in 1929. It's the sort of economic thinking that gave us ten years of poverty for most Canadians while the rich got richer. It's the same old story. Make everybody pay to make up for the mistakes of the rich. But don't dare ask the rich for anything.

There is almost no mention in his book of the role of the very rich - and what there is is couched in newspeak. He says we should raise taxes - making it quite clear that WE does not include the rich. He says we should not give public money to private interests BUT - we should give money to sustainable industries. (Isn't that what the government of this province has been saying it's doing from the start?)

There's not a word about how the rich have been making record profits right through the recession, have close to the lowest tax rate in the developed world, and hide most of their profits from taxation, anyway. No. This is 1929 all over again. Hammer everybody except the rich so they can get even richer while we get poorer.

Oh, yes. And he said that we must develop shale gas. It's perfectly safe. So I guess he must be a 'noted' scientist, too. Luckily, I've spent enough years in universities so I'm not easily dazzled by "noted" academics.

Everything about that speech and this report smells of propaganda. And it makes me wonder. The Canadian Institute of Public Policy and Public Administration must be expensive.

So who put up the money for it?

This is the sort of thing that makes the Irving press such contemptible journalism.

A3 has a big story that a comic book store has moved next door to where it was. That's probably the hottest item in section A news.
The editorial courageously takes up the issue that our bike lanes need improvement.

Norbert returns to the issue of native peoples but still, I think, without recognizing what it is we have to do. It's not just a matter of being nice. We have to give them real power over their own lives. They cannot just be a department of the federal government. They also need much bigger reserves to build economically viably societies. They, not us, must be the ones to decide how their cultures will be developed. The attempt to makes them adapt to us is what has caused this tragedy.

Big business, especially resource industries, will not tolerate any such transfer of power and independence. That means Stephen Harper won't. And Trudeau is too shallow or, perhaps, too immature to see what is needed.

The lead commentary is "Who will win the privilege of having their fingerprints become permanent part of RCMP memorial." I didn't read it. Enough of this shallow sentimentality. When are we going to get a full report on what happened on that tragic day? And when are we going to take action to correct the mistakes that caused it?

The commentary below it is about garbage collection. And it's not a commentary. It a public service announcement.  So that means the paper got it free.

Alec Bruce has the best column I've seen on our Senate. I've known enough senators to understand what a collection of bozos they are. Now we're learning about their partisanship and thievery.
I'll just add that it is also anti-democratic. You cannot have an appointed legislature in a democratic society. The Senate was created by politicians who worked for the rich, and who intensely distrusted
the people - and even had contempt for them. It has to go.
The banner headline in Canada&World is that NB Power spends 8 milllion dollars a year to trim trees. Continuing on that world news theme, B2 tells us that our moose fences have been repaired. B4 has the flash that prime minister Harper doesn't like Putin. Why? Because Putin doesn't share western values.

That's so true.It doesn't have the western value of corrupt government, like the governments that have driven Greece into poverty. And Putin's Russia doesn't have international bankers that are squeezing Greece and Ukraine dry. And it doesn't have a massive and corrupt defence budget like the US does. If it did, it would have to stop feeding its poor - as the US is doing right now.

Take your values, Harper, like your value of polluting the world and sending Canadians to fight wars for the US - and stuff them.  Oh,on the Harper theme, B4 has the story of "US-led coalition airstrike kills 7 family members in Syrian village". Coalition airstrike? Syria?   That could well be us. Is that one of your values, Mr. Harper? And how come we're not getting any reports about our aircraft in Syria and Iraq.

There really is no world news in section B. And not much Canada news.  "Go to sleep, my babies...."
Section B has become dreadful even by Irving press standards. And I can't help noticing that it began to become dreadful about the time that Jamie Irving with his hot little degree in journalism became Vice-President. (But I'm sure he worked hard in school, and then paid his own way through journalism college, and was just one more of the boys in his earlier job as a reporter for Irving press.)
This isn't capitalism.  This is hereditary aristocracy, system which produced a British upper class famous for its stupidity.

Actually, there were some interesting items in world news that the Irving press missed. There has been serious rioting in Kiev - and not by Russian Ukrainians Now, we were led to believe that we are there to bring democracy and save Ukraine from Russian invasion. In fact, it was the US that destroyed democracy in Ukraine by deposing the elected government. And it is US-backed institutions like international banks that have been taking the best land of Ukraine away from its owners, and have been leaving Ukrainians without money or food or fuel. And the Nazi party is a member of the government the US put into power.

Of course, It's not all bad. I'm sure we'll send them weapons.

Then there's Yemen, a country which has suffered years of drone bombing by the US, and is now suffering intense conventional bombing by our good and wealthy friends in Saudi Arabia who get the bombs from the US. Now, Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the world, is suffering from lack of food and medical supplies. People of all ages, including babies, are dying of starvation and lack of medical care. Babies are dying. Did you know that, all  you self-righteous demonstrators with your anti-abortion signs?

Iran has tried to send food and medical supplies. But Saudi Arabia troops and warships have blockaded Yemen. and won't let anything through.

To make it worse, intense bombing kills without  discrimination. Men, women, children, all blow apart the same way.

And, speaking of lack of discrimination, how many people in how many countries have been killed by US drone bombers? When was the last time you saw a news story about that?  When was the last time you heard what percentage of the victims of drone bombers were actually terrorists?  In fact, reliable estimates usually put it well  under ten percent.

Drone bombing, area bombing and starvation are what  is called "terrorism". Maybe the editorial writer could think about that. Save the bicycle lane comments for a really, really slow day.

Then there's surely the big story on US defence spending. It's far the biggest defence budget in the world. In fact, some claim it's bigger than the next ten countries put together. The American defence industry doesn't want peace. It wants war. There's money in war. That's why the US is cutting its budget to feed the poor - so it can give out more 'defence 'contracts.

Then, there are estimates of vast sums in the US defence budget that have gone missing. And vast sums that are being paid out to all presidential candidates by the defence and oil industries. Maybe the Irving press could do a big story on how all this isn't true. Is it?

And what happened to the South China Sea crisis? That, with the middle east and Ukraine has us within inches of nuclear war. But not a word in World news for the Irving press.

What about the demonstrations by thousands at the G7? And one of their targets is Canada for its backwardness in dealing with climate change. Has no editor heard about that?

I don't know whether it's colossal ignorance or cheapness or laziness of the news editors. But I would urge readers around the world (yes, they are around the world) to google Moncton Times and Transcript to get a look at what  a really terrible, lying, and propagandizing newspaper looks like.
On the nice side, I did havea  URL to send you for an excellent commentary by a professor (of sociology, I think) at U de Moncton. It appeared two or three days ago in L'Acadie Nouvelles.
But, oh, it's been a terrible today. My computer has been down. That's why I'm so late. That's why I had harsh words for my cat. She did it. Experts were baffled. So, after wasting a whole day, I called in my teen-age son. Within seconds, he touched something. And it worked.
But now I can't find the article I wanted to send you. If any reader knows of it, please send it to me.


1 comment:

  1. Dear Graeme Decarie:

    Thank you for this. My thoughts on the lead article...

    'News' has two functions. It sets the public agenda by determining what is discussed as news.' It disseminates a narrative which tells us to expect and acclimates us to accept increased socio-economic misery.

    James Foster's 'jig and reel' does both. And how profoundly he does it! LOL

    A Dark Decade...unless...
    Change is in the air...people want it.
    But before help comes...
    All those Seniors...
    Headed for Confrontation...
    Don't count on Canada's social vision!
    Face reality...
    No time to lose...

    Wow! Talk about heady stuff! This guy he's covering must be a real analcyst ... er ... analyst.

    James' otherwise unmitigated prose is tainted by the truth of a solitary word. He says that development of a shale industry would help by a 'decimal.' 'Decimal' states truthfully what meagre benefit New Brunswickers might expect – some jobs until extractable resources are depleted.

    Together with the page 6 subtitle, 'Saillant encourages further exploration of shale formations in the province,' Richard's 'no time to lose' implies a clear threat to our elderly: either we get what we want, or that social net on which you depended in your old age goes.'

    If we got the message, it's a good bet that the attending business community [shale industry- investors?] did.

    Our government deserts and abandons its peoples to their own destiny. As the soldiers of Nicholas II in 1905, police and other hireling-traitors stand ready to turn guns on their own people and cut them down like dogs.

    We don't quarrel with the West; the struggle is with an indolent robber-baron class which diminishes to serfs all save their collaborators in increasingly illicit regimes who – in the absence of anything else – turn ever more to force of arms while masquerading as our leaders.

    All empires fall. Seeing what their masters have done, peoples will one day reciprocate by deserting and abandoning governments and the ownership-investment-banking class to THEIR own destiny.

    Proud Socialist