Monday, August 17, 2015

August 17: The Irving press is actually getting worse....

A few years ago, I would have thought it impossible.  But the Irving press  has actually become  noticeably worse over the last six months, so much worse that, as a newspaper for the general public, it's insulting. And I can't help noticing the decline seems to correspond with the rise of an Irving to VP of the press. I would dearly like to have a chat with some of his journalism professors. This is so bad I really wonder how he ever got through journalism school. For a time, I taught reporters for the very, very bad newspapers of Hong  Kong.. But they were never as bad as what I daily see in the Irving press.

Hong Kong was similar, as well, in that it had a hierarchy that got promoted first in the Hong Kong papers. They weren't family members as they are here. No,these were expatriate Brits who combined arrogance and a sense of racial superiority with utter incompetence as journalists. I despaired in the classes because I knew they would be promoted to editors while the much more intelligent Chinese reporters would be ignored.

The paper is so bad, let's talk about something else first.

We never talk about terrorism by the western world. For a glaring example of that, why were Acadians forced out of their homes, with many fleeing as refugees into the interior of the province? Well, that was set up by American terrorists who wanted their land. Being terrorists and creating refugees was nothing new to them. After all, they were the descendants of a Britain that grew to a huge empire by terrorism.

Later,in the revoluton, they would use terror to rape, murder, loot, and steal land and houses from their neighbours in the U.S. It was so bad that at least 60,000 fled to Canada, with heavy settlement in the Maritimes and Ontario. At least as many fled to Caribbean Islands or back to Britain. The ones who came here, we call United Empire Loyalists. But this gets light treatment in history books, and none in film. The American revolutionaries were very much terrorists.

For that matter, how did the Acadians get their land in Nova Scotia and, later, in northern New Brunswick? Wasn't their somebody actually living on it at the time? In fact, now I think of it, the French Empire grew, just like the British Empire and the Spanish Empire and now the American empire, by terrorism.

Canada killed plains Indians in the 1880s by deliberately letting them starve to death. Sounds like terror to me. All that we now call the United States was originally the land of native peoples. They were moved to places they couldn't survive, they were starved, and they were systematically murdered - men, women and children - by thugs like General Custer. Sounds like terrorism to me.

It's nice we have Acadian Days and Irish societies and Robert Burns dinners to celebrate the ethnic groups of this province. Do we have a native peoples' day? I must have missed it.

We, all of us, see and believe an unreal world in which we have never done anything wrong.  Never. Never. Never. But foreigners are always doing things to us. So when we hear the word ISIS or China, we feel threatened. And we never think of our role of terror and damage that has led the world to this point.

Here, we have to switch to a tricky word, culture. Nobody has ever defined that word. Culture is made up of many, many thousands of things which affect how we react to the world. To make it  even tougher to define, our culture changes as the world around us changes.  I have a photo of, my grandmother in here younger days wearing a hoop skirt with a bustle. It was part of the culture of the time. But I've never even seen such a thing.

In my childhood, Quebec was dominated by the Catholic church. Now, the church is largely ignored.

And culture varies even among people who think they have the same culture. Being born working class put me in a very different culture from most of the profs I taught with. And it's still different.

As well, our cultures vary according to histories we believe in, and the world we think we see. Hitler's Naziis were evil and racist. Few would call Donald Trump that - but his political positions are very close to those of Hitler.And for much the same reasons.

We condemn ISIS for its murderousness. But the British and Americans and French have killed far, far more - including women and children. So how come we don't condemn British and Americans and French? On the contrary, American soldiers who died in  the process of murdering several millions, largely of women, children, babies, who did it by mass bombing and spraying agent orange became more than good. The become officially war heroes.

(The term war hero, by the way, did not become common  in the news media until the Korean War. Then, all who fought for our side in that war were automatically referred to as war heroes, even the cooks and office staff.)

I give this long prelude to culture because we have destroyed the cultures of China, India, the Middle East. And such cultures cannot be rebuilt because the world they related to has long since disappeared. So what we're watching is desperate attempts to restore old cultures or to build new ones. Extreme forms like ISIS are the result of trying to restore the old. China and India are examples of finding new cultures. Both processes are extremely difficult and prone to severe violence.

We destroyed those cultures. That's why there was a Mao Tze-Tung who tried to build what he called a communist one. And that's why China is experimenting now with a structure called oligarchy - just like the U.S.  That's why there's an ISIS. We created these crises by submitting nations to rapid change - and all for the quick profit of billionaires. The best thing we can do now is to leave them alone.

And our native peoples? They face a very difficult time. 1.The old culture cannot be revived. The world that culture lived in has gone. Some of it can be restored - but even for the parts that can there's a problem because not all native cultures across Canada were the same. 2. I doubt very much that the current, small    reserves are adequate to shape a culture. 3.Ideally, it should be native people who form their own culture. But that would not please big business which wants their land, and which wants them to fit into their system. For that reason, neither the Liberals nor the Conservatives will do anything to help native peoples. I'm not familiar with the position of the NDP. But we're looking at a long and difficult process. And I've met nobody who has an answer.

Okay. The Irving press.

The front page headline screams that Trudeau criticized the NDP. Big deal. This is standard election chatter which tells us nothing about the real issues. It continues on the last page with the story that Premier Gallant will not campaign with Trudeau. Just above it is a photo taken yesterday of Gallant campaigning with Trudeau. Wwell, who could possibly care?

The real headline story is hidden on B2. The government of New Brunswick has not taken even the tiniest of steps to protect our fresh water supply. The plans were made for it thirteen years ago, but never put into action. Now, seven lakes are affected by algae bloom which can be very dangerous - and those lakes flow into our rivers - not to mention our homes.

Everything to do the job was prepared 13 years ago. And what  has been done about it? Well the environment department says it's been thinking about it.

What with?                

Surprisingly ( well, not surprisingly) this story has the usual approach to Irving reporting. The reporter writes down whatever he or she is told. There is no attempt to get some information on Algae bloom and why it's dangerous to us.

Anyway, it's hidden on B2 to make room for the hot story that Justin Trudeau criticized the NDP about - something.

They must buy their news editors at garage sales.

The news part of Section A is all just as bad. It's always the same - a picture of a cat on A2. The big news on A5 is that advertisers have to be careful not to offend various gender groups because then they won't buy products associated with that..  Who woulda guessed?

A7 has its always irrelevant column "Fifteen minutes of fame", a column devoted to a local resident we don't know, and who has nothing in particular to say. I don't blame the person for that. I blame a lazy and cheaply run newspaper.

de Adder's cartoon is good stuff, the real stuff of political cartooning.

The editorial is, as always, trivial and brainless. It tells us that lobster fishing is important to our community. I think we all knew that. What's the next stimulating thought - that the sun rises in the morning?

Norton is back to writing his usual kiss-up for the new hockey rink. He says a majority of people want it. He has no evidence for that claim except that the city council voted for it 8 to 3 so that,  he says, means that 62.5% of the public supports it. Please, Norbert.

In any case, we've had no information from this newspaper about the project, and not a word of criticism.  Anyway, he says, they voted for it, so any criticism is now just pointless negativity. Not so, Norbert.

Criticism can now focus on the constant bias of this wretched newspaper - and on rethinking our votes in for the next civic election.

And Norbert, I hope you washed your hands after writing this one.

Craig Roberts writes an impassioned column about the obligation of journalists to get at the whole truth, and how some who were covering the riots in Ferguson, Missouri, are being persecuted by police for their dedication to getting the truth.

Not to worry, Craig, no journalist for the Irving press will ever get into that sort of trouble.

Steve Malloy writes that he likes the Toronto Blue Jays. I don't care, Steve.

The guest columnist is president and ceo of Mr. Irving's favourite think-tank and propaganda house, The Atlantic Institute of Market Studies. He's also boring.

Section A, with the exception of de Adder's cartoon, has to be the worst section A I have ever read from any part of the world.
Section B is four, count them, four lousy pages. Perhaps the biggest story is on B4. It's about an elite, private school in the US. It has a tradition for students in final year to try to take the virginity of younger girls. That's scarcely a surprise.

My rich cousin went to a very 'elite' private school. In fact, he was named "First Boy" in his final year. He was arrogant, and had the brain of a retarded cockroach. Lots of kids in private schools go there because they have no brains, and wouldn't pass in a public school. The teachers are not better than public school teachers. Some of the kids in them are smart and some aren't - just like public schools. There's nothing elite about the kids or the schools The only 'elite' thing about most of them is that the kids' parents have enough money to send them.

But it's interesting to see a news report using the word "elite" to describe a school simply because it's full of rich kids. The word elite suggest that these people are superior to the rest of us. ( And they and their parents actually think they're superior to us.) That's not a good sign in a democracy.

For some reason, there's a story about Trump releasing a policy paper. I read the story. There was nothing there I hadn't read or heard about for a good week. His policy is essentially racist. It's the same policy Hitler used against Jews. And, as a result, Trump is leading in the GOP polls. And Harper, as de Adder's cartoon shows, is pursuing the same policy.

We didn't defeat Hitler. We've joined him.

Awful, awful, awful paper.

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