Monday, January 25, 2016

Jan. 25: Just the Irving press in this one.

I'm starting this very late on a Monday night. (It's been a tough day.)

The front page headline isn't really a headline. In fact, it's not really a news story at all. “What happened to province's tri-city partnership?” is a question. News stories don't ask questions. They give information. This is really speculation, and it should be on the Comments page.

Another big story is that a new barber shop is opening. Wow! And a woman will cut men's hair. Double Wow!  Oh, death, where is they sting? Where, grave, thy victory?

It gets worse. The editorial is a vague ramble about raising money. It ends with the usual drivel that this province's civil service is too big. This ignorant chatter works on many people. I see it reflected in a letter to the editor today. The truth is that New Brunswick's public service, for the size of the population here, is in step with other provinces across Canada. The truth, unrecognized by the 'experts' at the Irving press is that a government is not a candy store. It is a complex and difficult thing to manage. We need a good civil service.

And we are not overgoverned. Certainly, we are not overgoverned by the party in power, whether Liberal or Conservative. We are overgoverned by the real government, big business.

It also raises the very dumb suggestion that the government should hold big meetings across the province to get ideas for the budget. Now, the purpose of an election is not to elect people who will tour the province asking what it should do. (And it's not to ask the general population which has no training or experience in operating such a budget. That's like seeing a doctor because you're sick, then telling him to consult with the general public on what medication you need. If people don't know what to do they shouldn't be running for office in the first place.)

A government is supposed be made up of people who run for office by telling us what they will do and why. And they have a civil service because that's where they get expert advice and a system of management.

It's bad enough that this editorial is ignorant of the basics of both government and economics. But the last sentence in an obvious kiss on the Irving rear end. It would be nice (but unlikely) to see an editorial that would tell the truth about New Brunswick. It's not the civil service that has too much power and costs too much. It's people like the owner of this shabby rag.

There is an excellent letter to the editor “Low-Wages earners, Stand up for your rights.” And one good letter out of four is superb for this paper.

On the same page is a superb column by Valerie Stearns of New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity. This beats anythng Norbert has ever written.

The commentary page has a more typically Irving press commentary column from that propaganda house called the Fraser Institute.

Alec Bruce begins and (almost) finishes with an interesting column which raises questions about why Potash Corp folded. The questions are good.

But then he hints at a cause in just one sentence, doesn't explain it, then hints, without quite saying so, that if we had permitted fracking, Potashcorp would still be in business here.

Bruce has commonly supported fracking, neatly ignoring the medium and long term dangers of it as a fuel source and the immediate dangers of it as a killer. There are serious problems which this paper has never reported. The usual argument is – duh – it'll create jobs. Well – duh – damn little of that money would ever stay in the province and even less of it would reach the pockets of those who need it. So let me ask a question of Alec Bruce.

You have consistently supported fracking in spite of much evidence against it, and an awful lot of evidence that our climate is changing rapidly. So, my question is -

Is this because you work for a paper owned by Mr. Irving?

(Or, to quote Alec Bruce's hint - “...does the sun rise in the East?”)

But compared to section B, (Canada and World), Section A is world class journalism.

The headline in Section B is “Archbishop tells La Loche, Sask., to forgive.” ( This is in reference to the school shootings in that town.) Of course that's what the archbishop said. What the hell would you expect an archbishop to say? “Follow me to the jail, and we'll hang that bastard from the highest tree”?

That's not news. News is something to help us understand what happened. A real news story would tell us about our neglect and abuse of native peoples that leads to incidents like this. That's what CBC did. It has several reports on these issues.

The archbishop said the community should try to find hope for the youth of Laroche. That's as useless as any sermonette I have seen in the faith page of this paper. The people are isolated. Canada has caused them enormous damage for well over a century. It has abused them. It has neglected them. How is this small and isolated community supposed to build “hope for its youth”?

There is nothing in Canada and World worth reading – and at least one story is almost pure propaganda. It's on the last of the four, miserable pages of Canada and World. The president of Egypt talks about the uprising of 2011 that brought “freedom and democracy” to Egypt.

In fact, the president of Egypt is a dictator set up by the army with American support. It now has one of the worst records in the world for its disregard of human rights. The uprising itself was financed and organized by the U.S. to depose an elected government which American billionaires did not approve of. The news story mentions the latter points – but only briefly, and not until almost the end. (Good newspapers don't do that because they know that most readers don't read that far in an article.)

Most of this issue is, again, an insult to readers. It's trivial. It reflects an editorial ignorance of what the important stories are.

It is not possible to have a democracy in a province whose newspapers are so biased, so ignorant, so careless of sound, journalistic practice, so trivial…..

It's late. I'll send this off as it is. Tomorrow, I'll pay no attention to what's in the Irving press (unless it's something mega dreadful). I'll try to spend most of the time on world news – try to catch up a bit on it.

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