Yesterday, I drove past Frank Clair Stadium in Ottawa, and remembered games I had seen there. Greater Ottawa has struggled for years to re-establish a CFL team. Even with its population of 1.3 million, even with its high income levels, even with its backing of wealthy investors, the team is going to have to seek financial support from the Ottawa city government - forever.
The reason I had gone to see an Ottawa game was that my own Alouettes in Montreal had gone broke. Greater Montreal has a population of well over three and a half million.
When I told people in Monttreal and Toronto that Greater Moncton, population about 160,000. was talking of getting a CFL team, they laughed. Now, I pick up The MonctonTimes and Transcript to find most of the first page, plus two more pages in Section A, devoted to Touchdown Atlantic. (followed closely by a story about orphaned kittens - the second time in a week that story has made the front page.)
Most of the reportage and commentary is just fatuous. The CFL commissioner is quoted as raving about the mood of the crowd at last year's game. "People were really enthusiastic about showing off their pride in their city."
What on earth does going to a football game and cheering for teams from two, distant cities have to do with showing pride in Moncton?
At first, I thought this was the old New Brunswick scheme of some influential people getting into our tax money to make a quick buck, and then getting out before people realize what a financial hole they've been sucked into. However, I'm not sure that is the case - if only because we may be even deeper into financial crisis long before a team could take the field.
What this may reflect, instead, is the primary mission of BrunswickMedia - to keep New Brunswickers in the dark about what is going on in this province (or anywhere else).; and to divert them with trivia - ooh - look at those cute. little kittens.
I know of few papers that would run a cute kitten story on the front page. And very few that would do it twice in five days. And those very few are the same type that carry headlines like "Oprah diaries tell shocking story.:
The NewsToday section remains without any sense of focus or planning. The war in Libya - which we were told almost a month ago is over - is still going on. What does this mean? A story from PostMedia tells us we might be heading into a recesssion. Might be? The world has been in a recession which is not yet officially a depression only because the super rich contiue to get richer. In the US, with fifty million living on food stamps and with tent cities springing up across the country, the poor and the middle class are not a recession. It's a depression.
The spotty bits of news in this section serve only to fill a few pages that they had no ads for. There is no hint this section has any editor or guiding plan..
There are solid columns by Alec Bruce and David Suzuki. The only other reason to buy today's Moncton Times and Transcript is to look for sales on 2011 cars.
The problem is not simply that BrunwickMedia newspapers are used hide what is going on, and to spread propaganda for the owners. It's even worse than that. They are quite deliberately intended to keep the thinking of New Brunswickers trivial and irrelevant so they can be more easily ripped off. And it works. Just look at the people we've voted for in the last two provincial elections.