Where would we be if there was no coffee in the world? I suppose chocolate bars would be bigger sellers.
It's so nice when the media does the politicians' job for them. Quoth the Globe and Mail's Campbell Clark on A4, second paragraph (the 'nut' graph, for j-skoolers). "New attention has been focused on grow-ops since the killing of four RCMP officers during a raid 11 days ago. That has prompted MPs to consider joining the ranks of those who complain that judges have been too lenient on a criminal activity that is causing harm in many communities."
Hmm, is that the same raid that the RCMP commissioner said had less to do with a grow-op than initially suggested? I guess Globe readers would never know, given that Canada's national news source hasn't bothered to report that little kernel of information.
Rather than report that MPs have twisted this tragedy to suit their agenda, why doesn't Clark call them on their shit?
Clark then goes on to report that MPs are calling for mandatory minimum sentencing for grow-ops, which is an inherently bad idea. Minimum sentincing doesn't allow for discretion for special cases - someone growing medicinal marijuana, for example. But Clark is politicizing the issue for them, doing their legwork and pushing their spin.
(insert insensitive "tsunami of aid" pun here)
At the risk of sounding like a complete dickhead, perhaps the rush to donate money to tsunami relief agencies was a tad . . . disorganized?
International Co-operation Minister Aileen Carroll is all over the place today, demanding that aid agencies get their act together and demand some of Canada's massive pile of tsunami aid.
Apparently these agencies are too busy helping people and spending the private sector donations to file the requisite paperwork to get federal cash.
The outpouring of aid warmed my heart, it truly did, but the way the media hyped the cause and the subsequent oneupmanship among world leaders was a bit much. Day in and day out for weeks on end, the media published sad personal stories and captivating photos and citizens and their government responded in kind.
Meanwhile, thousands of people killed in Sudan and nobody blinked. Uganda is embroiled in a civil war between armies of child soldiers and nobody (except Allan Rock, it's in today's papers too) noticed. Congo spins further into the spiral of poverty that has beset it since colonial times. AIDS kills millions in Africa.
A goodwill spirit engulfed the Western world, but rather than seize the opportunity to present other crises, the mainstream media took the easy route, politicians followed suit and now millions of dollars in aid sit uncollected. And Africans continue to die in droves.
And the news hook is. . . non-existent!
Tell me what this headline says to you. "Canadians sign up for duty with U.S. Army: Much-Needed Recruits."
If you said "oh, I guess Canadians are signing up for duty in the U.S. to help address the shortage of recruits," you'd be wrong.
The Post's Tom Blackwell reports that more than 50 Canadian citizens have volunteered to join the U.S. Army since the war in Iraq began. Wow, that's kind of interesting. I guess they were inspired by the noble fight for freedom, right?
Oh wait, look at paragraph two, where Blackwell provides what we in the media biz like to call "context."
"Douglas Smith, a spokesman for the army's recruitment command, said the army hasn't tried to find potential soldiers in Canada as it struggles with growing recruitment challenges."
And a bit further down:
"The number is typical of normal Canadian recruitment into the U.S. Army, even though recent volunteers have faced the likelihood of serving in Afghanistan or Iraq, he said."
So to recap, Americans with Canadian citizenship (important to note, they are dual citizens, they have to be to enlist) typically enlist in the U.S. army, the number has not gone up or down because of the war and there is no additional push to recruit Canadians.
Read the headline again. Then weep for the state of the media.
This report not brought to you by the White House
A great story appeared in the New York Times this weekend. Apparently, it wasn't enough for the White House to pay "pundits" to praise government initiatives. They also assembled complete broadcast news segments and sent them around to local TV stations, who then aired the pieces as packaged, often omitting the government-sponsored tagline at the end in favour of their own sign offs to disguise the fact that they were airing propaganda.
Wow, given the ready access that most Canadians have to U.S. broadcast news, you'd think someone would report this in Canada, right?
Not a single story today.
Look, I understand the hesitance to report on other outlets' reports, but this is the New York Times. It's cited as a source all the time in Canada.
It's also the single most disturbing story I've ever read about the Bush administration, ever.
And since no paper wants to give it to you, I will. It's right here.
Wait, the Bible's against killing?
Straight up, I can't figure this one out. The Citizen, understandably, devotes a lot of space to the triple murder in Ottawa yesterday. But the supplemental piece on A1 about the rarity of killing blood relatives leads with a quote from the Book of Exodus, where we're told to honour our mother and father.
We're providing biblical citations to major news events now? There's also a reference in the story to Cane and Abel, along with Hamlet and Greek mythology.
I don't even know what to write about this one.
If you're bored, there's plenty more on pot out there today, including a Globe editorial that says we should get tougher on weed cause the U.S. says so and an opinion piece by Liberal MP David Kilgour in the Citizen that propagates the ridiculous myth that pot smokers will all become hard drug users. I'll let you write your own scathing critiques of those two.