Friday, July 26, 2013

The High Price of Free News

Greetings, Critical Thinkers.

I've ranted about Metro "News" before, but I've seen some things in that rag over the past few days which have really rekindled my ire.   

On July 18'th the once-proud city of Detroit, Michigan filed for the largest municipal bankruptcy in the history of the United States.  Anyone who's been watching the Motor City's slow and steady decline over the past forty years knows that there are a slew of factors which contributed to this outcome: increased domestic and foreign competition, government corruption, rampant crime, a plummeting population, decreased tax revenue and an engineered housing market crash.

But not according to this corporate-friendly global wire dispatch which was blithely printed in the Metro on Monday July 22'nd:

"In 1950, Detroit's population peaked at more then 1.8 million.  But by that time, the auto industry had started to seek refuge from Detroit's powerful unions in other states and overseas."   

Now, although I'm more then willing to squeeze "union abuse" in between "government corruption" and "rampant crime", I wouldn't want readers to think that EVIL UNIONS were sole reason for Detroit's woes.  Who the hell wrote this article?  Tucker Carlson?

This is my main beef with the Metro.  Frazzled, busy, uninformed commuters are going to look at this and conclude "Friggin' unions, whatta menace" without understanding why we need them in the first place.  It's because corporations can't be trusted to do things that are just and ethical.          

But that's just one of the Metro's recent transgressions.  Littered all over the bus like discarded Arby's coupons, I made the mistake of picking up and then flipping through one of these dreadful things yesterday. Here's what my incredulous eyes beheld:
  • The prime real-estate on page three was dominated by a merger between a local shoe shop and a venerable department store.  Page two, by the way, was a full-spread ad for a car dealership. 
  • A story about a harrowing raccoon-based home invasion appeared on page four.  Crammed into the lower right hand corner of the same page was a story about some dead fisherman.  Whatevs
  • Page five: nothin' but Shoppers Drug Mart love for as far as the eye can see. 
  • A headline which read "Chris Brown Not Cowed By Protests" appeared on page six.  Coincidently the EXACT SAME ARTICLE also appeared on page eight.
  • Finally on page seven I found the paper's first truly substantial story, a tragic tale about five-hundred and eighty-two documented cases of missing aboriginal women.  Now, keep in mind this came after the stories about shoes, racoons, and the fact that some of us choose not to forgive a wife-beating scumbag.  
  • Then, on page nine, I stumbled across one of the most blatantly-useless articles I've ever seen in a widely-circulated newspaper: "PM's No Twitter Twit, So Who Writes His Tweets?"  Really?  Seriously, Metro?  Is there so little corruption, greed and evil going on in our world that you have to pad your "news"paper with a story about how Stephen Harper doesn't have as many Twitter followers as Barrack Obama?  A feature like that tells me one two things, either (A) We're desperately trying to make boring news seem more appealing to people who are obsessed with Twitter or (B) they're trying to propagate the falsehood that we should all be obsessed with Twitter.  Hey, Metro, instead of exposing Harper's deplorable social media skills why don't you start addressing the increasingly impossible-to-ignore mound of evidence which conclusively proves that HE'S THE WORST PRIME MINISTER IN CANADIAN HISTORY.  
  • Page ten manages to sandwich in three more relevant news stories about asshole Gay Pride protestors in Montenegro, anti-government actions in Bulgaria and an update on the unconsionably-detained Russian punk rock activist group Pussy Riot.  If you're on the verge of actually learning something here, don't panic.  Just flip to the next page, read the article entitled "Mom's More Plugged In Then You Think" and rest assured that the paper is definitely targeted towards porn-dodging tweens and mentally-arrested twenty-year-olds.  
  • The rest of the paper (from page twelve all the way up to yet another full-page car dealership ad which constitutes the back of this unholy fish-wrapper) is a smattering of useless editorials, vapid entertainment news, inconsequential sports stories, and a delightfully quick n' easy recipe.  *A-hem*  Sorry, but that recipe was more innovative then 99% of the crap in that paper.  Honestly, if you want to know how the Blue Jays have been creatively blowing leads lately, what the best brand of make-up primer is or why Amanda Bynes shouldn't be allowed within fifty feet of a gas can, this part of the paper is tailor-made just for you.  Which is to say, it's made for everyone since corporate media and politicians are always trying to divert attention away from what they're up to and towards all of the pretty, fun, silly, shiny things.
So, come clean, Metro.  Admit it: you're less of a newspaper and more of a house organ for your corporate taskmasters.  Want me to prove it?  What were you doing when The Coast was exposing our former Mayor's concert and executor scandals?  Oh right, you were sniffing around Tim Bousquet's word processor for table scraps, which from hereon will be referred to as "Scoopy Snacks"™.

Stop trying to Jedi Mind Trick us into thinking that stories about shoes, racoons and Chris Brown constitutes news.  Get out there and start rakin' through the muck.

It's already up to our knees, fer Chrissakes.  

EPIC DOC  Regardless of what you think about Michael Moore, you can't deny the fact that he was born and raised in Flint, Michigan and saw first hand what impact shareholder greed had on his neck of the woods.  

EPIC OBSERVATIONS  There's more hard-hitting news in one segment of The Colbert Report then there is in the entire Metro News archive.  By the way, when Fox News pinheads are refering to "lavish pensions" they actually mean "pensions".

FAIL-URE PRECEDENT   Given the insurmountable level of U.S. national debt, will more American cities follow in Detroit's staggering footsteps? 

FAILURE OF RESOURCES  Here's today useless Metro headline du jour


No comments: