Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Lac Megantic...Another Tragedy Surrounds the Disaster.......
The specter of so many dead and the images of utter destruction makes for a summer blockbuster that even Hollywood is hard up to provide.
And so the media gears up, I mean it really gears up, rushing multiple reporters and equipment to the scene, with all hands mustered to fish for any scrap of information to advance the story and where failing real developments, idle speculation and willful manipulation are the order of the day, to keep the pot boiling.
This is what the media lives for. If you think I'm exaggerating, ask yourself who is really watching television news channels on a beautiful summer day with temperature approaching 30 degrees and the sun glaring down.
The first casualty in any such newsworthy disaster is journalistic integrity, as the story is fitted along the lines that the public is most in tune with.
It was no surprise that the chairman of the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway was made out to be a modern version of Simon Legree. He was practically cast for the part as the local media crafted a narrative of evil greed and malfeasance, before any real facts could be established.
And so the media weaved a story of an accident caused by willful neglect, callous cost-cutting and abject indifference and dereliction of duty. It was of course what the public wanted to hear, a story that best suited the enraged emotions, the need to hate and the need to blame.
What glorious fun it was for the media to pounce on the unfortunate Ed Burkhardt a media-challenged yutz, who didn't understand the importance in appearing humble, contrite and deferential.
Instead the idiot offered some injudicious opinions better left unsaid, galvanizing his position as an unrepentant money-grubber, indifferent to the suffering of the locals, intent on saving his own skin and wallet.
How much wiser it would have been to leave it to the spin-masters to bob and weave in his staid, saying all the right things, but nothing really at all.
And then there are the language fanatics, who could not resist demanding that the American company adopt a French demeanor and where every French grammatical error was elevated to a deliberate slap to the face of the francophone collective.
And this not only in the fringe press, with "Speak White' echoing through the pages of the Journal de Montreal, as journo after journo took language potshots at the hapless Burkhardt.
Then there were the shameful politicians seeking to make political points on the backs of the dead and the attached media spotlight, the egregious Thomas Mulcair leading the way, blaming the entire fiasco on his political opponent as if Stephan Harper ordered the train to crash.
Stand back gentle readers, and look at the idiots, the fools, the greedy manipulators, be it railroad apologists, conservationists, separatists and the pipeline proponents all trying to spin the disaster to best further their interests.
And now, it is the turn of the shysters to have their go. Already an Ontario lawyer has announced a class-action lawsuit against the company, its president and the hapless train conductor, all without a shred of evidence.
But no matter, the evidence will come later, after the clients have been bagged and tagged.
And so the media continues to paint a fantastical picture, partly true, partly what we wish it to be and partly make-believe.
Even the stately Montreal Gazette couldn't resist with this sappy editorial, one with absolutely no basis in fact.
"This outpouring of support for those afflicted by a disaster such as this can be explained in part by the culture of solidarity and strong sense of collectivity prevalent in Quebec society."
'Culture of Solidarity?'....... Arrgghhh..... what a crock!
When it comes to charity, Quebecers have always been the least generous of Canadians, whether it be with their money or their donated time and this disaster underlines that fact better than ever.
So far the Red Cross has collected a paltry $3.5 million dollars towards the disaster, and this from across Canada.
But even if we considered that all the money came from Quebecers (which it didn't) it would amount to less than 50¢ per person, not exactly a Herculean effort.
As for corporate donations, how is it that companies based outside of Quebec are infinitely more generous than Quebec based companies?
So far as I can see, here is a list of corporate donations so far. I'm sure it's not complete, but you get the picture..
Companies based outside Quebec
TD Bank ..........$50,000
Once, again is the ROC carrying the freight? (Apologies, that was an extremely bad pun.)
And let us not forget the most generous contribution of Quebec's very own Celine Dion who made sure her $100,000 contribution was splashed all over the media.
But consider this, after a deduction for taxes the donation represented no more than 50K, this from someone worth $400 million.
It's equivalent to someone worth $250,000 donating $62 and receiving a $20- $30 tax discount.
Not particularly impressive.
And how about those mandatory benefit concerts put on to show solidarity with the victims and raise money and awareness.
Not one real headliner has signed on to the scheduled event at the 'Lac-Megantic relief at Le Monument National'' as yet, but hey, it's the summer and people have plans... (more solidarity?)
(Maybe Celine donated the cash so she wouldn't have to show?) Link
At any rate, I remain thoroughly disgusted with events surrounding the Lac Megantic nightmare.
While the media portrays the public reaction as something heroic, I see it as the theater of the absurd, where most everyone involved is seeking something for themselves.
By the way, I can't resist publishing this news report aired by an important Los Angeles television station eager to 'scoop' everyone with the names of the pilots of the Korean Asiana airliner that went down in San Francisco.
The names of the pilots had been withheld by authorities, but with the information in hand, the station couldn't resist beating the competition to the story. It just shows how crazy the media becomes around these disasters.
I hope they are good and embarrassed.
Posted by Editor on 7/16/2013 12:26:00 AM