Tar Sands Action: Media Sleaze?

Do you think we can rely on the news media that bring us our daily dose of news?

Don’t be too sure!

I was in Ottawa 2 days ago, on Monday (Sept. 26th) for the fabulous protest on the Alberta tar sands rape. My first posting on it is here (Good site for learning about the tar sands situation here Blog posting with a list of good things to watch about it here)

Yesterday I read the coverage given to the event by Ottawa’s “Metro” paper. Said coverage was short & a little on the deceptive side.

  1. A rally took place before the civil disobedience & the arrests began. The rally lasted around an hour & a half & included short talks by 12 amazing speakers. It was very informative indeed about the realities of the tar sands impacts on indigenous communities – yet the news coverage did not even mention it! Same thing happened on G20 weekend in Toronto in late June 2010. A mind-blower of a collection of speakers took place on the Friday night in Massey Hall – yet the media failed to report on that event. I guess this is convenient for the (mostly corporate-dominated) media & their masters, the corporations that do not want Canadians to hear the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about their activities (the less we hear, the better, from their standpoint).
  2. The Ottawa Metro front page story states “more than 100 protesters climbed over a fence erected on Parliament Hill yesterday and sat peacefully, waiting to be arrested.” The truth is, more than 200 climbed over that fence – people young & old & even one man in a wheelchair (not quite sure how he got over, as I was by then on the grass, over to the side, & could not see the fence clearly).
  3. The police & media are now able to report a smaller # of arrestees because, due to the unaccountable length of time it took the 2 police forces to do their job (Royal Canadian Mounted Police or RCMP are in charge on Parliament Hill, & they then had to hand arrestees over to the Ottawa city police force), at the end of the day the police released about 60 people, i.e., just let them go without laying the charge that those of us dealt with earlier had received. Looks to me like this serves the agenda of our federal government & the corporate agenda – an agenda about minimizing & dismissing the concerns of those more than 200 individuals willing to be arrested to make a strong statement about the violent rape taking place in the Alberta tar sands.
  4. I’ve heard that our corporate-owned prime minister made some remark about the people rallying & being arrested as protesting “against jobs.” Harper may be an awful man, but he is not stupid. He knows that Conservative politicians win votes by appealing to voters’ baser & most selfish instincts (great quote: “The modern conservative…is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy. That is the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.” – John Kenneth Galbraith). Our prime minister tries to make us look bad by casting protesters as anti-jobs. Truth is, there are far more jobs to be had in the renewable energy sector than in the dead-end tar sands project. Jobs that do not destroy the land, the people & the communities they live in.

I recall seeing a protest sign a great many years ago that I thought put it rather well.

No jobs on a dead planet.


P.S. I’ve heard there are 250,000 people employed in Germany in the solar & wind industries. 100,000 in the U.S. These are impressive numbers! Tar sands jobs are dirty & unsustainable & the tar sands project is destroying the environment & the people who live downstream. How can Conservative politicians defend this “rape & run” mentality???

P.P.S. As John Gofman points out in his brilliant book “Irrevy - An Irreverent, Illustrated View of Nuclear Power,” the corporate bigshots who really run the show on our planet like projects that are BIG – because BIG projects mean BIG profits. Smaller enterprises like alternative energy projects spread the work & the power around. That doesn’t work for the big corporations, who have no desire to share their power & their profits (lots of Gofman gems from “Irrevy” here & here).

P.P.P.S. Good article on the protest called "Jail Before Climate-Wrecking Tar Sands" by Stephen Leahy here Another good one here