Friday, October 13, 2017

RYERSON UNIVERSITY IS NAMED PERFECTLY


EGERTON'S STATUE MAY BE TORONTO'S OLDEST

This silly argument that Ryerson University needs another name because Egerton Ryerson's has been ruined by his harm to indigenous Canadians demonstrates how activists can ignore history when they contrive indignation about flawed leaders.
The taint comes from those residential schools for what were then called Indians. (And that name still exists in our legislation governing indigenous peoples.) The schools were awful in every possible way.
Canada's federal bureaucrats who acted in such a cruel paternalistic fashion in operating the schools displayed stunning ignorance and callous contempt for decades as they ruined lives and ripped apart families.
But to blame Egerton Ryerson after whom the university is named, saying he was the creator and significant operator of these residential schools, is to flaunt an amazing illiteracy about the man and his writings and his morality and how governments work.
Then to have this slop over like pigs' feed to urgings that his statue be removed from where it has stood since 1889 - the oldest major public statue in the city built from pupils' pennies and even foreign donations - shows that the bellowing activists behind these demands deserve an F for their malicious lack of research.
The idea behind residential schools started in New France with various religions long before Egerton was even born in 1803.  Egerton did recommend them many years later in an important report and also in a supporting letter in 1847 as he became the top education official in what was then Upper Canada. Two such schools did start a year later but were not run by him, were judged failures and  closed quickly.
It was only as Egerton retired as the top provincial education official in 1876 that supporting legislation was passed federally. He died in 1882 as the residential system was getting underway in a major way, run by an Indian Affairs bureaucracy in Ottawa which brooked no interference from 1867 on from provincial officials like Egerton and his successors.
So student politicians at the university where I am a graduate and was once the student president are blaming the indignities of residential schools on a man admired throughout North America for his pioneering work to make education available to all, not just the rich.
Yet this leader didn't originate the idea or implement the concept but is guilty mainly for being a minister who as a young man had worked as a missionary among tribes in southern Ontario and believed with all his might that children and his many friends among the natives - who included a man who lived with him in the family home in the vicinity of Dundas Square - would benefit from a general practical education with a generous helping of Christianity.
Now I may be the son of a woman who graduated from Toronto Bible College on her way to the mission field, and my aunt was a prominent missionary in Nigeria long when it was still all mud huts and not filled with oil millionaires and con men, but I don't much like education laced with religion.
Egerton was very much the Methodist minister in his debates and sermons and voluminous writings in wanting to mix the two as the basic recipe to prepare everyone for a good life. Yet if he is to be trashed for that, then the same activists must denigrate a host of  Roman Catholic and Anglican priests, indeed all religious figures in the new country. They all believed that everyone, certainly the natives too, would benefit from education with regular religious instruction along with a good dose of cod liver oil every Friday night.
(Since U of T is infested with activists fighting free speech under the politically correct banner, I expect to hear about Victoria University also mounting an apologetic plaque, just like the one to be placed beside Egerton's statue, to explain Egerton's beliefs since he founded Vic before building his marvellous nursery for education at St. James Square where his statue stands.)
As I detail in my book Ryerson University - A Unicorn Among Horses, Egerton's name was considered apt as the name in 1948 for the old complex about to house a new form of education which featured hands-on training as well as liberal arts and coaching in whatever innovations technology developed. After all, Egerton in his personal life demonstrated that he could do everything from farming to panelling the living room to building a stout skiff  to sail Lake Ontario.
I went into this in detail with experts on Egerton, and they never mentioned, along with the Canadian Encyclopedia listing, anything to do with residential schools. It just wasn't a major part of his important career. I have read hundreds of pages of his writings, and he seemed to produce a thousand words before lunch every day, and maybe a sermon, and found lots of praise for the natives with whom he was working, but nothing much on residential schools.
I have talked to educators about my book as it was published in the spring. In it, Egerton's work with natives and tenuous involvement with residential schools was mentioned briefly because, after all, it was a footnote in his stunning list of accomplishments.
David Crombie, an important Ryerson administrator before he became Toronto's most popular mayor and finally Ryerson's first chancellor, loved how my "outstanding" book brought back "warm memories" in an "exciting, sometimes rollicking saga about how ordinary people were given the freedom and opportunity to invent a new education as a unique Ryerson played an extraordinary role in Ontario."
Sylvia Sutherland, a Ryersonian through and through before she married David, an important Ryerson official before they went off to Peterborough (he founded Sir Sandford Fleming and she became mayor) called my book a "must read" on Facebook.
They are veteran politicians. I am a veteran at covering politicians. And we know what verbal stunts politicians will pull, even student politicians, to get noticed. But it would be appropriate,  occasionally, if they actually did study all the information and just not try to create phoney outrage over what one of the giant figures in Canadian history did briefly in a long career.
Residential schools have a deserved odious reputation because of how they were inflicted on natives as if their family structure and tribal relationship didn't matter. Ironically, according to the elite of the world and even in literature, the concept can be wonderful if the pupils are not mistreated and ripped from their parents. Just look at all the books, all the lore, about Eton and Harrow and UCC and all the "public" schools in real life, and the Hogwarts of literature. Many of us in unhappy childhood, and I certainly include myself, dreamed about being a boarder in a residential school instead. Except the native version in Canada did everything wrong and was a perversion of education.
When Egerton died in 1882, the newspapers were filled with editorials lamenting the loss of such a great man because the baby country had so few of them. I still think he's great even if we are into an era when disembowelling the reputation of our historic greats is routine procedure for any publicity-hunting jerk who wants to claim Egerton was a racist and Sir John A. was a drunk and look at what what Pierre Trudeau did with that guitar player.
None of us, including the Biblical Jesus, are safe from ridicule and condemnation when the activist use fake facts to exaggerate faults.
It is fitting that Egerton Ryerson's statue faces away from the quadrangle heart of the university where dwell craven administrators and petty student pols. As a noted champion in education and religion who never shied from a fight, he would be embarrassed by what is happening there under his honourable name.






Sunday, October 1, 2017

SAVAGE HUMOUR OF MAX, BONO, DUNF.


NEVER WASTE A FULL ASSAULT WHEN A QUIP WILL DO

I went from sharing a battered desk and ancient typewriter, if I was early to work, then to offices shared with assorted characters, finally to what was supposed to be elite space.
In my journalism career, my fellow workers were often more interesting than the people I covered. And the buildings never made the architecture magazines.
 Along the way, I shared closet cubicles with Max, Bono and Dunf. No need to use their full names for those who were with the Sun when it really shone, but for the rest of you: Max Haines, Mark Bonokoski and Gary Dunford.
They were as different as night and day and summer, but for me they had one grand redeeming feature besides being fascinating individuals with their quirks, history and charm.
They could be devastating with snippet observations on the paper,  our colleagues, the opposition and life in general.
Max has just died. So that gentle smile which concealed a mind churning with caustic comments is still. He wrote about murder so well, I wondered if I should be careful about my rum-and-coke in the countless parties that surrounded the Sun "personalities" in the sunny days. After all, he was a graceful gentleman but he really wasn't that crazy about authorities.
As a political columnist who realized that many people didn't really like the horse trading and backrooms of politics, I found it useful before writing to bounce my insider information off of Max or Dunf because their sarcastic reaction anchored me on the ground where politics was despised. (I exclude Bono  because exchanging insights with him was like pouring more gasoline on a flamethrower.)
One thing is clear from the reaction to Max's death from those who worked with him for so long. There is a friendly nostalgia about his columns and his life. You see, in the business of news, where the stars are often not stars to the lesser lights, Max was as popular with his colleagues as he was with the readers.
To think that it all happened because he fled the underwear business after he bought a batch of bad elastic and panties started falling down all over the country. That loss was a great gain for all of us who love murder stories even when the latest Murdoch mystery seems a trifle strained.
The irony about the strange space once used by Max, Dunf and me was that some computer experts took it over, actually shovelling my files into the garbage. That was when I knew my days were numbered as the Editor Emeritus writing the occasional column from retirement.
I told Bono that I was going to phone Dunf to tell him of the loss of our weird eyrie but he observed that Dunf may not have much humour about it since he had been called to Toronto for a meeting where they fired him. Couldn't they have done it by phone?
I savour those days. The funny lines of Dunf who hung the nickname of "tiny perfect worship" on the city's most popular mayor, David Crombie. The Sunday that appeared, a group of us were travelling with Premier William Davis, who was to get a transit award in Miami, and everyone, including the premier, was passing the column around and guffawing about the bit where the mayor got lost in the shag carpet.
Now Max has gone on to spin mysteries for Saint Peter, Dunf is living in the great piney woods near Hudson's Bay, and Bono has just entered the sacred precincts of the Canadian News Hall of Fame.
Good for him. He deserves it. And I know something about halls of fame, actually having run this one briefly but resigning when members kept trying to get their friends inducted. I've been on the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, the Canadian Disability Hall of Fame and was head of city council's honours committee, all of which taught me that hall politics can be as weird as if the journalists were lawyers.
Yet the ultimate honour as every columnist knows is to have your fellow workers like your stuff and read your stuff and not indulge in the catty comments that surround pushy newcomers.
And I'm talking about real journalists, not the denizens of the world of fake news and trolls who pretend that anyone can write anything in social media and be as good as a real writer. Nope, folks, story tellers have been prized since caveman days, but to do it well takes skill and experience and talent, not just chutzpah.
The biggest fans of Max the story teller were the people who worked at the Toronto Sun. (Same with Bono and Dunf.) And there will be many sitting at his service who while they wait will recall their favourite piece.
There were many!
 The greatest accolade! Being liked by your peers!





Friday, September 29, 2017

NUDES, KNEELING AND PLAYBOY


ENDLESS OUTRAGE ABOUT PETTY ISSUES

I believe in standing at precise attention for O Canada.
I believe in kneeling.
I believe in nudes.
I believed in Playboy.
My beliefs have been jostled by a lot of jerks spouting off a lot of crap which demonstrates to everyone, as if there was any doubt, that they really don't give a damn about what anyone else thinks about anything, including the latest grabbag of minor issues.
Now I do. And if you want to kneel in protest or in prayer or to propose, go right ahead. There is an honourable foundation to that. And we don't need a mouthy jerk who rode outrage against the awful  politics of today into the White House to wrap himself in the flag as a shield against all those who  see that the Emperor wears no clothes.
I played a lot of football. I remember the game when the lineman beside me was hit so hard, the resulting concussion had him wear glasses for the rest of his life and we had trouble taking him to hospital because he couldn't remember the combination to get his street clothes out of his locker.
It is insulting to give publicity to some weakling who has dodged combat and contact sport only to criticize the penalties for high hits in football. He couldn't tackle a scarecrow. He doesn't even have enough guts to pay his debts and to stop cheating and lying.
I was already standing stiffly at attention before I was in the RCAF Reserve. A year ago at the CNE Air Show, I unloaded on three youths in the VIP section who slouched and talked during our anthem.
They looked shocked when I pointed out profanely that they could take their hands out of their pockets and shove them up their ass.
Let's move on to a pleasant topic, nudes, and particularly nice pictures of nude women, and particularly how they were displayed in Playboy.
Now when I was a teenager in the 1950s,  Playboy still had an illicit keep-it-under-the-mattress flavour. Yet I actually did read it for the articles too. It was an excellent magazine even if the publisher was sleazy.
I was astounded as the kid editor of The Whitehorse Star to find that the famous Marilyn Monroe nude picture in the first Playboy (she was clothed on the cover and nude inside, and was never paid) hung in full view over the desk on which I laid out the paper, a desk once used by a local bank accountant named Robert W. Service.
The publisher didn't really care what people thought of that. And he certainly proved that by having a luscious nude painting of his wife hang in his living room. Not everyone realized it was his wife. The United Church minister who roomed with them didn't until I pointed out the resemblance. Which meant that he blushed every time he saw her.
It was in the Yukon that I learned to be careful about how much I argued about something because one irate reader was inclined to come to the newspaper office to complain. He had very brittle bones and was very pugnacious so I was afraid of getting into a fatal scrap with him. He also occasionally came with a shotgun.
That was thousands of columns and editorials and blogs and commentaries ago. But after I make my point, I try to shut up, because I remember that it can be dangerous not to.
Not only is it safer, it's infuriatingly boring to have Trump or trolls or Fox anchors go on and on in their inept language without ever managing to say anything graceful or new.
The reality is that too many politicians and commentators worry at anthem protests like a dog with a bone. Yet it's all a diversion!  In the end these issues don't matter as much as more difficult topics like taxes, health care, education etc. And so we are stuck, like insects on pins in a collector's box, with a rebellion against politicians that elected Trump and Trudeau.
And so I return to playboys.




Monday, September 18, 2017

TORONTO'S INSANITY OVER BIKES


POLITICIANS NEED TRAINING WHEELS ON THEIR MINDS

It's just before 9 a.m. on Harbord west of Spadina when three tots teeter by my car in shaky control of their bikes.
All legal since they were using Toronto's octopus tangle of bike lanes. Also insane since many parents, including me, would not have let Grade Oners ride on any road without running alongside waving medieval shields.
My son Mark and I are fighting morning traffic to get to the hospital complex on University which might as well be surrounded by a moat due to construction, cyclists, and stupidity.
 I lecture Mark, who knows the speech well, that cyclists should not be allowed to use major streets during rushhour. For that matter, there are some major arteries where bikes should be banned all the time, like the major highways.
Mark has lived and worked in China for years, to the extent he can speak Mandarin and some Cantonese. He points out that some streets in Shanghai, that giant city, are closed to bikes, the Chinese not being nuts about what used to be their major transportation.
At this point, a father drifts by our traffic jam on a big bike with one hand holding the seat of a kid's bike being ridden by a girl who may still be in kindergarten. She is zigzagging along the bike lane.
I see a cruiser coming and vainly try to flag it down. Much as I believe in letting parents raise their own kids without interference by the state, I didn't feel like testifying at a coroner's inquest because the odds were high that she might skid into traffic despite the efforts of the beanpole father wearing farmer's suspenders.
I would have sicced the cop on father-and daughter without misgiving, but I also concede that many cyclists, who have just been reminded again by new cycling laws that they have to act in all ways like vehicles on our roads, routinely don't while cops ignore the scofflaws.
I end up 20 minutes late for a major medical matter involving my wife primarily because cyclists near the city core were buzzing around like demented bees.
I daydreamed recently about a sarcastic column where I complained that cyclists were not obeying the new law that they must stay a metre away from vehicles.
Then I looked at that law again and saw that while the driver has to keep a metre from the bike, the cyclist has no such obligation.
Anyone who spends time driving downtown - since the suburbs, thank heavens, are not infested with this problem - knows it's often close encounters with a berserk culture with cyclists feeling free to push off your car to get a good start at the light or to scream and spit and pound if they feel you've intruded on their politician-annointed space.
What the new rules mean is that in heavy traffic with congested bike lanes, drivers can not pass the cyclist if they are on the outside edge of the lane unless by some miracle he can use part of the opposite lane.
I know from personal experience that it's difficult to predict the future without looking foolish. Some writer fished out predictions I made about city life in a magazine 25 years ago and I didn't do that well. But I predict that in a decade or so, people will look back at this current boom in Toronto bike lanes and think our politicians were rather stupid.
The facts about cars and drivers and insurance and municipal costs don't lie. There are no real facts about cyclists and bikes because the supposed ones are created by activists and anti-car movements. They produce more alternative facts than Trump!
So we spend fortunes constructing roads that will carry heavy loads, and on those roads we move costly machines covered by expensive insurance driven by men and women after difficult tests. Each machine can carry one or two or many people quickly no matter what the weather.
Yet our politicians insist that little cheaper machines that move comparatively slowly as they carry one person without insurance or operator testing over the same expensive asphalt can interfere with commuting and commercial delivery so that all other movements are compromised.
It makes no sense to steal space from cars and trucks and buses and streetcars which carry 99.9 % of the transportation burden of the city. After all, bike paths cost a fraction of roads constructed to withstand traffic.
Then add the crushing fact beyond lousy personal fitness. For too much of the year (remember the joke we get 9 months of cold weather and three months of bad skiing) most of us don't chose to ride in the rain or the snow or the cold and certainly not after 9.
Oh yeah, cyclists will say, just another anti-bike rant.
I have a personal lexicon of bike truths. I've done my share of bike riding in this city beyond bike-a-thons. I remember being forced into a ditch but I caught the truck driver and challenged him to a fight. He went through the light to escape.  I have had a bike stolen and two bikes of sons vanished. One son rode a bike to work for years. Another son has competed in Iron Man races where cycling was part of the endurance.
I have even been in two bike collision as a pedestrian.  I was hit by a cyclist speeding on the sidewalk as I left a downtown King St. restaurant. Since he and his bike were injured and I was only bruised, it didn't leave me with the same bad feeling I get while driving downtown and looking at the uneconomic and silly accommodations our politicians are making for a minority who rip off the taxpayers in the guise of noble healthy transportation.
For 60 hours a week for six months a year, we screw up traffic for a giant majority 24-7. It doesn't compute. Let them stick to lanes, parks, councillors' streets and bikeways far from traffic.






Thursday, September 14, 2017

RYERSON'S UNICORN AMONG HORSES REVIEWS

RYERSONIANS HAVE UNIQUE HISTORY

Often for a writer the subject wilts under examination. Back in the 1970s when I poked around in the history of Ryerson University, I was prepared for disappointment.
But I found more gold than brass.
I had come in 1955 to the crumbling complex on Gould St. After being a campus editor and student president, there had been lecturing and a decade of serving on boards and committees.
When I was commissioned to write its history, I knew nuggets about the past from the pioneers. Yet as I sifted myths, anecdotes, clippings and reports, like panning for gold in the Yukon where I had my first newspaper job, what I gleaned was a grand story about an old downtown square that had been the key nursery in education and culture.
So I produced Ryerson University - A Unicorn Among Horses. The book, for strange reasons, languished as a bowdlerized mess in the archives for years until I resuscitated it this spring.
What fills me with pleasure is not just readers who say they didn't know its rich past, but those who were at the early Ryerson too and savour again those days from reading my pages.
 David Crombie has a Ryerson history as rich as his municipal service as alderman and mayor and his federal service in several major portfolios before being waterfront royal commissioner and troubleshooter and mediator in countless disputes.
Crombie was a Ryerson lecturer, administrator and first chancellor. And he still loves to lunch with colleagues from the old days when it all began.
He wrote me about "your outstanding book. The people and events chronicled by you brought back so many warm memories that I found myself mentally and emotionally reliving those days.
"It also underscored for me the extraordinary role Ryerson has played and indeed continues to play in Ontario's history. Those of us who were lucky enough to be part of it owe a great debt of gratitude. "Your book needs to get around. It's an exciting sometimes rollicking saga about how some ordinary but unorthodox people were given the freedom and opportunity to invent solutions to emerging practical needs and problems in post-secondary education, and in the process created a unique institution dedicated to serving both the market place and the changing needs of community."
My book details how Crombie took over from David Sutherland as director of student services, a position they invented for Canada using an American booklet. Sutherland coined that felicitous term of "unicorn among horses."
He became founding president of Sir Sandford Fleming in Peterborough - Ryerson was the model for the colleges - and married a Ryerson grad, my colleague from the old Tely, Sylvia Sylvie, who went on to become Peterborough mayor and member of the important Ontario Municipal Board.
Sylvia Sutherland wrote on Facebook: "For all the old Ryersonians out there - and there are a lot of us - here is a 'must' read. It is John Downing's history of Ryerson."
After 50 years of writing, after thousands of columns, editorials, books, and articles, I feel comfortable declaring that Ryerson really is one of a kind and its history makes an interesting read.  . 

Friday, September 8, 2017

PRAISING.....ATTACKING.....TTC....BYFORD


TTC CONSTRUCTION LASTS LONGER THAN PYRAMIDS

There I was with my right arm and cane seized inside the subway door when the train left the Bloor/Yonge station with me still on the platform wondering what jerk was closing the doors and whether I would be able to write with my left hand. 
I ripped my arm out of the train's grasp. Only bruises while the cane was not dented, to my amazement. I tried revenge by shouting "asshole" in the open window of the train but I doubt that failure of a TTC employee heard me.
The crowd certainly did!
The little old lady standing beside me said we should complain about this. Which I thought was strange because she hadn't been the one grabbed by the door. She had just been part of the group who had dutifully waited for everyone to get off, only to see the first person trying to get aboard, me, seized immediately as if I had assaulted someone.
The TTC's technical excuse would have been that the train was packed, another one was right behind and it had space,  and despite my size, which means some call me Big John, I had been missed in the crowd by the employee failing to handle the doors.
Oh yes, it was 10.20 a.m. Which prompts me to wonder, again, why the hell the TTC loses so much money when the subway seems jammed no matter when I chose to ride it from Royal York Station because the vapidity of John Tory, 44 brainless councillors, and a clutch-and-grab of inept over-paid senior officials, means that downtown traffic is the worst in North America by every anecdotal or technical survey.
The TTC spends so much on labour costs, maybe three quarters of the budget because of the unions, that it can't afford to put real sensors into the rubber lips of their subway doors, like tens of thousands of elevator doors in this country have always had, so that they won't close on an arm holding a cane.
But back to the minority who ride the subway while being subsidized extravagantly by their fellow taxpayers.
Those of us who know something about transit after decades of observation beyond just riding the damn system think that Andy Byford, the Grand Pooh-Bah as CEO of the TTC, is a good transit man who must be undercut by the incompetents around him.
My belief stems from an incident where I fell on the stairs of the University/College subway station where for some bizarre reason the escalator was removed at the south-east corner of the intersection despite the hundreds who now have to labour up the stairs to the complex of five hospitals.
I was wearing tri-focals, which create a blur around your feet, so I thought I had reached the landing when I was still one step up. Not unusual for too many of us, but still painful. Then one year later, if you can believe it, I fell at exactly the same place, this time doing more damage.
I brooded about this and finally sent Byford an email at 8.30 in the evening, explaining what had happened and adding I had once been such a knowledgeable supporter of the TTC that I was offered a VP post. I received a reply 10 minutes later. Unbelievable! He had officials look into my suggestion that the last step before a landing or the platform have a special strip, like the yellow edge of the main station platform, to aid people who for some reason can't see very well and find the step and landing blur together.
He sent me their report two weeks later. They didn't agree with me and proposed no change, even though St. Michael's Hospital was said to be doing a similar study involving public buildings because of the many falls at curbs and on stairs.
Ironically, I have noticed since that all subway steps are not coloured the same. The stairs at Royal York  are two colours which form bands running the width, the dark one being the outer one, while at the TTC Davisville headquarters, the dark band is the inner one meaning the grey outer edge blends with the platform.
I still think the edge of the last step should be marked, but at least Byford had his people look into it. Council would still be trying to decide what official should be assigned not to do anything helpful, or maybe a change that would cost a few million after several months of study and advice from at least two consultants known to be friendly to important councillors.
In case you were wondering, I did not send an email to Byford complaining about how the subway car tried to make off with my right arm. I reasoned, ironically, that perhaps it was all my fault for trying to fight the crowds and get on the first train to come to an important station at 10.20 a.m.
You know, as far as the TTC is concerned,  rush hour is all the time.
But beware the alternative. If we're not careful, they will be hiring pushers to shove us in the doors like they do in Japan.



Friday, August 11, 2017

DUMP TRUMP AND REVIVE REAL NEWS


ALL TRUMP NEWS ALL THE TIME IS BORING

We will all remember these last months because of the media preoccupation with a liar who has always been a liar since he was in kindergarten.
I want Trump gone because then the newspapers and TV shows may talk about something else than the latest bald-faced lie from Donald Trump who has never told the truth about anything or passed up an opportunity to cheat, whether it was in a charity or a casino.
An astute columnist the other day lamented that the New York Times was writing so much about the U.S. president. The Times is prospering, despite Trump calling it the "failing" Times, but I do wish it could return to broad coverage instead of just shooting down the latest bloated utterings of a man who        has never had an honest thought.
I also blame the media for cheating on its incessant coverage because it's an easy and cheap way to fill pages or consume hours.
The decline in the public view of politics in general, which was never high, can be traced directly to newspapers and TV and radio stations going to 24-7 coverage. The easiest way to provide such coverage is with sports, politics and old movies.
Once upon a time, my duty as a young reporter was to do follows on all the political stories that appeared in the final edition so the first edition the next day would appear to have fresh updates on all the important political stories of the day.
So I do know all the tricks. And I do know, as any experienced journalist does, that most "new-s" stories are 95% old. So you try for a variety of stories instead of just one oldie that is often not a goodie.
We know that all-news radio and TV stations repeat their coverage several times an hour, so after a few hours any listener can practically repeat all the stories verbatim.
It makes me cringe when CNN, still far better than that awful Fox operation, keeps giving as breaking news something that was boring me the previous evening.
The future for real news is bleak because right now newspapers are cutting their staffs, and all the media that steal their stories, ideas and their talking heads from the newspapers become starved for real different news too.
This decline will continue until the newspapers, which are the foundation of all real news reporting, figure out a way to get more money for their content so they can afford to hire more real reporters to give more coverage.
There is this myth that bloggers and the various innovations in social movement actually give us the news. Horseshit! Most bloggers just sift the lint in their belly buttons or their ravings or they just make it up. As for the pretend reporters who are really disguised activists,  send Joe and Jane Canuck off the street to monitor a session of city council or the Legislature and you will watch baffled amateurs drown in confusion.
All you have to do is watch those inane TV interviews where bystanders are quizzed about a fire or an accident or a shooting and it is obvious that it takes experience to figure out what really happened at anything more complex than a parking ticket.
There never was more of a need for journalism schools. There never was more need for the public to realize that most of the stuff on the Internet is garbage - contrived mischievous malicious crap.
Because too many people accept what they read there, it  was possible for Donald Trump to get elected by dumb souls and those who know that sure he lies but maybe he may actually cut their taxes.
Facts no longer matter because Trump and much of the Internet just make up their own versions and try to shout down the legitimate critics who actually know what they are talking about.
But there, I have just fallen into the media trap by taking easy shots at a flatulent target. There are more important issues in Toronto and Ontario and Canada than Trump's latest fake promise.
When I wrote a daily column, it would have been so easy to stretch out the same topic over a few days.  I was ashamed whenever I did it because I was failing my readers. After all, they are quickly bored by politics. When you keep returning to the same topic, it's an easy excuse for them not to pay attention to what are often important and costly issues.
That's what has been happening for months now in the U.S. where the media are preoccupied with the latest nonsense in the White House while important issues are not given the in-depth background examinations that they need and deserve.
Even humour has been affected. The trouble with political jokes, they say, is that they kept getting elected. The trouble with jokes about Trump is that his failings have so infected late-night TV that you switch from Colbert to Fallon to Kimmel and you hear them reciting ad nauseam the latest gaffe to set up their punch line.
The American political system is broken. Trump is just another boil on its skin. Let's lance it and let the poison drain! I want to laugh at someone who can't blunder us into nuclear war!