Thursday, November 19, 2015

Very, very Slow News Day

Despite the very many things going on right now, here in Canada and around the world, the Toronto Star managed to make one of today's top stories the fact that the Department of National Defense is buying a bassoon.

Could this be the stupidest non-story ever to grace the Star's pages?  Maybe not, but the "reporter", Oliver Sachgau, perhaps trying to obscure the fact that he comes from the land of classical music, manages to open the story with the following:

How much would you pay for a bassoon?

Probably nothing, seeing as you can just buy a fog horn for cheaper, and get more use out of it.

A-Hyuk!  I can just imagine young Oliver, sitting in the Star bullpen thinking "This is it, this is my chance to really make a difference.  We've all heard those stories about expensive screwdrivers - who would pay good TAXPAYER (cue angels) money on a musical instrument for a military band? I'm really going to have to pull out the stops on this one.   Think Oliver, think  -what does a bassoon sound like - a foghorn! And a foghorn is more useful than a bassoon!  This story is going to bring down the entire military musical industrial complex!  I'll be a hero!"

This, my friends, is journalism in the digital age - a mere 5 minutes of research would have revealed to him that actually, a professional bassoons could cost this much money. 

Moreover, why shouldn't a military band have a good instrument to play?  When I was in high school, I was lucky to receive a brand-new professional Yamaha tuba to play on.  The instrument cost $7,000 20 years ago.  Go on, Oliver, go write a sanctimonious hit piece about how the TDSB is wasting money on musical instruments for students.  Hey, you should really look into this - I bet they buy music for the bands too, new music at full price!  What an outrage!

I guess that's why I'm bothering to right about this - this is sanctimonious garbage reporting on the part of the Toronto Star, where they take something that's probably, on balance, in the public good, but turn it into a criticism of government spending.  The underlying message is: the government is wasting your hard-earned money on these things when they should be giving money to "better" causes. 

Here's a novel piece of information  - governments do a lot more then issue you a driver's license every 5 years.  I thought the Star knew this, but playing the arts for laughs doesn't really sit well with me, and they should be ashamed.

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