Sunday, April 5, 2015

Reading shoddy journalism is like eating cardboard

You feel full but you're still hungry.

Dong Choo at the corner store is charging me $4.50 for the weekend edition of the national newspaper of record these days. That's quite a jump from the twenty five cents I used to shell out for the Saturday Globe and Mail when they first got me hooked fifty years ago.

Like all addictions, the addiction to newsprint leaves you at the mercy of the pushers. I'm not blaming the Donger for this 1700% increase in the price of my fix - he's just the low man on the totem pole, trying to break even and put away enough to send Dong Jr. to business school.

Concerned friends and family often ask why I don't just give up the habit. After all, there's pretty much nothing in that $4.50 newspaper that I can't find on the Globe and Mail website for free.

These people don't understand the addiction. There's a quality-of-life distinction between sitting in your favourite chair, with a cup of coffee at hand, staring at a laptop screen vs. turning the pages of a newspaper.
The two or three hours spent lost in those pages is easily worth the $4.50 price of admission.

At least so long as I don't stumble over too much crap like this.

Jeffrey Simpson has some serious schlep at Canada's newspaper of record. As such he is what's known as an opinion maker. He's one of the guys (and they're mostly guys; sorry gals) who determine what's on the national agenda; what literate people will be talking about.

I've had a soft spot for all things Mexican since my old pal Jim drove down to Tijuana in his Econoline van back in '70 and came back with ten kilos of very nice Mexican bud. Mexico has been on my radar ever since.

Since those innocent days of Jim's Tijuana adventure, we've witnessed the rise and the further rise of ruthless drug cartels in Mexico. Any free-lancing schmuck who heads to Mexico today looking for a deal on weed is going to end up dead or in jail. Drugs have become a multi-billion dollar business in Mexico. The cartels move more money than any single bank can launder. They've beheaded more innocents than Islamic State. They have corrupted banks and politicians not only in Mexico but throughout the region.

That's why former Mexican president Vincente Fox has called for the legalization of drugs.

That's why seven former world leaders and dozens of other A-list worthies have called for the decriminalization of drugs world-wide.

That's why five Nobel-winning economists have declared the global war on drugs a "catastrophic failure."

That's why I find it incomprehensible that Jeffrey Simpson can spin 800 words of fluff about what ails Mexico without once mentioning drugs, cartels, the war on drugs, etc.

It's enough to make me want to take my paper back to Mr. Choo and ask for a refund.

But it's not his fault.

He's just a lowly minion in the Korean corner store cartel.

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