Does News really educate?

Once in a while I come across a piece of News that makes me wonder whether News actually makes me more or less knowledgeable. To demonstrate my case, I will use an example from the current media coverage about the ‘outrageous’ spending of the Children’s Aid Society.

The recent Auditor General’s audit revealed that CAS Managers are spending – amongst other unreasonable items – 150$ on luxury carwashes. Wow. I think the most I have ever paid for a car wash is around 10$. How on earth can a car wash be 150$? Must be a pretty good wax and shampoo. I put it off as a typo just to hear the same number on the radio a few moments later. You got to be kidding me, is my first reaction, what a waste of resources!

With that conclusion, I am about to move on to the next article but there is one open question that won’t let me move on. So, how does one spend a 150$ on a car wash? I hope they did the inside too for that price. With nice seat cleaning and maybe some linen spray for the seats. Some of these social workers have to really be an untidy bunch. And then it hits me. It isn’t the social workers who are untidy. Because what does a social worker who works for the Children’s Aid society do? “They take children from their parents”, I hear the mob yelling. Yes, but why?

Only in the very worst scenario cases where a child ends up dead or nearly dead, are our papers full of the cruelties that some parents or caregivers commit on their children . We don’t hear about the state of some homes that social workers enter to follow up on a tip from whomever. Our society does not like the idea of feces covered floors, mould covered walls and rotting food lying around the house, especially the idea of small children crawling around in it. It’s mostly not what we see either when looking at our own house and the houses of our friends and family.

Ok, so let’s assume you’d enter a house and find a scenario like that. In an immediate attempt to ensure a safe environment for the children, cause that is your job, you pile those children into your car and take them to a doctor to be checked out or a temporary home while you instruct the parents to get their house cleaned up. I have a very strong feeling that the back seats of your car would need more than usual dust and brush after that. Especially knowing that you will be transporting other babies or children (maybe even my own) in the same car.

Whether a 150$ is reasonable or not, I cannot say as I haven’t had to have a car clean like that. I further lack the insight to comment on the other items on the report. However from having worked at the airport and in the travel industry I do know that some children that are ‘dumped’ into our country by themselves, due to immigration laws, have to be returned. I sincerely hope that they aren’t just placed on a plane and dropped off at the airport. And depending on the location, inclusive resorts tend to be cheaper for a few days than hotel arrangements.

That certain people take advantage to better themselves on company cost is nothing new, no matter who one works for. I find it a sad though that the media including the more reputable news stations are singling out and taking so much effort to present CAS as an agency that misuses the tax payers money, even worse, makes it seem as if they are stealing it from already disadvantaged kids. From where I am standing, those few incidences that will have to be addressed, do not warrant damaging the reputation of an Agency and its staff whose soul purpose is to ensure the safety of a demographic that cannot take care of themselves. Especially considering that this is probably the only government institution that never gets any positive news despite a very difficult job and many success stories.

So I guess the News can make one more knowledgeable if one refuses to take it as entertainment and the ‘be all or end all’. Which itself is a wishful thinking as factual information placed within an appropriate context is either boring or too complicated in a time where using one’s brain is totally out of fashion.

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~ by spasmicallyperfect on December 7, 2006.

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