WESTBROOK, Minnesota (STPNS) --     I try to keep up with the news, both local and beyond. Locally it seems most of our news is somewhat mundane and of little consequence to the world beyond our little area.

    However, in the grand scheme of things it seems like larger media is becoming more and more of an influence on  political endeavors. You constantly hear of bigger and bigger mergers of cable and news organizations, like Comcast, Time Warner, and several others. It scares me that when news organizations control bigger and bigger shares of our information sources, it may not be good for the country in general.

    Oh yes they claim it will keep your cable or satellite rates lower . . .  really! When is the last time your cable or satellite bill gone down due to a merger.

    They also claim people will have far more choices along with the lower rates. OK, so how many channels do you get now, and how many can you watch at one time? The first answer, if you are a cable or satellite  user, would be 250 to 500. The second answer will more than likely remain at one.

    An example of media influencing, fairly or unfairly, is the so called Keystone Pipeline.  It is a pipeline proposed to bring tar sands oil from Canada directly to the refineries in Oklahoma and Texas.

    The big reason it is not going ahead is because of resistance by people mainly in Nebraska that for environmental reasons do not want it to pass through their state. Another factor, in the states it will pass through, is it would go through sensitive Native American tribal lands.

    However these problems alone will probably delay if not stop this fiasco from becoming reality at least for many years.

    The real reason I am against this pipeline, besides the environmental safety record of the Trans Canada  company that runs it, is that it could potentially increase gasoline prices in the upper midwest by anywhere from an estimated 10 to 40 cents per gallon.

    Currently with the glut of Canadian oil, which actually now comes through  Minnesota, has remained quite stable in recent years. The pipeline now coming through Minnesota supplies refineries here and in the Chicago area. The line eventually finds its way back to the pipeline in Kansas and  Oklahoma.

    If the Keystone Pipeline is completed, speculators claim the oil companies would be able to divert some of the oil we are now getting by passing our pipeline to get to more lucrative overseas markets.

    The only reason the Canadians want this is to send the oil to foreign markets!

    Why is the major media not picking  up on the real story, $$$$$ the oil companies are spending millions of dollars promoting and overstating the  economic impact of the pipeline. It is pure “Horse Hockey,” the media is not about to bite the hand that feeds it.

    Have a great week and do good!