Welcome to Scrooge and Marley

Another missive from J. Frank Willis.

The comments on both Teamakers and on Tod’s Inside the CBC reminded me of the old saying “be careful what you wish for.”
Tony is going and many people found his style somewhat irritating, but he was in many ways, from what I heard in several meetings, at least in the first year after the end of the lockout, the defensive line against Richard Stursberg, one man, not the front four in football.
I don’t know exactly what happened in the fall of 2006, but it appears that something changed across the top levels of CBC at that time, not only with Burman, but with Sue Gardner and other managers who have left or are about to leave (there are more coming) but that is when a lot of senior people decided “it’s not fun any more.”
Rereading the comments this morning, it reminded me of the movie “Scrooge” we watch every Christmas.
Scene one.
The old company owner Fezziwig refuses to sell out to the “new vested interests.”
Scene two
Eventually Fezziwig has to go, and in the movie we see Scrooge and Marley walking down the street as Fezziwig hides in the carriage and the sign on the company is changed to Scrooge and Marley. The kid changing the sign knuckles his forehead and asks if he can stay. Scrooge asks his salary, 6 shillings. Scrooge replies you can say for 5. Scrooge spots Fezziwig as the carriage leaves and the old man disappears into history.
Scene three
Tonight on the National, the memoirs of Paris Hilton.

Sometime in the future, when some academic writes the history of CBC (by then no one else will care), the dissertation will mark June 19, 2007, as the real beginning of the end.

How often have we heard “time for change” in the past few months as manager after manager who are not on Stursberg’s “team” has left? I know other managers and the boomers across the Corpse are counting the days until early retirement. With the current turmoil among the private broadcasters, all the rest can do is knuckle their foreheads to Mr. Scrooge/Stursberg–at least for now.

Unless, of course, three spirits visit Stursberg one night, but I am not counting on it.

Bottom line. The workers won the battle of the lockout but lost the war to Stursberg and Rabinovitch, just like the Americans won every battle in Vietnam and lost the war.


  1. Allan
    Posted June 21, 2007 at 9:36 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Let me clarify.
    What a drag it is watching other people get old.
    The trick is to avoid mirrors.
    And judging from the several subtle references in AZ’s list of Canadian Wonders, the next thing on her list would be to ban full-length ones.

    But no matter how heavy you get, sister, it’s clear you’re still pretty hot.

  2. Allan
    Posted June 21, 2007 at 9:30 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    AZ’s silence on Burman is hardly isolated, judging by the number of comments left in relation to him at insidecbc.
    And that may be the most telling reaction of all …

  3. Anonymous
    Posted June 21, 2007 at 8:38 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    What’s intriguing about Antonia’s new column is how little explanation accompanies it, both from her and from The Star. On the Tea Makers Burman column, she was the first poster, leaving her readers to look forward to some comment in her column in The Star. Then: Nothing.

    She, who has always been reasonably – albeit within the confined limits of the mainstream left in this country – reliable as a source of modestly provactive opinion, is now silent on a major Canadian media topic – Burman’s departure.

    As for Doyle – he’s now reduced to cribbing anonymous posts from this blog. Sad..

  4. Allan
    Posted June 21, 2007 at 3:55 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    AZ becomes a LIVING COLUMNIST.
    This is sad.
    I’ll still go to thestar.com to check if she’s got something today, but this stuff is clearly the beginning of the end.
    She bails from media at a time when it needs a critical eye to be focused on it more than ever.
    I get the sense that she’s getting what she asked for, a chance to bitch about anything and everything before she hangs up the trench-coat.
    And after years of railing against the powerful pea-brained charlatans that run media and educate the country, and finding herself having less impact than John Doyle (infinitesimal) she now wants to change the world with equal impact.
    As Mick sings, what a drag it is getting old, .

  5. Allan
    Posted June 21, 2007 at 3:16 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    i suppose it is flattering to see Doyle practically doing a copy and paste from TeaMakers.
    We know the well ran dry a long time ago under that soup-bowl haircut.
    But what a pisser to know he can pay his mortgage by sucking content from these pages.
    Nevertheless, John, you’re always welcome, and I encourage you to keep turning up for classes.

  6. Anonymous
    Posted June 21, 2007 at 1:56 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Do “real” journalists still exist in the mainstream media?

    Is somebody, somewhere committed to playing his/her TRUE role in society? Journalists HAVE a role to play in maintaining any semblance of a transparent democracy.

    Used to be that the media were “the window to government”…now it has become a virtual WALL. Willingly.

    Imagine this…A journalist that actually questions the government’s announcements as opposed to simply echoing the double-speak message…..A journalist that demands REAL answers from key players…A journalist that actually has the drive and time to “look at the big picture”…That last one is a hell of a no-no, apparently.

    Close all journalism schools. Single-thought factories.

    It’s time to kill all conventions.

    Otherwise, we risk seeing:

    – fake U.S. election results
    – a world-changing flase-flag operation
    – Canada, completely disregarding its core values and principles in order to “fight terrorism” in order to maintain our “freedom” …


  7. Anonymous
    Posted June 21, 2007 at 12:00 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece


    might I suggest that the employees with backbones are the ones who have up and left the corporation.

    Just sayin’

  8. Anonymous
    Posted June 21, 2007 at 11:56 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    “A merry Christmas, Bob!” said Scrooge, with an earnestness that could not be mistaken, as he clapped him on the back. “A merrier Christmas, Bob, my good fellow, than I have given you for many a year! I’ll raise your salary, and endeavour to assist your struggling family, and we will discuss your affairs this very afternoon, over a Christmas bowl of smoking bishop, Bob! Make up the fires, and buy another coal-scuttle before you dot another i, Bob Cratchit.”

    Everyone get out – I’ll stay for the raise.

  9. Anonymous
    Posted June 21, 2007 at 10:52 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    The end is near…here.

    Lead item on yesterday’s CBC Ottawa radio newscast:
    the fire at a warehouse in the U.S. The LEAD story. Incredibly irrelevant.

    On local Ottawa news…
    (we are supposed to believe that there were no other relevant stories directly affecting our lives in this city?)

    These are CONSCIOUS decisions being made, here. No fluke. Someone is calling these shots.


    The U.S. is fast going down the tubes (to put it mildly) and here we are “adopting” some of their methods. Have we no backbone anymore? Are we devoid of any true distinguishing character trait from the Americans? Why isn’t the CBC promoting our differences?

    As an intelligent person (not exactly sure that is the target market of such newscasts) I can only conclude that the CBC has abdicated its true role as an essential “information provider”. Instead, we have entered into the human-interest, fluff-piece that numbs the brain and keeps us all subservant to authority.

    The CBC could really be a beacon in this new landscape of “mainstream news”. Instead of carving its own route and developing a new distinct voice, it has decided to mimic the most offensive and destructive force in the world today.

    For what, again?

    A younger demographic? Must be a typo, I’m sure they are looking to a DUMBER demographic.

    M. Burman is leaving because he has a conscience.

    Anybody else?

  10. Anonymous
    Posted June 20, 2007 at 3:44 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    “… we may never know the full story of the lockout …”

    Remember when you said this in a speech to CBC.ca troops, “J. Frank”?

    It was at the regional developers impromptu mini-web-ed or whatever the hell it was called.

    Anyways, now that you’ve had some space to get away from it all, give us a little more dirt on what really happened during that time, please.

    Or, best of all, give the outside world some clues on what rocks to look under once FOI comes into force this fall.

    It’s obvious that Stursberg doesn’t care if he gets egg-on-face (cue the Blaine Paige video for the trillionth time).

    Throw us a few breadcrumbs, Frankie. Hell, make up a third pseudonym for this blog if need to!

  11. Anonymous
    Posted June 20, 2007 at 11:32 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Now that the vangaurd for the ‘old ways’ has been sacked … um, retired, we can move towards the ‘Naked News’ model of broadcasting journalism.

    Were we to do that, I’m betting the anchors wouldn’t even need to be announcing in English.

  12. Anonymous
    Posted June 20, 2007 at 7:03 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    When the utter trivialization of CBC News comes, that will be that.

    The privates will be saying CBC-TV is indistinguishable from us.
    Kill it.
    Give us the money.

    Oh wait a minute. They’re already saying it.

    What’s the argument against them, Richard?

  13. Justin Beach
    Posted June 20, 2007 at 6:47 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    That’s pretty obvious. When the lockout was over most of the workers, though not all, stopped fighting and most, but not all, of the CBCs allies stopped paying attention.

    Stursburg and Rabinovich took a break, answered some uncomfortable questions from Heritage and then geared up for the next battle – but this time without opposition.

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