myCBC: The Shock Doctrine at the Public Broadcaster

Sent to me by an anonymous reader.
Enjoy.
~O

SOFT TARGET

Following the blowing up of Canada Now in February 2007, the CBC surged ahead on a bold new plan wrapped up in a package called myCBC. Newsrooms across the country would ramp back up to a full one-hour suppertime news program. They would introduce local presence throughout the day, and begin experimenting with noon, late evening and weekend news. There would be an overhaul of the internet. And of course… it would all happen with NO new money. The local stations had to more than double programming, with not a single extra camera operator, journalist, researcher, editor… Many whinged the project was unsustainable… and it was.

Enter Frank N. Magid Assoc.

FRANK N. MAGID ASSOCIATES

Frank N Magid Associates is “the most influential television and entertainment consulting firm in existence,” according to the Museum of Broadcast Communications.[i] “Magid is often credited – or blamed – for design of the ‘Action News’ format, and the sameness of local news broadcasts from station to station.” Magid’s brand of consulting therapy poses challenges to the notion of public broadcasting and its mandate to the people of Canada.

Those challenges include not just the direct impact on news content but also the impact of selling off blocks of content to Magid’s other clients.

Consider Magid’s emphasis on weather. Magid executives are frequent guest speakers at annual meteorological conferences. Its commitment to weather coverage is a key part of its strategy to revamp newscasts among its more than 150 U-S private stations. In an RTNDA article called “Weather is a must in local broadcasts and a strong weather segment can lead to better ratings,[ii] Magid’s Jim Berstein breezily reports: “Weather image is as important as news image.”

FORECAST: SUNNY PROFITS

All the positive press and spin dressed up in scientific audience research certainly benefits Magid’s other clients: the clients who sell weather services to Magid’s tv news clients. Among Magid’s weather clients: some of the largest weather content providers in North America. The title of a news release in 2005 issued by WeatherBug,[iii] the leading U-S weather information service, reads Magid Research Reveals WeatherBug has the Power to Drive On-Air Viewership. The study, commissioned by WeatherBug fortuitously found two thirds of WeatherBug desktop users believe that a local TV station affiliated with WeatherBug “would be more likely to be the station to turn to in times of severe weather and have the most accurate forecasts.” Quoted in the release, Magid’s Mary Ann Baldwin said: “we look forward to working with our current broadcast partners and new partners to leverage the WeatherBug brand on-air for local TV stations.”[iv]

Coming soon to a local CBC station near you: the introduction of new weather graphics.

Remarkably, Magid’s research of local Canadian markets found a hunger for local weather so profound, shows would need to parcel off eight weather hits an hour: a quarter of show content. But “Consider This!” (Magidism): after the initial investment in new graphics to perk up what is basically someone reading off numbers… it’s cheaper and easier to produce weather than real news content. And there’s not a lot of objection when newsrooms across the country are struggling to fill an hour with the same staff and equipment that once strained to put together thirty minutes…

Still, if ratings go up … then more weather’s good, right?
The jury’s still out on ratings.
But, truth be told, the ratings go up when we go on strike and throw “The Simpsons” on the air instead. “We can not have a public broadcaster without a public,” Robert Rabinovitch told a recent Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.[v] “If too few people are watching or listening we are irrelevant.” But remember, those ratings are the legacy of Canada Now, not a lack of reports featuring journalists doing angels in the snow… And consider that the same management that brought us the devastation of Canada Now is now driving the current strategy forward. What the public deserves is a public broadcaster that lives up to its mandate; its commitment to the people of Canada. After all, they paid for it, whether they watch it or not.

MAGID VS MANDATE

The Magid promise is that at the time of the “big reveal” myCBC will be a huge success. The theory goes that once Magid has had its way with us the challenge of producing an hour-long news show with the resources of half an hour will somehow be overcome and ratings will soar. To do it, we must adhere strictly to “the treatment.”… And the treatment is becoming clear: an abandonment of content and the triumph of image over substance.

And so Magid delivers its formulas for change, including “…a reliance on short news stories, (…) an emphasis on graphics and live shots, irrespective of their contribution to the news story, special attention to the look and clothes of news presenters, and the use of lighter stories and positive news in a mix with sensational crime and accident stories.”[vi] An article in the Boston Globe[vii] is somewhat less magnanimous, quoting a local anchor who calls Magid “the worst thing that ever happened to television.” The Globe journalist points the finger of blame on the consultants for the “proliferation of gory crime stories and the-sky-is-falling weather coverage…”

IMAGE OVER SUBSTANCE

Management’s fundamentalist interpretation of the Magid philosophy has led to an unprecedented encroachment on the once independent editorial process of the CBC. It is manifested in the new tyranny of story counts and strict adherence to assignment based on the new prerogatives of style (live reporting, double assigning, story selection of questionable news value.[viii]) Certainly not mentioned during the group-think around Magid is the potential impact on news content and CBC’s “duty to provide consistent, high-quality information upon which all citizens may rely.”[ix]

Now we deliver news by poll. The imperatives of editorial advice given by a private consultant based on audience research poses obvious hazards for the public broadcaster and to Canadians who pay for it.[x] Consider Magid’s advice in the spring of 2003 (after the Iraq invasion) to its more than 150 U-S newsroom clients. It’s research suggested the public had very little appetite for stories about “casualties, prisoners of war, and anti-war protests.”[xi] As for the role of journalism as a pillar of American democracy defending the voters right to know: irrelevant.

Along side news by poll, the selling off of content to Magid clients pose challenges to the precepts of the CBC mandate: “that the airwaves belong to the people who are entitled to hear the principal points of view on all questions of importance.” Editorial staff, however, are much better versed in the proverb: “This time too shall pass…” and are once again taking on the tried and true strategy: lay low… ride it out.

But perhaps the stakes this time are a little higher…

Magid is more than a medium delivering a message. The medium in this case, most certainly IS the message. Magid is the change.

Perhaps now at stake is the CBC brand, its reputation, and perhaps it’s mandate to the people of Canada.

PS….

SHOCK DOCTRINE LITE… A LITERAL APPROACH:

In the title of this article I made the connection between the introduction of Magid, and Naomi Kleiin’s theory laid out in her book: Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. It is meant as a loose link, but it’s way too fun not to go all the way… So here it is.

Klein’s Shock Doctrine suggests a corporatist economic system (what she calls The Chicago School developed by Milton Freidman) imposes itself on populations already experiencing massive shock following war, revolution, tsunami. Its actors are the IMF, the World Bank, the CIA. Once it has a soft target, (New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, Iraq after ‘Shock and Awe) it imposes economic shock therapy: opening up markets to competition, the selling off of public assets to the private sector, massive lay-offs of public sector and local private sector jobs, eliminating price protection, hyper inflation, and a general transfer of wealth from the middle class to the elite and abroad. Government no longer delivers services, but rather makes it as easy as possible to serve up public money for private interest. In the case of Iraq, a step further: a deliberately imposed disaster (Shock and Awe) followed by a growing complex in disaster capitalism forever feeding off the cycle of disaster and reconstruction.

CBC’s Tsunami/Hurricane Katrina/‘Shock and Awe’ was the devastation of Canada Now on ratings. And once they finally blew up Canada Now, the target was soft to introduce reconstruction: a chance to chip away at the foundations that ensure CBC’s relevancy and its commitment to Canadians. Stuff like the journalistic standards — the “duty to provide consistent high quality information upon which all citizens may rely…” and the notion that “the public airwaves belong to the people of Canada.” — — and not say, Magid’s clients).

The first target for “shock therapy” would be the softest: Vancouver — still reeling in the debris of Canada Now. Lovingly called “the incubator,” it is undergoing the full treatment. And though the stakes are high, so far the ratings are clearly not responding. …Must need more medicine.

Meanwhile, as the treatment gets underway, the rest of the country is gearing up under Magid therapy. Portions of content time are being parcelled off in chunks hopefully to sell off to private interests (Magid clients including TV graphic and on-line platform providers as well as weather content specialists).

Once we’ve invested in these media are we stuck with the space they take in our programs? Will resource strapped newsrooms care anyway? The reconstruction is looking permanent.

… Should ratings actually drop? Must mean we’re not taking enough medicine… Resistance is futile. After all, the positive notes from Magid about the progress of the shows, (in their unbiased opinion of course) suggest we’re surely on our way to salvation. Just wait for the positive spin when those new graphics come in! Should you object too loudly, “you’re against change.” “You’re part of the problem.” You’re disappeared.


END NOTES

(Click the numeral to return to the reference in the article)

[i]Frank N. Magid Associates, “Article on the Museum of Broadcast Communications website, by Eric Rothenbuhler. Undated.

[ii]Weather is a must in local bradcasts, and a strong weather segment can lead to better ratings”, From the RTNDA’s The Communicator, by Bob Paper, Nov, 2002

[iii] Magid Research Reveals WeatherBug has the Power to Drive On-Air Viewership and Loyalty and Enhances the Weather Brand for TV Partners WeatherBug Press Release, April 14, 2005 available at:

[iv] When Magid repeated the research for WeatherBug in 2007, the two thirds who wanted more WeatherBug on tv jumped to 75 per cent! Way to go Magid! See Frank N. Magid website for media release.

[v] Speech by Robert Rabinovitch, President and CEO of the CBC/Radio-Canada before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, Nov. 27, 2007

[vi]Frank N. Magid Associates,” Article on the Museum of Broadcast Communications website, by Eric Rothenbuhler. Undated

[vii] “Outside Consultants Play a Key Role in Shaping Broadcasts,” Article in the Boston Globe by Don Aucoin and Mark Jurkowitz, Available at the Kent State University Media, Power & Culture website.

[viii] The impact of change has consequences even for the flagship news program: THE NATIONAL. The National’s recent preoccupation with news concentrated in Ottawa Vancouver, and Toronto (the BSPT factor: Black, Schrieber, Picton and Tazers,), needs to also be understood in terms beyond just the news driver. The need by local shows in the regions has necessarily meant a lot of “creative use of resources…” A favourite tactic: borrowing the region’s National resources to help stick a couple of fingers in the leaky dyke. National assignment in the early part of the day is heavily dependent on the ideas generated by the local assignment process. As well, local managers in some regions are now empowered to freely recruit that resource when it’s not filing for the flag ship show. The conflict becomes clear. Local assignment is preoccupied with shoring up resources to keep the insatiable 6 o’clock local news show on the air. The best-case scenario for local assignment is a national reporter who is filing for local. The second best is a sharesy: a kind of 2-fer-1… The result: a precipitous rise in story pitches to Toronto with a built-in self-serving agenda… And clearly, that agenda doesn’t match the National’s…at least as evidenced by the low representation of stories in the last two months originating from Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, Montreal, Halifax.

[ix] CBC Journalistic Policy

[x] Richard Stursberg likes to tell the story of how he laid down the law when Magid suggested polling Vancouver’s gay community was a waste of time. Rather than show Stursberg’s commitment to localizing or Canadianizing the American research, it highlights the danger of relying on a company that depends on research assumptions… assumptions that seem to dovetail nicely with the interests of Magid’s other clients (eg. Weather, better graphics, better on-line platforms… etc.)

[xi] While We were Sleeping, Article in the New York Observer by Rebecca Dana, November 27, 2005. Available at the New York Observer website.

23 comments:

  1. fog cutter
    Posted January 8, 2008 at 8:59 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    To Justin Beach:

    Your point is well taken. I should have been more precise when using the term “mainstream media”. I am referring to what Chomsky terms the “elite media, the agenda-setting ones (NY Times, CBS, etc).
    They are ones that have the big resources, they set the framework in which everyone else operates.”
    The ones who are involved in “organizing the way people think and look at things.”

    I commend all of the brave individuals(some are journalists) who have not been filtered out and who are not internalizing the belief and attitudes of the surrounding power system in the society. Our future depends on our ability to think independently.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted January 8, 2008 at 4:53 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Yes indeed, far, far too high a proportion of managers in all aspects of the operation. And yes, initiative is not rewarded, incompetence not punished, and a universally loathed boob is at the helm of the English service. There is an emergency, Hubert. The place needs a top to bottom redesign and a lot of folks, top to bottom, have to be shown the door. I think we all sense that otherwise it’s doomed.

  3. Anonymous
    Posted January 7, 2008 at 11:37 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    the CBC has become a $1.5 billion bureaucracy which does nothing – the king of all media needs to be led out of the building in handcuffs

  4. Anonymous
    Posted January 7, 2008 at 9:45 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Most of the folks who work on local CBC supper hour shows are frankly lost…and who can blame them?
    I don’t buy there are not enough resources. The money is there to produce strong local shows….but CBC does not spend the money wisely. Look at almost any desk of any local t.v. newscast on CBC and in fact you will discovere failed reporters….news desks mostly filled with those who are known to have the ability to kiss up to management ass. Fine. That’s a fact of work life. However..in fact the place is littered with folks who do NOT work in the field and that hurts the end product.
    Local stations are over managed. Do you really need three people working in communications with little or no budget? What’s the point?
    Why does the regional director have TWO secretaries? Do you really need a manager of technical operations when the place operated well without one for years. What the f_ _ k does a managing editor do to earn his or her 125 thou a year? Why is the corpse spending six figures a year on a person whose job is to be a liason with the community..and then with a straight face state to staff that there is no more money for reporters or camera people?
    Worse, what the f__k do most managers do at local cbc stations except desperately hang on to their phoney baloney jobs? Here’s something pathetic. During a recent election planning session..of the 15 or so people doing the planning in the meeting room only two were actual reporters in the field..the rest were left to ‘produce and pontificate.’ Sad.
    Hate to sound anti management..but there is no credibility left…the same folks who brought us Canada Now and other dumb plans now look to Magid for salvation. Not ONE person has been FIRED. They want more programming for less money and less staff…and worse..seem to think they can bully you with no grievance. You complain you ARE SEEN as a trouble maker and are left out in the cold. The only people being hired these days at local CBC operations are managers..not front line workers.
    Think of this. During holidays when CBC managers take their extended time off…frankly you find there is absolutely NO difference in the workplace. Everything runs just fine. Cut four managers from one location and you save about four hundred thousand dollars if not more. Take two more people out from behind the scenes (semi supervisors who don’t do much anyway)..Now you have six salaries that add up to about 700 thousand dollars or more.. Now use that cash in each location to hire people in the field…reporters and camerapersons….Now you’ve hired an extra eight people at least just to work in the field..reporting..news gathering.
    THEN watch the great stories come in..THEN watch the scoops..THEN see what a creative place local CBC supper hour shows will be.
    My CBC does NOT include MyCBC courtesy of Heaton..who should resign…My CBC does not include cookie cutter approach to programming a la Magid. My CBC DOES include doing interesting stories about local people in local markets that can also be seen by folks across the country. I wonder of Mr. Cruickshank is watching and listening and taking notes. I doubt it.

  5. Anonymous
    Posted January 7, 2008 at 7:12 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I’m going back to listening to BBC World Service on my shortwave. Wonder if the bomb shelter is still habitable?

  6. Hugh
    Posted January 7, 2008 at 5:54 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    dear god. just when i was getting optimistic.

  7. J. Frank
    Posted January 7, 2008 at 5:47 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Read this and weep

    State of Emergency

    http://adbusters.org/the_magazine/75/State_of_Emergency.html

    Quote 1

    But just as the media were reneging on their biggest responsibility, with almost biblical timing, the digital revolution attacked. Faced with a mass migration of advertisers and consumers to the internet, the old media suddenly found itself struggling for survival in the electronic age. For the past five years, newspapers and broadcast stations have announced layoffs and staff cutbacks on an almost weekly basis. Newsrooms have been gutted and the last remaining vestiges of investigative journalism are disappearing. After defining democratic debate for more than a century, the old media will be lucky to make it out of this decade.

    Quote 2
    Most disturbingly, no one has the slightest clue what the new media model will look like. Theres talk of citizen journalism, hyper-local reporting, public and private hybrids and multimedia monsters, but when the experts are pressed about the future of media, they all offer the same inexplicable answer: I dont know. Despite all the money, talent and resources available, no one actually knows how to save the media. Although the media industry remains faithfully optimistic that some sort of solution will be come down from cyberspace and save journalism, they cant actually say how it will happen.

    Citizen journalism is going under

    Gillmor has been one of the leading proponents of citizen journalism, but his expression of caution is notable. Citizen journalism received a great deal of hype as the new challenger to the corporate press, but has suffered some early defeats. Gillmors Bayosphere, a citizen media site of, by and for the Bay Area, shut down within a year he sold the site to Backfence.com, which also folded. Other citizen journalism sites have suffered from a lack of organization, interest, professionalism and, most of all, a lack of finances.

    The partial solution- not for profits either foundations or public ownership (of course if they have competent management)

    The media can be done as a non-profit and its something that makes me salivate when I think about it, says Charles Lewis, a former producer of 60 Minutes and president of the non-profit Fund for Independence in Journalism. The concept is simple. There are a lot of immensely talented individuals who have nowhere to ply their wares journalistically and you have an educated and informed public in the US, Canada and around the world that want good journalism. Whats required is marrying those two up. Its not rocket science, its simply a matter of cash and sustainability.

    The conclusion

    In order to avoid the worst-case scenario and take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, its important that the future of the media be placed in the proper hands. If its distributed equally amongst corporations, non-profits, journalists and the public, then a true balance of power can be achieved and the media can return to once again being an institution of integrity and a watchdog to power.

    Unfortunately for the past decade the CBC has not been in the “proper hands”. And if it is not in the proper hands in the coming decade, the Corpse will really be a corpse. Retire Richard. Retire Heaton.

  8. Daley
    Posted January 7, 2008 at 5:32 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    It is illuminating to see what has happened to the 6pm news. The constant weather and extreme concern over 1 to 3 cm of snow is not what I want to see on my news.

    Too bad not that many people know what is going on at their public broadcaster and don’t know that they could complain to make it better. Instead of complaining that it is a waste of their money.

  9. Anonymous
    Posted January 7, 2008 at 5:08 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I’m no fan of CBC management but we have to be honest. Our local newscasts have sucked for a very long time. Instead of promoting talented reporters and producers, the CBC has promoted people with the personalities of librarians. Junior reporters hired not because they’re talented or smart, but because they’re good looking or members of certain under-represented groups. It has to stop. For too long we’ve put on dull and un-watchable programs. It’s time to start producing newscasts people can watch. Magid may have a history of putting flashy junk on local newscasts. But we have a 15 year history of producing the lowest rated local newscasts in Canada! Most of our supper hour shows are still unwatchable! Failed reporters were promoted and turned into assignment editors. Reporters with big hair and eyes were turned into anchors. Resources were diverted to the network at the expense of local shows. It’s time to change. In most private stations they put on a zippy show using half the resources of a CBC newsroom. We waste bodies on stupid jobs and we produce special projects that viewers don’t even care about. Compare the 6 pm Toronto show with Citytv, CTV and Global and you realize how amateurish, inexperienced and talentless our news operation has become. Magid can hopefully teach CBC the basics that we somehow forgot: how to identify strong local stories, how to serve your community and to deliver them in a program that people will actually watch.

  10. Justin Beach
    Posted January 7, 2008 at 4:25 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    One other point, as I laid out in some detail here is that the ‘mainstream’ is gone. When you talk about the ‘mainstream’ or even the ‘lowest common denominator’ now you are talking about, at most, 20% of the population. The mainstream is now a heavily catered to niche audience.

  11. Barry Kiefl
    Posted January 7, 2008 at 4:04 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    When I graduated from Boston University in 1973 Frank Magid, who was then described as the original ‘news doctor’, was covered in several journalism courses and thoughtful people in the 1970’s wrote much the same thing as your anonymous blogger. Frank himself must by now be watching the news in a retirement residence, wondering what the graphic just said.

  12. fog cutter
    Posted January 7, 2008 at 3:18 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    McMagid
    Millions and millions (dis)Served?

    In regards to the present issue… Are you truly surprised? Now that surprises me. Cookie-cutter, generic, lowest common-denominator content is what we have become accustomed to from the privates over the years following the world-resetting event of 9/11. ANYTHING but the real issues at work in our tragically changing world are being reported just smoke and mirrors galore. This latest missive from Anonymous just reminds us that it is full speed ahead with this transformation –at the CBC.

    From now on, the true sources of information will be the brave unaffiliated individuals who dare to research issues to their fullest –and courageously put them into context — in order to illuminate the population via websites, blogs or other means. The others, traditional journalists representing the biggest of private interests, will still concentrate on looking good, repeating what they are told and badmouthing “non- mainstream” media for their supposed lack of credibility. In reality, the quality of the information will exclusively depend on the legitimacy of the facts. Over are the days of legitimacy based on a reliable news source just because they say so. Well be the judges of the quality and usefulness of the information, thank you.

    The CBC is apparently willing to adhere to this same dumbed-down IDEOLOGY and it is tragic to consider that what the CBC has stood for all these years is systematically being replaced by an approach that all but nullifies its distinctiveness. And, for what? Apparently to look and smell like the other “processed news” outfits. McMagid, if you will

    From now on, true, unfiltered information will reign supreme. Regardless of the original source, what will matter will be the validity and accuracy of the information. Period. No more of this shooting the messenger type of reporting. The days of trusting a news source just because of its long history are over.

    The CBC should be one of the exceptions.

    Sad and scary times, indeed.

  13. "The Book of Don"
    Posted January 7, 2008 at 3:15 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Actually….this time I’ll side with the weasels – on one point anyway. People love weather items…weather history…weather folklore…weather humour. Weather is gold.

    When I was Exec in Winnipeg waaaaaaaaay back — how far back I hear you ask ??…. so far back we actually had a 48 share. Yes, you read that right. CBC was at 48 and the CTV affiliate had about 14. But I digress. Back in those days I had a rule – at the morning story meeting we’d always try to find a weather story outside of the parameters of the weather cast. The viewers loved it. We’d do weather stories from other countries – hey its 30 below here in Winnipeg why don’t we do a double ender with the weather guy in Oz — we’d do a weather historian …. if I could have found a sex angle on the weather our ratings would have been so high I’d have retired on Tony’s buy out.

    I KNOW this discussion is much broader than simply weather programming. But the weasel’s are correct – weather works. And CBC local weather coverage sucks.

    …on the other hand – I’ve just come off a mind numbing stint as a judge on the RTNDA “awards” (private sector news casts)….and hey – guess what ?? THEY ALL LOOK THE SAME.

    Same chyron. Same font. Same studio design. Same camera zoom. Same Ken and Barbie anchors. Same pablum news.

    I literally watched dozens of private newscasts…from Lethbridge to Barrie to Sydney, and they all had that same evangelical, Stepford wives feel to them.

    so, Hollywood weather casts are great…but you need some good old fashioned local presence, no bullshit journalism too.

  14. Anonymous
    Posted January 7, 2008 at 2:26 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    excessive weather reports are cheap programming and designed to be a distraction from the real issues

  15. Bytowner
    Posted January 7, 2008 at 1:53 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Sounds like a lot of newscasters and reporters, public and private sector alike, would be glad to be rid of the Magid Mindset.

    Am I wrong?

  16. CQ
    Posted January 7, 2008 at 11:37 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I would agree that Weather Presentation is an important viewership element. But I’d also say that Standardized Formula becomes Pablum (i.e.; The Beatles – fab, The Monkees – prefab).

    I remember CBC Toronto’s 80s newshour with the man writing in front of a transparent board in chalk, and CTV’s person writing from behind the board. Today I marvel at the incredible technology of the local CityTV weather segments and the friendly personality of its, and CTV’s – yet they still feature a behind-the-glass style, main presenters.

    To my eyes, CBC [engTV] is collectively HardNews Nighttime: 24/7. Sometimes I just prefer to watch an hour like ‘Midday’ or CTV’s ‘Good Morning Canada’, as well.

  17. Kevin
    Posted January 7, 2008 at 9:20 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    http://www.technologyreview.com/Infotech/19845/

    Not exactly the same subject but in the ballpark. And it does suggest that the battle for the soul of news isn’t confined to the CBC, and it isn’t necessarily dependent on being a PSB.

  18. Justin Beach
    Posted January 7, 2008 at 7:12 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Just a thought but it would be great if someone would, on this blog or another one, start listing the stories the CBC chose NOT to cover.

  19. Allan
    Posted January 7, 2008 at 6:48 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Shock Doctrine is more an attempt at branding than logic.
    The book is so silly it rises to the level of being an intellectual hoax.

  20. Anonymous
    Posted January 7, 2008 at 6:38 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I was reading this thinking “am I the only one who doesn’t know this?”

    It amazes me that in a media organization this is the only place where I can find the truth.

    Thank you for writing it, and that you for putting it online. Ouimet, I swear, someday they will give you a medal.

    If they don’t fire you first.

  21. Anonymous
    Posted January 7, 2008 at 6:35 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I would say you should all do something before it’s too late … but it’s too late. So long public broadcasting, it was great knowing you.

  22. Justin Beach
    Posted January 7, 2008 at 6:25 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    It’s sad to hear. At a point where traditional television is racing toward irrelevancy and all of the US networks have abandoned credibility and public responsibility in favour of infotainment the CBC was one of the few reliable English language news services left in the world.

    Without the integrity, credibility and high quality information that gave the CBC the reputation it has the myCBC online initiative will go down in flames for want of users.

    The same way Toronto trucks their garbage to Michigan, the US broadcasts theirs north of the border. If people want crap the US is offering plenty of it at Boxing week prices.

  23. Enik
    Posted January 7, 2008 at 5:14 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Thank you for an intelligent and illuminating analysis of an initiative that most of us know little about. As usual, Audience, Revenues and Cost trump Public value each and every time. (Why not just call it ARC and be done with it.) The situation is grotesque and, frankly, sick-making. As for the strategy “lay low ride it out”, it’s a familiar one throughout the corporation, not just in news.


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