Kim Jong Il Watch™ (2)

Today, who has shown themselves to be unclear on the concept that the CBC is a public broadcater, not a “state” broadcaster? For the most part, hacks from the Tubby and incumbent Southam and CanWest papers. And “Toronto’s national newspaper.”

  • “Taxpayers deserve better from their national network; CBC reporter, Liberal MP need Ethics 101 refresher.” Susan Martinuk. Calgary Herald. Jan. 11, 2008. p. A20

    The CBC has clung to its status as state broadcaster long after there is any need for such a thing by claiming its unique status frees it from the fetters of commercialism and responsibilities to corporate sponsors and thereby enables it to better report the news.

    Ironically, those fetters have merely been replaced by ties to a particular political ideology and a particular party.

  • “TV fund rebukes cable giants.” Grant Robertson. The Globe and Mail. Jan. 25, 2007. p. B.1

    Vidéotron and Shaw have also complained about the 37% of the fund that is allocated for CBC productions. [Vidétron “spokesman” Luc Lavoie] Lavoie called the CBC “a state broadcaster” that already receives $1-billion a year in federal funding and says it doesn’t need money from private industry.

  • “CBC is the problem, not Rabinovitch.” The Gazette. Oct. 5, 2005. p. A22

    Management’s almost-complete rout at the end of a seven-week lockout is at least an opportunity to launch a comprehensive national discussion on the whole future of the CBC/Radio-Canada, service by service. Does it make sense for Canadians to spend $900 million a year to subsidize an official state broadcaster, in this era of media diversity?

  • “Let the 10% of Canadians who say they miss CBC pay for it.” Rondi Adamson. Toronto Star. Oct. 2, 2005. p. A16

    To paraphrase someone I generally don’t paraphrase, Gloria Steinem, Canada needs the CBC like a fish needs a bicycle. Even 50-plus years ago, we did not need the CBC.

    It may have served more of a purpose then, in pre-satellite and digital days. […] The CBC does not speak for me and its programming does not reflect my life. As for it being “distinctive,” well, the CBC is just a squishy BBC. Nothing unique about that. […] But even if I weren’t the type to laugh when a friend of mine calls the CBC “an Al Qaeda cell,” I would wish for the privatization of our state broadcaster, on principle.

  • “Quebec singer says CBC is ‘racist.’ ” The Spectator. Mar. 7, 2008. p. G16

    [Claude Dubois] says he was shocked CBC producers failed to include the performances or achievements of Québécois songsters.

    A leading Quebec singer is accusing CBC’s English arm of “racism” after it cut several Quebec artists from a TV show earlier this week. [Everyone resident in Quebec is a “race”? – Ed.]

    Claude Dubois says the state broadcaster insulted Quebecers when it broadcast the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame gala on Monday. However, the Francophone arm of CBC, Radio-Canada, carried none of the show, saying it wasn’t interested.

  • “When the terrorist label fits.” Calgary Herald. Aug. 6, 2005. p. A20

    While some of the adjectives might apply – troubled, aggrieved, militant – the primary description and the proper noun would be “terrorist.” And in fact, that’s the label used by none other than Israel’s Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, after a Thursday terror attack in that country by an Israeli soldier. He called the shooting a “reprehensible act by a bloodthirsty Jewish terrorist who sought to attack innocent Israeli citizens.”

    The CBC has a policy against using the word terrorist, the absurdity of which was noticeable again in their recent coverage of the London terrorist attacks. Canada’s state broadcaster could learn a few things from Israel’s prime minister, including the clear use of language to describe events and people.

  • “The CBC operates as a branch of the Liberal government.” David J. Driver. The Record. Mar. 28, 2005. p. A11

    With such an array of quality programming available to all Canadians from sea to sea to sea, the very raison d’être of the CBC has essentially disappeared. Yet even with this reality, taxpayers continue to fund the CBC to the tune of $1 billion annually.

    I now understand that PBS had no commercials because, unlike the CBC, it did not accept advertising revenues. CBC must not be allowed to double-dip by accepting taxpayer money and corporate funds simultaneously. But some still ask, without the CBC where will we get a Canadian perspective?

    The weak argument one often hears is that the CBC is the only source of quality Canadian content. Just look at all the choices available. While maybe not in the majority, quality programming does certainly exist. One such example is Bravo!, which advertises that it was “created to fill the void of interesting and relevant cultural programming.” Clearly the CBC does not hold a monopoly on this market.

    Some associate the CBC with Canadian nationalism, believing that our state broadcaster is what protects us from becoming American. If you define your national identity with TV shows, then you may find yourself in need of some severe self-introspection.

  • “Creator of Canada’s modern public radio.” National Post. Jan. 25, 2005. p. AL9

    Harry Joseph Boyle was born on Oct. 7, 1915, on a farm near St. Augustine, Ont., an intersection with a few houses and a general store north of London, Ont…. In 1968, the government formed the CRTC, and Boyle was one of its first five commissioners. When the head of the CRTC, Pierre Juneau, left to join Pierre Trudeau’s cabinet, Boyle became its second chairman. […] Harry Boyle, who has died at the age of 89, was head of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission and one of its first commissioners when it started in 1968. […]

    Eventually Boyle approached Ernest Bushnell, director-general of the CBC, and told him the state broadcaster was too ordinary and was too much like private radio.

  • “CBC’s fall lineup is just Gross.” Jason Chow. National Post. May 28, 2004. p. PM9 Front

    When the CBC programmers sat down to figure out the fall schedule, they apparently divided the viewing audience into two groups: Fans of Paul Gross and those who follow British soap operas. If you fit into either category, pencil in some quality time with your state broadcaster this fall. […] But even weirder was the network’s insistence that there’s a huge appetite for all things Gross, that guy who played the mountie in that sitcom, Due South. Slated for next season is a made-for-TV movie that he wrote and starred in, a Life and Times biography about him and a re-airing of his curling movie Men with Brooms. As well, he may be an integral part of the network’s Greatest Canadian project. At this rate, he’ll soon rival Peter Mansbridge for most facetime on CBC.

  • “CBC, Parliament take a frightening walk on free speech.” Norman Spector. Vancouver Sun. May 21, 2004. p. A19

    Perhaps it’s a coincidence, but I think not, that the CBC has decided not to give Canadians the potentially bad news during the coming campaign. In an E-mail to employees earlier this month, chief news editor Tony Burman advised that, “In addition to not commissioning any polls during the campaign that focus on ‘voter preference’ or ‘try to suggest the eventual outcome,’ ” the CBC “will place limits on the systematic reporting of polls conducted by other media organizations.”

    If signs of thought-control at the state broadcaster are not sufficiently troubling, what can one say about the Supreme Court decision to uphold a law curbing your expression and mine during the election campaign?

  • “CBC Watch.” National Post. May 15, 2004. p. A21 [in which CBC Watch gets to write its own story]

    Journalistic accountability has become a watchword in recent months. […] But at the CBC, a lesser standard apparently applies. Last summer, the CBC radio program The Current broadcast a phony story discrediting the U.S. invasion of Iraq. We debunked the story, as did numerous media watchdogs, and asked for a retraction. None came. And, to our knowledge, no one at the CBC was disciplined. At the BBC or National Public Radio, this would have ended someone’s career. But the $850-million Canadian taxpayers spend on the CBC evidently buys something less than full accountability.

    This past week brought some hope that reform is on its way. Responding to widespread accusations that a recent installment of The National was marred by spurious smears of the United States and Israel, CBC News editor-in-chief Tony Burman admitted that the broadcast was faulty, and pledged “a careful review of our procedures” so as “to ensure this never happens again.”

    We applaud Mr. Burman for admitting as much. For the past year, we have been highlighting his network’s bias in our CBC Watch feature. But Mr. Burman has consistently responded by glossing over valid criticism with slogans about how much Canadians love their state broadcaster. It’s taken a while, but finally Mr. Burman seems to have woken up.

  • “CBC still doesn’t get it: More evidence of how taxpayers’ money mismanaged.” Gillian Cosgrove. National Post. Mar. 12, 2004. p. A7

    Meanwhile, over at rival CTV Newsnet, the private broadcaster was fulfilling the role that, ironically, is the mandate of the state broadcaster. It ran, virtually free of commercials, more than two hours of live coverage of the Tory debate and the news scrums before and after. Little wonder, then, that Tony Clement, Stephen Harper and Belinda Stronach all pledged that, if they topple the Liberals, they will, at the very least, review the future of the CBC and strip it down to a size that makes it less of a drain on the public purse and return it to its mandate.

  • “Antiques, gays pass for CBC coverage” [sic]. Gillian Cosgrove. National Post. Feb. 27, 2004. p. A6

    Yet, exactly a week earlier, the CBC’s main channel, to the ire of traditionally minded Canadians, had carried, and then repeated on Newsworld, what its flacks called history’s first live broadcast of a gay wedding. This was an interminable proceeding that, on grounds of tedium alone, should have been kissed off in a 90-second clip. Clearly, this was a huge CBC priority, as was sending newsreader Peter Mansbridge to Kabul for a week to front soft, touch-feely features while Ottawa went to hell in a handbasket over Adscam.

    [Noam Chomsky] is news to the CBC. What Stephen Harper, Tony Clement and Belinda Stronach say about how the sorry state of the nation might be repaired is not news. On Tuesday, Tony Burman, “chief journalist” at CBC, in an all-too-brief Newsworld debate with Matthew Fraser, editor-in-chief of the Post, had the gall to claim the CBC is fair and balanced!

    What the CBC refused to broadcast last Sunday is fresh evidence – if any were needed – of how disconnected the state broadcaster has become from the concerns of average Canadians as it careens down the path of socialist political correctness, losing ratings points at every step.

  • “Asper right to condemn CBC’s use of ‘activists.’ ” Barry Kent Winters. Edmonton Journal. Aug. 6, 2003. p. A.13

    [Izzy] Israel Asper (chairman of CanWest Global Communications, which owns [the paper publishing this piece]) is absolutely right in his condemnation of the “road map to peace” and his castigation of CBC and other media outlets for a lack of journalistic integrity. Racist murderers that scream “death to the Jews” and then “God is great” while killing women and children at bus stops are not “militants” or “activists” as described by Canada’s “politically correct” state broadcaster. Nor are they soldiers. They do not attack military targets – only innocents. EEEEEEEEE [sic]

  • “Lots of weirdness goes on in Finkleman’s Newsroom: Series becomes TV movie.” Benjamin Errett. National Post. June 4, 2002. p. AL2

    As creator and star of the only memorable Canadian sitcom of the last quarter century, [Ken Finkleman] is uniquely positioned to do such experiments. In the scene from the two-hour TV movie that reprises the critically-adored [!] series of the same name and airs on CBC this fall, director Atom Egoyan plays himself as a filmmaker visiting the set of a Toronto evening news show.

    This puts Finkleman in a strange position as a highbrow Canadian celebrity, perhaps best illustrated by last fall’s print ads for Foreign Objects, his six-part CBC series. The full-page magazine ad screamed “Finkleman” in big block letters, with a photo of the director cloaked in shadow and the pitchline “Unexpected. Uncommon. Finkleman.”

    There’s no mistaking the excitement in Ken Finkleman’s voice as he describes yesterday’s filming of the Newsroom television movie. It sounds as though the director, writer and auteur-in-residence of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has just discovered the cinematic equivalent of cold fusion. […] The same could be said of the fact this man brought his career to new heights by making these sorts of films for the state broadcaster.

  • “When Irish eyes are watching.” John Doyle. The Globe and Mail. Mar. 16, 2002. p. 3. [Even John Doyle unironically uses the term!]

    A show about St. Patrick airs on History this weekend in honour of St. Patrick’s Day. A lot of things are done in honour of St. Patrick, many involving green beer and silly hats. Here, in honour of the day, I’ll tell you about TV in Ireland. In Ireland they won’t be sitting around watching a documentary about St. Patrick. There are four TV channels. RTÉ (Radio Telefis Éireann) is the state broadcaster, like CBC or the BBC [emphasis added].

  • “There are better uses for $1B than CBC.” Sudbury Star. Feb. 14, 2002. p. A6

    But the identity of the most recent CBC critics to go public with their opinions must have been a bit of a surprise to the state broadcaster and its dwindling fan club. […]

    Robert O’Reilly, former head of Radio Canada International, CBC’s overseas shortwave service, says the CBC’s English-language television network has become an irrelevant specialty channel.

    In a speech to a group of broadcasters in London, England, the now-safely-retired O’Reilly says CBC-TV should be “shut down as soon as possible and practical, before it becomes so irrelevant that it threatens the survival of the entire corporation.”

  • “CRTC wants to hog-tie Newsnet.” Paul Wells. National Post. June 27, 2001. p. A6

    Fans of this logic will be super-delighted to hear that the CBC’s incessant complaints about Newsnet’s insistence on covering news have borne fruit. The CRTC, which is not actually an acronym for Canadians Reducing Television to Crap, has ordered Newsnet to abandon its insistence on breaking away from its 15-minute cycle of headlines, briefs and Tino Monte’s Hollywood Update to bring Canadians live coverage of actual stuff that’s actually happening.

    Now, I want to say right off that I’m not designating a hero network and a villain network here. CTV’s long-term commitment to hard news, especially under the aegis of its new corporate bosses at BCE, is one of many open questions in today’s news business. On the other hand, Newsworld often does cover the news[. T]hat’s precisely why we should all tell the CRTC to back off. Newspapers don’t have to put up with the tiresome, arbitrary meddling of an anachronistic pack of steamwhistle bureaucrats who could not possibly do more damage if their job description read: “Do what it takes to keep the industry mired in a swamp of mediocrity.” Only broadcasters do. Only broadcasters are required to put up with such absurdity.

    It is an absurdity nearly perfect in its arbitrariness. The CBC has been victim as often as bully: A previous management regime showered applications for specialty channel licences down on the CRTC’s head, only to have most of them turned down, with the bizarre result that Moses Znaimer was allowed to grow his broadcasting empire more quickly than Canada’s state broadcaster. This stuff is entirely random.

  • Star out of alignment.” National Post. Mar. 24, 2001. p. A15. [Only the Tubby could work in a crack about the CBC’s being a “state broadcaster” into an article about its direct competitor, the Toronto Star.]

    First, there is the question of politics. While a 1999 Fraser Institute study of CBC’s Web site concluded that “the sources … CBC online journalists use and promote shows their occupational preference not only for government and its agencies, but also for labour and left-leaning organizations over right-wing organizations,” the CBC is at least nominally apolitical; it does not publish editorials…. If it is inappropriate for our state broadcaster to use public resources to further a political point of view, why should it be permitted to systematically cross-promote a newspaper that does the same thing? It is editorial comment by proxy.

  • “Suzanne Tremblay, unmasker of secret identities: Commentators mock the Bloc MP’s long string of alarms, and assess the uncertain future of the Expos and the CBC.” André Picard. The Globe and Mail. Apr 15, 1999. p. A.23

    Heritage Minister Sheila Copps and CBC president Perrin Beatty recently visited (separately) the editorial board of Le Soleil in Quebec City. Jean-Jacques Samson, assistant publisher of the paper, says he was struck by the fact that the two are “really not on the same wavelength, and such shocking differences cannot last because the very mission of the state broadcaster is called into question.”

    Ms. Copps criticized the CBC/Radio-Canada for paying $150-million for the rights to the Nagano Olympics and then refusing to broadcast the Quebec Games for lack of money; she denounced the network’s bid to create six new specialty channels; and she complained that Radio-Canada tries to compete too directly with the private TVA network, with game shows and the like, instead of creating higher-quality programming. These views were the exact opposite of those of the CBC bosses, Mr. Samson notes.

    “Ms. Copps’s dissatisfaction with the public broadcaster is increasingly shared by the public,” he writes. “The minister has put her finger on the cancer that is eating away at Radio-Canada, the insane obsession with ratings that is being pursued with a combination of appealing to the lowest common denominator and plundering the public purse to pay for unreasonable contracts, to the detriment of strong programming that would distinguish the public broadcaster from those in the amusement business.”

  • “CBC scrambles to escape from government ‘brand.’ ” Chris Cobb. Ottawa Citizen. Feb. 24, 1999. p. A3

    A Treasury Board order to publicly “brand” the CBC as a government-funded service has the corporation scrambling to protect its journalistic independence.

    Months after receiving the directive to make the “Canada” word logo a more prominent part of its corporate identity, the CBC is looking for ways to conform without making itself look like the nation’s state broadcaster.

  • “The last, best hope for the CBC? For once, Ottawa could hire a truly qualified CEO for the state broadcaster.” David Olive. National Post. Jan. 19, 1999. p. A18

    [The term is found only in the headline, so it was probably put there by an editor.]

  • “A sneaky way to make the CBC a state vehicle: Tucked away in an omnibus bill is an amendment to the Broadcast Act that would cost CBC presidents their protection against the government.” Pierre Juneau. The Globe and Mail. Sep. 18, 1998. p. A.19

    The amendment to the Broadcasting Act contained in Bill C-44 would reverse the so-called “arm’s-length” tradition that goes back several decades and has been honoured by both Liberal and Conservative governments. It seems unimaginable that the present government really intends to reject values cherished by the administrations of Mackenzie King, Louis St. Laurent, Lester Pearson and all succeeding governments. Our country and many others, such as the United Kingdom, believe the CBC, the BBC and other public broadcasters need arm’s-length status to guarantee their integrity and credibility in the minds of the public, the media and their own staff. Should C-44 pass, the CBC could not be considered independent any more. It would become a state broadcaster.

17 comments:

  1. Fake Ouimet
    Posted August 25, 2008 at 1:37 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Well, Kev, I don’t totally know what you mean. I have a number of long-term topics I’m covering in numerous posts.

  2. Kev
    Posted August 25, 2008 at 10:26 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Then again, if the recent content of Teamakers proves anything at all, it’s that it’s perfectly cool to repeat the same couple of whines ad nauseum.

  3. Fake Ouimet
    Posted August 25, 2008 at 9:49 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I’m not going anywhere. Having complained, you exhausted one option, leaving only one more at your disposal.

  4. Du Hast Smoke!
    Posted August 25, 2008 at 8:32 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    If Drew Carey can’t cut it, there’s no reason to expect him to hang around either.

  5. Fake Ouimet
    Posted August 24, 2008 at 9:28 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Well, I miss Bob Barker, but he ain’t coming back to The Price Is Right.

  6. Anonymous
    Posted August 24, 2008 at 2:52 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I miss Real Ouimet. Wish we had her/him back.

  7. Fake Ouimet
    Posted August 23, 2008 at 11:02 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    There is still the same range of choices available to you, Teatard⢠2.

  8. Anonymous
    Posted August 23, 2008 at 7:55 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Critics are branded and trademarked?

    Regardless, I agree. Dull as paint.

  9. Fake Ouimet
    Posted August 23, 2008 at 6:52 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Thanks, Teatardâ¢. You have only one choice in the matter.

  10. Anonymous
    Posted August 22, 2008 at 8:54 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    This new blog is really boring. Fake Ouimet’s posts are so dull.

  11. Fake Ouimet
    Posted August 22, 2008 at 3:15 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    The only people who appreciate the CBC are those who appreciate the CBC?

    Now tell us what two plus two equals, Anonymous!

    Also! You can keep trotting out the line if you want, but your contention that being beholden to micromanagement by career bureaucrats turns the CBC into a “state” broadcaster is, of course, risible.

    Can’t you try any harder?

  12. Anonymous
    Posted August 22, 2008 at 2:39 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Historic Low Ratings ?

    You are aware the CBC Television and Radio are having the highest ratings in many many years ? It beat global in prime time last year.

    Get your facts straight.

  13. Dwight Williams
    Posted August 22, 2008 at 2:19 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    You notice how they instinctively throw in “liberal, unelected bureaucracy” as well when repeated re-usage of “state broadcaster” fails to result in the mass villification of CBC’s existence that its critics demand we adopt?

  14. Anonymous
    Posted August 22, 2008 at 1:28 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I think it’s demonstrably false that federal bureaucrats “control all cultural spending to the point of micro-managing the CBC’s programming,” as someone else posted. Even if a too-small budget is the source of a lot of the problems.

    And I’m not sure the wing-nuts will ever be convinced to stop calling it a “state broadcaster” no matter how many posts you make on the subject.

    However, if you want to see something that looks like a more genuine state broadcaster moment, I point you to Knowlton Nash’s unfortunate role during the October Crisis. You probably won’t find it though Google, either.

  15. Anonymous
    Posted August 22, 2008 at 12:46 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    It`s so easy to paste negatives on the CBC (but then again you had to dig back to 1999) – Reality is there are many Cdns who appreciate, watch and listen to the CBC. I will say this much: if the private sector spends the time and ink space to bitch about the CBC then I consider the CBC as a value/threat to these soon to be Americanized networks. I am Canadian, so is the CBC and THEY are NOT !

  16. Anonymous
    Posted August 22, 2008 at 11:28 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    If “fake’s” position is that the “state-broadcaster” label for the CBC is inaccurate because it is at arms-length from Parliament then please consider that it is Canada’s unelected liberal bureaucracy which controls all cultural spending to the point of micro-managing the CBC’s programming through the CTF and the CTRC which have enormous unseen influence over the internal decisions of the CBC.

    It is also worth noting that the search engine references to “CBC state broadcaster” suggest a total lack of support for the CBC or it’s questionable mandate which is always being refined to suit it’s political masters, who are not always the government of the day. To make matters worse, the CBC’s ratings (not audience share, ratings) are at historic lows. The CBC is not embraced by any segment of Canadian society beyond those who wish to benefit from it’s existence.

  17. Dwight Williams
    Posted August 22, 2008 at 11:10 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Translated as “Since you refuse to behave like the local version of Правда on behalf of our school of political thought, you ought to be disbanded!”

    *rolls eyes up*


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