There’s reason to believe the CBC is failing us in its coverage of the war in Afghanistan

Peter Worthington wants you to hear what Garth Pritchard, a Calgary filmmaker, has to say.
And it’s worth repeating.

He’s been to Afghanistan six times and “produced, directed and shot hundreds of hours of footage about our Canadian troops and their role.” “There is one absolute,” says Pritchard. “Every time my footage or documentaries were offered to the CBC — both to the National and the CBC’s Documentary Unit (and specifically to Mark Starowicz), they were refused.”
Pritchard is “appalled” that the National found that Canadians aren’t fully aware of what our military has been doing in Afghanistan — at war under NATO, not peacekeeping under the UN. He asks: “Where has the CBC been since 2001? If it is not the CBC’s job to keep Canadians informed, then whose job is it? Obviously, the CBC has failed miserably, and now turns to an American documentary filmmaker to inform us — with footage from 2006.”
Pritchard recalls talking to Combat Engineer Sgt. Shawn Eades seven months ago in Kandahar. Eades wasn’t surprised that the CBC rejected anything filmed by Pritchard, especially footage of Eades’ men dismantling a Taliban bomb factory. Despite all the awards Pritchard’s documentaries have earned, Eades wasn’t surprised.
“What do you expect, Garth,” said Eades. “They have no intention of telling our story. Didn’t they refuse your documentary on friendly fire?”
Pritchard was the only one to film the “friendly fire” air attack on the Pats in 2002 that killed four and wounded eight. The CBC rejected Pritchard’s I-was-there documentary, and later hired a Toronto filmmaker who’d never been to Afghanistan to do a one-hour documentary titled . . . wait for it . . . Friendly Fire.
A few days after Pritchard returned from Afghanistan, Sgt. Eades and his squad were killed in an explosion. Pritchard says he offered CBC free footage of Eades and the Combat Engineers, “and the incredible work they were doing.”
Once again, the CBC refused his footage. “This time they took it to a new level,” says Pritchard. “‘How do we know you are telling the truth?’

from Canadian Armed Forces Blogger


  1. Dwight Williams
    Posted February 19, 2009 at 9:30 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Respectfully, showing the services when invited to do so by those participating – family, friends, fellow soldiers – is not in bad taste. They are reaching out to the rest of us, and we have a responsibility to at least bear witness as citizens, and to share their pain with them as their neighbours, families, and friends.

  2. S. Prix-Decor
    Posted February 19, 2009 at 6:16 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Some scenes are generic and boring, but others capture a reality that we don’t see enough of.

    Allan, this doc is softcore war porn. Showing the funerals and caskets is out and out bullshit, in bad taste.

    It satisifies fascist talk radio chickenhawks’ desire to do everything short of actually going there and fighting.

    Great to see your views on the Afghan war are consistent with your views on the CBC.

    It really touched you. Give us a break!

  3. Allan
    Posted February 19, 2009 at 1:15 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    These are fair comments – lousy production values and taking exposure for granted.
    But this is footage of Canadian soldiers putting everything on the line.
    Some scenes are generic and boring, but others capture a reality that we don't see enough of. A few of the moments really affected me, and those are worth sharing.
    I just happen to find what these men & women are doing to be incredible, and even the smallest thing can speak to something in my own life.
    Is the CBC covering the war accurately and sufficiently?
    How do you evaluate what's enough?

  4. Anonymous
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 9:05 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    There’s a weird whiff on entitlement in this story: “I got good footage, so it should be on the CBC”. Yeah, sorry, life doesn’t work that way. You’re not the first journalist to run off to Afghanistan with a camera.

    It smacks only slightly of “Mom, I wanna be on teevee!”.

  5. Anonymous
    Posted February 18, 2009 at 8:51 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I’m no documentarist or documentarian, but it looks to me like the production quality of the work is pretty lame. Maybe that’s why it didn’t get aired.

    It’s like one of those fake documentaries that Global or CTV put on to satisfy license requirements. Stale music and AM radio style narration. They’re showing you the gritty side!

    Seriously, who is showing combat on TV? CTV Newsnet?

  6. Allan
    Posted February 16, 2009 at 11:45 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Could you help to clarify something about the fearless Mark Starowicz?
    What difference is he, or has he been, making at the CBC these days?
    We all know his legacy, but has his usefulness come to an end?
    He once innovated, but what has he done lately?
    If Mark is somewhere about yielding influence then why is CBC News in such a sorry state, and commissioning surveys that won’t have any impact for a year?
    Where is that fearlessness?
    Is he just hanging around feeling legendary?

    His monument, The National, has been running on auto-pilot since the ’80’s, so I’d appreciate knowing where we can see his hand in today’s CBC.

  7. Anonymous
    Posted February 16, 2009 at 9:18 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I gotta say, after working with Mark Starowicz many moons ago, one has to ask themselves, why he didn’t take this person’s work. Mark, in my experience, is utterly fearless, with the morals and judgement the CBC doesn’t frankly deserve anymore, but somehow they tricked him into coming back. If Mark didn’t think it stood up to scrutiny, it didn’t stand up to scutiny.

  8. Patrice Nortel
    Posted February 16, 2009 at 11:40 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I come to this blog for the javascript errors.

  9. Anonymous
    Posted February 16, 2009 at 10:55 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Jack Creley, at 8:00 am there was a glaring misuse of it’s, now corrected.

    It was particularly noteworthy for being in a huge, bold font in the headline of the article.

  10. Anonymous
    Posted February 16, 2009 at 8:45 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Breaking news …

    Local retiree launches scorching attack against CBC with desktop computer.

  11. Anonymous
    Posted February 16, 2009 at 8:18 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece


    CBC Biased against Canadian Forces. Film at 11.

  12. Jack Creley as Mr. Morton
    Posted February 16, 2009 at 8:06 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Anonymous 8:00 AM, there are no incorrect usages of the words its or it’sin this piece. It’s correct in all its uses of that word.

    Maybe we should explore the differences between douche and douchebag.

  13. Anonymous
    Posted February 16, 2009 at 6:00 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    OMG. Learn the difference between its and it’s and then get back to me.

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