Thursday, September 29, 2005

CBC Lockout Watch, Day 46

The CMG has officially rejected CBC's creative proposal as a basis for negotiation, condeming CBC for taking out newspaper ads about their offer with a hypocrisy that is simply breathtaking in light of CMG's own initial surprise public offer.

The Parliamentary Heritage Committee will summon the top four CBC execs to Ottawa after the lockout to answer some tough questions, including this one: if CBC locks out its employees again, should the government lock up CBC's funding for the duration?

An excellent idea, if I do say so myself. If CBC has become more watchable and listenable during the lockout, it will be irresistable when they have to run nothing but test patterns.

Claire Hoy calls bullshit on the groundswell of public outrage about the CBC lockout that CBC fans claim is rising throughout the land:

To be sure, a series of articles about the “growing public angst” have appeared in several newspapers lately, written mostly by journalists who are not only CBC fans but are also regulars on various network political and entertainment panels.

And other elites in politics and academia have also been collectively wringing their hands about a network which many claim – apparently in earnest – is central to Canada’s very identity.

The truth is that in a world of almost limitless television and radio channels, the CBC, if it ever was central to the lives of most Canadians, has become less relevant as both of source of news (which is routinely slanted to the left of center anyway) and entertainment.


But ask yourself: has the CBC lockout really changed your life? Or have you, like most Canadians, barely noticed?

If there is any real urgency in getting the thing settled, it has nothing to do with all the exaggerated rhetoric about the importance of the CBC to Canada’s psyche, and everything to do with the fact that the NHL is about to restart after missing an entire season.

As much as the elites want you to believe that we couldn’t survive as a country without this publicly-funded network, the one program which Canadians do watch in huge numbers is Hockey Night in Canada.

Take away hockey with the rest of CBC Sports and CBC might actually have to focus on its mandate. Nobody would be watching, but they'd actually have to put up or shut up about their claims to be the great Canadian public interest broadcaster.

Lorrie Goldstein has some interesting numbers from a Ryerson study about bias among Canadian TV news directors:

It found that 45.8% of all Canadian television news directors surveyed in 2002 said they were Liberal voters. By contrast, only 14.6% said they were Progressive Conservative voters, 10.4% Canadian Alliance, 10.4% NDP. This put the news directors at the high end of overall public support for the Liberals during that period (40-46% according to the polls) and at the low end for the PCs (15-18%), Alliance (14-18%) and NDP (13-16%).

The professors said their study suggests Canadian journalists vote much like the public, contrary to other countries, such as the U.S., where they tend to be more liberal and left wing.

The notable exception, they concluded, is that "journalists at Canada's public broadcaster, the CBC, share a different profile and are more likely to hold left-of-centre political views." Uh ... duh.


But beyond that, (Marsha) Barber and (Ann) Rauhala also found that the most influential person in Canadian TV newsrooms -- both public and private sector -- in determining how political news is covered, is a Liberal voter almost half the time. By contrast, he or she is (was) a supporter of the former Alliance party, with which Conservative Leader Stephen Harper is most closely identified, only one time in 10. And at the CBC, zero times in 10.

As the last generation of news directors and editors educated largely outside journalism schools retires, the new generations of j-school educated successors, schooled with a heavy leftist bias, will make this bias even more pronounced.

It would be interesting to find out what the geographic distribution of the news directors' voting preferences was. I suspect that the PC & Alliance supporters were grouped in one part of the country, while the all-powerful Toronto news directors were Liberal and NDP voters to a man, thus giving them even more influence than their numbers would suggest.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Take away hockey with the rest of CBC Sports and CBC might actually have to focus on its mandate. Nobody would be watching, but they'd actually have to put up or shut up about their claims to be the great Canadian public interest broadcaster.

I'd certainly like to see the CBC carry out such a mandate. There is so much Canadian history and current stuff going on that the CBC just ignores in its quest to get Canadians to be more patriotically Canadian than the Americans are patriotically American.

In the meantime, Canadians of different faiths and cultures know precious little about each other and their individual realities.

So much for diversity. The much-touted Canadian ideal of "tolerance" is no more than indifference... just make sure said diversity doesn't encroach on anyone's comfort zones and actually demand genuine respect for it.

The idea of the CBC bringing Canadians closer together is a nice dream, but it's just a fantasy that has morphed into a taxpayer's nightmare. It's highly doubtful Canadians want to be brought closer together.