Reimagine the CBC

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Catchfire Catchfire's picture
Reimagine the CBC

Why We Must Reimagine the CBC

Quote:
Canadians know all too well the consequences of a highly concentrated media landscape. Thanks to the dominance of the big telecom companies, our vice-like cellphone contracts are among the most expensive in the developed world. It’s a similar story with our internet access: Canadians pay the third-highest price for high-speed service in the developed world. The big telecom companies have such a strong influence over the regulator that only a widespread revolt prevented the destruction of their independent competitors last year.

Control of our broadcasting rests in precious few hands, and the big telecom companies would like to maintain their stranglehold by predetermining what kinds of digital content we can access easily and cheaply. There is very little to prevent them from doing this at the moment. There would be even less in a world without the CBC.

 

Canada lags seriously in the four key indicators of a healthy digital economy: speed, openness, affordability, and diversity of content. Looking around the world, it is clear that privatizing the media landscape would not inform, engage, entertain, and connect us better, but would instead increase the dominance of those at the top of the media pyramid – the same companies that have shown such disregard for the needs of ordinary Canadians.

As the federal budget announcement looms large over Parliament Hill, those from the big telecom lobby who would dismantle the CBC are out in force, championing concentration over diversity. They have some unwitting allies in those who doubt the CBC’s representativeness and importance in a digital age. The questions they ask – such as whether the CBC is open enough or innovative enough to deserve the public support it gets – are fair and important questions that need to be asked. However, public media is an absolutely crucial part of a healthy media ecology precisely because it operates differently from the private big telecom empires. The CBC is unique because we, as citizens, can get involved directly in shaping its future.

If you feel the CBC has shortcomings, your voice is needed now more than ever to ensure that our public media better serve Canadians. We have to seize the opportunity to make the CBC a leader in participatory, creative, and engaging media.

 

Regions: 
Kanada2America

Hmm. Surprised no one wants to reply to this yet.

As most might know, I work in the business, but in a very small corner of it. I do honestly believe the CBC has a lot of shortcomings. My question is this: why is the CBC not seen as a massive bureaucracy that is also a part of a spin machine? Do Canadians get a choice when they pay their taxes to support the CBC?

I think this is about ideology and the American boogeyman more than it is about looking critically at what role a public broadcaster fills.

If you don't want to watch something or listen to something, you simply shut it off or change the channel. When that happens in the private broadcasting world, things change. In the world of the CBC and its bureaucrats, you're still paying one way or the other.

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

I'm still paying for oil companies to rape our environment. I'm still paying for our country's participation in and anitcipation for immoral wars.

In the scheme of things, I would gladly pay more for our national public broadcaster, especially if we could see them doing more and doing it better.

Gaian

quote:Hmm. "Surprised no one wants to reply to this yet."

This thread began as an apology for the suppression of public broadcasting and in very naive fashion, is proceeding to an "oh dear" conclusionn with the March budget and deserved to be ignored.

Kanada2America

Touche Laine. I agree with some of those concerns. But if you've ever seen what the CBC fleet looks like (go check out the garage at City Centre Mall in Edmonton), you'll know that we are still in an oil economy. I wish we would push alternatives more but it's a fact of life right now.

Gaian, the suppression of public broadcasting is a relative term to me. What does that mean? De-funding or cutbacks maybe, I'm not sure. I agree with the thread title and interpret it this way:

Either the CBC can re-imagine or re-invent itself by using its incredible strengths and talent to show excellence, or it can fight a war lead by its antogonists in the private sector. Remember we are collectively talking about a public broadcaster that also competes in the private ad revenue market and also is funded by taxpayers to the tune of over $1B annually. Yet it is also a broadcaster that seems closed off to most Canadians other than being the audience. Not quite what it's mandate should be.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Public broadcasting in Canada is certainly under threat: the current strategy appears to be to defund the CBC to the extent that it can no longer fulfil its mandate to any reasonable standard (some might say it's already cleared that hurdle). My complaint is that the CBC has responded to this threat by aping corporate broadcasters and adopting a sycophantic pose regarding the Harper government in the hopes that such a strategy will save it. Of course, in reality, since  the CBC can't match the funding of coporate entities and Harper wants to end public broadcasting anyway, the latter won't help and the former is doomed to fail.

Admittedly, there have been some signs of life, like the way the CBC his pointing out the hypocrisy which governs SunTV's relationship with Ottawa, but more is needed. And, in spite of the political climate hostile to public broadcasting as an idea altogether, attempts like the one in the OP stand a good chance of re-energizing a population who forgot (or never knew) how good the CBC used to be--or who simply want to imagine what a public broadcaster based in an ethos of social justice and public good could look like.

Kanada2America

Yes I agree Catchfire. The CBC can be an incredible in depth documentary and journilistic powerhouse because of its resources but it is insular in the way it responds to outside threats from the private broadcast side like, Sun... or for that matter in how it deals with Joe and Jane Canadian in the everyday context.

I mean, look at Rabble. How does this organization get funded and why is it a wonderful voice of the left? I don't happen to agree with all of the opinions or editorials, but there is certainly something refreshing about what's being said.

For the record my employer is non-union, worth about a third less than what the CBC gets for funding. I am treated very well and paid pretty darn good for the job I do. My "brand" is pretty hip and urban and on top of trends and reflects it.

I think the CBC needs to look around at the current reality and move a lot quicker to make itself relevant so that average Canadians will support it.

Fidel

I don't care if the CBC is a mediocre news agency. I don't want it dismantling so that Canada can end up looking like the U.S. with big business dictating everything we see, hear, and read through monopolizing the radio waves, television, newspapers, books, magazines, films, and large parts of the internet. We already have too much U.S. influence on book publishing, magazines and right wing think tankery in Canada. We don't want to be a mirror image of the dumbed-down U.S. population confused and misled about what its military governments are up to in other countries. It would be a lot easier to democratize a publicly owned news agency than one that is broken up and pawned off to the four winds.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I don't think anyone in this thread has advocated dismantling the CBC. Am I wrong?

NorthReport

Topp at his recent foray into BC talked about a greatly expanded role for the CBC within Canada which I liked, but the Liberals in the News Dept absolutely need to be cut loose.

Fidel

No babbler in this thread, no. The article in the opening post does mention possible public funding cuts to the CBC of up to $170 million and the loss of 1200 jobs. They are talking about phase one of the neoliberal formula for deregulation and privatization:

1. defund 2. defame 3.deregulate & privatize.

And they already have some Canadians defaming the CBC for different reasons. We know it's not the BBC.  It's what they want to do and are testing the political water for it now. They want our opinions, and I gave them mine in a telephone survey. Because once its out of public hands, we're lost. An informed public is a necessary ingredient for democracy, and cutting $100+ million from CBC funding should be a red alert for every Canadian whatever we think of the CBC's past performance.  And in case any of Harper's dregulators and efficiencyizers might be reading this, that's what I think.

Kanada2America

Well my question is this. Are we supposed to just let the CBC or for that matter, various other Crown corporations go on and on endlessly with no one looking at the balance sheets and accounting statements? I too am a taxpayer and I would like to know that instead of a huge grey wall of bureaucracy and indifference, I might see some logic and rational thought applied to what the CBC does.

I don't believe that dismantling the CBC is the answer but it sure is a useful debating point for those who want to create the impression that asking questions is going to lead to that. Harper only has three more years left and dismantling the CBC is not going to happen that quickly.

The CBC is not in touch with the average Canadian, at least on the TV side. Radio is much better. If we don't use ratings to measure what the CBC does (and I exempt Hockey Night in Canada from all this), then how are we supposed to know what's happening to our dollars?

Do you buy a house or a car that way? Do you think waiting in line at the Safeway for too long or putting up with bad service is perfectly ok because it's a question of public vs private?

Fidel

And the Ceeb will be an even shittier broadcast service with our corrupt stooges running it into the ground. They want to divide Canadians and abandon service to Northern communities. We'll be as divided and conquered as Americans before long if herr Steveler and his bought and paid-for stooges have their way.

[url=CBC/Radio-Canada">http://www.ndp.ca/press/cbcradio-canada-must-continue-serving-all-canadi... must continue serving all Canadians: Turmel[/url] January

Quote:
MONTRÉAL-CBC/Radio-Canada is a key actor in Canadian society and the Conservative government shouldn't blindly slash their budget without taking into consideration the needs of communities, New Democrat Leader Nycole Turmel said during her visit to Montreal today.

"A 10 percent budget reduction means that CBC/Radio-Canada's funding would be slashed by more than 100 million dollars per year," Turmel said. "Some Conservative members wanted to cut the budget by 20 percent"

The NDP recognizes the importance of CBC/Radio-Canada for Canadian communities, including those in remote areas and minority language communities.

"The Conservatives are about to butcher a national cultural jewel and that's worrisome. Quebec culture won't be the same without CBC/Radio-Canada. And many communities located outside major centres, who count on the crown corporation for news and entertainment, risk seeing their public service deteriorate," Deputy Heritage Critic Pierre Nantel (Longueuil-Pierre-Boucher) added.

"In 2011, Quebecers set the wheel of change in motion and don't want to now go back to the old debates and the old scandals. By working together, we'll replace the Conservatives in 2015 and build a better future for Quebec families", concluded Turmel.

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Kanada2America wrote:
Well my question is this. Are we supposed to just let the CBC or for that matter, various other Crown corporations go on and on endlessly with no one looking at the balance sheets and accounting statements?

I don't understand this question. The CBC should be an arm's length institution, which means the director appointed should enjoy full autonomy to pursue her vision for its mandate. A bi-annual audit (or some other appropriate schedule) by the auditor general is fine, but the last thing I want to see is a cultural institution meddled with by the whim of an electorate or worse, some nebulous and dubiously named "taxpayer" mass. 

"Ratings" are the metrestick of for-profit corporations. The cultural commonwealth that is the CBC should never "measure" itself with such a metric. That's the kind of crass metric that gives us Kevin O'Leary franchises and Wheel of Fortune on our public broadcaster. Rather the "measure" should be a robust and ongoing conversation about what counts as Canadian culture, ethics and politics in this country. The CBC should not only derive from such a conversation: it should constitute it, produce it and disseminate it. What would happen, for example, if Margaret Atwood were the director of the CBC rather than a Stikeman Elliot legacy? David Suzuki? Leonard Cohen? Thomas King? Sook-Yin Lee? Okay the last one is just my teenage crush...but wouldn't she be excellent?

Farmpunk

No way, CF.  Atwood, Cohen, Suzuki... Sook-Yin??  Really?

It's a massive organization, with teams of tempermental people working in various languages across the country and abroad.  And you want to entrust the steering of this ship to the above mentioned people?  None of those people have any kind of experience directing the day to day operation of a big organization, let alone a news organization.  

What the Ceeb needs is a mean ass leader who accepts nothing but the best from the people working for the Corpse.  Sook-Yin is one of the first to go in that model.

The Ceeb, being a crown corp that's suffered continual cutbacks, is having trouble with legacy costs.  It can't get lean overnight.  It can't get lean without a lot of time.  The CMG will also have to give its head a big shake.  The collective agreement is part of the reason why public participation is limited.  

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Quote:
It's a massive organization, with teams of tempermental people working in various languages across the country and abroad.  And you want to entrust the steering of this ship to the above mentioned people?  None of those people have any kind of experience directing the day to day operation of a big organization, let alone a news organization.  

So they only way to preserve our cultural and political patrimoine is to entrust it to the hands of yet another Stikeman Elliot lawyer? Because--what?--writers are too flakey? I'll let you tell Maggie that one. Anyway, it sounds like we're being sold a bill of goods here. 

I'm not saying that my suggestion isn't provocative, but hell: look what lawyers and executives have done to the public broadcaster. Best to let another sort have a try, and see what happens. Without sounding the death knell before they even get their hands on the wheel.

Unionist

I agree with Catchfire's suggestion, as long as the government appoints an independent third-party manager.

 

Caissa

I'm with Farmpunk on turfing Sook-Yin Lee. DNTO is a blight on the Saturday afternoon schedule.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

BANNED

Caissa

Hey, Bob's Your Uncle. Wink

Unionist

Someone used to do DNTO before Sook-Yin. Anyone remember who?

ETA: Ah, wiki to the rescue - it was Nora Young.

Kanada2America

Well I think you can have anyone at the helm of the CBC you want as long as they know whose money they're spending and none of those people Catchfire mentions as potential candidates likely know too much about accounting. Even my crude understanding of the subject tells me you don't keep spending if you aren't getting results.

I think distrusting the audience or the electorate in matters of what comes from their radio or tv is engaging in a bit of cultural snobbery and elitism.

It's a way of saying Canadians aren't sophisticated enough to know good television or radio when they see or hear it, and essentially saying their tastes must be too crude and crass for the collective sensibilities of this country's culture.

I get culture from many sources and the CBC doesn't have a choke hold on my remote. That's modern reality. People will gravitate to whatever programming they want. Now you can measure that in crass ways such as ratings, but to pretend that the CBC should be immune from the environment in which it is operating in, is unrealistic - especially when it amounts to a billion dollars a year.

jas

Caissa wrote:

I'm with Farmpunk on turfing Sook-Yin Lee. DNTO is a blight on the Saturday afternoon schedule.

One of the rare times I'll agree with Caissa.

To have this as the alternative to opera (on both French and English FM) on Saturday afternoons is radio purgatory. (And then 'oldies' music with Randy Bachman if you're unfortunate enough to be stuck at home in the evening).

I like Sook-Yin and all the contributors - they all have talent. But what they choose to focus on is consistently uninteresting to me. Maybe their target audience is a little younger. Maybe they're simply in the wrong time slot. Maybe they should just do a different kind of show.

Farmpunk

No, flaky writers should not be running the CBC.  They should be contributing to it.  And I suspect Atwood commands a fee that isn't economically feasible.  I doubt she'll be filing many news stories from Prince George.

And I'd tell Atwood exactly that. 

She's a writer, a cultural personality, not an organizer.  She tweets, people listen.  Great.  Has she ever managed people?  Has she ever been faced with a daily series of programs with daily deadlines and shrinking budgets, all of which are managed by people who are themselves quite skilled, or confident, possibly arrogant, maybe incompetent?  Has she ever worked with a large union?  Has Suzuki?  Is his Narture of Things prod-co unionized?

Yes, Unionist, I could have named Nora Young as the former host of DNTO.  She's now the host of Spark, a show about technology that rarely veers outside chatting about the internet.  

DNTO used to be about contributors putting together neat little stories, packages, with sound.  Usually people from across Canada. Now it's a show without a soul, being hosted by someone with no charisma.  She's better than at first but that's not saying much.  And it's not fun, or witty, and it doesn't sound Canadian to me.

Given my choice of former music dorks from the 90s, I would rather have Soo Yin running the Ceeb than Strombo.    

 

Unionist

Farmpunk wrote:
Has she ever been faced with a daily series of programs with daily deadlines and shrinking budgets, all of which are managed by people who are themselves quite skilled, or confident, possibly arrogant, maybe incompetent?

She speaks volumes about [url=http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/massey-archives/2008/11/06/massey-lectures-2008-... - but "not about practical debt management or high finance". So you're probably right about her management skills.

But maybe Catchfire exaggerated slightly to make a point, and maybe there's a useful compromise between his vision and the status quo?

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Yes, I'm asking for an imaginative leap in the way we think crown corporations should be managed. I don't trust rich tax lawyers with my cultural heritage, and I'm not sure why you do. I doubt Atwood would take the job -- and indeed, we would be robbing Canada of one of its best authors. But I would much rather err on that side than the one who inflicted us with Rabnovitch and Lacroix.

6079_Smith_W

You want to know who the CBC needs right now?

Someone like the person wh was there at the beginning. I wish I had been taking notes, because I can't find it now, but I remember hearing a program on CBC radio about their very first television broadcast. Mavor Moore was producing, and just before they were about to go on the air a group of drunk  and happy bureaucrats and government ministers came walking up the hallway to the studio. Moore locked the door on them. 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/arts/theatre/story/2006/12/21/mavor-moore.html

 

Check out his wikipedia listing. Nobody special at all. Just someone who understood boundaries and protocol:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mavor_Moore

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/news/arts/story/2012/02/21/pierre-juneau-obit.html]Barely in the grave, Pierre Juneau would be rolling in it to read this thread on a progressive discussion board.[/url]

The CBC was never revolutionary but at it's best, it was damn good at reflecting what is Canadian to Canadians. It did this without resorting to super cheap programming and broadcasting values. DNTO under Nora Young was all that farmpunk described. It was a real treat to catch it on the radio. In fact, it was hard to get Saturday errands done without missing stellar programming throughout the day.

Catchfire, you forgot Rabinovitch's henchman and successor, Stursberg, on that list. He did quite the job prior to that with Telefilm, replacing quality Canadian stories with profits as a prime motivator for funding. Profitability was never part of the CBC's mandate as outlined in the Broadcast Act. Fiscally responsible development of projects and programming was (as with the mandates of many crown corporations and agencies). And the authors of that Act and CanCon rules and subsequent tax incentives knew that creating vibrant domestic cultural industries was also key to creating infrastructures rich in providing decent jobs.

Programming will be a hit and miss with many people but if enough people are tuning in to DNTO and Q or CBC TV's Republic of Doyle or Arctic Air, then they are still managing to deliver some of their mandate. But what really irks me is how the CBC has destroyed so many technical jobs in the past decade.

Technical glitches are now the norm. Some of the major fails include losing the national broadcast feed signal for more than 20 minutes with a good half of them dead air. Last night, the re-broadcast of As It Happens had an on-going intermittant signal. I couldn't find a local number to call since it was well past office hours and it seems like there are no human bodies available. I found a tech problem reporting number for the "Western Region" and no answer there, just a referral to some guy's cell phone (with no answer there either).

Kanada2America

Hence my point. If the CBC were to go back to what it was doing very well, I don't think we would be having this discussion about how much it's costing us. I think Canadians could be sold on the $60/year for each taxpaying household. But the CBC's employees/managers forgot where the money comes from.

Seriously, you cannot compete against the network competition on news, especially hard news. And pretending that those viewers don't know what they want is insulting that audience.

On the other hand, you will never see a radio program like The Debaters on conventional "sell, sell, sell", radio. Same with the Key of Charles or Key of C as it was called. In the Field is another one. If the CBC could do things that work and get rid of its bureacratic mindset, then it would be a different discussion.

6079_Smith_W

Kanada2America

What? 

Sorry, but if I had to pick one crucial thing (and I know there are far more) it would be CBC news coverage.

None of the other networks comes close.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I have to agree. Even if it's with Winston on the CBC.

6079_Smith_W

Haha! Pigs fly!

(though I know we agree on far more about it, including the important stuff,  than we disagree)

Kanada2America

Well I'm guessing some of you folks might be in Toronto or Ottawa. Or you prefer national news (which I watch quite actively too but don't necessarily hang on to either). The CBC is overmatched in local markets like Edmonton, Calgary or Regina. In fact if the CBC wanted to reflect Canadians properly why doesn't it have local stations in... oh Swift Current, Red Deer or Cranbrook?

I mean does a billion dollars plus annually mean I get to watch Toronto/Vancouver news? This is why viewers drift away from the CBC news side in local markets - the ratings reflect that too. Look at the private broadcasters, specifically CTV or maybe SCN and even Shaw community cable which service these kinds of markets. They sure do a far better job of reflecting local culture and news than the CBC.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

It's a fair point that CBC needs to improve its local tv coverage -- or at least find alternatives to work. But in my experience, MSM corps like City TV or CTV has bought up perfectly wonderful local stations and then cancelled all local coverage. I think the MSM is far more dangerous in that respect than the CBC. But that was in Onatrio (I live in Vancouver now). I can't speak to your experience.

6079_Smith_W

I'm in Saskatchewan K2A,  originally from Manitoba, and I am still not sure what you are talking about.

Is local news something you think CBC should get out of?

do you not consider local news "news"?

or do you think the other stations are doing a better job?

In all cases, I would still say CBC is better, covers more communities than any of the other stations, especially on radio, and on the French language side, where there IS no alternative. There are other Cree and Dene language stations, but CBC also provides some of that up north as well.

But even on English TV, CBC covers the news from a much broader perspective than the other stations (though you may have me at a disadvantage, as I rarely see CTV and Global, and I don't see them at all now that they have gone to digital signal.

I also find CBC has a far better focus on investigative reporting rather than spot news, and covering issues of interest to communities other than the main stream.

CBC is in the process of closing its La Ronge bureau and moving it to Prince Albert, something strongly opposed by a lot of people here. I don't know about you, but I see that as a very bad thing. 

Actually, I was just looking up some info on CTV and discovered that it is technically only a "television service" in the eyes of the CRTC. CTV let their license expire in 2000.

The only television networks in Canada are CBC, Radio Canada, TVA and APTN.

 

Kanada2America

6079_Smith_W. I'm saying that for the cost to run CBC - the approximately $1B - they should be able to put up more bricks and mortar tv stations in smaller markets and be intensely local to reflect the population in the regions.That could be considered part of their mandate whereas their private competitors don't necessarily have that same priority because of profit motives.

Catchfire. I agree that the big corporations that own those networks you mentioned did a lot of chopping but if you look, you'll see they've also restored some of that as well. For eg. CTV launched local morning shows this past January in almost all of its major markets. That's in addition to 5:00 pm, 5:30 pm and 6:00 pm and 11:00 pm newscasts. Citytv does intensely local breakfast tv five days a week in all of its markets and restored Toronto newscasts recently too.

I'm not saying that the CBC totally sucks at it. I mean I watch my local CBC station when I want some more depth but for quick bites the other guys are better.

6079_Smith_W

Kanada2America wrote:

I'm not saying that the CBC totally sucks at it. I mean I watch my local CBC station when I want some more depth but for quick bites the other guys are better.

That would be my main point. I don't consider those quick bites  better - not at all. 

That focus on local spot news - car crashes, fires, thefts, murders, award presentations - with no analysis or context is standard fare on most U.S. and some Canadian TV news.

What it does is numb, terrify  and isolate people without giving them any understanding of why these things happen or how to change. Nor does it give them any sense of similar things happening outside their own little village. 

And a diet of spot news can turn the biggest city into a tiny, isolated little village. 

 

 

rather than taking the time to investigate WHY some of those things happen. It is exactly the same  news coverage I see on many U.S. stations

Kanada2America

Yes some of what you are talking about is useless filler but it is also the pressure on those stations to report the facts accurately and quickly. The audience doesn't always need to, or even want to, dissect a story.

I don't believe that news managers, producers and reporters deliberately decide every day, that they should numb or terrify their audience. If that's the case why does the CBC engage in this game too?

There is an instenseness and urgency to report because the public is hooked on this stuff. I don't know which came first, the chicken or the egg in that particular argument but I know if the eyeballs aren't watching in the private sector that means it's bad news.

Whether it is a helicopter view from the sky or it's a live cam at say, the Vancouver Stanley Cup riot...

We all watch. Compelling tv and radio often has a sense of urgency. Are the pictures coming out of Syria without a whole lot of background or context any less compelling than a car crash or a tragedy in your local market? The CBC is playing this game too.

6079_Smith_W

No, of course local producers don't consciously do it to terrify, but when that is all you know, when you are pushed by ratings to go for stories that will hypnotize and terrify at the same time, and when you do not have the resources, time or training to try an do anything with any analysis, the end result is the same. 

As you say, compelling TV has a sense of urgency. Sounds more like entertainment than news. Not much different than how it would be if kids had free rein to eat all the sugar they wanted. 

The fact is there are some people, in some parts of some news organizations who try to meet a higher standard. I happen to think the CBC still has some of that, along with better resources and a stronger mandate than some other broadcast organizations do. 

And of course, on the radio side, there is virtually no alternative whatsoever - community radio is important and good, but it has no national presence.

To whatever degree the CBC does not do its job, or deceives the public (and I agree some within the organization have done that), they at least have some analysis, and elicit far more participation from the public, and have a more national and cross-cultural perspective than any other broadcaster.

Most importantly, they have not fallen into the trap of following cop cars and fire trucks in lieu of journalism that dominates local news in the U.S.

Kanada2America

Well people have a choice about watching and listening to American networks or not. The CBC hasn't given me that choice about paying for this information. Higher standards? True. But along with that goes arrogance and snobbery, and lack of local engagement.

I know that the CBC is already going to be busy trying to react to all the local programming being put on by its competitors but it might already be a little late. Some networks have done local engagement and culture for a long time. Now CTV has entered the fray. These things cannot be looked at in a vacuum.

The only thing I can take out of all this is that those useful idiots over at that Quebec-based tabloid-bot network prodded the CBC to get off its heels and act like what it was supposed to be doing in the first place.

6079_Smith_W

Some networks? 

Sorry, I don't live in Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver. All there is here is CBC, CTV, and Global, and I don't have cable, so for me personally, CBC is all there is. 

Again, I am not sure what you are talking about in terms of all the great local programming being put on by competitors or local engagement, because from my perspective, CBC is doing by far the best job when if comes to that - the fact that they are being strangled notwithstanding. Not that it matters, because clearly it is something that you like, and that is fine. 

And really, the question is moot, because I agree with you completely about choice. Some people are going to get off on watching ribbon-cuttings, ambulance chasing and running episodes of "Cops" as news, and other people are going to want investigative reporting, and a network which actually seeks to get a response from its watchers and listeners.

Take out the CBC's news arm and you have done away with that choice. It is the notion that other broadcasters are doing anything better that I do not see. They are just doing something different, and in my opinion, inferior. 

Also, I don't think I mentioned the international news service. In that department, CBC is all there is.

 

 

 

Kanada2America

I don't live in any of the MTV cities either. I've lived in a town of 1200 in northern Alberta and a city of 50,000 in northwest Alberta as well. I've never had a problem finding local tv programming from private networks or stations. In fact my own station in Lloydminster was easily viewable on two different over the air channels and focused exclusively on local programs. If it didn't it would never have survived.

We didn't focus on, as you put it "ribbon cuttings or ambulance chasing" or "Cops" episodes as news. That seems to be an oversimplification of what a newscast looks like and again, insults the audience. I think you demonize the private networks by invoking the American boogeyman as a threatening figure looming in the CBC sphere.

Seems to me that W5 can match the Fifth Estate for investigative reporting quite easily. If you are not watching or are not able to get programming from private broadcasters in your part of the country, then you won't have anything to compare the CBC to. But in this age of the internet, satellite tv and cable - most Canadians can get some sort of programming.

6079_Smith_W

I think another important thing to remember is that we are not talking about Hawkins Cheesies  and Cheetos (though even there, I prefer Cheesies). That "duplication of services" argument has no meaning.

In the first place, we are talking about the media, with distinct voices, perspectives mandates and motives. Frankly, I don't want to see any of them silenced - even those on the right end of the spectrum, because that sort of consolidation of power and narrowing of perspective is exactly what has gotten us to where we are right now - with the illusion that what you see, hear and read is the absolute truth. 

One could argue that Canadian broadcasters running American entertainment shows like American Idol. THe Simpsons, and Jeopardy is also a duplication of services, and question their relevance, But that also has a purpose because it serves audiences that don't necessarily have cable, and it keeps ad revenue and jobs here in Canada, and helps finance Canadian programming - at least to the degree that these broadcasters provide Canadian programming. 

I don't think any of us would like to go into the grocery and see one kind of every item and nothing else. This is no different, except that this range of choices is far more important than cheesies.

 

 

 

 

6079_Smith_W

Cross-posted with you K2A.

And no, I have no problem with W5. I think it is good that both programs exist. And I am 50 years old; the digital signal just came in less than a year ago. I was watching Global when it was still KCND in Minnesota before it was bought and moved up to Winnipeg.  While I think Global and CTV each have some good things, I do not think they have quite the same analysis as CBC, and of the analysis they do have, I find that they can miss some things in their perspective. 

I do think they have more of a spot news style - especially Global.

I know you have worked in the media, as I have. So I think we both have our own understanding, and preference. You like one perspective, fine. If anything I am arguing for that range of choice, since I only see one broadcaster which is under threat - the CBC.

But any way you cut it, less news media is never better. NEVER.

 

 

Kanada2America

Yes very true. There are countries like Russia where journalists are killed because they do what in Canada is a very routine thing, report the facts and maybe even take an editorial angle on a story.

I don't think it's only the CBC under attack. In the private sector, profitability and ratings are what individual producers, reporters and camera operators are now feeling. You don't get the results, you don't deliver - that means the shareholders and the management team are looking at you with a critical eye.

It's going to be interesting to see what the CBC does next. They've had some nice scoops recently and I'm impressed, but the next budget will be coming down soon and that will determine how the bureacracy reacts.

That's why I'm saying the CBC needs to get out of the "hurry up and do the story" business and do the in-depth backgrounder side or at least focus on it. I watch my fellow private sector competition run around like crazy to beat deadlines and put up silly amateurish photography, obvious sound-bites while pretending that makes them better.

Fidel

Kanada2America wrote:

Yes very true. There are countries like Russia where journalists are killed because they do what in Canada is a very routine thing, report the facts and maybe even take an editorial angle on a story.

Yeah, and Canada only supports a certain other country's colder war meddling and whose front line proxies, through their paramilitaries and hired mercenaries, kill off journalists for attempting to report the truth. The stoogeaucracy's hands are clean in that way.

Gaian

Fidel wrote:

Kanada2America wrote:

Yes very true. There are countries like Russia where journalists are killed because they do what in Canada is a very routine thing, report the facts and maybe even take an editorial angle on a story.

Yeah, and Canada only supports a certain other country's colder war meddling and whose front line proxies, through their paramilitaries and hired mercenaries, kill off journalists for attempting to report the truth. The stoogeaucracy's hands are clean in that way.

Your protagonist, clearly a grass-roots, mainstream journalist, actually believes that spiel, Fidel. Don't destroy his faith :)

Kanada2America

Well gentlemen, don't forget - there is no perfect democracy and if you believe Mr. Fidel's views, we could fix it all by letting Communism or some form of it solve the world's problems. No atrocities committed by Communists Fidel? Not that I particularly ascribe to the Cold War model that drove much of American foreign policy.

You can focus on the southern neighbor who will never answer for its atrocities, or be smug and think that Canada hasn't been implicit in some of them as a silent partner. But if you think starting over and re-inventing the wheel is going to make a smoother ride, I say you'll hit a lot more potholes.

Regardless of that, what I'm saying is that Canadian media don't get assassinated in Canada by government or pro-government operatives like they do in Russia. Anyways, what does all that have to do with the thread title here?

Fidel

It has to do with what your funny moniker implies, and that you happen to make mention of Russia as if you were talking about the former USSR, a cold war threat that does not exist anymore. On the other hand the USSA really does exist and has bombed and-or invaded, and openly threatened other countries with military attacks,  and is currently occupying several countries militarily since the end of the cold war. The USSA and its proxies have graduated from just murdering journalists, teachers, students, doctors, labour leaders, human rights activists ordinary women and children etc, or communists in your pro USA point of view, in Vietnam, Cambodia, Latin America etc to a foreign policy of bombing and occupations based on trumped-up accusations against other countries and typically supported by little more than false flag maneuvers, media lies and propaganda campaigns involving a range of privately owned news agencies, polling companies and public opinionators. And our lapdog newz media broadcasting what amounts to war propaganda, which is also illegal since Nuremberg, report nothing wrong or improper concerning any of it. Just keeping it real. And current.

6079_Smith_W

Actually I think the reference to Russia had more to do with journalists opening elevator doors in their apartments and being shot dead. I got the fact that K2A's initial reference had nothing at all to do with communism. 

Before this takes a hard turn into discussing the American Empire, we should remember that it was a reference to the media, in a thread about the media.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_journalists_killed_in_Russia

And while no, the cold war of the 50s no longer exists,  of course there is tension between Russia and Canada, in particular over the polar region. And no, it has nothing whatsoever to do with communism.

http://thechronicleherald.ca/metro/53394-russians-seeking-secrets-halifa...

No, I don't agree with K2A on everything; that's clear enough. But your talking points are also pretty well-worn, and don't think any of us can claim to represent the "real left".

 

Kanada2America

I'm sure as a mainstream guy I don't necessarily have a lot of currency in a left-centre forum like this on media matters. But I wouldn't expect anything different.

I criticize the CBC because obviously I work for the competition (although at my level I'm barely any competition to the firepower of the CBC) and I get a close up look at their people in action on various stories at various times.

But Fidel, your moniker is just as provocative. My funny moniker is based on personal experience on many levels with Canadians and Americans. I really don't know what Canadians would do if they didn't have America to bash around. Bash the U.K. maybe?

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