On November 13 Ottawa-based Free Thinking Film Society is holding and event at Library and Archives Canada billed as "The Biases of the CBC - Film and Panel Discussion."
Although we've seen the public broadcaster bite the hand that feeds it over the decades, regardless of the party in power, and pay the price of political interference (This Hour Has Seven Days controversy being the most memorable), I've never seen such a concerted effort to "go after" the CBC.
Scratching my head as to why the anti-CBC campaign on SunTV, in parliamentary committee and elsewhere. Why this relentless attack on the one main stream/corporate broadcaster who takes the role of the fourth estate at least somewhat seriously - holding governments accountable? The centrist, main stream and unchallenging reportage that too frequently bleeds through on CBC is also frequently supplemented with refreshingly investigative pieces about subject matter not meaningfully explored by other broadcasters; stories about social injustices, aboriginal realities, poverty, gender-based stories, government wrong-doing, media-related issues, stories that peel back layers of "other-thinking" people and movements. CBC radio does this well. Mostly. For me CBC is not consistent and hard-nosed enough when it comes to challenging the status quo, speaking truth to power, but among so-called mainstream media CBC is the only outlet that at least occasionally pursues alternative perspectives and uses its resources to go deeper and longer to produce more comprehensive, richer journalistic offerings than any other Canadian broadcaster (except TVO) that I am aware of. Minus the shrill hyper-partisan overtones. So, I'm looking forward to this event to discover what the persecution is all about.
When I posted this on the Free Thinking Film Festival web-site one commentator filled in some of the blanks that make sense. Terry Rudden commented:
"I think you're seeing a few forces at work.
a) An ideological axiom that wants to see the government extricate itself from every area not deemed absolutely essential.
b) A failure on the part of many ideologues to understand the qualitative distinction between for profit broadcasting and public broadcasting.
c) A very strong industry lobby against the CBC by its private sector competitors who resent CBC's dominance of the news sector in all major Canadian markets
d) A public broadcaster that has reacted badly to political pressure and funding cuts. Instead of retrenching to what they do best, CBC too often tries to compete for audiences with acquired crap and embarrassing attempts to compete for mass commercial audiences.
e) A conservative mindset that authentically does NOT understand the concept of media bias, or the strategy of seeking balance through the airing of multiple viewpoints."
All this said, I would be ok with CBC returning to its public broadcast mandate, a commercially stripped down CBC out of the entertainment business altogether that focusses exclusively on news, current affairs, documentary storytelling, international and investigative journalism. Things that CBC already does well.
But this unremitting offensive packaged with invectives rather than authentic inquiry and debate about the role of CBC's role as public bradcaster is disturbing. As a life-long CBC radio listener I thought I'd post this here to get a sense of how the community sees this never-ending debate about the CBC's place on the Canadian broadcast landscape.