Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Proof Is In The Pudding, John

Cruickshank promises better -- now he'd better deliver

One Heather Mallick turd, 300 complaints and a media circus later, John Cruickshank has finally taken it upon himself to fix what many Canadians have been saying for years:

The CBC is unacceptably biased.

In a column regarding CBC ombudsman Vice Carlin's recent judgement on Mallick breaking an intellectual Mighty Wind, Cruickshank commented on the controversy.

Among other things, he wrote:

"Mallick's column is a classic piece of political invective. It is viciously personal, grossly hyperbolic and intensely partisan.

And because it is all those things, this column should not have appeared on the site.
Which is precisely what, despite the protracted rantings of Mallick's defenders to the contrary, many Canadians have been saying ever since it blighted the CBC website.

More troubling than Mallick's column, however, has been the escalating bias and exclusion of conservative views by a news outlet that, by virtue of funding itself through taxpayer dollars, is obligated to try to represent the views of all Canadians -- or at least as many Canadians as possible.

This, Cruickshank insists, is about to change:

"As a public broadcaster we have an added responsibility to provide an array of opinions and voices to complement our journalism. But we must do so carefully. And you should be able to trust us to provide you with work that's based on solid reporting and free from the passionate excesses of partisanship.

We failed you in this case. And as a result we have put new editing procedures in place to insure that in the future, work that is not appropriate for our platforms, will not appear. We are open to contentious reasoned argument but not to partisan attack. It's a fine line.

Ombudsman Carlin makes another significant observation in his response to complainants: when it does choose to print opinion, displays a very narrow range on its pages.

In this, Carlin is also correct.

This, too, is being immediately addressed. will soon expand the diversity of voices and opinions and be home to a diverse group of writers with many perspectives. In this, we will better reflect the depth and texture of this country.
It's encouraging to hear this.

However, for many Canadians, the proof will inevitably be in the pudding.

In other words, those Canadians who are concerned about the current state of the CBC will take you at your word when you prove to us that it's good, Mr Curickshank -- and not a second sooner.


  1. It's likely too late to win me back. Extreme bias is not the only problem CBC has. They are also out of touch with the fact that the internet has changed everything. Their competition is now gargantuan in scope. All the more reason for the government to get out of the business of broadcasting. Privatize the damned thing and be done with it. If it has a loyal following of sufficient size it should do alright. It it hasn't, then let it sink.

  2. You can't privatize the CBC because of the important role it fills.

    Not only does it remain a key producer of made-in-Canada content -- although they've ironically been outdone in this by privately-owned Showcase -- but they remain the only source of news for various remote regions of Canada.

    They fill a vital niche in Canadian society. Don't privatize the CBC, merely reform it.

  3. Privatizing it doesn't mean any of that will change. In fact, it will likely get better, since only in the private sector can there be a guarantee that it will respond to what the public wants. But even if you are right, so what? Canadian content means nothing, if it hasn't got an audience.

  4. There's very little economic incentive to broadcast into places where advertising dollars won't be present due to smaller populations.

    Furthermore, Canadian content has an audience. Little Mosque on the Prairie, for example, is fairly popular.

    So was the Air Farce and This Hour Has 22 Minutes. And a lot of people still watch Anne of Green Gables the same time every year.

    Reform is the route to go. Privatization is, frankly, a fairly narrow option.


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