CBC gremlins

Update: Just in case you think common sense and balance are still possible at the Mother Corpse , no, the gremlins at CBC continue to throw a wrench in the works. Here is a follow up of Alda’s experience with CBC on the Icelandic elves story, with a slightly shorter version copied here –

…I was somewhat surprised to receive a friendly email from one of the producers of The Current, Kristin somebodyorother [That’d be Kristin Nelson]. … She had read my post, and wanted to ask if I would be interested in being on their show next Thursday [April 2] to, and-I-quote, “critique or [sic] elf segment and to talk more generally about Iceland’s economy.”

You know, I was delighted, and very pleased that the CBC was willing to exercise in a bit of self-critique. … I thought I had better listen to the original programme …  So at the first available opportunity I settled down in front of my computer with my tea and knitting [no, really] for a listen.

Alda was not impressed

And … *oh, groan*

First they had that guy on from the elf school who I’d never even heard of … Then they had some older man talking about his experiences with hidden people as a boy, and finally Terry Gunnell from the U of I who … tried to impart a modicum of dignity into the discussion.

What really irked me, however, was that they kept re-hashing that stupid bit from the Vanity Fair article that claimed Alcoa had hired someone to inspect their land to make sure there was no elf habitation there before they started construction.

OK. How many times does this have to be said: that did NOT happen. …

I asked Jonas – who wrote that retort to the VF piece in New York Magazine, if he had checked with Alcoa’s rep. And he had….

And the CBC’s producers knew this. In fact, Howard SBOO and YT had had this conversation when he originally called me up.

But Alda did want the chance to correct the record on air so :

I wrote an email back to Kristin SBOO and said I’d be happy to be on their show. I also gave her kudos for inviting me despite my public criticism of their earlier programme. And I expressed my surprise that their host had repeatedly gone over the same old chestnut about the Alcoa thing when their producer was fully aware of the fact that it was false.

And guess what? – I never heard from her again.

Do read the whole thing from beginning to end or you don’t really get the full flavour and depth of CBC’s denial of reality and truth.


The reputation of CBC is in tatters and it deserves the reputation. We stopped watching it long ago but every once in a while, in search of sense, we have a relapse and tune in, only to be reminded why we tuned out.

Our latest experience was happening to catch Jim Nunn’s interview on TV the other evening with Leanne Hachey of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. She was trying to explain the Federation’s position on the minimum wage hike, on behalf of the many small business members of that organization. We are not sure what Nunn was trying to do. If he was trying to embarrass himself, he succeeded. He was rude and unprofessional interrupting his “guest” repeatedly. When Ms Hachey was able to respond to what he thought were searching questions on the price of milk and bread hoping to catch her out,  he bullied her. She was cool and collected, if a little shocked at his manners. He was disgusting.  And the tongue in cheek expression was, well, just so smug. We hope he is one of those to get a pink slip.

Just in case you think CBC radio is better, please read this “delightful little story about journalistic integrity” from Iceland of all places. The Currant is one of those CBC programs that prompts us to instantly turn off the radio it is so irritating, so we are not surprised that this tale concerns that particular bunch.

Apparently CBC got interested in an article in Vanity Fair and wanted some Icelandic comment, especially on the part about Alcoa supposedly having to check with an Icelandic ministry to ensure they weren’t disturbing elves. This lady agreed and here’s her description of what resulted.

The guy on the other end introduces himself as Howard somebodyorother, producer of the CBC radio show The Current, [That’s Howard Goldenthal ww]and he tells me they want to do a bit on their show next Friday about the Icelanders’ belief in elves. ...

So the guy starts firing questions. The conversation goes something like this:

HOWARD SOMEBODYOROTHER: Is it true the Icelanders believe in elves?
YT: Not elves. There are a lot of stories in Icelandic folklore about hidden people who lived inside boulders. …
HSBOO: So people don’t believe they live in rocks now.
YT: Come on. We’re living in the 21st century. …

HSBOO: That Vanity Fair piece claimed that when they were building the Alcoa plant they had to look for elf settlements before they could build it. Is that true?
YT: [laughing now; this was just too ridiculous] Um … I can’t imagine it’s true. …
HSBOO: So … are there examples of construction or something being stopped because of elf homes?
YT: … this did happen once, in Kópavogur, a small town …
HSBOO: When was that?
YT: [asks EPI] My husband thinks around 30 or 40 years ago.
HSBOO: Oh. [sounds disappointed that it was not, like, yesterday.] So you’ve not heard of this happening recently? There is no Ministry of Elf Inspection …? …
YT: [laughing] No!

Anyway, to cut a lengthy conversation short, the questions continued and they all revolved around elves and they were very clearly designed to elicit a predetermined response. …He wanted me to pay lip service to his elf story, and I didn’t. …

So finally he says something to the effect that it would be great if I could be on their show and they’ll have two other people on as well: some guy who runs an elf school [“you’ve heard of him?” “er, no…”] and also Terry Gunnell, a professor of Icelandic folklore at the University of Iceland. Because it would be good to get “different points of view”. He’d call me later in the week; …

So I hung up and – honestly? I had a bad feeling. Like something was not quite upfront; like I was being manipulated. Still, I thought, how bad can it be? If they start trying to manipulate me on live radio all I have to do is answer to the best of my knowledge and ability. And then I put it out of my mind.

But then CBC  told her they were cutting out her part –

The segment had changed? More like: they dropped me because I didn’t give them what they wanted. They wanted something sensational, something to propagate the WEIRD ICELANDERS cliché, and I just wasn’t jumping through the hoops. Hence they decided to go with the “experts”.

When EPI came home I related my little theory and he remarked that it would be interesting to listen to the show — would it be broadcast live online? I did a quick Google search, located their website — and this is what I found:

And when the American aluminum giant ALCOA wanted to build a smelter in Iceland, it had to first verify that the project wouldn’t trespass on land occupied by hidden people … or as most people know them, elves. And it turns out this is standard procedure in a country where half the population believes that elves are real.


OK, the shocking thing is not this blatant manipulation of the truth, this bastardization of fact to fit their own agenda. No, the shocking thing is that this is fricking Canadian STATE BROADCASTING – a media outlet that is supposed to be credible and to have some sort of integrity.

And so I ask you: if they so blatantly and shamelessly exploit and maneuver the facts in this instance – then how do you know when they are actually telling the truth?

The answer to that is simple- we don’t.

Later: Welcome SDA readers!


6 responses to “CBC gremlins

  1. Hey – thanks for the shout-out on this.

    I’ve got a part II coming up about my further dealings with the CBC in relation to this story. Stay tuned! 😉

  2. Ms. Hachey had no grip on reality. Jim was simply sticking some pins in her inflated balloons. If the little people can’t afford bread and milk, undoubtedly her response would have been, “Let them eat cake!” Jim’s style may have been polemical ( he did get you, didn’t he?) but he was true to the rule, “Comfort the afflicted, afflict the comfortable.” Now that he has your attention, let’s hear your view with respect to minimum wages. Within a free market do minimum wages aid or suppress productivity?

    • Welcome back Tony.
      What we or you or Jim Nunn thinks about minimum wage is not the point of the post. If the purpose of the interview was to inform the public of the Federation’s views or to test them, Nunn failed miserably. If his purpose was to insult and browbeat a guest, he succeeded. We do not watch TV news to see people -of whatever political stripe-treated this way, so he lost a potential viewer. Way to go CBC.

  3. Of course there are elves, and not just in Iceland — I’m sure I saw a couple at a Council meeting last year.

    In my opinion, whatever that’s worth, CBC occasionally does some truly goofy stuff — but which media outlet doesn’t? Humour is not their forte. CBC is still a good option for basic news and trendy-girlie-left-of-centre opinion.

  4. With respect to elves, there are believers and disbelievers. Pity the disbelievers for they have no imagination, no humour and no soul.