In the Saturday Chronicle Herald, on the Opinion page, there was a letter from Wolfvillian Terry Pearson with comment on a previous opinion piece by John Lamb who called for a public inquiry into the CBC.
Lamb complained about loss of CBC funding.
The CBC’s funding has been reduced by every government since Brian Mulroney’s — both Conservative and Liberal. All federal governments, it seems, dislike the CBC and have found it an easy target. That means it’s up to ordinary Canadians to speak up for the CBC.
We didn’t agree with Lamb and we were very happy to see Pearson speaking up to disagree in the press.
John Lamb’s recent opinion piece (“It’s time for a public review of the CBC,” July 8 ) calling for a public inquiry into the CBC is welcome.
However, the outcome of such an airing of the corporation’s affairs might be very different from what he appears to anticipate.
...for many years, the CBC has been undergoing the proverbial death by a thousand cuts. …Every government has produced reasons for its cuts. The cumulative impact, though, is that the CBC is steadily becoming a shadow of its former self. Why does this matter? Because the CBC is the voice of Canadians. It has been part of our identity as a multicultural country, reflecting to ourselves and the world what Canada stands for.
But, Mr. Lamb, CBC is NOT the voice of Canadians. It doesn’t speak for us or for many, many others. That is just the point. Do you think the CBC represents the feelings of most westerners? Most certainly not. Does it present a variety of opinion without showing bias in the presentation? No, it does not. Does it even serve its loyal supporters well? No.
We feel very much about the CBC as we do about Town Administration. We wouldn’t mind the CBC spending taxpayer money, and more of it, if we felt we got value. But, like the town, the CBC has its priorities all wrong.
As Mr. Pearson points out:
The fact that the corporation can operate today on 40 per cent of that (the allocation for the current year is just over $1 billion) should tell us something. The bulk of this money is funnelled to the various television channels with dubious results, and radio suffers accordingly.
It should be noted here that this huge chunk of taxpayer money is spent by CBC management, a group with a keen instinct for the wrong decision, regardless of the issue.
Have to agree. He goes on:
National Public Radio (NPR) in the United States has met the challenge of local coverage very effectively with its program Morning Edition: it runs one show nationwide, staggered across four time zones, with frequent breaks for local information. Costs are low, and program quality is consistently excellent.
Again we agree. We’ve often listened to NPR and not only is it apparently efficient as Pearson points out but we find their programming quite neutral in its presentation of a variety of views.
CBC often claims it is not biased but it clearly is and Mr. Pearson is one of the many, many, many citizens who notices and resents paying for public radio which bends only one way.
The use of the word “agendas” is appropriate. Many staff members – not all – bring theirs to air and make no bones about it. For example, political correctness is raised to an art form. English usage on the network is “gender neutral” to the point of sterilization. The general tone toward Canada’s current prime minister is one of ill-concealed hatred. Outright anti-Americanism is endemic. And so on.
If Radio 1 were a private network, all of this would be fair game, albeit offensive. But Radio 1 is the property of the general citizenry, and its use for personal ends is reprehensible.
We would feel the same (and we are sure many CBC’s present rah rah ers would too) if the bias was the other way. And yet Lamb is blind to it.
People have come to love the CBC because it provided high quality programming and reporting, and because it has been accessible to everyone. It has shown us who we are honestly and critically. The CBC was intended to be responsive to Canadians, not to political agendas.
This statement is just laughable. A recent example was their attempt the other day to cover the Kingston honor killing story in their politically correct way. They only allowed themselves to cover it at all we suspect because they could work in a feminist, violence against women, focus to divert us from what they would see as distasteful conclusions. It would have been funny if it wasn’t so pathetic. There are none so blind as those who refuse to see. Only those with the same agenda LOVE the CBC. If Canadians of ALL persuasions loved and supported the CBC it might rightly claim high quality programming with honest reporting.
Mr. Pearson compares the CBC to the NPR model where most of their funding comes from other than government – foundations, corporate donation and LISTENERS! If the CBC was forced to this model (they won’t go willingly) it might have a future.
CBC management, really, is accountable to no one. They largely ignore public opinion, and if some politician (who controls the purse) has the temerity to offer criticism, well, then the “artistic license” and “freedom of the press” cards can – and will – be played.
More comment here.