Tories Recycle Campaign to Discredit Canada’s National Broadcaster
According to the Pulitzer Prize alumni at Suncor newspapers, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) “has commissioned a study to determine whether its news is biased.”
Okay, it was actually CBC president Hubert Lacroix who outed that information himself when he was testifying before the Canadian senate’s finance committee last week. And sure, yeah, this was first disclosed way back in the summer of 2009, but it’s still news, even if the liberal-oriented, leftist, socialist media elite in T.O. say it ain’t.
Still, according to the Sun newspapers’ hot exclusive, Lacroix disclosed that the Corp has retained “outside experts…to ensure that the information that we put out is fair and unbiased in everything that we do.” He also repeated earlier assurances that the results of the study were expected by autumn of 2010.
All of this riveting data came out this weekend past fresh on the heels of “news” reports that former Toronto Sun publisher and Ontario Tory majordomo Paul Godfrey will assume the post of CEO for the chain of newspapers he and a group of investors just picked up at CanWest Global‘s recent garage sale of its former media assets.
But back to the less recent scoop–the Godfrey piece is from yesterday and was reported in the notoriously liberal and anti-law and order, pro-immigration, Pierre Trudeau worshipping Toronto Star.
Last Thursday, CBC prez Lacroix was appearing before the Senate committee on national finance when the Conservative appointees, including Senator Doug Finley, opened fire. The good Senator gained media mention of his own after being appointed to the Senate in 2009 by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in what some assailed as a reward for his service as organizer of the Tories’ 2006 and 2007 federal election campaigns.
Shortly after being appointed to his new plum chaise longue, Finley launched the latest version of the Tories’ longstanding media shitstorm against all things CBC. With Lacroix ostensibly there last week to provide less than scintillating testimony on Corp finances, Finley castigated the witness for the CBC’s sharing of its own political polling information with the federal Liberal Party.
Unfettered by any thought that he might be touching on matters too close to his own former heart as the Tory campaign commander, Sen. Finley, called it “totally unacceptable” for CBC to employ the services of Frank Graves, of the Ekos Research firm, who recently apologized publicly for counseling the Libs to “bring on a culture war” against the Harper regime, using polling data paid for by the publicly-funded broadcaster based on information paid for by taxpayers.
The day after Lacroix’s appearance on Parliament Hill, the CBC would not comment on the bias probe’s methodology.
But a former CBC executive did. Jeffrey Dvorkin, one-time CBC veep and currently executive director for the global Organization of News Ombudsmen, suggested a less than altruistic motivation for the “bias” inquiry:
“I fear this may be part of the CBC’s attempt to placate its political opponents and to limit the ability of the news and current affairs service to do the kind of tough reporting that the public broadcaster has been known for.”
Sure enough, as soon as the bias investigation got some gusts of warm Tory wind beneath its wings, everbody and their second-cousin was coming out of the woodwork to hammer the Corp from every direction.
Thus according to official Tory Party media-talking guy, Fred DeLorey, the fact that the CBC even has to try to placate its critics over stuff like the Frank Graves controversy proves just how “deeply out-of-touch the network has become.”
Next up to take a swipe at the CBC credibility piñata was the current chair in Acadian studies at the Université de Moncton who expressed concerns that such a study must cure CBC’s French-language arm, Radio-Canada, from its “overwhelmingly Québec-centric programming”. That was a sentiment to which Liberal Sen. Pierre De Bane added his own twist, telling Lacroix that the network should be renamed “Radio-Québec.”
This morning’s Sun papers carried an editorial from head office confirming that “it’s hardly new” that the CBC is being accused of “liberal news bias.”
But apparently unconcerned about consuming scarce natural resources and brain cells, the opinionist went on to carp in the usual indignant tone that the CBC is the spoiled brat of the national media: “…if not for the billion-plus dollars that we taxpayers have to dish out every year to pay its way, unlike private enterprises like CTV and CanWest Global which have to survive — or see their stations silenced — by competing for their dollars on the fickle street of consumer and advertiser whimsy…etc….[LOON editor's note: yadda yadda yadda].”
In December 2007, a prior version of the bias allegation was recycled by a Peterborough, Ont. Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro who tried to stir up much hoopla around alleged “collusion” between the CBC and the Liberal Party.
Del Mastro challenged that: “The Liberal Party must reveal the full extent of its cooperation with the taxpayer-financed CBC…and…must explain why they’re the only organization denying the collusion allegations.”
That brouhaha arose when a former Liberal MP turned Québec radio correspondent Jean Lapierre accused federal Liberal MPs on the House of Commons’ ethics committee of cribbing their questions directly from the CBC.
The CBC was also fingered during the 2004 election for purportedly stacking its homey on-air “town hall” election meetings with anti-Tory audience members.
But even in its ‘non-political’ programming, the CBC has faced accusations of slanting its content to the “left”.
When its flagship science and nature documentary series The Nature of Things-hosted by longhair David Suzuki-broadcast a program critical of the environmental record of the Canadian forestry industry, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce organized an advertising boycott against the CBC. The program in question, “Voices in the Forest,” garnered an award at the 1992 American Film & Video Festival.
The bias accusers were no doubt emboldened and enabled when in 1991, the government of Brian Mulroney appointed his friend Toronto economist John Crispo to the CBC’s board of directors. The unflappable prof immediately endeared himself to Corp critics when he blanketly described it as “pinko”.
Wikipedia adds heading “Allegations of left-wing media bias”
In cyberspace as well, there seems to be an intractable and relentless campaign in gear to tag CBC news with the stain of biased coverage. And the timing of those murmurings in the internet realms are sometimes by happy coincidence in seeming lock-step with the media-orchestrated (ironic reference) splashes which are reiterated in the corporate news media.
For example, the venerable public online information website, Wikipedia, maintains a thorough if compendious page on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. From its initial appearance in 2007 until May 12th, 2010–last week when Mr. Lacroix was appearing in front of Sen. Finley and company–the page remained conspicuously devoid of reference to any issue of bias or slant by the CBC.
Yet on May 16th, 2010–yesterday, in fact–a new section had been added to the Wiki blurb coincidentally entitled “Accusations of Left-Wing Bias”. By referring to the linked editing logs that Wiki provides to allow scrupulous transparency in how its content is shaped and changed over time, one can compare that timely and critical revision to CBC wiki as amended on May 16th, 2010 with the Wiki version that previously existed.
When LOON did an “arinwhereis” search to determine the originating IP address for the source of those critical revisions, it returned to a Saskatchewan Telecommunications (SaskTel) Wide Area Network.
CBC Meteorologist Claire Martin: Anti-Tory Fifth Columnist
To really appreciate the bias against the CBC of the camp perenially accusing bias one has to go, alas, to Youtube. For there and only there will the truth about the insidious fifth column of pro-Liberal, anti-Tory Canadian broadcasting commissars be revealed in all of its stark horror.
LOON has learned by looking at a Youtube video that, according to Privatize the CBC, a private lobby group with its own Facebook page (go figure) but a disappointingly predictable agenda, the CBC’s seemingly friendly, albeit Aussie-sounding weather forecaster, Claire Martin, may have used her position as a prognosticator of rain, snow and sleet, and the occasional freezing rain shower to “get her digs in on the Conservative Party plan to tax Income Trusts instead of letting corporations pilfer the public purse under the Liberal plan to keep them as tax shelters.”
Ms. Martin, who regular viewers of CBC television can view exchanging pleasantries with Peter Mansbridge and Wendy Mesley on a regular basis, remains cool to any suggestions that she is sending rain clouds or worse in the direction of the Prime Minister’s Office on the east block of Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
If the CBC president is serious about ferreting out ideological corruption and “political correctness” at the nation’s national broadcaster, we feel that is indeed incumbent upon Mr. Lacroix to demonstrate his commitment to that goal. If he is going to appoint an investigator with “outside interests”–biking, running, white water rafting, come to mind–then we nominate an independent weatherperson with no links hyper or otherwise to Ms. Martin and her prejudiced CBC cronies: Julie Emond of Météomédia.
Unlike a majority of Tory (and Liberal) senators and MPs, Ms. Emond is professional, economical and efficient when she speaks to the camera, sparing with hyperbole (except in cases of extreme weather patterns), and projects a warm and friendly public persona.