Saturday, December 18, 2010

Think media is bad now, wait until the CBC is crushed

New Style Public Broadcasting
FRIENDS of Canadian Broadcasting, a volunteer group, advocates for Canadian content in radio and TV broadcasting. The group is worried about the Harper Government's intentions. Rightly so. Commercial broadcasters lobby government regularly, seeking ways to increase profitability. Those ways usually involve eliminating original domestic programing and replacing it with foreign content. In radio, local on-air staff is becoming rare as stations turn to syndicated material and robo-jocks, computerized voice track systems.

Because media barons control access and politicians thrive on exposure, broadcasters usually receive generous treatment from regulators. In Canada, the CRTC is under constant pressure from the Harper Government to reduce 'burdens' placed on broadcasters. Previous Liberal governments were almost as generous as today's Tories. As a result, 5 of the 6 richest families in Canada owe their fortunes to media, at least in large part. Numerous more media magnates make the 2010 Rich 100 list published by Canadian Business. No other segment of the Canadian economy receives such diligent wealthcare.

A prime target of private radio and TV broadcasters is the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. CBC has been under threat for years and, long past the point of cutting fat and excess, the national broadcaster is now unable to fulfill its mandate. As a result, it looks and sounds like the Toronto Broadcasting Company.

Ian Morrison, spokesperson for Friends of Canadian Broadcasting sent out this email recently:
Something very alarming has come to my attention which I want to share with you on an urgent basis.

Stephen Harper’s secret plan for the CBC was revealed on November 23rd when the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage mused publicly about killing our public broadcaster!

Dean Del Mastro floated an extremely dangerous trial balloon at the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage meeting by asking whether the government should“get out of the broadcasting business”. As shocking as it may seem, a senior member of the Conservative caucus blurted out that the government is considering cutting ALL funding to the CBC! You can listen to his comments for yourself here.

As you know, Harper exercises absolute control of his government’s messaging. None of his Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries or MPs speak out without prior approval from the Prime Minister’s Office. That’s why Mr. Del Mastro’s comments about cutting the CBC’s entire grantare so sinister.

Consider for a moment: cutting CBC’s grant would kill CBC Radio One, CBC Radio Two, CBC Television and CBC NewsNet, leaving Canadian broadcasting entirely in the hands of the private broadcasters, and in the case of television, private broadcasters controlled by cable monopolies!
I read through Hansard to see if the Minister offered any comfort to people worried about the CBC. This is what I found:

Question by Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia (Lac-Saint-Louis, Lib.):
"Recently the parliamentary secretary to the heritage minister suggested that it was time we got out of the broadcasting industry, time to sell the CBC. What does the Prime Minister have up his sleeve for the CBC? Is he preparing to privatize it? If not, will he reprimand his parliamentary secretary, or better still, replace him with someone who supports public broadcasting?"
Response by Hon. James Moore (Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, CPC)
Rule #1, Ignore the question and simply change the subject.
Question by Mr. Pablo Rodriguez (Honoré-Mercier, Lib.):
Last year, at the height of economic crisis, the minister refused to help the CBC. As a result, hundreds of people were laid off and the CBC had to sell off $125 million in assets. And recently we learned that the government is cutting another $13.7 million from the budget.

Their dream has always been to either shut down or privatize the CBC. Are the Conservatives essentially doing indirectly what they cannot do directly?
Response by Hon. James Moore (Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, CPC):
See Rule #1, above.
It is worth remembering that broadcasters pay almost nothing for their primary assets, exclusive broadcasting frequencies, regulated to ensure the industry stays among the most profitable in Canada. Strangely, the right wing never challenges huge subsidies that taxpayers provide broadcasters. The truth is that commercial stations pay almost nothing beyond the costs of regulation and that is conducted mostly to ensure that competition is not an obstacle faced by big broadcasters.

FRIENDS of Canadian Broadcasting ask this:

Sign the petitionFirst, sign the petition. When we have 50,000 signatures we will take it to Parliament Hill as an indicator of the support CBC enjoys from Canadians.
Email your friendsOnce you and all of your family members have signed, please circulate it far and wide to your own email contacts.
ShareThe third thing you can do is to share the petition on your website, your Facebookpage, or your Twitter account.
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22 comments:

  1. Thanks for this.... I've signed and forewarded.

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  2. The CBC is an important component of the media scene in Canada. I signed the petition. However, I don't "love" the CBC, why did the people who created this initiative force people to state that the "love" the CBC. There are many things the CBC could improve with proper funding. I support the existence of the CBC through public funding and there should be more of it, but I don't "Love" the CBC. Because of this, I won't be sending the email to my friends who also support the CBC but I can't ask them to consider "loving" it!!!!

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  3. I am in disbelief. We grew up listening to CBC. I know my parents, always listened to CBC radio, for all of the news, during WW11. CBC has been the voice for Canada for decades upon decades. We now watch CBC TV, everyday, and still catch CBC radio. That Harper, is trying to get rid of CBC, is no surprise. Harper even disallows scientists to publish their findings. Harper is a fascist and a dictator. His preaching of, global governance is very alarming. Our Canadian Constitution, he ignores. Our Civil Rights and Liberties, have been taken away from Canadians. Democracy and Freedom, is buried under so much dirt, as to be null and void. Harper and Campbell have a very close relationship. Harper is no better than Campbell. We people in BC will not forget, Harper's stand regarding the HST, come Federal Election time. Harper, is said to be a christian, his actions are not christian, they are devious and underhanded, just like Campbell's lies and corruption. Harper is a snake in the grass. Anyone trusting him, are very foolish.

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  4. Newspapers, radio stations and TV media, will all be controlled. This is to isolate the Canadian people, from learning of our politicians, underhanded agenda's. It is only a matter of time, the internet will be controlled as well. We have all seen from time to time, when the internet has been tampered with, comments are disabled or, the page can't be found. I did hear, some time back. Two M.P's from the east said, Harper is a fascist, a dictator, and too stubborn to work with. Also very strange, prescription drugs, have suddenly been in short supply. I have been shorted many times, on my prescriptions. The Pharmacist said, the problem is with the factories. Why? Really disturbing, USA bill S-510, will outlaw gardens and the saving of seeds. Is this, control the food, and control the masses? Citizens, only get to read, see and hear media, controlled by the government. The internet to be controlled. What in the hell is going on? To me this seems to be a Communist regime. This was how the old Soviet Union, used to be. I had, three brothers, a sister, and two brothers-in-law, in service during WW11. Our young Canadian soldiers, were blown to bits, so this would not happen in our country. I had, also thought, there was a ban on Chem trail experiments, they have been seen again. I say people, watch out for Harper.

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  5. The CBC is currupot pile weasels and the government can't get rid of it fast enough.

    The CBC gets $1B a year in taxpayer funds - just think of the children that cash could help.

    PS: What the hell is Mansbridge making these days? Oh, yeah the CBC sends lawyers to court to stop taxpayers from finding out their dirty secrets.

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  6. I'm thinking anyone who sucks up well over a billion dollars of taxpayer funds neeeeeeds to stop stonewalling us, the public that puts food in their mouths and a roof over their heads, the supposed reason they exist, I have an expectation that they will STOP hiding from us. Show ME where our hard earned money is being spent on to the last red cent.

    Accountability.

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  7. Dear Norm,

    If I were an MP advocating that there be a publicly funded television channel that closely echoed all of the talking points of the Conservative Party, would you support it? I'm thinking not.

    So please tell me why millions & millions of Canadians whose political views sits on the right side of the political spectrum should support the funding of a network who clearly, consistently, and absolutely echoes the views of the Liberal Party of Canada and the NDP? This is something I truly do not understand.

    In times past, when there was a rather egregious bias on CBC News, I would write them, asking them to explain how a political panel consistently of mildly Left, center Left, and far Left constituted a balance and a representation of Canadians. To date I have never received an answer.

    I hope & trust you would agree that I have presented my case politely and with the greatest of respect towards you. I really would appreciate a sincere answer to the questions I have posed.

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  8. Does on-topic mean that the voice must be one of those that show by example what is wrong with the CBC? Calling the Prime Minister a Fascist and a Dictator is a good start in getting my voice in opposition to the Mother Corpse.

    I really enjoy most of the CBC Radio programming, except for the opinion pieces that are sometimes called news, and always with an anti-Conservative bias. I do not want my tax dollars to be used in this fashion and a refusal by CBC to produce documentation for spending is way over the top.

    CBC TV should be on it's own and row it's own boat, with people paying to watch it, just as I now pay to watch many channels.

    CBC Radio on the other hand IS an important part of Canada and with changes in the sickening pro-libral worship and group hugs, will be a source for news and information for many years to come.

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  9. CBC: Entitled to their entitlements?

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  10. Why should I pay for a broadcaster that only represents one half of the spectrum?

    Why should I, as a Canadian tax payer, be forced to pay to listen to a point of view that I don't hold dear? Why should I pay to hear a constant barrage of leftist talking points and liberal propaganda?

    Why do I need to see 'An Inconvenient Truth' 5 times a year?

    Why is the third largest recipient in terms of taxpayers dollars in Canada ( after national defense and Indian affairs) so reluctant to hold itself accountable to me, the person who ( in part) funds it?

    What are they hiding?

    Why can't they just admit they are the taxpayer funded propaganda wing of the Liberal party of Canada?

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  11. I'll write more about the CBC when I have time because a number of good points are raised here in comments. I suspect that all intelligent taxpayers despise waste and inefficiency so that is intolerable at any level and, frankly, it should be relatively easy for a dedicated management to identify waste.

    Bias though is almost completely subjective and many of us perceive it whenever we see an expression of opinion different than our own. Some consumers seek information not to learn but to confirm views already held. So, we will probably always have one segment or another complaining about bias. Ezra Levant will think everything not originating with him or his pals is biased to the left. Murray Dobbin and his friends will complain that everything on the CBC is biased to the right.

    I would rather a CBC that seeks to explain all positions without favoring any particular one. Yet, perhaps there are fundamental, immutable moral values that should never be challenged, even in the spirit of full inquiry? Some will answer yes, some will say no.

    Much of what broadcasters present doesn't fall on the left or right political spectrum. For example, lottery ticket buyers were cheated when they presented unsigned tickets for review and were told they had no winners when they actually did. CBC's Fifth Estate uncovered the $250,000 fraud against 82-year-old Ontario resident Bob Edmonds and helped overcome the many official barriers presented to the dying old man. Lottery executives didn't want to admit Edmonds had been cheated because it would lead to the public realization that many others had experienced the same type of fraud. And, that people in every jurisdiction, not just Ontario, were victimized by similar lottery fraud.

    Some people criticized the Fifth Estate's lottery work as being anti-business because it interfered with and encouraged consumers to mistrust common commercial transactions. Others saw it a latently racist because many of the retailers that came under review represented racial minorities. Others saw it as an example of a nanny state where institutions exercise responsibilities that individuals should take care of for themselves. Was CBC biased? You could get multiple answers to that.

    You can argue against subsidizing a public broadcaster but don't do that while ignoring the subsidies awarded private broadcasters by almost free use of public airways. The federal government decided in principle that it wanted licensees to pay fees reflective of the value of private broadcast licenses. They even started assessing charges. The broadcasters refused to pay but the federal government's right to charge these fees was upheld in court.

    After negotiation with the industry, the feds agreed to cancel hundreds of millions in outstanding fees but said the fees would restart but with a limit that is only a tiny proportion of profits earned by broadcasters. It was an almost complete surrender to the industry based solely on political willingness to provide the benefits to wealthy corporations.

    I would be in favor of funding a reformed CBC with revenues from Part II broadcast license fees. I would see the CBC remove itself from producing mainstream entertainment and focus on information, education and culture.

    Private broadcaster licenses should be for a limited term, not perpetual. License fees should rise according to their values in the marketplace.

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  12. Broadcast licenses over the years have been referred to as "Licenses to print money" and "Sure route to riches."

    It is interesting, in my view, that 5 out of the 6 richest families in Canada owe parts of the fortunes to media ownership. Does that suggest broadcasters need subsidies or free use of public airways?

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  13. This is so simple.

    All CBC employees are government workers who are paid entirely from taxes taken from private sector employees. Without a private sector there would simply be zero tax revenues collected. Period. Another way of looking at it is that Government workers do not pay taxes, they but return a portion of tax money that was first drawn first from private sector workers. No private sector workers, no money for Government salaries.

    Government workers at CBC are compelled to defend their point of view, which is consistently pro-government. That is why the CBC does a dreadful job of representing the private sector, it is not in their interest. Ergo CBC does a superb job of representing Socialist and hard left thought for that is the type of thinking that advocates for greater government employment. The result is large, inefficient CBC that chews up 1.3 billion in hard earned tax dollars to provide a massive & inefficient bureaucracy (you can't be fired) that is lured into arguing in its own self interest. When they argue in their own self interest the by default argue against the interests of the very private sector worker who pay them.

    As I said it is simple. The CBC by design cannot even provide the courtesy of representing the very private sector taxpayer who pays their salaries. For that reason alone the should be cut off from all government funding. Immediately.

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  14. Norm,

    If what you say about the sure route to riches then it would follow that the CBC does not need our funds, if they had a product that the public wanted they could have become independent of our wallets looooong ago. Yet they are not.. time to cut the cord me thinks.

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  15. The CBC is not a particularly reliable news outlet if you're looking for balanced coverage of any issue, which is why I'm no "Friend of the CBC." It's coverage of the news is quite definitely from the left side of the political spectrum -- and it sticks to its pro-Liberal, pro-NDP, anti-CPC, anti-PMSH message.

    The CBC is losing viewers at an alarming rate -- well from their point of view and that of their Friends. It has only about 5% of the market share of viewers and hasn't quite figured out why so many Canadians have stopped watching them.

    The CBC's idea of a balanced debate is one that starts slightly left of centre, progresses further to the left, and ends up in left field. As there are intelligent spokespeople on the right, many Canadians, myself included, would appreciate seeing them given more of an opportunity to express their opinions, especially as a) the CBC gets over $1-billion of taxpayers' dollars yearly and b) their mandate is to offer balanced coverage of issues of importance to all Canadians. That the CBC is left of centre and not just my opinion:

    Ryerson University professors Marsha Barber and Ann Rauhala explored the demographic and political leanings of Canada's television news directors. The results of their survey were published in 2005 in the Canadian Journal of Communication. The researchers found that the news directors, whom they describe as the people "with the most direct responsibility for programming the news on any given day," were more politically and socially liberal than the rest of the Canadian population. Broken down by network, those working for the CBC were the most left-leaning. ...

    When the researchers turned their attention to television news alone they found that coverage by the CBC was most harsh against conservative positions. ...

    Journalists, particularly those working for CBC TV, used omission, exaggeration or misrepresentation of information to present evangelicals [and Catholics] and the positions they held in the worst possible light. (Emphases mine)

    been around the block

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  16. Does that suggest broadcasters need subsidies or free use of public airways?

    Uh, do they get 1 Billion dollars of taxpayers money to use the public "airways"?

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  17. The CBC is a mouthpiece for the Liberanos/Dippers/Blokistas (the troika coalition that wishes to have Gilles Ducippe holding the reins of power over Canada ) How could any Canadian support such an egregious group? Most Canadians do not want the Bloc to run our nation - so why does the public paid broadcaster promote such a senerio? This is a very dangerous organization that should really be disbanded but defunding it is the first step to maginalization of such a radical organization.



    I am a 'friend' of our Prime Minister because he is a 'friend' to all of Canada. It offends me to hear him trashed by people who use the gument as a cash cow and who promote the radical idea that one province should be given a dictatorship over the rest of the provinces.

    The CBC is a platform for negative viewpoints, as such, I feel it does far more harm than good.

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  18. I was a CBC radio listener and television watcher for a number of decades until the left bias became too blatant and now very rarely listen to the radio.

    The sooner the government cuts CBC loose financially the better. Why should my tax dollars go to support a media organization that only represents one side politically. Let CBC sink or swim on its own.

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  19. Norm. Strange days...do you have IP addresses for all these anon-cons? PAB? Read Laila's Sunday post. Thoughts?

    CBC has lost alot of ground, but we can still regain it. Even the comedians are afraid to speak frankly!

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  20. Your paranoia is tragic, Kim at 7:30 pm, really tragic. Why do you ask Norm if he has the IP addresses of the people who DARED to criticize the Mother Corp? Should he watch them, track them, spy on them?

    You really, REALLY do NOT equate all the above, thoughtful, meaningful criticism of the CBC with the behaviour of the two-bit thug who body-checked Liala? You are NOT that paranoid, are you, Kim?

    Do you really, REALLY think that the thoughtful, meaningful criticism of the CBC (news) should not be done? That smacks of the old USSR, the KGB, and the "news" service Pravda. The CBC is massively left-wing and massively anti-right-wing. Only the most closed minded left-winger could think the CBC is in any way balanced. I am sure some old Stalinists thought that Pravda was a “news” service; but it was propaganda arm of Stalin.

    BTW, I think the CBC does many things very, very well; but news is NOT one of them – its biases are MASSIVELY BLATANT. As far as I am concerned it should get out of news broadcasting altogether, and stick with its music and documentaries (which can be as biased as its “news”, but are not presented as “news”, so I do not have an issue with them).

    BTW, I am listening to the Mother Corp as I type this; great show, wonderful music, meaningful discussion (unlike the CBC “news”).

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  21. How can the CBC be entirely funded by tax dollars when they have advertisement revenue? As Norman has tried to point out, bias is in the eye of the beholder.

    The only reason these 'tighty righties' hate the CBC is they cannot stand the truth. Better to support the thieving classes of Canada (uploaders). If you want to support the Korporate rule, that is your choice, but someone should be reporting otherwise without the Koolaide.

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  22. Kim, it may come as a surprise to you, but I had to post as "Anonymous" because I didn't fit any of the other categories presented to me. That may be why others did the same thing.

    I did append my name to the bottom of my comment, however: I'm "been around the block" aka "batb."

    I'm in agreement with terrence's comment above about the Gestapo/Pravda tactics you're proposing. Go ahead, Norm, track my IP. I stand behind the comments I've made.

    I've been monitoring the CBC for over 30 years and made a complaint at the CRTC about I'm-Peter-Mansbridge-and-You're-Not for unprofessional, uninformed, and unsubstantiated comments he made about a Canadian group over 20 years ago. He was parroting the left-lib memes about this group and hadn't done his homework -- which is the case with many CBC "journalists" who decline to fully investigate issues they're covering or who, outright, misrepresent one side of the argument. And guess which side that is?

    The CRTC gave Mansbridge a slap on the wrist and I received an outraged letter from him to the tune of how dare I, a two-bit nobody, question the Great Peter Mansbridge?

    To reiterate, from the Barber-Rauhala survey published in 2005 in the Canadian Journal of Communication:

    Broken down by network, those working for the CBC were the most left-leaning.

    ... [news] coverage by the CBC was most harsh against conservative positions.

    Journalists, particularly those working for CBC TV, used omission, exaggeration or misrepresentation of information to present evangelicals [and Catholics] and the positions they held in the worst possible light.

    I'm rather astonished, Kim, that you consider these findings to be grounds for tracking commenters' IPs. On the other hand, these are tactics that many on the left-lib side of the political spectrum consider are justified. From your point of view, there is only one point of view -- and it's yours.

    'Must be sad to live in such a small, cramped space.

    batb

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