Author Topic: Media: Bias, errors, follies, etc. (merged)  (Read 460798 times)

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Offline RangerRay

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Re: CBC Political Bias
« Reply #50 on: December 13, 2007, 22:50:35 »
Hmmm...watched the evening news on Global BC...nothin'.

Possibly something on CTV's late night national broadcast?  Would the Corpse report on this in The National?  As much as I enjoy watching Duffy, I have a feeling most people (ie. voters) do not get their information from his show.
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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: CBC Political Bias
« Reply #51 on: December 13, 2007, 23:40:39 »
I found Mike's interchange with Ian MacDonald (sorry L. Ian MacDonald) as interesting.  MacDonald started off with a grin and a boys-will-be-boys smirk and a tale of foreplay and sex. How it was OK to plant a question in an MP's ear and create a source then have the story brought into the lobby where they can "torque" the story (MacDonald's word) as they see fit.  Apparently Mike wasn't buying it off camera (or else tales were being told out of school) because MacDonald suddenly wipes the smirk off and suddenly becomes concerned that CBC MUST answer questions as this obviously is not on.

Is "smarmy basta*d" in common Canadian usage?
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Offline RangerRay

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Re: CBC Political Bias
« Reply #52 on: December 14, 2007, 01:18:51 »
Well, I just watched CTV's national broadcast, and there was not one word of this story there.  Even though it aired on one of their programs!

Nothing to see here...move along...
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Offline MCG

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Re: CBC Political Bias
« Reply #53 on: December 14, 2007, 08:25:31 »
Sounds like Tomorrow Never Dies.

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Re: CBC Political Bias
« Reply #54 on: December 14, 2007, 08:59:52 »
In todays world there is no one who can not get their information from a private source (ie not government funded).  Once long ago before the internet, podcasts, satellite tv and all the rest the CBC was the only game in some places.  That is no longer the case, therefore the cause and reason for the CBC's funding is gone as it should be.
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Re: CBC Political Bias
« Reply #55 on: December 14, 2007, 18:33:39 »
I find it disgusting and troubling that ANY broadcaster, let alone the CBC, would seed questions in the House of Commons. If MPs aren't smart enough to compose their own questions for the government, then it's up to the public to elect someone else in the next election. Can you imagine what the opposition would be saying if the government was so obviously in bed with the media? It's one thing for a political party to use the media to get their message out, it's quite another for things to be the other way around.
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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: CBC Political Bias
« Reply #56 on: December 15, 2007, 00:13:00 »
Canadian Press Story carried by CBC

"...the CBC does "not accept that this is evidence of bias against any particular political party, but rather was something that occurred in the context of trying to determine the specific circumstances of an ongoing political story." "


Quote
CBC reviewing claim reporter fed questions to Liberal MP
Published: Friday, December 14, 2007 | 7:16 PM ET
Canadian Press: THE CANADIAN PRESS
OTTAWA - The CBC has begun an internal investigation and possible disciplinary action after one of its parliamentary reporters apparently suggested questions to a Liberal MP taking part in the high-profile Mulroney-Schreiber inquiry.

The probe follows a formal complaint by the Conservative party.

The complaint centres on claims that Liberal Pablo Rodriguez directed questions from the CBC to Brian Mulroney during a highly anticipated Commons committee hearing on Thursday.

In a letter to the CBC ombudsman on Friday, the director of the Conservative party cited Liberal questions to Mulroney about whether he had lobbied the current government concerning the spectrum auction for cellular and wireless devices.

Rodriguez's line of inquiry prompted loud complaints from Tories on the committee, who accused the Liberals of going on a "fishing expedition" unrelated to the committee's mandate.

In the aftermath, former Liberal cabinet minister Jean Lapierre told CTV that he'd been told the Rodriguez questions came from the CBC.
 
A Liberal party official denied there was anything untoward, saying the party gets "bombarded" daily with comments and ideas for questions from Canadians and from reporters.

"We get people suggesting questions all the time, that's just life," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The party also pointed out that Rodriguez had previously asked similar questions in the Commons about Mulroney and the wireless spectrum issue.

But the CBC acknowledged the practice was "inappropriate."

"In our view, while the reporter may have been in pursuit of a journalistically legitimate story, this was an inappropriate way of going about it and as such inconsistent with our journalistic policies and practices," said the e-mail statement from Jeff Keay, head of CBC's English media relations.

The public broadcaster did not name the reporter, but said "the particulars of this matter are currently under investigation and will be considered under the disciplinary processes outlined in our collective agreement."

The story raged across the conservative blogosphere all day Friday, where the incident was viewed as an example of Liberal bias by the CBC.

Conservative party spokesman Ryan Sparrow called the matter "a very serious allegation, and if proven true (it) begs the question: why is a public broadcaster getting involved in partisan politics?"

But Keay said the CBC does "not accept that this is evidence of bias against any particular political party, but rather was something that occurred in the context of trying to determine the specific circumstances of an ongoing political story."

Rodriguez did not return phone messages Friday.
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Re: CBC Political Bias
« Reply #57 on: December 19, 2007, 00:06:01 »
Mot so fast there; the CBC is implicitly admitting there is truth to the story:

http://stevejanke.com/archives/249698.php

Quote
CBC VP says reporter colluding with Liberal Party will be disciplined
Tuesday, December 18, 2007 at 03:08 PM Comments: 17

Aaron Wudrick has received an email from a VP at the CBC in which it appears that a decision has been reached concerning allegations that a CBC reporter was acting in collusion with the Liberal Party to frame questions to ask of Brian Mulroney at the Commons ethics committee hearings into the Karlheinz Schreiber affair.

Brian Mulroney During Brian Mulroney's appearance in front of the Commons ethics committee hearing looking into allegations made by Karlheinz Schreiber, Liberal MP Pablo Rodriguez created quite a ruckus when he posed this question:

(A video clip is in the original post at this point)

Jean Lapierre Conservative MPs were upset that Rodriguez seemed to go so far off the Schreiber story, but the real fireworks started later when former Liberal MP Jean Lapierre, now an analyst with CTV News, alleged that the question was actually written by a CBC reporter, and that Pablo Rodriguez was merely a proxy.

The question of CBC collusion with the Liberal Party has been debated a lot in the blogosphere, and the Conservative Party demanded answers from the CBC.

Aaron seems to have part of that answer in hand.  From Aaron's blog:

    Amazing what a little Bourque-driven traffic will do to stimulate interesting emails. This just showed up in my mailbox, forwarded from, if you can believe it, a vice-president of the CBC:

        I wanted to let you know that CBC news chiefs have looked at the allegations made yesterday.

        They feel that the reporter's actions in pursuing the story were inappropriate and against CBC/Radio-Canada's Journalistic Standards.

        They are continuing to investigate the particulars and will follow the disciplinary processes outlined in the CBC's collective agreement.

        I imagine that the CBC Ombudsman will be responding to complaints and investigating what happened as well.

        They want to make sure this doesn't happen in future.


Read the whole thing, but clearly there are some remarkable elements to this break in the story:

    * Despite Liberal protestations that this amounted to nothing and that everyone does it, the CBC news chiefs have decided that it indeed was inappropriate.
    * The seriousness of the situation requires disciplinary action.
    * The CBC news chiefs are not waiting for the Ombudsman to report on his investigation.
    * The CBC news chiefs want to make sure this won't happen again, which suggests the person being disciplined will be held out as an example of the consequences of getting too close to any political party.


The CBC is moving quickly to respond to this situation.  If the CBC felt that the Liberals would be forming the next government anytime soon, I doubt they would be acting so briskly.

Pablo Rodriguez. This leaves Liberal MP Pablo Rodriguez in a delicate position.  He has stated that the notion that the CBC framed his questions was absurd.  If it was so absurd, why does it look like a CBC reporter is about to be disciplined over the allegation?  Expect a fair amount of not-so-good-natured ribbing aimed at Rodriguez for the next while every time he tries to ask a question.

Did Pablo Rodriguez and other Liberals offer to support the CBC in fighting off the allegation?  If so, did the CBC decide it was better to discipline the reporter rather than accept any favours from the Liberal Party?

Karlheinz Schreiber. If there is discipline levelled against a CBC reporter, and the idea that the Karlheinz Schreiber affair was manufactured by the CBC starts to take hold with Canadians, will the whole business just evapourate?

How might this affect relationships between the Liberal Party and any media outlet in the future?

How much blowback can the Liberal Party expect to suffer if it is confirmed that it has secret media allies in the fight to unseat the Conservatives?  Will Canadians appreciate shadowy cabals operating in our democracy?  Will the Liberal Party be forced to defend itself against allegations that it manufactures the news Canadians are seeing?
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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: CBC Political Bias
« Reply #58 on: December 19, 2007, 01:05:39 »
Not wanting to jump too far ahead on this one but......wouldn't it be luvverly?
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"One thing that being a scientist has taught me is that you can never be certain about anything. You never know the truth. You can only approach it and hope to get a bit nearer to it each time. You iterate towards the truth. You don’t know it.”  - James Lovelock

Conservative, n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others. [Ambrose Bierce, 1911]

Offline Rifleman62

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Re: CBC Political Bias
« Reply #59 on: December 19, 2007, 13:45:35 »
Possibly because CBC has a new President and CEO. He was interviewed on Politics with Don Newman (aka Bash the Conservatives with the bias liberal media with Don, focus the discussion on conservative bashing, Newman). Newman appeared nervous during the interview, and later programs were really terribly one sided. Note Lacrioux's comments at the end of the announcement. A new beginning??
   
Minister Verner Announces New President of the CBC/Radio-Canada
OTTAWA, November 5, 2007 - The Honourable Josée Verner, Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages, today announced the appointment of Hubert T. Lacroix as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)/ Radio-Canada.

"Hubert T. Lacroix possesses the necessary experience and skills to lead Canada's national public broadcaster," said Minister Verner. "I am confident CBC/Radio-Canada will be well-served by the leadership of Mr. Lacroix."

Mr. Lacroix has practiced law for 30 years with three of Montreal's most prominent firms. He acquired strong credentials in the radio broadcasting and publishing industries through his involvement with Telemedia and other companies. He is also well-known from his work as a television and radio sports analyst for Radio-Canada's summer Olympic broadcasts.

CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada's national public broadcaster and one of its largest cultural institutions. It is the only broadcaster offering services to all Canadians in English and French across Canada and in eight Aboriginal languages across the North.


HUBERT T. LACROIX
Hubert T. Lacroix is a senior advisor with the Montréal office of Stikeman Elliott. Amongst other duties, he contributes to the strategic direction of the law firm. He is included in the 2008 edition of The Best Lawyers of Canada.

Mr. Lacroix received both his Bachelor of Civil Law and his Masters degree in Business Administration from McGill University. He is a member of the Bar since 1977.

During a career spanning 30 years, Mr. Lacroix gained significant experience in various business sectors, including media and publishing, and has recognized expertise in mergers and acquisitions, securities and corporate governance.

Mr. Lacroix acted as senior advisor to Telemedia Ventures Inc. after spending the previous years as the Executive Chairman of Telemedia Corporation and of the other Boards of Directors of the various companies in the Telemedia corporate structure. Before joining Telemedia, he had been a senior partner with another major Canadian law firm where he spent more than 20 years. He is an adjunct professor with the Faculty of Law at Université de Montréal (securities, and mergers and acquisitions).

Mr. Lacroix worked for Radio-Canada as a colour commentator for basketball during the Olympic Games in 1984, 1988 and 1996. During that time he worked for both the radio and television networks. He was also a regular weekly contributor to the Saturday evening sports show Hebdo-Sports on the radio network of Radio-Canada, reporting mainly on amateur sports.

Mr. Lacroix is the Chairman of the Board of SFK Pulp Fund (and a member of the Audit Committee and of the Strategic Planning Committee) and a trustee of the different entities in this unit trust structure. He is also a director of: (i) Zarlink Semiconductor Inc. (chairman of the Audit Committee, and a member of the Executive Committee and of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee), (ii) Transcontinental Inc. (a member of the Audit Committee and Chairman of the Human Resources Committee), and (iii) ITS Investments Limited Partnership. In addition, he is a trustee of the Lucie and André Chagnon Foundation and a director of their private holding company, a trustee of the Martlet Foundation of McGill University, and a director of the Montréal General Hospital Foundation and of the Fonds de développement du Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf.

Over the years, Mr. Lacroix also sat on the Boards of Cambior Inc., Donohue Inc., Circo Craft Co. Inc., Adventure Electronics Inc., Michelin Canada Inc. and Secor Inc.

Mr. Lacroix was amongst the first directors in Canada to complete the ICD Corporate Governance College program designed to help corporate boards exceed governance standards and create globally competitive, higher performing companies in Canada, and holds the certified designation of ICD.D.

In an interview, Lacroix stared that:

"he believes the public broadcaster faces two significant challenges: to stay relevant to a changing population and to raise funds that will keep that audience watching and listening".
"I am going to work very hard to get as much money as we can....if we are constantly compelling and relevant, we're going to try to get revenues from every single possible source to plow it back into programming," he said.
"My job and the mandate that I have taken is clearly to try to make this company evolve in terrific changing times and to create the sense of urgency that I know everybody else around, in every other company competing with CBC/Radio Canada, has."





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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: CBC Political Bias
« Reply #60 on: December 20, 2007, 12:16:06 »
From today's National Post

Quote
L. Ian MacDonald: Look who's talking (en Anglais)
Posted: December 20, 2007, 11:03 AM by Marni Soupcoff
L. Ian MacDonald

OTTAWA - According to Hansard, the official journal of the House of Commons, Pablo Rodriguez rarely asks questions in English. In the recently completed seven-week fall session, Rodriguez asked only one of his eight questions in English. The other seven were entirely in French.

First elected as a Liberal from Montreal in 2004, Rodriguez is not remembered for asking questions in English during the two years of the previous Parliament, when as a freshman backbencher in Paul Martin's government, he wouldn't have had any opportunities anyway. "I never heard him ask a question in English," says Jean Lapierre, who sat in the Martin government as transport minister and Quebec lieutenant.

On his Web site, Rodriguez lists his preferred language of communication as French, and one of his shadow critic roles has been for la Francophonie. He is not known for speaking English very much, and certainly not known for writing it.

Yet he turned up as a visiting Liberal member of the ethics committee last week, with a line of questioning for Brian Mulroney on whether he had ever lobbied Maxime Bernier, when Bernier was industry minister, on behalf of Quebecor, of which Mulroney is a director, as a new entrant in the telecom wireless spectrum auction. The questions were primarily in English, and they were drafted with lawyerly precision, leaving very little wiggle room in answering them.

The entire line of questioning could have been ruled out of order, since the committee's mandate was to examine "the Airbus settlement" of 1997, not the wireless auction process of 2007. But the Liberal chairman, Paul Szabo, allowed it, and wouldn't even permit Mulroney to read a letter from the committee clerk defining the terms of reference.

Rodriguez had two exchanges with Mulroney, and it was the second round that was quite striking for its specificity in English:

"Mr. Mulroney, you said you made no presentation to Maxime Bernier on the wireless spectrum issue. While he was the industry minister, have you ever had a private or public dinner or lunch with him in Montreal, or any other city? Have you ever met with him at all? If so, how many times, in which city? Have you ever placed a telephone call to him, or has he called you? On any of those, did you discuss the wireless spectrum issue?"

No sooner had Mulroney's appearance concluded than Jean Lapierre went on television and said the following: "I knew all about those questions. They were written by the CBC and provided to the Liberal members of Parliament, and the questions that Pablo Rodriguez asked were written by the CBC, and I can't believe that but last night, an influential Member of Parliament came to me and told me those are the questions that the CBC wants us to ask tomorrow."

Subsequently, a Liberal researcher told CTV's Mike Duffy the CBC hadn't written the questions for the Liberals, only dictated them.

The next day, the Conservatives filed a formal complaint to the CBC's ombudsperson, Vince Carlin. By day's end, The Canadian Press moved the following lead: "The CBC has begun an internal investigation and possible disciplinary process after one of its parliamentary reporters suggested questions to a Liberal MP on the Commons ethics committee." The CBC said that while the underlying story about Mulroney's possible connection to Bernier was legitimate, "this was an inappropriate way of going about it, and as such inconsistent with our journalistic policies and practices."

At the end of the day last Friday, CBC executive Sean Poulter sent the Conservatives a confidential e-mail acknowledging "actions in pursuing the story were inappropriate and against CBC/Radio-Canada's journalistic standards … they want to make sure this doesn't happen in the future."

The allegation is clear: collusion, not collaboration, between the public broadcaster and the Official Opposition.


And there, pending the results of an internal hearing and response to the Conservatives' formal complaint, the matter rests. Rodriguez insists, as he told The Hill Times newspaper, that he was "inspired by what I saw on TV, inspired by the questions in the House of Commons, inspired by the fact that Mr. Bernier never wants to answer questions …"

"Inspired," he was. But apparently the word loses something in the translation.

Imacdonald@irpp.org

- L. Ian MacDonald is editor of Policy Options magazine. He was chief speech writer to prime minister Brian Mulroney from 1985-1988. He is on retainer as a political commentator with CTV.
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Conservative, n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others. [Ambrose Bierce, 1911]

Offline N. McKay

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Re: CBC Political Bias
« Reply #61 on: January 02, 2008, 15:23:35 »
In todays world there is no one who can not get their information from a private source (ie not government funded).  Once long ago before the internet, podcasts, satellite tv and all the rest the CBC was the only game in some places.  That is no longer the case, therefore the cause and reason for the CBC's funding is gone as it should be.

Even where the news is concerned, surely nobody is prepared to argue that the CBC is rife with bias while the private broadcasters are completely free of any.  In an imperfect world perhaps the best we can reasonably expect is a balance of bias on both sides of an issue, and let it be up to the intelligent listener, viewer, or reader to take it all in and synthesize his or her own opinion after hearing from all sides.

If the only function of the CBC were to report the news than you'd have a good point, but it does considerably more than that -- including things that private broadcasters would, in all likelihood, not bother doing.  Except where regulations require it, no private broadcaster will ever do much of anything with a goal other than making money for its shareholders.  That's not always consistent with what's in the public interest, nor does it lend itself to serving any community other than the largest and wealthiest (and therefore most attractive to advertisers).

Offline RangerRay

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Re: CBC Political Bias
« Reply #62 on: January 02, 2008, 15:36:15 »
Even where the news is concerned, surely nobody is prepared to argue that the CBC is rife with bias while the private broadcasters are completely free of any.  In an imperfect world perhaps the best we can reasonably expect is a balance of bias on both sides of an issue, and let it be up to the intelligent listener, viewer, or reader to take it all in and synthesize his or her own opinion after hearing from all sides.

I have no problem with bias as long as it is a) declared for all to know, and b) free of public funds.

In the case of the CBC, it is a Crown corporation (ie. publicly owned and funded) and does not declare it's biases like the Toronto Star or National Post.  In fact, the CBC claims to be fair and balanced.  Many on the right would disagree with that self assessment.

As far as I'm concerned, a private outlet can be as biased as it wants to be.  However, when that broadcaster is a public broadcaster kept afloat by taxpayers' money, it should at least try to be fair and balanced.
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Offline ArmyVern

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Re: CBC Political Bias
« Reply #63 on: January 02, 2008, 15:41:49 »
Even where the news is concerned, surely nobody is prepared to argue that the CBC is rife with bias while the private broadcasters are completely free of any.  In an imperfect world perhaps the best we can reasonably expect is a balance of bias on both sides of an issue, and let it be up to the intelligent listener, viewer, or reader to take it all in and synthesize his or her own opinion after hearing from all sides.


But, there is quite the difference between dictating what the topic questions will be exactly for a member of the Liberal Party to ask, which also just happens to be the Party who has provided the Chairman for the inquiry no? Especially when those questions are outside the mandate of a FEDERAL inquiry, but are allowed due to the bias?

YOU don't see that crap happening in the independant media ... they don't have the insider status to pull that crap off -- and sorry, but I just don't see the CBCs ability to finangle their way and their agenda into "owning" FEDERAL inquiries as "in the public interest". What "all sides" are you talking about?
« Last Edit: January 02, 2008, 15:47:25 by ArmyVern »
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Re: CBC Political Bias
« Reply #64 on: January 02, 2008, 15:48:39 »
Every aspect of the CBC's reporting is bias against the present government. If you listen to the same subject on CTV, City, etc....the facts are there, but bias isn't (generally...sometimes CTV is just as bad, especially Craig Oliver), but on CBC it just goes on and on and on to the point that I literally turn it to another station.

I would vote that the CBC TV be disbanded/disintered, whatever, just get rid of it.
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Re: CBC Political Bias
« Reply #65 on: January 02, 2008, 16:06:37 »
Every aspect of the CBC's reporting is bias against the present government. If you listen to the same subject on CTV, City, etc....the facts are there, but bias isn't (generally...sometimes CTV is just as bad, especially Craig Oliver), but on CBC it just goes on and on and on to the point that I literally turn it to another station.

I would vote that the CBC TV be disbanded/disintered, whatever, just get rid of it.
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Re: CBC Political Bias
« Reply #66 on: January 02, 2008, 16:11:45 »
I have no problem with bias as long as it is a) declared for all to know, and b) free of public funds.

In the case of the CBC, it is a Crown corporation (ie. publicly owned and funded) and does not declare it's biases like the Toronto Star or National Post.  In fact, the CBC claims to be fair and balanced.  Many on the right would disagree with that self assessment.

As far as I'm concerned, a private outlet can be as biased as it wants to be.  However, when that broadcaster is a public broadcaster kept afloat by taxpayers' money, it should at least try to be fair and balanced.

+1 !!!

Well said, Ray!

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Re: CBC Political Bias
« Reply #67 on: January 02, 2008, 18:19:28 »
If the only function of the CBC were to report the news than you'd have a good point, but it does considerably more than that -- including things that private broadcasters would, in all likelihood, not bother doing.  Except where regulations require it, no private broadcaster will ever do much of anything with a goal other than making money for its shareholders.  That's not always consistent with what's in the public interest, nor does it lend itself to serving any community other than the largest and wealthiest (and therefore most attractive to advertisers).

Excuse me but what I'm reading makes no sense.  If a private broadcaster has, as you suggest, no incentive to serve the public interest just how then are they making money?  On the other hand you seem to claim that the CBC, a broadcaster funded, whether anyone watches or not, has some sort of moral imperitive to produce what we the people want to see? I think you've got your assumptions back assward.

It is the CBC that has no reason to comply with the wishes of the people, after all they get their taxmoney regardless of what or how good of a job they do providing services to the taxpayer.  A private broadcaster on the other hand must satisfy their audience or there is no money and they go out of business.

So how exactly is a business' interest not consistent with the public interest?  You're not one of those people that equates profit with evil are you?
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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: CBC Political Bias
« Reply #68 on: January 02, 2008, 18:35:54 »


....You're not one of those people that equates profit with evil are you?

Probably not.  But he might be one of those people that thinks that there are Truths and Lies as opposed to Information.
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Offline N. McKay

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Re: CBC Political Bias
« Reply #69 on: January 02, 2008, 19:22:39 »
Excuse me but what I'm reading makes no sense.  If a private broadcaster has, as you suggest, no incentive to serve the public interest just how then are they making money?  On the other hand you seem to claim that the CBC, a broadcaster funded, whether anyone watches or not, has some sort of moral imperitive to produce what we the people want to see? I think you've got your assumptions back assward.

It is the CBC that has no reason to comply with the wishes of the people, after all they get their taxmoney regardless of what or how good of a job they do providing services to the taxpayer.  A private broadcaster on the other hand must satisfy their audience or there is no money and they go out of business.

A public broadcaster's customers are the tax-paying public.  If the public are sufficiently unhappy with the CBC they can lobby their MPs to pull the plug.  The fact that this hasn't happened on any significant scale, and the fact that there has historically been some public protest when the CBC's budget has been cut, suggests that  people are listening to and watching the CBC.  "Whether anyone watches or not" is moot -- people obviously are.

Here is the fundamental difference with a private broadcaster: you, the listener or viewer, are not the client.  Advertisers are the clients -- viewers and listeners are the commodity whose time and attention are being sold to the clients.

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So how exactly is a business' interest not consistent with the public interest?  You're not one of those people that equates profit with evil are you?

No I'm not.  But in private broadcasting the business' interests are in serving advertisers, not the public.  While the CBC can (and does) air some programming that appeals to only a small part of the potential audience, such programming might not be able to attract enough advertising dollars to make economic sense for a private broadcaster.  The private broadcaster will seek to make the best use of its air time to maximize its profits.  That's fine with me; we have the CBC to provide for programming that appeals to a variety of smaller groups who would otherwise not be served at all.

The hard-nosed capitalist will say that the market should decide what will be broadcast and if a certain programme's audience is too small for it to be economical then they can just lump it.  But that's not how we work public services in this country.  If it were then a lot of people would be without postal service, transportation (including roads), or medical care, to pick the most obvious examples.  Part of the government's role is to serve those who the private sector will not serve.

Offline N. McKay

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Re: CBC Political Bias
« Reply #70 on: January 02, 2008, 19:38:08 »
I have no problem with bias as long as it is a) declared for all to know, and b) free of public funds.

In the case of the CBC, it is a Crown corporation (ie. publicly owned and funded) and does not declare it's biases like the Toronto Star or National Post.

I've read the National Post quite a few times, and certainly found bias in it -- but I've never seen any declaration of that bias.  I'm not familiar with the Toronto Star so no comment from me on that one.

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In fact, the CBC claims to be fair and balanced.  Many on the right would disagree with that self assessment.

Interestingly, so would many on the left.  I understand that the CBC is criticized for being biased in both directions in about equal measure, which suggests that they're doing about as well as anyone could.

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As far as I'm concerned, a private outlet can be as biased as it wants to be.  However, when that broadcaster is a public broadcaster kept afloat by taxpayers' money, it should at least try to be fair and balanced.

And I think on the whole it does.  No doubt many of the hundreds of CBC employees have their own personal biases, but any suggestion that there is some sort of corporate direction that "we shall all slant our stories against the Conservative government" or what-have-you would border on a conspiracy theory.  It is, after all, an organization largely staffed by professional journalists and I'd have a hard time believing that they are all ethically bankrupt.

As part of my civilian job I've spent a lot of time following the media, especially CBC, CTV, and various print outlets.  If someone told me to go and find a slanted story and gave me a really tight deadline I promise you I'd go looking elsewhere than the CBC first.

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Re: CBC Political Bias
« Reply #71 on: January 02, 2008, 20:10:26 »
A public broadcaster's customers are the tax-paying public.  If the public are sufficiently unhappy with the CBC they can lobby their MPs to pull the plug.  The fact that this hasn't happened on any significant scale, and the fact that there has historically been some public protest when the CBC's budget has been cut, suggests that  people are listening to and watching the CBC.  "Whether anyone watches or not" is moot -- people obviously are.

The majority of the population I would argue doesn't think of the CBC at all and as a result the continued funding is a result of apathy, not intent.  The only people I ever recall protesting CBC cuts were those who had a vested interest in the message being deliverd by the CBC.

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Here is the fundamental difference with a private broadcaster: you, the listener or viewer, are not the client.  Advertisers are the clients -- viewers and listeners are the commodity whose time and attention are being sold to the clients.

No I'm not.  But in private broadcasting the business' interests are in serving advertisers, not the public.  While the CBC can (and does) air some programming that appeals to only a small part of the potential audience, such programming might not be able to attract enough advertising dollars to make economic sense for a private broadcaster.  The private broadcaster will seek to make the best use of its air time to maximize its profits.  That's fine with me; we have the CBC to provide for programming that appeals to a variety of smaller groups who would otherwise not be served at all.

Right.  So the advertiser is divorced from the broadcaster's need to have an audience?  Your argument doesn't hold water.  In order for the advertiser to make money people have to see the advertizement, that necesitates the broadcaster having shows that people want to see.  And that means that the broadcaster (and the advertizer) must produce a product that comply's with the public interest.

The CBC also advertises.  By your argument this should mean that they aren't responsible to the taxpayers that fund them either.

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The hard-nosed capitalist will say that the market should decide what will be broadcast and if a certain programme's audience is too small for it to be economical then they can just lump it.  But that's not how we work public services in this country.  If it were then a lot of people would be without postal service, transportation (including roads), or medical care, to pick the most obvious examples.  Part of the government's role is to serve those who the private sector will not serve.

Apples and oranges.  Postal service, roads and medical care are considered by the majority of Canadains to be social services in the true meaning of the word, being able to watch "Little Mosque on the Prarie" isn't.  
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Offline Roy Harding

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Re: CBC Political Bias
« Reply #72 on: January 02, 2008, 20:15:36 »
I agree with Neil here.  I can't speak to the television side of things (I rarely watch television, and NEVER watch television news) - but my radio is usually tuned to CBC all day long.  There are some programmes I can't STAND (The Debaters, Definitely Not The Opera, among others) - but in general I find them a fair representer of different points of view.

And - just to add to what Neil said about serving the public where commercial interests won't go - here in Terrace my OTHER choices are First Nations Radio (which isn't bad) or some country station.  That's it.


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Offline N. McKay

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Re: CBC Political Bias
« Reply #73 on: January 02, 2008, 21:46:11 »
The majority of the population I would argue doesn't think of the CBC at all and as a result the continued funding is a result of apathy, not intent.  The only people I ever recall protesting CBC cuts were those who had a vested interest in the message being deliverd by the CBC.

You say that as if there were only one message, which is far from the case.  Or am I misunderstanding you?

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Right.  So the advertiser is divorced from the broadcaster's need to have an audience?  Your argument doesn't hold water.  In order for the advertiser to make money people have to see the advertizement, that necesitates the broadcaster having shows that people want to see.  And that means that the broadcaster (and the advertizer) must produce a product that comply's with the public interest.

When I talk about the "public interest" I mean the good of the public, not simply what the majority of the public are interested in watching.  You're right that a commercial station has to provide programming that people will want to listen to or watch in order to provide an attractive product for its advertisers, however it is not accountable to its audience for the quality of its services.  A public broadcaster is.  A commercial broadcaster's goal is to get a large slice of the audience to watch or listen in order to be able to, in effect, hire out the audience to advertisers.  If that means playing nothing but top-40 music all day because that's what 40 per cent of the audience want to hear then that's what they'll do.  If another 40 per cent want to listen to country someone else will establish a country station to serve that 40 per cent.  The remaining 20 per cent, who don't want to listen to top-40 or country music, will be out of luck.

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The CBC also advertises.  By your argument this should mean that they aren't responsible to the taxpayers that fund them either.

The various CBC television channels advertise.  None of the CBC radio networks do.

Regardless of that distinction, I don't follow your reasoning.  In any case, it's significant that the overwhelming majority of CBC TV viewers are also Canadian taxpayers, so in that particular case they are both clients and the commodity that is being sold to other clients (the advertisers).  A good chunk of the advertisers are also Canadian taxpayers too, of course.

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Apples and oranges.

Not really; I'd say it's a matter of degrees but the principle is the same.  Transportation is more critical to the public good than the CBC, but the fact remains that the promotion of Canadian arts and culture is something that serves the public good yet does not necessarily have the same potential to rake in dollars as, say, CSI: Miami or whatever US programme happens to be popular at the moment.  And that's exactly what we'd be seeing, to the exclusion of just about everything else, if the private sector had free run of the airwaves.

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Re: CBC Political Bias
« Reply #74 on: January 02, 2008, 22:17:02 »
I understand what you are getting at, really I do, but our outlooks are incompatable.  You see "public good" in Public Radio and TV I see distraction from the things our government really should be doing with that money.

It seems to me that "public good" is a phrase that has been stretched beyond recognition.  Various governments have sought to convince us all that everything they do with OUR money is in the public interest (public good).  From safe injection sites, so we can enable the drug adicted to be drug adicted safely, to free food and shelter so that the homeless industry can keep their customers happy and sufficiently insulated from the reality of paying for their food and housing like everyone else in society, or conversely the mentally ill that fill these places aren't forced to get the treatment that they should because they function in a charity grey zone that keeps them below the radar.  Meanwhile after paying into the system for their entire lives people must wait 2 years for a hip replacement, and crime is a growth industry because ther aren't enough cops on the street.

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