CBC’s Paul Hunter tries too hard on climate change story

Consider the following clip by the CBC’s Paul Hunter which aired on the National broadcast on January 9th, 2007. (Watch for the “curb” comment and the criticism of the PM and the RCMP for idling the PM’s motorcade).

Mansbridge: “As Paul Hunter discovered today, Baird may have some work to do curbing his own colleagues.”

Hunter: “But is the government listening? Even as the environmentalists were saying that inside, just outside the Prime Minister’s motorcade sat idling. At 10:30 this morning, 11:30, 12:30 and beyond, just meters from his office door.”

Hunter failed to report on a few facts that, when revealed, hardly puts the PM in a negative light.

RCMP security protocol demands that the Prime Ministerial motorcade (ie. security detail) be ready to evacuate the Prime Minister at a moments notice.

The RCMP are not permitted inside the confines of the buildings of Parliament. If not meters (meters!) from the Prime Minister’s door, then where? 10 meters? On Wellington? In Gatineau?

What was the Prime Minister doing that day? Is his office newsworthy, or his cars?

Stephane Dion’s new limo is a Cadillac, not quite so environmentally friendly.

How many greenhouse gases are produced by coast-to-coast-to-coast broadcasting during idle times at the CBC? (ie. during the nightly test pattern and re- (and first-)runs of The Hour).

Does the CBC idle its satellite trucks?

UPDATE: Steve Janke asks some more good questions.

CBC: please correct the record

Yesterday I wrote:

I am now reporting that Wajid Khan will join the Conservative ranks tomorrow as a backbench MP. Doing so protects Khan from cynicism of the press and opposition of making such a political move for career advancement, or for monetary considerations. Khan joins the Tories without taking a position in either cabinet or as a Parliamentary secretary.

Today, the CBC writes:

On Thursday, Conservative blogger Stephen Taylor fuelled speculation about the defection by posting a report that Khan would join the Tories in the cabinet or as a parliamentary secretary.

I appreciate the nod from the CBC, but I hope that they correct the record.

UPDATE: CBC has changed the text, but it is still wrong:

On Thursday, Conservative blogger Stephen Taylor fuelled speculation about the defection by posting a report that Khan would join the Tories possibly as a parliamentary secretary. He has not accepted a cabinet position.

I never mused on the possibility of a parliamentary secretary job for Khan. In fact, I ruled that possibility right out (along with stating that Khan wouldn’t join cabinet either)

UPDATE: CBC has deleted the entire paragraph.

CBC Lockout blogging

I haven’t been thinking too much about the CBC lockout and its effect on the state-run broadcaster. This seems to be the case with many Canadians. But, what I do find interesting (from a political blogging perspective) is the commentary behind the scenes in the blogosphere. Gerry Nicholls has commentary from the right and Antonia Zerbisias has coverage on the left.

There are also the blogs of the locked out employees here, here, here, here, and here

and even one that’s locked in.

The employees have even started their own news service

There’s even a blog that is encouraging people to put silly buttons on their blogs such as this one:

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I’ve remixed a few of these buttons and encourage your to put them on your blogs! You can link them back to this blog post if you like.

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and here’s my personal favourite:

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CBC and its union: a bizarre relationship

The CBC is currently in ‘lockout’ mode which means that because it could not come to an agreement with its union, and therefore it has locked-out its workers pending an agreement. Everyone can agree that this move is both contentious and takes a firm position for negotiation with the union representatives.

However…

Doing some research on another article, I tried clicking through to a few old CBC pages that were written long ago and this is what greeted me:

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Note that on a webserver, files are static and do not require any active maintenance. ie. before the lockout, there wasn’t a unionized worker keeping the page active for $30/hr (and full dental). To remove the page would require an active effort. Also note that the CBC locked out the workers! This appears to be some odd effort by the management of the CBC to handicap its own position by interrupting its own service that was on auto-pilot anyways. I can’t explain it.

Fiction Friday: The CBC’s secret GG training grounds

This week, Paul Martin appointed a new Governor General and thus ensured a stunning repeat for the CBC. Rob Johnston heads the CBC’s Cultural Installation Department: a little-known collective within the nation’s broadcaster that grooms, educates, and provides professional support for future Governor Generals. He was kind enough to provide a tour.

As we walk through the large atrium of CBC HQ on Front street in downtown Toronto, Rob motions towards the front desk and quips with a short smile, “It all begins there for the bright eyed graduates from Ryerson with the proper Cape Breton accents (called CBC English, as I’ve learned). But if you really want to get ahead here, you’ll have to learn how to talk the talk.” Interested, I encourage Rob to explain as we take the elevator up to the third floor. “Well, for example, when referring to Kansans who don’t believe in evolution, not only are they Christian but they are properly labelled ‘conservative’ Christians. Middle-Eastern Imams that encourage extremism are also called ‘conservative’, and any pro-American organization can also be referred to as ‘conservative’. Pretty much any political position that counters the CBC’s image for Canada is called ‘conservative’. It also has the effect of keeping our patrons in power and the cheques from bouncing. Neil McDonald is a master at ‘The Talk’. If you get a chance, speak with Neil.”

On the third floor, we enter another reception area where we both sign-in. After a pleasant nod from the receptionist, we exit the reception area and and walk down a large hallway. The hallway is lined with framed B&W photos of smiling alumni of the GG grooming program. Johnston remarks, “Of course not everyone makes it to the top, but we’re still proud of our many ‘graduates’.” Among the photos I notice Susan Murray, Carole Taylor, Romeo Leblanc and Adrienne Clarkson and of course Michaelle Jean. I stop before a portrait of a smiling, blond and attractive woman. “Is that Mitsou Gelinas?” I ask, somewhat surprised. Rob responds empathetically despondent, “Poor Mitsou was such a mess last week when she found out [about Michaelle Jean’s appointment]. She was the PMO’s other French-Canadian option and she took the news with much sadness. I comforted her, as I always comfort those who are passed-over by reminding them that there’s always the Senate…”

We come to a large set of double doors and my host unlatches a heavy latch, weathered by generations of patronage, and swings open the heavy doors. A large room opens before us and the current crop of vice-regal hopefuls is all there. I look around and see CBC personalities at desks writing an exam while a few staffers wait ready with imported bottled water.

To the left I see that Heather Hiscox is reciting a language lesson, “insurgent, extremist, gunman, militant, um, um… terrorist?” The instructor slams a ruler on her desk and exclaims emphatically, “WRONG! See me after class.” Over on the other side of the room, George Stroumboulopoulos is performing Queen Elizabeth’s trademark Royal Wave for himself in the mirror as he smirks with a sense of absurdity and humour. Johnston rolls his eyes and explains, “George, as you are likely aware, is a new recruit. He requires a bit of maturation, but I believe that he’ll make a great Governor General one day.”

As the tour of the facility ends and as we’re walking out the door, I spot Peter Mansbridge, in a tracksuit, doing side-bends, with an utter expression of futility on his face. Rob explains, “He’s been waiting for his phone call for ages. He even plays golf with the Paul Martin, but it seems to have no effect.”

Next Governer General is Michaelle Jean

The official announcement will come tomorrow at 11 am EST. But word has leaked that CBC Personality Michaelle Jean will be the next Governer General of Canada.

From the CBC website:

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Since 1995, Jean has served as a host/reporter on many RDI programs such as Le Monde ce soir, L’Edition quebecoise, Horizons francophones, le Journal RDI and RDI à l’écoute. She has also dealt with challenging themes such as the Roman Catholic Church in a four-day debate entitled “Le Pape en France, pedophilia in L’enfance volée” and Chinese politics in “La rétrocession de Hong Kong à la Chine.” Among her many awards: the Amnesty International Journalism Award in 1995 for a 15-part series on women; the 1994 Anik Prize for information reporting and the 2000 Galaxi Award for best information program host.

Jean has also worked with renowned filmmaker Jean-Daniel Lafond to produce three independent documentaries: L’heure de Cuba (1999), about the 40th anniversary of the Cuban revolution, Tropique Nord (1994) about being black in Quebec and the Hot Docs award-winning Haiti dans tous nos rêves (1995).

Jean joined Radio-Canada in 1988, serving as a reporter for Actuel, then the public affairs news show Montréal ce soir in 1989. From 1991-1992, she hosted Virages and for three years, starting in 1992, she appeared on the national and international news program Le Point.

Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, a young Michaelle fled Francois Duvalier’s regime in 1968, settling in Quebec with her family. Fluent in five languages – French, English, Spanish, Italian and Haitian Creole – Jean studied at the University of Montreal and universities in Florence, Milan and Perugia, Italy.

There’s something about the CBC, isn’t there? People say that the CBC is biased against the Conservatives, but it’s the documentaries where the left at the CBC has the greatest room to editorialize (see Sticks and Stones, Mission Accomplished, and The World According to Bush).

It’s only a matter of time, George

CBC Board of Directors Political Contributions by Party

As I prepared this post, a rerun of the CBC’s fifth estate documentary was lamenting the arrival of that “loud”, “raucous” cable news channel that has debuted on Canadian digital cable. I am, of course, talking about Fox News.

Bob McKeown has an obvious thesis. He claims, quite correctly, that Fox News has aided in the division of the United States into Red and Blue. He calls it “a very un-civil war”. Ironically he uses Al Franken and his Air America to confirm his thesis that Fox News is conservative (and thus quite evil). Yet, he ignores that by appealing to Franken he becomes unfaithful to his original thesis of media division of opinion as unfavorable.

I’d venture to guess that Bob took a lot of notes when he saw the Democratic Party funded documentary on Fox News: Outfoxed. All of the points were there. If I produced Outfoxed, I’d look into suing the Fifth Estate for plagiarism.

There is something quite ironic about the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation identifying media bias when the American news channel itself will compete directly with CBC for viewers.

So, I decided to look into the political influence behind what may direct the decisions at the CBC, from the stories that they choose to cover to which rerun of the Antiques Roadshow they’ll play on Newsworld whenever the Conservative Party gets together at a convention or leadership debate.

Thus, I present the political contributions by party made by the current CBC board of directors.

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Consider that these powerful positions are appointed by the government and that state media should of course be unbiased.

The CBC documentary on Fox News dreads a division of opinion in the news media concerning the stories that are reported, the facts which are selected, and the tone of the broadcast. I would much prefer a “divide” than such a disparity which is as evident as the chart above describes.

Rex, ask your editors

rex.jpgIn a recent column concerning the Conservative Party of Canada leadership race, Rex Murphy mused perplexedly over the paucity of confabulatory prose by this nation’s columnists and news writers on the topic of the race.

Rex, the leadership race is not dead. Your editors have merely found another story and they’re running with it. I’m talking, of course, about the American Democratic Party Leadership Race. Why is our nation’s news media so focused on a topic that they usually abhor? Indeed, our national news peddlers tend to give American news less attention than its worth. Yet, why does our opposition’s leadership race get so much less coverage than the American’s opposition leadership race receives? The American Democrats and the Canadian Conservatives are trying to do the same thing, in effect: change the government. However, Peter Mansbridge has spoken more about John Kerry than Belinda Stronach, and we’ve heard more about Lieberman’s Joementum (or lack thereof) than we have heard about Tony Clement.

Our leadership race is news. Rex, you should ask your editors why they’re choosing to ignore the story. Without media coverage, our leadership contenders can only be heard as far as they can shout. Mr. Murphy has declared that Belinda Stronach, Tony Clement and Stephen Harper have all climbed inside a “Trojan horse”, ready to attack the Liberal party’s stranglehold on power. It’s not that the three intend to stay within the horse, rather, it’s that nobody has told the city of Troy that the horse is waiting outside its gates.