Is Garth Turner stretching the truth?

Monday’s Hill Times features an article about Bruce Sutherland, the videographer for Conservative-turned-Independent-turned-Green-teaser-turned-Liberal MP Garth Turner. It’s an interesting piece that describes the work of the man behind the MPtv production that Turner features on his website.

However, the subtitle of the piece caught my attention:

Garth Turner says his webcast is downloaded by about 30,000 to 40,000 viewers every night.

30,000 to 40,000 viewers every night? That would be incredible, if true. Garth would start to rival some of George Stroumboulopoulos’ numbers for The Hour (and George is on the TV dial of every Canadian television).

Let’s take a closer look at Garth’s numbers (accurate at time of this post):
Garth’s latest videos:

Title Number of views
MPtv interviews Catherine Bell NDP MP on Bulk water exports 18 June 2007 6
MPtv interview with Derek Lee on National Security- 18 June 2007 22
MPtv Interviews Gary Merasty on funding Aboriginal Languages 15 June 2007 56
MPtv- interview with Ken Boshcoff discussing gas prices 13 June 2007 79
MPtv- Hon. Garth Turner poses a question during Question Period 12 June 2007 165
MPtv- Interviews Omar Alghabra Critic Citizenship/Immigration 13 June 2007 38
MPtv- Interview with Mark Holland Liberal Critic Natural Resources 11 June 2007 88
MPtv-Interview with Hon. Hedy Fry Critic Sport and Vancouver Olympics 11 June 07 104
MPtv – Stories about Parliament Hill-The Laurier Tower 11 June 2007 34
MPtv-interviews Glen Pearson MP from London North Center 8 June 2007 145
MPtv- Interview Nancy Karetak-Lindell MP for Nunavut 7 June 2007 92
MPtv Stories about Parliament Hill- Lester Pearson statue 4 June 2007 28
MPtv- Interview with Bill Casey Independent M.P. 6 June 2007 453
MPtv- Interview with Hon.Robert Thibault 6 May 2007 73
MPtv-Question Period- Hon. Garth Turner poses a question 5 June 2007 197
MPtv- Questions from the House Hon. 5 June 2007 57
MPtv -Interview with Hon. John McCallum Liberal Finance Critic 4 June 2007 142
MPtv- Interview-Paul Szabo on Bill C-251 Alcohol warning labels 30 May 2007 138
MPtv – Stories about Parliament Hill with Don Nixon 31 May 2007 24
MPtv Stories about Parliament hill- Cat Sanctuary 31 May 2007 182

These are the most current videos (the ones featured “above the fold” on Garth’s MPtv website).

Here are Garth’s top 10 videos by number of views:

Title Number of views
MPtv – Garth Turner’s address to residents in Halton – October 18, 2006 7,264
MPtv – Interview with Green Party of Canada Leader, Elizabeth May – October 17, 2006 3,170
MPtv – Income Trust Press Conference 29 January 2007 2,945
MPtv – Garth Turner joins Liberal caucus – February 6, 2007 2,593
MPtv – Question Period in the House of Commons of Canada – October 25, 2006 2,465
MPtv – Garth Turner reflects on his options after dismissal from the Conservative Party 1,865
MPtv – Freedom Of Speech In Canada – November 12, 2006 1,554
MPtv- Mike Duffy On Parlimentary Preparations 26 January 2007 1,549
MPtv – Garth Turner commentary before press conference – November 14, 2006 1,392
MPtv – Pierre Paquette discussion Quebec as a Nation- December 12, 2006 1,344

The numbers for the top 10 videos aren’t bad, but consider that Garth boasts 30,000-40,000 views of MPtv per night. The numbers above represent the number of views since the date included in the title. It is closer to the truth to say that Garth’s videos have been viewed 30,000 times (in total) rather than per day.

It seems that Garth’s typical video gets about 50-200 hits (total) while his top video received 7,264 views since October 18th, 2006. A far cry from 30,000 to 40,000 video views every night that Garth claims.

NOTE (6/20): Anyone who wishes to verify the numbers that I state above can click on the title links in the table to go to each movie hosted on Google Video. The “All time views” are listed in the right hand column of those pages. The numbers are accurate to the time of this post yesterday. All of Garth’s video are hosted on Google Video and he embeds the player on his site. Every view from the embeddable player on Garth’s website registers as a “view” on Google Video, since the player is hosted on Google’s site and plays the same Google-hosted video. Whether a Garth video is viewed on Google, on Garth’s site or my site via embeddable player, Google registers a “view” on the video’s homepage hosted on Google. I see that Garth has chosen to respond to this post in a way that attacks me as a person, rather than challenge my claims with any valid counter-argument. This is unfortunate.

Of course, I’ve written about Garth’s poor choices before:
I took the Garth Challenge
Garth the Grit

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:


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.

lovehate.gif strombo.gif chomsky.gif

and here’s my personal favourite:


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:


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