CBC Watch - Macleans.ca

CBC Watch


Yesterday, the CBC had an early-morning presentation (I wouldn’t call it a party, given how sleepy everyone was) of what’s coming next Monday on the news front. Among the changes: CBC Newsworld becomes CBC News Network; the new branding for CBC news (complete with black and red Mad Men colours and fonts) is Know Now; there’s a new politics portal starring KO’M; some personnel changes in local tv and radio, and other stuff.

Colleague Geddes and I both agreed that the most interesting tidbit was the new 6pm version of the National, that will be ten minutes long and be streamed online. Even more radical: A four-minute version of the National available, also at 6pm, on your Blackberry and iPhone. No one from the CBC could answer any questions about the nature of the application that would run this broadcast, which was bad planning. They should have had an techie present to show it off.


This is how the CBC NN lineup is going to look all day:

Heather Hiscox, followed by

Anna Marie Mediwake, followed by

Suhana Meharchand, followed by

Carole MacNeil, then

Evan Solomon, then

Mark Kelly, then

Peter Mansbridge

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CBC Watch

  1. Get your left wing spin in a new environmental friendly condensed form! Perfect for all those Toronto commuters stuck on the 401 during the morning rush!

    Now in extra Liberal flavor!

  2. Any news on the Politics replacement?
    Is Evan Solomon not able to pronounce 'broaaaadcast' just right?

  3. It must be nice to work at CBC where taxpayers foot the bill for your continued incompetence and continual branding exercises. CBC apparatchiks seem to think that low viewer numbers are not a reflection of their abilities or of the slant they take to presenting news – it has to be something else obviously – and latch on to these half baked ideas that hundreds of thousands of new viewers are going to tune in now because they took Mansbridge's chair away.

    I live in eternal hope that one of these days maybe CBC brass will figure out it's them, not us, and that Mansbridge et al. are the problem, not the solution.

  4. Rumour has it that next week, they have someone new who will be doing political blogging.
    Sounds exciting!!!! I think her name is Kady O'Malley, or something like that.
    Ever heard of her?

  5. And you're sooo concerned about balance aren't you?

  6. If Rex ran the place would you be happy? :)

  7. When it comes to something I'm forced to pay for, yeah….I don't want any of my tax dollars going to support the Liberal party.

  8. Sounds interesting! Gotto say though: I miss Don Newman :(

  9. CBC can put Mansbridge in a tie-dye suit in front of bands of dancing jugglers singing 12-part harmony for all I care. I still won't watch the guy.

    But I'll admit, I will check out O'Malley's blog particularly as it gets close to election time.

  10. Much on the CBC news has been the innovation that Peter Mansbridge would be delivering the news standing

    Isn't this recycling of an old idea tried once before? I seem to recall an Air Farce skit many years ago when they made fun of the new standing Mansbridge, along with him giving newscasts on a swing etc., or something along those lines. Or is my memory faulty?

  11. But now they've got KADY!!!

    That alone ought to buy the Corp. a full year of no complaints, imho.


  12. Rex is too smart to replace Mansbridge. He wouldn't want the straightjacket.

  13. I don't care who runs the place, I would be happy if we didn't have to pay billions of $$$ for left wing propaganda that eight Canadians watch.

  14. Lloyd Robertson – now there's excitement for you.

    I laugh at CTV – while watching a show, i.e. Power Play, the advertise to tell about and to watch a show your already watching.

    Don Newman was never partisan – he gave the all a hard time.

  15. I'm sure the rest of us pay a lot more for whatever is subsidizing your continued existence.

  16. I love the whole "left-wing propaganda" bit.

    While I'm certain that CBC coverage is to your left, I think an argument could be made that their coverage is to the right of the average Canadian.

    Except of course for their politics panels, with notorious communists Andrew Coyne, Allan Greg and Chantal Hebert!!! Those people are left-wing radicals all.

  17. I for one am pretty excited about the new online stuff. Hopefully they deal with the terrible, hacked together video systems they use now though.

  18. The only complaint I have so far is the rebranding of NewsWorld. Someone please find out what noxious marketing stooge is responsible for this, so we can put him/her in stocks.

  19. CBCNN? While I normally don't mind my tax dollars supporting the CBC, I do hope we don't have to foot the bill when CNN sues them for copyright infringement.

  20. Actually…As an Albertan, I pay more in taxes to the rest of the country then I ever see returned in services. So I guess I'm subsidizing your continued existance.

    You're welcome.

  21. She already started! I found her blog, quite accidentally, on Monday in the Politics Bytes section of cbc.ca — but they do need to make it easier to find because when I went looking, it took me a few minutes to find it again.

    The woman should have a special icon — her pert little blonde head — right on the main page.

    Actually this is an impressive news lineup — I do like Evan Solomon, but I heard him interviewing a couple of federal pols recently and he really has a great deal to learn about processes — he thought he was being hard and pressing, but he actually just wasn't understanding the answer he was being given.

    Mark Kelley is great, and I like Heather Hiscox too.

  22. Yay for Kady, agreed. But listening to Heather Hiscox banter with Colleen Jones 4 or 5 times in the morning with not enough coffee in me is SO PAINFUL. Can we get a two-for-one trade. Or one for nothing?

  23. Unless Foreigner lives in Alberta too, or Toronto, in which case you can both kiss and make up as you're both subsidizing a lot of other people's existence in tandem!

    Yay East-West cooperation!

  24. I have a suspicion that kcm might have been referring to the high cost of provincially funded antipsychotic medication.

    Err, I mean, I've HEARD it's quite expensive…

  25. People can mock CBC news all they want, but there isn't a day that goes by where I am not thankful for having a more independent media outlet. News should not be dictated via popularity, which is the sad trend amongst the corporate hacks.

    The best example I can think of is recent coverage (or lack there of) of Canadian Internet access developments.
    I'm talking about – the consultation group that ranked Canada in the top ten, the Harvard report that ranked Canada much worse, and now the CRTC rulings pertaining to Net Neutrality and Bandwidth metering.

    Only two stations even mentioned the issue of Canada's ranking on TV – Global, and CBC.
    Online, most of the issues have been written about by one CBC journalist – Peter Nowak.
    Meanwhile – Everyone else just keeps quiet. Is it a mere coincidence that the major media powers are staying silent about this because they are the ones that stand to lose considerably should people become more aware of the actual issues? Or do they stay away, simply because they don't get it themselves?

    I'm really disappointed with Maclean's, though all in all, I guess I'm not really surprised.
    Your main meat and bones is covering politics, but even so, you don't even tough the political side of these issues.
    Currently, we have an Anti-Spam bill that is being worked on, where allegedly the Liberals and the Bloc have been lobbying to water it down in favour of the marketing lobby.

    For me – that is a game changer!
    While I am a political whore who currently has leaned more towards Iggy than Harper, this is unacceptable.
    Allegedly, it is the Cons who have applied more pressure to keep it intact.
    If such is the case – it makes me question my political alignment.

  26. Hmmmmmm – I had an email notification regarding a reply to this, which I read, but it is not here?
    What gives? All it mentioned was that Kady has already made some posts for CBC.
    Huge loss for Maclean's – now it's just a sausage-fest on the politics side of things….

  27. "I think an argument could be made that their coverage is to the right of the average Canadian"

    Hahahahaha. You think CBC should take more programming decisions from ChiComs than they already do? And that will help their ratings? I think Mother Corp has been listening to your types too much as it is, they don't need to go even more left.

    There is more to CBC News than a 12 minute panel once a week, you know.

  28. Apparently, that ended today. Jones is moving to other things. We will no longer hear her dulcet tones in the morning.

  29. No, I remember that too. It didn't last long.

  30. :-)

    Well, I wrote that at least half to get a rise…

    Then again, there are likely a fair number of Dippers out there who'd refer to the CBC as "corporatist propaganda" or some such, so, one man's trash…

    That said, I don't really think the CBC is to the right of the average Canadian, but "left-wing propaganda" is equally a silly description, imho. Fine as rhetoric and hyperbole to make a point of course (and there's doubtless some validity to the point…) but pretty silly as far as I'm concerned as an objective description of the CBC's content.

  31. So the CBC news line up is chicks then di…

    Sorry. Forgot this wasn't talk radio.

  32. *sigh* Is that the contribution you want to make? Everyone who disagrees with you is psychotic? Aren't you just a little bit embarrassed?

  33. The left wing crowd doesn't know any better, they were probably raised with time outs and candy.

  34. Count me in as someone who doesn't think that rebranding the CBC is going to increase the viewership. Haven't they been doing this for a couple of decades now? It seems every couple of years the CBC is getting an overhaul. I think the CBC's mission is doomed to failure for a few reasons.

    1) We don't have a common Canadian voice. We have different ethnicities, different regions, different religions, different political views and different faiths. An Ontario-centric, secular humanist, socially liberal, white collar bureaucratic just isn't going to produce news and programming that can speak to that diversity. I understand that they understand that, and they've been trying to break out that mold, but it very hard to break out of a parochial viewpoint.

    2) The media landscape has changed. I have access to so much content that I'll never, ever be able to watch or listen to it all. There is very little that the CBC can do to get me to pay attention on their network or cable channels even if they did have a show which could be a breakout hit, or if they are the first to have a breakout news story.

    So really, is there a purpose for the CBC other than maintaining an emergency broadcast system? More importantly, why do we get all of the lame shows from the BBC and not of the cool ones? Also, what does the BBC do right that the CBC does so horribly wrong? It has the same political and ideological biases as the CBC but I consume their media and news almost daily.

  35. What happened to Nancy Wilson? She was solid and real.
    Carol McNeil is the most totally affected phony since Sandi R.
    Someone earlier is right, those Hiscox and curling girl with sewn on smile exchanges are insufferable.

  36. "CBC Television pulled a heavily promoted documentary on the persecution of Falun Gong members at the last minute, following objections from Chinese embassy and consulate officials.

    Beyond the Red Wall: The Persecution of Falun Gong was supposed to have aired Tuesday night as part of CBC Newsworld's documentary series The Lens.

    It was advertised for days in advance on the 24-hour news network." Canadian Press, Nov 7 '07

    I think 'left wing propaganda' is fairly accurate if CBC is taking programing advice from ChiComs.

    How about this: David Wilkins phones muckety-mucks at CBC and asks them to stop being so hard on his boss, G W Bush. Do CBC execs respond by a) going easier on Bush or b) commissioning a 10 part series on American fascists. Question answers itself, doesn't it?

  37. I'm delighted that you're so happy with the CBC, but I'm a little annoyed that I was forced to finance it for you.

  38. You read a lot into that, fellas. A sense of humour is an excellent thing to have.

  39. But if the money doesn't come from us (it's not just you), how would it work?
    Do you believe that a corporate entity is capable of investigative journalism, especially when it is not in its best interests to do so?

    I'm certainly not saying things are perfect with the CBC – like any large organization, they have their share of problems. This happens in the corporate world as well.

    Look at the nightmare that is Bell Canada, and the tragedy that it has become. They are in business only because of the near monopolistic control that they have been given, and because people are seemingly still loyal to the memory of what the company once was – the Bell of yesteryear.

    I'm curious – How are things in the UK with the BBC?
    Are there similar pressures to get rid of it?

  40. "I think 'left wing propaganda' is fairly accurate if CBC is taking programing advice from ChiComs."

    Except that China has (as of about 1979) the most right-wing government on the planet and is beloved above all, on these shores, by Canada's business leaders.

  41. Just read this now, and noticed that you also brought up the BBC.

    I partially agree with you regarding the changing media landscape.
    That is to say – I think television viewership numbers will continue to decline.
    I rarely ever watch ANY televised news, which is pretty much the case for many of the younger generation.
    My information comes to me via my computer.
    But – I still support it.

    I subscribe to a diverse combination of RSS feeds from various media outlets, organizations, and individuals.
    I enjoy the diversity of the many flavours, and I don't understand how or why people keep yelling that we should have less.

  42. If we are going to use Stalin's definition of right wing, than I agree ChiComs are the most right wing government on the planet.

    Capitalism is not a form of government. China does not even really have a government, like we understand the term, but they do have an all-powerful Communist party micro-managing its citizens.

  43. BTW: where's my hometown boy, Ian Hanomansingh these days? Wonder why he's not on this new news list?

  44. So would you support the creation of a ideologically neoconservative, evangelical, alberta-centric television channel to be funded on the taxpayer dime?

    It is for diversity's sake after all.

  45. "they do have an all-powerful Communist party micro-managing its citizens"

    Since when is that a sign of being left wing? Lots of left-wingers I know are libertarian on most subjects. Seems to me China's a lot like what the US Republicans want for their country: all-powerful police, strong militarism, strong national chauvinism, contempt for the environment and almost unfettered capitalism. If China's left-wing, Sarah Palin is like Lenin.

  46. There are some pressures to make the BBC a wholly private concern. The argument is a little different though, because the BBC generally does effectively compete with other networks and provide entertaining programming while having an excellent news organization. So the question becomes "Why are we supporting something with tax dollars that could function as a private entity that is undercutting its competition".

    The complaints about funding ideological bias are the same though.

  47. Strangely enough – I don't think I would have a problem with this, provided that there is a demand for it.
    The reality is that I don't watch enough CBC where I can categorize it accurately.
    Furthermore – I think it rather silly to always categorize things via a political spectrum.
    From the select things I have accessed via CBC, I've seen diversity. I've seen things I've liked, and I've also seen things I've hated.

    If, in fact, the CBC is actually imbalanced, instead of making rid of it, I'd work on developing more diversity and balance. I have no problems with more access going to the right, though I would have no idea how this would work.

  48. You can't get diversity from bureaucracy. It is a structure that only rewards conformity.

  49. I wouldn't call what China has unfettered capitalism. There is very little in the way of a free market, just an exploitative one where the winners are chosen by the Chinese Government.

    But I'd agree with everything else you said though.

  50. Of course, I don't think the US Democrats will devolve any of the powers grabbed by the authorities in the U.S. in the last 10 years. I was hopeful about the closing of Guantanamo, but I don't think that's going to happen any time soon anymore.

  51. "Since when is that a sign of being left wing?"

    There is nothing particularly left/right wing with your list.

    Would you describe France as right wing? Their police force is more powerful than anything we have in North America, they have strong military and are about as chauvinistic of their country as you can get. And ask people living near Chernobyl or Lake Karachay how brilliant communists are with the environment.

    And your friends are confused because left wing libertarian is an oxymoron.

  52. But you said the BBC manages to pull this off, at least slightly.

    I disagree – "You can't get diversity from bureaucracy."
    It can be done – it certainly is not easy though. Change does not happen over night.
    And most certainly – it could be more trouble than it is worth.

    I think too many people look at the CBC via an oversimplified right/left spectrum.
    As mentioned, I'm happy to have a perspective that is not ENTIRELY dependent on corporate mechanisms.
    I fear that if things were entirely corporate (no tax based entity), the diversity of our coverage would suffer.
    On the same token, I do not advocate that there should only be state run news agencies, as this would be equally problematic. The current state of our media is immensely dangerous. Everything now is about catering towards popularity (so as to generate a higher advertising revenue stream), and less emphasis is placed on investigative and less popular (but ever so necessary for a healthy democracy) journalism.

    This is the inherent problem with corporate news agencies. Their primary goal is not to educate the public, but to satisfy their shareholders. Why cover anything important when we can gossip about Michael Jackson, or some other tripe topic?

  53. "left wing libertarian is an oxymoron"

    No, it ain't. There's a fiscal right-left split and a regulatory left-right split, and left- and right-wing libertarians both line up against regulation. You just happen to be a right-wing libertarian, i.e. against taxation and social programs, but there are many who are not.

    "Would you describe France as right wing? Their police force is more powerful than anything we have in North America, they have strong military and are about as chauvinistic of their country as you can get. And ask people living near Chernobyl or Lake Karachay how brilliant communists are with the environment."

    Yeah, I'd describe France as pretty damn right-wing, and the USSR as almost paradigmatically so. But I take your point (if this is your point) that "right" and "left" are ephemeral configurations of the kaleidescope. It seems weird that we're all addicted to using the terms when they have no agreed-upon meaning. Also weird that nobody really identifies with either category and merely uses them to classify their enemies. But then I've come to believe that almost all politics (in our time, or in every time?) is defined by what one is against.

  54. "winners are chosen by the Chinese Government"

    Well, you're right, but my understanding is that a) the winners often are members of the Chinese Government and b) the whole system turns on bribery. The distinction between government players and private players doesn't really exist there. That's more unfettered than the USA in the Gilded Age. It's a no-holds-barred orgy of greed, with every mechanism (including government) up for grabs and hell take the hindmost. And it's managed to deliver incredible prosperity and incredible poverty, just like it's supposed to.

  55. It's amazing to me that nobody's much noticed that. There's a profound deference to established authority in America which I find rather repugnant.

  56. Well – I think the success of the BBC is also the result of a few key geographic factors.
    They have never had a direct competitor such as we have with the US.
    From their conception, they were forced to create as much as they could for their markets.
    Their immediate neighbours used different languages, which made carry over much more tricky.

    In Canada, there have been way less resources and way less pressure to produce superior content.
    Since everything south of the border was done in English, why not just import it?

    I think it's a shame that Canadian produced content has such a stigma – one of which I too am guilty.
    What kind of a people turn their backs on each other in such a fashion?
    Over the past year, I've put in a larger effort to check out Canadian content, and you know what? Some of it is pretty good! It just does not have the marketing power that the US products have behind them. Technology has helped bridge the gap, where now we can be relatively competitive, and no where near as cheesy looking because of the lower production values.

    If we relied on private entities, all they would throw at us would be the money makers, which is kinda sad quite frankly. I remember with sadness how many great shows were canned because they did not appeal to populism. If populism had it's way, all we'd watch is…… crap.

    Anyways – While it is possible that the BBC has a better functioning bureaucracy, I'm not so sure they would be as successful if they were in this market.

    Man – I sure am rambling today…..

    PS – Doctor Who (both classic and current) is awesome!!!!

  57. I didn't say that the BBC is diverse, particularly politically. I said it made some good shows and is good at gathering news.

    I don't mind a perspective that that is not based on corporate sponsorship either. But if the media agency is dedicated to one particular point of view isn't it up to people who support that point of view to support it?

    It isn't as though people who agree with the perspectives of the CBC are the poor. They are fairly upper middle class WASPs. Heck, if they were cut loose from government funding, they might be able to have a larger budget than they do now from private donation.

  58. More of a Top Gear guy myself, though I'm sure that's not a surprise.

    Dr. Who lost me when they did the episode in which the moral was "oh, ghosts and spirits exist, you just haven't got enough scientific knowledge to know about them". Bleh.

  59. You are approaching it from the perspective that private interests have bought out the government. I think the government has bought out private interest, and then decided to stop redistributing it and instead rewarded those whom it chose to reward.

    That said, what market economy they have now is a better standard of living than anything under Mao. People are poor, but they aren't killing off each other's children and eating them to stave off starvation. Nor are there mass purges.

  60. "But then I've come to believe that almost all politics (in our time, or in every time?) is defined by what one is against. "

    So political satisfaction can be more easily achieved if you reduce the amount of governmental power over individuals? After all, if policies aren't imposed as often, you have less reason to fight against them.

  61. He's doing the local evening news in Vancouver.

  62. There's an interesting article I just read called "Both sides are wrong in TV feud" from G&M.
    Look it up. Pseudo loosely based on some of things we were discussing….

  63. What about the contribution Dakota makes?
    D makes provacative comments designed to disrupt and stir the pot. That's fine, there's one in every crowd, and it can be fun. But continually? Does it encourage healthy debate?
    If I want to hear children hurl abuse at one another, I'll watch QP.
    Bring something to the table occasionally and see if you can get people to dine – that requires some finesse. Starting a food fight is easy and can be fun, but not at every meal.

  64. "But if the money doesn't come from us (it's not just you), how would it work? "

    Easy. You like the CBC and watch it, so you should pay for it. I despise the CBC, don't watch it, and don't want to pay for it, so I should not be forced to pay for it.

    That's called "living in a free country". I hope to experience it before I die.

  65. Yes….. this wonderful FREE world where everyone prioritizes their own interests, and marginalize everything else.
    Well – I don't use the postal system. Destroy Canada Post!!!
    I do not drive an automobile. Destroy all highways and roadways!!!

    Imagine this beautiful world where every single person gets to complain, and wants to shape a country to serve their needs and interests only. Why? Because you are O so right – forget everyone else.

    Me! Me! Me!

  66. Are you familiar with the logical fallacy known as a "straw man"? That's the one you're falling into here.

    You don't drive a car. Great. In my view you should not have to pay for the highway system unless the case can be made that highways are a public good that benefit everyone (which may be the case: ambulances, firetrucks, police, etc. all use highways and serve you even though you don't drive). No one is saying the highways should be destroyed, just like no one is saying the CBC should be destroyed. But those who don't choose to use it should not have to pay for it.

    If you don't use the postal system I'd be surprised. You never receive letters or bills by mail? Ok, that's not a straw man; it's just a fallacy.

    There is nothing selfish about choosing not to pay for an inessential service one doesn't use (e.g. the CBC). On the other hand it is entirely selfish for you to demand that we all pay for your particular news network preferences.

  67. No, I think bribery is general, not just the "private" sector buying the "public" sector.

    I quite agree things are better in China than they were during the period of anarchy and civil war, or during the Great Leap Forward. That still doesn't mean they're very pretty.

  68. That's a bit tendentious. There will always be something to be against.

  69. I don't think the Republicans stand for an all-powerful police at all. They are the ones who want gun rights and the right to defend oneself.

    As for the environment, I don't think they have contempt. Bush created two of the most wonderful national parks in the US, one in Hawaii and one in the South Pacific. They happen to stand in a different place on environmental issues.

    As for unfettered capitalism, it really is not so unfettered in China. It remains a corrupt place where you need to have the right connections and know the right people to get ahead. Otherwise you just get your home bulldozed. China is left wing.

  70. I think it's weird that all issues are given a "left" or "right" label, some of which are hard to justify. And as time goes on, people on either side tend to adopt the same position on all such issues.

    I'm far more right wing than left, but I do identify with the left of some of the social libertarian issues. But I find it interesting to see how the libertarians on the right adopt positions from the social conservatives on the right and vice-versa. The same happens on the left, where the people who appear to be so afraid of wiretaps on the phones of drug dealers and terrorists are perfectly willing to allow every single detail of their economic lives to become government property, and in a place like Norway the tax returns of the entire country can be published on the internet.

  71. That's called "living in a free country". I hope to experience it before I die.

    Dare to dream.

  72. Thanks! I've missed seeing him. Was it his choice, to go local instead of national, or was he pushed? I hope the former because he's a class act.

  73. That's a problem I see as well. To me, there are four positions; fiscal right, social right, fiscal left, social left. I'm fiscal right and social left, although I'd identify more with the left wing (otherwise you and I would be on the same "side" and we know that's not correct!) I suspect there are a goodly number of people who line up in a similar pattern, and I think its outrageous that we have allowed ourselves to be pigeonholed into a left vs right divide when so many of us straddle the line this way. Perhaps it makes some sense in the U.S., where their system seems incapable of having more than two parties of any importance. But in Canada it makes no sense whatsoever since we already have three or four parties–NOT breaking down as right-right, right-left, left-right, left-left. Why?

  74. But capitalism isn't unfettered here, either. It is skewed by those with the power such that heads they win, tails we lose. Having owners of companies with absolutely no power to say whether they will give bonuses, for example, just strikes me as the most outrageously blatant "fettering" of capitalism, and yet I seem to be alone.

  75. I don't watch a single thing below channel 31. But my TV only goes up to 100, so I can't get CPAC, which I'd watch a lot if I could. Yet I still must pay for "basic cable". If they don't get you through taxes, they get you some other way.

  76. "Are you familiar with the logical fallacy known as a "straw man"? That's the one you're falling into here."

    Funny coming from someone who said this, "That's called "living in a free country". I hope to experience it before I die."

  77. Yeah, but it isn't exactly a solution to have more government intervention in the economy, or a more centralized control of the means of production. There is plenty of both already.

    Instead China needs less government intervention in the economy over all, less centralization in the economy overall, but more of both in the places it is actually needed (such as environmental regulations and product standards). It isn't something that is going to happen with a totalitarian regime though, but a democratic one with a resource base that allows it to challenge the governing party in a judicial court.

    The reason why environmental protection has done better in the west is because there was a private economy to provide resources for legal battles over specialized concerns. A semi-independent judiciary, and a recognition of the citizen's right to a fair trial helps too.

  78. -For me, when I talk of left or right wing it means comfort with government involvement in our daily lives. My spectrum, from right to left, would be anarchists, libertarians, conservatives, liberals, social democrats, fascists, socialists and communists.

    -I think left/right breaks down when you think of specific policies – balancing budget or reducing taxes or gay marriage or whatever – and claim they are exclusively left or right. I support gay marriage, as do many on the left, but that does not make me left wing or others right wing.

    -Another problem with we have is with the language – you are either left or right wing. We need a centre/middle ring as well to talk about the vast majority of people in the mushy middle.

  79. It's not a straw man argument but taking the principles on which a decision is based and extending them to a logical conclusion.
    Should private individuals and corporations have sole access to the public airwaves or bandwidth and frequencies? Or should the public interest, the collective or government have a role? These are political decisions. But it's not unfair to look at other similar circumstances.
    So the argument that if you don't want to use the fire department why should you pay for it. is exactly the same as saying, if I don't watch the CBC why should I pay for it. Or highways, airports, ambulances, medical care etc etc. These decisions are what governments are for.
    But don't say it's a straw man when I take the principles you are using and apply them to other circumstances in such a way to make you look foolish and inconsistent.

  80. "Straw man" refers to the tactic of making up a weak argument, attributing it to the opponent, and then knocking it down rather than addressing their actual argument.

    In this case Davies is falsely attributing to me the notion that we should "destroy" publicly funded agencies. In fact I am merely advocating that public funding be cut, which does not amount to destruction of anything.

    As to whether the CBC falls into the same category as fire departments and ambulances, the key distinction is "essential services". Fire departments are essential for public safety. The CBC is not. No one should be forced to pay for nonessential services chosen by others.

  81. You seem to be confusing the straw man fallacy with rhetorical exaggeration. If anything it's the latter, although I don't think so.

  82. One could argue that it is essential that the public airwaves not be sold to the highest bidder and be devoted only to commercial interests, since the public airwaves or frequencies are the means of decimination and theortically like the air and water are held in common. Of course the CBC TV we have now is indefensible from that point of view I admit. But it could be argued that broadcasting which is different than print media in that the number of outlets is by physics limited must have a public component and that such a service is essential.

    • I agree with that, as in the example of a War in Iraq because the Americans didn't have an unbiased, trustworthy, investigative news resource. I gather the CBC is not considered to be that, although I'm another one who rarely gets her news from TV and doesn't listen to CBC radio so I don't have a good opinion on this. What I have seen doesn't lead me to conclude they are biased to the left, but I do wonder if a lot of the commenters on these boards thinks Fox News is an unbiased, trustworthy, and investigative news resource. Okay, if any of the commenters on these boards see Fox News that way.

      • I don't think Fox is exceptional in any manner, it is no different than the other networks. It just gets most of the attention because it is the only network of the big 5 that is biased to the right. So it gets undivided focus from the left of the politicial spectrum. It also gets the most viewers for the same reason.

        • Sorry, I'm finding this a fascinating area for thought. Do you believe, scf, that the other four networks are biased to the left, to one extreme or another? Do you believe there is one network that is unbiased, or as close to the centre to make the bias virtually irrelevant? I see that you DO think Fox News is biased to the right, yet you consider it no more outrageous or undeserving of the word "News" than any other network. I'm sorry if I've just put words in your mouth, please correct me if I'm wrong on that score. As I say, I very rarely get my news from television but I most certainly have heard about (and then seen) flagrant examples of bias from them. I have not been made aware of similar examples from the other news networks, and I'm fascinated to discover whether that is my OWN bias at work, or whether there really aren't the same types of examples from networks considered left-leaning (assuming they are considered left-leaning).

          • Sorry to intrude but I can't help myself.

            There was article in Columbia Journalism Review that I thought was quite good that deals with America but could apply equally here. I don't know what s_c_f thinks but I would say Canadian msm is overwhelmingly liberal but not left wing (i.e. socialist or fabian).

            Main points from CJR article were that msm "is composed in large part of “new” or “creative” class members of the liberal elite—well-educated men and women who tend to favor abortion rights, women's rights, civil rights, and gay rights. In the main, they find such figures as Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Pat Robertson, or Jerry Falwell beneath contempt …….. More specifically, reporters and editors tend to be social liberals, not economic liberals. Their view of unions and the labor movement is wary and suspicious. They are far more interested in stories about hate crimes than in stories about the distribution of income."


          • Yes, I've heard some of this before, Joylon, and that might be why I'm finding this such a fascinating area to think about. Except for the well-educated part, this description fits me personally quite well. So, because I see my own biases reflected back at me, is that why I can't see a bias, or can I not see a bias because there is no bias to be seen? In order to tell, one needs to turn it around. Do people find Jon Stewart as beneath contempt as I find Bill O'Reilly? I'd say Bill Maher, but I find him contemptible, too. So, do people find Bill Maher as beneath contempt as I find Rush Limbaugh? (i.e., there is nothing more contemptible on this earth). I honestly don't know the answer. And see, I am equally interested in stories about hate crimes and stories about the distribution of income.

            Continue . . .

    • One could argue that it is essential that the public airwaves not be sold to the highest bidder and be devoted only to commercial interests

      One could argue perhaps, but I'd consider them to be wrong.

      The CBC (TV) is delivered to most homes on cable lines, not public airwaves. The same is true of most broadcasting. Most televisions don't even have rabbit ears these days. I'd also say that the lion's share of the CBC budget goes to the TV.

      There is not competition for television broadcast spectrum anymore. The competition remains primarily in two sectors, radio and wireless.

      There is no public component to wireless except for the auction of frequencies to private companies. As for radio, there is CBC radio, but I'd say that it is relatively cheap to produce, and it is relatively unused by the vast majority of Canadians.

      • You are nitpicking. You know it's the same thing.
        We can't have 10 telephone poles outside our houses carrying competing electricity, telephone and television stations. So we have socialistic regulation just the same as with the airwaves.. The argument remains the same: is competition between media and a public voice on these public airwaves or these regulated phone lines past my house, essential in a democracy. Most of the world has said yes.

        • This now hits one of the problems from one of the original points I was discussing at the start of the thread – ie. Net Neitrality, and the CRTC rulings.

          Having competition on the "last mile" infrastructure/backbone end of things is counter logical. The largest problem comes from when those who manage/own the infrastructure are also in the market for the various services that are offered on this infrastructure.

          The situation with Bell Canada is beyond absurd, and they are getting away with it because the media is not talking about it at all, and quite naturally, the majority of the public is not all that interested in knowing how it all works (much like 99.9% of car drivers have zero comprehension on how a combustion engine works).

          Bell the company, owns and operates the telephone lines, as well as the technology that is required to operate a DSL network. The problem is, they also own and operate a wide range of services on that same network, which significantly affects how things are done on the infrastructure end of things. It's like the electric company also owning some of the appliances that you require the electricity for, and then telling you that there is tons of electricity if you use their appliances, but guess what, there seems to be a shortage for when you use those other things. Absolutely ridiculous!!!

          But this is what they are getting away with. They have a virtual monopoly because of the CRTC. Great for Bell, as they can pretty much squeeze out whatever they want from the consumer.

          I would much prefer if the government took control, or created specific rules for infrastructure, so they would be more like how things are for utilities. 1 company that looks after the backbone, and open everything else up to competition.

          • I'm sorry, but you claim you hate monpolies and then you claim that you wish to create a government MONOPOLY. If you want to have infrastructure like they have in Mongolia, then put the government in charge. If you want to be on the leading edge, open it up to private enterprise. That is where all the countries in the world are going. Some countries have even started allowing the free trade of electricity on eletrical lines.

        • Actually, you're completely wrong. For one thing, cable television does not travel along telephone lines, and secondly, it has almost unlimited capacity, which is why many people have hundreds of channels.

          There is regulation by the CRTC, but it has nothing to do with capacity, it simply has to do with what stations get the lower numbers on the TV dial, what stations must be carried, what the fees are, and various other issues. There are absolutely no capacity issues with cable.

          You seem to have no idea how these things work. There is so much room for more data, cable TV companies offer internet access over the same lines with very high speeds and data capacity. Phone companies offer DSL internet access across the phone lines. There are absolutely no bandwidth or capacity issues with respect to television.

          • My dear s_c_f….

            "Actually, you're completely wrong." Really?
            Always so quick to pounce and try to put people down.

            When speaking about DSL technology, as I clearly was when referring to Bell, the telephone lines are indeed what is used to carry information. There is much I could say about cable internet in Canada (controlled by Rogers, in my geographic locale), but my gripe in this case is more specifically focused on DSL, as it was the second ruling that pertained to Internet Usage metering, and the relationship between Bell and its wholesale partners.

            "You seem to have no idea how these things work."

            Awww – You're so cute as always! ;)
            Let no one ever suggest that you are ever so full of your own smugness.

            Actually, I have a strong understanding of how these things work, and could get into it on a more technical scale, but I think that would alienate a wide range of people.

            Your references to the CRTC pertain to the broadcast end of things, which really isn't what I am talking about. You are correct (though I did not say this was not the case) – there is plenty of bandwidth available on cable. Many are patiently waiting for the roll-out of Docsis 3.0 capabilities, which will simply blow away what many currently have. Further down the line, when tv goes completely digital (as it has in the US), it will be interesting to see what the resulting available "white space" spectrum will be used for. But the biggest thing is obviously fiber-optic networks, which is largely responsible for all the commotion we are experiencing. Who is laying out the fiber, and who will control it? This is where it would be amazing to have gov't regulation, to make sure there is "Open Access" for a competitive environment, and also make sure that certain geographic areas are not overlooked.

            I do apologize if I am unclear on things, which I concede is not only likely but also very probable. I'd love to get into some of the main issues, but they are confusing, especially if you don't have a tech background….

          • I think you may have been confused, my comment you was the one talking about monopolies.

            Here you are responding to a different comment that I made towards John W. The indentation indicates that.

          • My apologies s_c_f…

            Might I add that I really don't like the way comments threads work @Macleans!
            Very confusing and difficult to keep track of things.
            There must be some better way?

            Maybe I just need to get used to it – by my own admission, I've never stayed as focused on a thread here previously.

            Going back to the right/left bias topic…

            In your opinion, where does Maclean's stand on the spectrum?
            Many seem to claim it has a right wing bias, mostly I imagine because of the stance of Coyne. I've been checking things out here off and on over the last year, and I can't say that I've felt that in the postings themselves. It is in the comments that you see the constant political squabbling. It has even made me cynically wonder how many active users are shill's from their respective parties.

          • I think there are a wide range of views on Maclean's, which is one reason I like to come here. I think that on the right we have Coyne and Steyn, on the left we have Parisella and Wherry. Wells is hard to pin, and I'd say the same about Potter.

            I think the comments used to be better, now there really is a lot of shrill attacks, and I think this has turned off some of the writers as well. But it's still better than most places – at the CBC and G&M the comments are petty, childish and aggressive, IMO.

          • I really enjoyed reading "Canadians lack a political alternative" from the Star by Angelo Persichilli.

            "It's not a coincidence that most of the problems governments face are not related to their ability to govern, but rather to their ability to live up to what they preached in opposition. Once in government, they realize it was all political posturing, easy to preach but almost impossible to practise."

            He makes some interesting observations about the current political climate, and problems with how the Opposition functions since that started from the days of Preston. Some good points made regarding the Libs, though I would say he's a little soft on Harper by not mentioning

          • Well, I talked to Potter in a university bar once where he said he hated the Reform party and that power was best exercised through societal elites. So take that how you will. ;)

          • Yes, that is rather suggestive that he skews leftwards. Sounds like we'd get some interesting stuff from him if he had a few beers on the job.

  83. Those who think CTV is free, do you ever buy anything they advertise? The cost of CTV should include Mike Duffys senate salary. CTV News is more about telling us about a US airliner with a flat tire than Canadian STORIES. Do a lineage count sometime.

    • They also stand to make tremendous gains if there is a Harper majority and CBC TV and Newsworld, which compete for advertsing dollars, are sold off.

  84. I agree, our capitalism is certainly fettered as well, just not nearly to the same extent as in China. And regarding your bonuses comments, I'm not sure what you mean, but I suspect you may be talking about the US government's regulation of companies that have received TARP money? Anyway, I agree there are a lot of over-regulated businesses over here.

    I think that in addition there are too many public companies that are oblivious to the interests of their shareholders because of a board of directors that are in the pockets of the management. In those cases the bonuses being handed around are completely at odds with ownership of the company.

    • I was actually referring to your second paragraph regarding the bonuses. I'm not sure regulation stands in the way of capitalism in the same fashion, in that it may change the field (which I maintain is for the public good) but it does so evenly–at least most of the time.

      This is not to suggest that China's capitalism is not more fettered than ours, of course, but doing a comparison with western "unfettered capitalism" and China's system fails at the gate. I think truly "unfettered capitalism" would be a disastrous policy, no matter who administers it, but I think all systems could be tweaked to get rid of more of the bad and retain more of the good.

  85. The BBC has a MASSIVE budget, which is funded in part by a tax on every television set in the United Kingdom.

  86. Thank goodness Andy Barrie is not included. There is always a bright side.

  87. And then, since I have a paradigm through which I must view things, so I believe must everyone. Do we even know what unbiased would be? I know this is not a new question or a new revelation, and I guess I'm just amazed that we're only now getting around to discussing it. And we aren't discussing it very well, and I think it is crucially important (see War in Iraq). Which leads us back to CBC, because I think that is the kind of network worth paying for through taxes, so as to at least minimize the threat of purchasing bias, if you know what I mean, although there are other ways to influence bias which we ought to also discuss. I gather people don't think they are getting what they're paying for, and so maybe we should disucss it in that context.

    • Jenn_ Not sure if you put 'Continue . . .' for appearance or not but you should be able to write more in comment box, there is more space than what is showing.

      I have to run in minute for dinner but here's two quick thoughts:

      1) "Do we even know what unbiased would be?" – I have two friends who absolutely hate politics. It is 50/50 on whether they know name of the PM but they would not know his party or anyone else in the rest of parties. They would be unbiased but their coverage would be woeful. I don't believe it is possible to eliminate bias and I don't believe we should try to either. I would like more balance – we have a couple of con news sources but they don't influence national debate in any way and anyone to the left of Liberals is out of luck entirely. In ideal world Canada would have three national papers that split left/centre/right (same idea with tv news).

      2) "And see, I am equally interested in stories about hate crimes and stories about the distribution of income." I think this is good example of bias that people don't even see. I am against hate crimes because I don't believe your thoughts should be illegal nor do I believe people should be differently before the law based on their sexuality/gender/colour.

      And the distribution of income bothers me as well because it's always 'rich get richer, poor get poorer' but this is nonsense. It is like people who say this believe there are 'x' amount of $$$ in the world and for everyone a rich person gets there is one less for a poor person to receive. I care more about what percentage of working class people make it to middle class but there is little talk of this in Canadian msm. I assume government has the numbers for this kind of thing but msm certainly never talks about it.

      • This is good. (I couldn't put the whole of the two comments in one box, so split it where I thought it made the most sense). If unbiased is impossible, next best thing is balanced–I'll buy that. So, how to get balance that isn't biased? Must we go to the most extreme, because I would tend to tune out, not believing either side. How to get moderately biased on both sides that balances in the end?

        I, too think it should be right/centre/left news, but have been trying to figure out how that could work when right and left are for profit and it may well be that one side is more profitable than the other. You would end up with all parties fighting for that one side (diluting the profitability, but that's often the way it works in real life). Unless all media is publicly-funded and mandated to take a particular slant. I'm not advocating for that (yet), so don't scream at me, people.

        • Eliminating bias is impossible, but reducing it is possible. I think it shows up more in the stories and topics that the media chooses to cover.

          Anyway, I think that Jolyon and Gaunilon have good suggestions to reduce it, but in fact I think many media outlets have no interest elminating bias objectively, and I really don't think there is a need to do so. I think the media should be open and free – is people want to be biased, so be it. Many of the writers at Maclean's are biased, but they do have a good balance in that they are not biased in the same directions.

          As long as everyone has a chance to tell their stories then I'm happy. So I'm not fond of the fact that Obama has singled out Fox in an attempt to ostracize them. And I also agree with people who think the CBC should not be funded by taxpayers. I'm not a fan of paying people to espouse views with which I disagree, and I have no illusions that the CBC has any sort of premium on truth.

    • I think it's impossible to be unbiased, but it is possible to provide unbiased news coverage. The key is simply to use (a) objective criteria for which news stories to cover, and (b) to use a spectrum of opinion writers.

      An example of (a) would be "any Parliament Hill protest involving more than 1000 people gets covered, otherwise it doesn't" or the like. This is objective. Currently protests involving dozens of, say, aboriginal protesters get huge coverage while those involving thousands of pro-life protesters get no coverage.

    • Regarding bias, I think everyone measures with reference to themselves. Therefore lefties will claim that the media is biased to the right because they consider themselves the center. I think the only way to truly measure bias is an objective study that measures it relative to the population at large.

      Anyway, this topic has come up many times. I do believe the MSM is biased primarily to the left. I think this has been shown by various pices of evidence, such as the fact most people in the media (in some studies 90%) prefer to donate to the Democratic party than the Republican.

      Another interesting study by a poli sci prof at UCLA is the most professional and unbiased attempt to measure this.


    • The authors of the study used extensive methodology and an extensive time series in order to try to determine whether the reporting done by the media is an accurate reflection of the population at large.

      As for more specific incidents I can recall, Dan Rather's career took a nosedive when he tried to smear Bush with an obviously fake document regarding his national guard career.

      In recent times, the right wing Fox has uncovered numerous news stories that were completely ignored by the rest of the media, for no reason other than the fact that the stories shed a bad light on the current administration. This includes the removal of Van Jones from the administration as well as various other Democrat admin officials that were turfed for various reasons.

      Another example would be the media's complete and total reluctance to investigate the ongoing affair of John Edwards while at the same time publishing a false and dishonest hit piece on John McCain, accusing him of the same.

      • Okay, those are examples I can see that really are biased to the left So that's good, I can see that! Now, I think CTV is sometimes biased to the right, but not to the extent that it defies reality like our good friends at Fox. Likewise, I specifically watched a CBC commercial today that certainly seemed to be highlighting only left-leaning interview subjects. So I can see they may sometimes swerve to the left. I don't know about Global (is it still on?)

  88. Further down below in the comments, I've pasted in some info on both the CBC and BBC from wikipedia.
    Now imagine what things would be like if you also paid an annual television licence fee, like in the UK….

    • People actually hide their televisions when the inspectors come to the door.

  89. You asked:
    "Also, what does the BBC do right that the CBC does so horribly wrong?"

    BBC – over $8 billion Canadian from the public
    CBC – $946 million from the public

    Now – what do you think when you compare the two?

    • I think that is indeed a bigger budget. I think it is at least half of the explanation as to why the BBC is so much better than the CBC. Now what's the other half? Like I said, I don't think it is ideology that is particularly the problem there.

  90. As others have pointed out, your "straw man" claim is a little iffy.
    I was however, being really sarcastic with my reply, and you rather missed my point.

    I would never advocate that money should not be spent on roads just because "I do not use them" (I think it would be near impossible to claim you do not use roads AT ALL, even if one does not drive). I really do not use Canada Post – I handle my billing in the virtual world. With that said, I don't gripe about the free ride everyone else has with my taxpaying dollars subsidizing Canada Post. I accept that these things benefit lots of other people, so I am cool with it.

    Our taxes fund all sorts of different things, many from which you do not directly benefit.

    "There is nothing selfish about choosing not to pay for an inessential service one doesn't use"

    Please accept that your above statement is an opinion, and NOT fact! The try to realize that not every single person reaches the same conclusion as you, for a variety of reasons. There is no right or wrong – there are differences….

  91. I would agree with your left/right spectrum, it's similar to how I see it.

    • Why? Fascism has its attractions for both the left and right – in other words control freaks. To place fascism out on the left of the spectrum difies the historical record.

      • My answer is in Jolyon's comment.

  92. "Dare to dream."

    LoL!!! – That he experience's it, or that he dies?

    Tough crowd….

    • Please! The comment means, "dare to dream that you experience it in your lifetime". It's a simple acknowledgment that we both favour smaller and less invasive government, lower taxes and more individual freedom and responsibility.

      • I wasn't serious.
        In fact, I thought I pretty much acknowledged that I had made a really bad joke/observation by stating "tough crowd", a common expression for when a comedian is bombing.

        • I see, I didn't get that, but now I do :-) It IS a tough crowd around here.

  93. Oh, "an accurate reflection of the population at large."

    That's not what I want, I want the truth–no matter what 'the population' thinks! In spite of us all being quite sure the earth is flat, if a reporter finds a story that conclusively proves the earth is round, I want to hear about it!

    • There is no absolute truth. Even in science.

      Anyway, I think I know what you mean, which is that sometimes the minority is right.

      As far as measuring bias though, there is no real way to measure bias from the truth, especially in messy fields like politics and economics, because sometimes everybody is wrong. You can really only measure whether the media accurately reflects what people think is the truth, and that essentially requires that the media makes an attempt to accurately reflect all views and weigh them according to prevalence and associated evidence.

      • Funny we agree on so little, because we're certainly on the same page here. So unbiased, being impossible, isn't even what we are looking for. It's balance we need. And upon further reflection, it's no good having one news outlet to the right, one to the left, and one in the approximation of middle, becuase then people would just tune out the channels they don't want to hear. It helps partisanship if you never hear the other side of the story, but I suggest partisanship doesn't need any help.

        • I don't mind if there's one in the middle, one on the left, one on the right. I can tune in to the ones I want, when I want. If people want to tune out opposing views, that's their loss. Sometimes you want to be hearing from like-minded people, and sometimes you want to hear the other side.

          The only thing I dislike I when I'm forced to pay for the media that is biased, namely my tax dollars going to the CBC. There's a difference between disagreeing with someone, and being forced to pay for someone to promote views you disagree with.

          And I don't mind if the media is leftish, I just want to be sure that everyone has their say, so that if people think it's leftish they can do something about it. Talk radio in the US, which leans right, is much a reaction to the rest of the media which leans left. And also, I expect that if people are biased, that we can call them out on it. Free debate and all that. That's why I'm hounding Wherry once in a while, because I think he's biased, simply by the choice of the posts he makes and the items he posts, most of not even uttered by himself. But I think that he knows it, and he prefers to be biased to the left. And I like to point it out. Same with Parisella.

          • Well, the danger is that nobody listens to one side or another. Like with U.S. talk radio, the few other media political opinion shows (I include TV and radio) are drowned out by the number of and buzz from the right. Yes, they are doing it because controversy sells and everytime someone is outraged at something Rush Limbaugh says, the advertising rates go up. I agree that for-profit outlets can do whatever they like.

            But that danger is exactly why I think we should have a national not-for-profit entity, such as the CBC. So, if the CBC isn't balanced in its coverage, I think that's where our problem lies. I can well imagine you would not like to pay for something that espouse ideas you strongly reject. I would feel the same way.

            So, this Liberal is calling for a less left-wing, more balanced coverage from the CBC. Can you believe it? Me neither.

          • Well, the danger is that nobody listens to one side or another

            Well, maybe I'm not completely in agreement that this is a danger, but on the other hand, I can see your point, so much of what happens in politics is the result of a momentum of getting people on your side, as opposed to everyone making up their own minds.

            I am skeptical that it is possible to create a national entity that is balanced, seeing as how balance is so difficult to achieve. I don't think there is much you can do once an organization loses balance, there are so many entrenched and immovable interests within a large organization – the free market takes care of such things though, because another organization can take its place if there is a demand for it.

            I cannot disagree with your calling towards the CBC, but I'm skeptical it is possible. For instance, Heather Mallick is a writer on the web site, and I find her comments far more distasteful than anything Limbaugh says.


            However, I simply cannot imagine the CBC printing Limbaugh or even Mark Steyn. Their existing viewers, whom are likely of the same persuasion as the CBC (biased left) would revolt. I just cannot imagine it happening. Coyne is the furthest right they go, except for Cherry perhaps. They'd have turfed Cherry a long time ago if they could, but they don't because they know a lot of hockey viewers would leave.

            Even the fact that the CBC is headquartered in Toronto makes it very hard for them to avoid bias, IMO, because unavoidably they will end up hiring disproportionately from an area that is an entrenced Liberal area.

          • I hope to God CBC doesn't think Rush Limbaugh, or even Steyn, should be given time on their resources. That said, I certainly can understand what you find objectionable with Malleck. I don't like her either. Obviously, the answer is to get rid of Malleck–she'd be better off making a fortune with her own outlet, or on some for profit media gig.

            And yeah, if the entire structure of CBC has become entrenched in the bias, they can all go and start over. (Except K O'M since she just started there and can be considered the beginning of starting over.)

            As far as Toronto goes, though, I disagree. They would also draw equally well from the 905–and the rest of southern Ontario for that matter. And what, you'd prefer Alberta?

            Will you have room for more than one word per line? LOL.

          • It's getting claustrophobic in here! :-)

      • "There is no absolute truth."

        Is that absolutely true?

        Modern science is very bad at proving anything to be incontrovertibly true, but it is very good at disproving things that are incontrovertibly false. That this can be done shows that there is absolute truth, even if we often can't identify it.

        • That this can be done shows that there is absolute truth, even if we often can't identify it

          I'm not so sure I agree or disagree. In fact in quantum mechanics one of the basic postulates is that it is impossible to know the velocity or position of something absolutely (the Heisenberg uncertainty principle). Also, another principle in physics is that the truth depends on the observer (Einstein), so the time and nature of an event depends on the observer, and then there's the unknowable (Schrodinger's cat).

          And then there's things that are mostly true but not exactly true (eg Newton's theory of gravity).

          However, I agree that there are somethings that can be considered truth, such as "s_c_f has written this comment", at least on a basic level.

          Anyway, this is rather deep stuff :-) and I'm not the expert on these things.

          • Agreed, this incredible shrinking thread is not the place for this discussion.

            But just for clarification, this being one of my favorite topics, the HUP states that one can't simultaneously know the velocity AND position of something beyond a certain level of precision. Not or. Something can absolutely have a certain velocity – for example light.

            Relativity does not state that the truth depends on the observer, but that certain quantities (mass, velocity, time, etc.) do. The notion that they depend on the observer according to certain equations is thought to be absolutely true, or at any rate the fact that they vary based on the observer is known to be true.


          • Yes, correct, I was sort of simplifying my points about HUP and Einstein and all that. If you want to be nitpicky, light only has a certain velocity in a vacuum, but is slower in other mediums :-)

  94. Cheers for that move alone, but it will still not get me watching CBC

  95. I stopped watching CBC when, a number of years ago, Mansbridge made the statement that CBC will show you the news and tell you what it means to you. And I replied, you can show me the news and I will tell me what it means to me!! and turned the blowhards off!

  96. I keep thinking it'd be cool if someone would publish a book that did nothing but review all of the CBC rebrandings, reschedulings and reorganizations. At the end of each chapter, they could have the ratings numbers after each change to show if anything actually happened.

    It'd be a long book.

  97. If you don't think Limbaugh or Steyn should be given time, then you are saying there is a portion of the Canadian population that are not allowed to have their views aired on the CBC, despite the fact they are paying for it like everyone else.

    In effect you are saying only those in the center can have their views heard. Previously you said that sometimes it is the minority that is correct, and now you are saying minorities should not have their views espoused on the CBC.

    I don't know how many people in Canada like Limbaugh or Mallick, I suspect it's a small percentage (although I will admit I like Limbaugh myself), but I can assure you there are large numbers of Canadians that like Steyn.

    And I think that all three should be considered "printable". I don't think it's right that every Canadian pays taxes towards the CBC, but only some Canadians' opinions are considered acceptable for the CBC.

    • Hmm. You are absolutely right. (Are we SURE any Canadians like Malleck and Limbaugh–or the Canadian facsimile of Limbaugh, which I guess might be Steyn. Sigh, I suppose we are.) Yes, in order to have all the news, I guess I'll have to put up with extreme viewpoints as well. But I do think, even with Malleck and Steyn, it is worth it to have full coverage of issues.

      • We better end this soon before we get squished.