Why the CBC has outlived its usefulness - Macleans.ca

Why the CBC has outlived its usefulness

Colby Cosh on the futility of the Mother Corp.

Outgrowing the mother corp.

Nathan Denette/CP

The CBC, like many creatures of government, has now lived long enough to outrun several generations of justifications for its existence. It was essentially created in the first place, in 1932, for aesthetic reasons. Radio broadcasting in 1920s Canada was a free-for-all of telephone companies, sharp-dealing businessmen and religious sermonizers. What we would now call “advertorial” programming from American patent-medicine vendors spilled over the border, thanks to the super-powered transmitters they were able to afford by selling goat-gland surgeries. NBC loomed over all and was starting to invade the Canadian market. I would call it “indescribable” but it was actually kind of a grainy preview of today’s media universe.

The CBC was created, as both monopolistic broadcaster and regulator, because what preceded it was all so untidy, unhealthy, unpredictable . . . unpalatable. And politically threatening to the establishment, as the radio-driven rise of Social Credit in Alberta would soon prove.

No one thinks we would be better off now with total state control of broadcasting; Canadians manage to survive exposure to religious cranks, phony health advice, and even NBC. So when the CBC’s regulatory function was taken away in the ’50s, the broadcasting part of the corporation became an oasis of noncommercial values. You were no longer to be forced to watch or listen, but CBC was still there to amuse kids without sneaking in some hidden sales pitch for cereal. It was there for remote communities in need of news and economic information; there to cultivate the artistic pastimes of the elite in a pan-Canadian accent.

In 2013, it hardly needs saying that the CBC has abandoned or grown incompetent at some of these functions, and that there is not much point to the others in a world of infinite bandwidth. (Let’s be honest: It’s not even all that left-wing anymore!) The frozen North is on a near-enough-equal footing with downtown Toronto when it comes to digital access, and children are no longer plunked down thoughtlessly in front of a cathode-ray tube for hours at a stretch. In this environment, the CBC is not proving to be much good at specifying exactly why it is needed.

That helps to explain the brief furor last week over the corporation’s decision to drop a handful of ads purchased on the English-language TV network for Postmedia’s newly paywalled digital properties. A CBC employee raised a stink about “advertising for assets that we compete with”—“we” in this case referring to the CBC’s website. The brass agreed that the CBC is now officially a “competitor” with newspapers, at least insofar as they have websites.

The gesture looks for all the world like a gratuitous, specific cheap shot at Postmedia, whose various owners in recent times have all shared a passionate devotion to trashing the corp. As Postmedia and other newspaper empires pull paywalls down over their digital incarnations, CBC minions on Twitter have been caught crowing about their “no paywall” status, purchased by the taxpayer at the sensational bargain price of $1.2 billion a year.

It may be hard for readers to feel bad for the cartelizing Paywall Gang, but it is surely a tactical error for the CBC to call attention to its incredibly expensive “free” nature. The Broadcasting Act says the Corporation shall operate “radio and television” services; it doesn’t say anything about a website, much less a website that functions as a telegraphic gazette. Of course, times change and new media paradigms develop and blah blah blah, but the distinction here is crucial: The original pretext for the creation of the CBC was the limited, theoretically public nature of broadcast spectrum. To the degree that the CBC is now just one digital content provider among many, with a hypothesized mandate that puts it in a position to compete with newspapers, it can rightly be privatized, or destroyed, or handed over to its own employees, in order to unburden the public treasury.

Polls always demonstrate high levels of purported political support for the CBC. The public subsidy to the CBC is a forced transfer of wealth from people who don’t like it to people who do, and the “dos,” unsurprisingly, like the set-up just fine. In the U.S., donor-funded, non-profit “public” radio is equally adored by fans; the only difference is that they’re asked to chip in for their preferred electronic smarm or go without. No social or economic arguments against privatization of the CBC are possible. It’s nothing but a zombie, slowly sucking up a dwindling fund of goodwill and nostalgia. Mr. Dressup is dead, folks.


Why the CBC has outlived its usefulness

  1. Like Rogers exists in a competitive market. They get subsidies and protection from the CRTC and Feds too, so maybe they should back on the Quebecor style slagging of CBC lest someone take a close look at our “private” telecom and media sector.
    Also you should probably consider disclosing that you are a former employee of Postmedia, along with many of the editorial board of Maclean’s before you start shedding crocodile tears for the CBC excluding Postmedia advertising.
    Basically this is the same tripe we’ve been hearing from Peladeau for years, at least come up with some original talking points if you’re going to push your corporate libertarian ideology on us.

    • Let’s say you’re right, and Rogers is more or less supported to the same billion-dollar tune as the CBC. How does that change how you ought to view these arguments? You don’t work for Rogers. It wouldn’t be hypocritical for you to say any of these things. So why are you basically making this about me instead of actually explaining why what I’ve said is “tripe”? (Answer: because idiotically making things personal is what Macleans.ca commenters do, by and large.)

      • First of all I didn’t claim Rogers was equally subsidized, I simply said they also receive government subsidies and protection in what is supposedly a competitive industry. For many this raises the question of whether or not Canada should be subsizing private businesses that aren’t accountable to Canadians, especially when you are arguing that the CBC doesn’t deserve government support at all.
        Secondly I think having connections to Postmedia and framing the whole editorial around a slight to Postmedia is extremely unprofessional and problematic, especially when you and the Editors do not disclose past relationships to said company. That is not personal, it’s called a professional standard. If you want to slag CBC for subverting the corporate pay wall cartel, then it is perfectly reasonable for me to point that out without making it inherently personal.
        As for the tripe comment, you need to keep reading and understand what I said. Everything you criticize the CBC for is simply the same tired old argument that Peladeau trots out anytime he wants to eliminate a competitor from this already marginally competitive industry. Your entire argument is an attempt to spark a debate about public vs private media without any context or critical reflection of your own organization.

        • My “connection” to Postmedia is that I walked out on it while giving it the finger over my shoulder. That’s hardly what you’d call a disclosable interest. (If I owned shares or something, that would be another story.) Moreover, I was technically never an employee of the company, not even for a second; and now that you mention it, our contract relationship actually ended before there was any such thing as “Postmedia”. If you still want to go before an ethics judge, you may wish to provide yourself with the facts.

          • Well that’s one point of my criticism. That’s nice to know, but how are we to know that context, is that information publicly available? This is what it says on your website, which clearly is different from the way you describe it now “He later became a frequent contributor to the National Post (sorry for using the modern rebrand, my mistake) newspaper and was a member of its editorial board from 2007-09.” You also didn’t address the Editor’s relationships I might add if you want to talk about an ethics judge.
            I think you have proven my point. This editorial reads like one-sided ideological sour grapes and when I point that out you accuse me of attacking you personally and then obscure my entire argument into a convenient straw man. So great, you disclose your actual relationship after two combative comments and that is somehow on me that you chose to use the Postmedia example to frame your piece. Like briguyhfx pointed out it’s interesting to see writers to troll their own comment section.

          • “How are we to know you didn’t have a disclosable interest if you didn’t disclose one?” I don’t know, when did YOU stop beating your wife? And which of these descriptions of my old job that don’t contradict each other are you calling a lie? I don’t suppose you know “contributor” has a technical meaning in the news business (“not an employee”).

          • I would accuse you of an ad hominem attack like you did to others before, but luckily I’m not Jim Rome. Also I am a child who witnessed his mother victimized by an abusive father, so nice touch a$$hole.
            You can be on the editorial board for two years without ever building connections inside the organization? Either way you were paid to contribute to a publication you are defending against the CBC, the appearance of conflict is enough that maybe you should consider framing the story a different way next time.

          • So you mean you are in the same category as Elizabeth May and Megan Leslie, who have also contributed to the National Post.

          • You did attack him personally. In fact, 2/3 of your initial comment was essentially an ad-hominem attack. It’s odd to insist that he only respond to the first part when you put more effort in the second. Besides, if you’re insistent on disclosure, how about your background and interests in this matter? At least Colby Cosh has a public profile disclosing his background.

          • So here we are, I have to be held to the same standard as a professional publishing an op-ed in a national magazine? Seems reasonable.
            Not to mention that pointing out that Rogers also receives subsidies, that the arguments are the same that Quebecor has pushed for years and that Colby worked for the National Post and is defending their interests are hardly personal attacks.

          • Yes @ad373fb2434f4d9372e5325b0fb2fab3:disqus you do. We all do.

          • And still we have NO idea who you are, winkee!

            Who is winkee…………………………………….??????????????????????????????????????????????????????

          • If you’re going to say “We need to know all of your history to judge your words”, then yes, we need to know yours to judge yours.

            No special privileges.

          • ” here we are, I have to be held to the same standard as a professional publishing an op-ed in a national magazine? Seems reasonable.”

            Colby posts under his name. You are supposedly anonymous. But you have all information about Colby’s past to launch personal attack on him questioning his integrity. I just wonder are you not working or associated with the CBC. The ferocity of your attack on Colby points in that direction

          • Hear, hear!

      • “because idiotically making things personal is what Macleans.ca commenters do, by and large.”

        Sorry, was this intended ironically? Insulting most Macleans.ca commenters in order to take the high road in an argument?

        • It was intended literally. I didn’t say the shoe fit any particular person other than the original poster, but go ‘head and try it on.

        • He’s absolutely correct. How many times have I been dismissed out of hand simply because I use a pen name? You don’t need to read too far to see that Cosh’s bang on.

      • Great topic. Poor treatment of the points you brought up. Your bias was evident. I’m glad some extra points of your background were brought to light. [I’m a mature student, so I don’t have a lot of time to spend looking at the background issues at the moment.]

        I thought Winkee brought up some valid points. Rather than attacking the individual, perhaps you can use your own standard and show how you disagree with his. Where do you get off telling someone how they ought to view the arguments?

        I think he also referred to “original talking points” and pushing a “corporate libertarian ideology”. I don’t see how he’s attacking you.

        It seems that you have a low opinion of Macleans commenters in general. While I agree that making something personal is boring and repetitive, I don’t think that slagging a whole demographic supports the principles you purport to adhere to.

        “Canadians manage to survive exposure to religious cranks, phony health advice, and even NBC.” Many of us are not surviving this, as funny as the NBC comment is here.

        Your article does make frequent unsubstantiated claims. It follows the format of a decently-written article, but the content doesn’t deliver.

        “children are no longer plunked down thoughtlessly in front of a cathode-ray tube for hours at a stretch.” Large numbers of Canadian children are indeed plunked down in front of a cathode-ray tube – when they’re not indulging in an LCD screen. I’m glad that the people you know don’t do that with their children, but the vast majority of Canadians do, from my research and personal experience.

        The usefulness of CBC doesn’t relate to need, but rather it’s ability to perform after years of being gutted by governments threatened by it’s criticism of their policies. The Mental Health 101 forum presented at the local college provided a much-needed discussion on this marginalized topic – particularly in this city {Maclean’s also did a panel discussion about Canadian Health Care- significant for a dirty industry and impoverished town}. It’s satellite station in inner-city Hamilton provides an anchor of culture and hope for a city with a depressed economy.

        I’d say that the time of journalists would be better spent monitoring the individuals in positions of influence that abuse their power and privilege at the tax-payers’ expense. Especially if they have such a low opinion of Macleans online commenters.

        • Hear, hear! INDEED and I agree with you on several points:

          1.people in position of power should be accountable IF they are being paid by the tax dollar

          2.and,yes, many, many kids still spend endless hours plunked on the couch watching tv, and the CBC channels could therefore be a channel for the better

          3.and indeed, it is never a good idea, when contributing to a debate, to make personal attacks or, to even make the argument a personal one; debates are about discussing the issues at hand.

          And here then, I have some questions to ask and I hope you will take the time to answer those questions for me so that things regarding the CBC might become abundantly clear, at long last.

          1.Would the CBC have taken the government to court if Mr.Rathgeber’s private members bill had not been watered down? In other words: Rathgeber’s private member’s bill as originally proposed, called for the civil service to make public specific salaries and bonuses over the $180,000 mark, and such opening of books would include the CBC’s books. CBC has already indicated that they will want to take the government to court over bill C-60 if the government were to implement that one.

          2.It is interesting how the MP’s these days are being referred to as nothing more than ‘trained seals’. But what if we were to ask Peter Mansbridge to tell us what his salary is, and to tell us what, what his total bonus package amounts to, and what his expense account looks like, do you think HE would answer that question as an individual? Or would Peter, a man of great integrity – or so it is to be believed, hide behind the Corporation’s excuse that he has no comment on his salary, or, perhaps, he might even go so far as to say that it IS none of our business to know about how much salary, and bonuses and expenses HE claims from the tax payers year after year.

          And if Peter is not willing to come forward, individually speaking, on his accountability and transparency concerning OUR tax dollars, why then would he buy into the news reports (some having been created by Peter himself) that others SHOULD be open and transparent when being paid by tax dollars?

          Awaiting your reply.

    • Broadcasting is the epitome of regulatory-driven rent seeking business. I don’t see the current regulatory distortion as a justification for subsidization of CBC, though. Reform has to start somewhere. Insisting on ideological perfection seems like an excuse to do nothing.

      • I’m not insisting on ideological perfection, I’m saying if there’s a problem with a public broadcaster receiving subsidies, how is there no mention of the private broadcasters receiving subsidies? IF it is such a stress on the public purse to give money to the CBC maybe we should reconsider the subsidies numerous private businesses in a variety of sectors receive before we start singling one organization out.

        • Subsidies for Canadian programming are funded via mechanisms like the Local Programming Fee on cable subscriptions, rather than being drawn out of general revenues.

        • Do you care to itemise a list of the subsidies that apply to a typical private media corporation? They might seem more or less villainous depending on their purpose and magnitude. (i.e. a small amount of funding for canadian productions that are broadcast across a wide variety of television stations might in fact be a better targetted investment wrt canadian content than a 1.2 billion carte-blanche funding of a public television network that fails to distinguish itself from a private network.)

          • Interesting you demand an itemized list for my argument, regardless of the point I raised that maybe Canadians shouldn’t and don’t want to be subsidizing private for-profit businesses. If it doesn’t make sense to fund a public broadcaster, how does it make sense to give private businesses money for essentially the same goal?
            I think most recognize automatically the subsidies from the Local Programming Fee, the forced subsidy of the CRTC forcing Canadians to pay for channels they don’t want, the 2010 Federal Television fund, the Canadian Periodical Fund, the numerous Provincial and Federal tax credits, fire-sale prices for cellphone spectrum and the infrastructure that public funds helped to create that the telecom companies benefit from.
            Did Colby do any of that leg work for the CBC argument before dismissing their funding out of hand? No? Are you asking for that from him? No.

          • Here is a question for you:

            Do you think that Peter Mansbridge should fully disclose the money he personally receives from the Canadian tax payers year after year, if HE believes that indeed government working with tax payer’s dollars should be open and transparent?

          • Asking a simple question doesn’t mean there is a simple answer. But you can always pretend there is, can’t you?

  2. There are lots of problems with the CBC. One is never having comparable levels of public broadcast funding to other Western countries. And then the constant cuts and interference from governments. We can’t have a self-governing democratic society without public broadcasting as part of a wider, pluralistic media, in which the mandate has nothing to do with commercial interests and everything to do with the public good. There are lots and lots of problems with public broadcasting but there are lots and lots of experiments and examples to learn from and enough people in Canada with good ideas and experience that we could work our way through problems. However, Canada’s commentariat and politicians have largely abandoned any of these visions of a self-governing society. Unfortunately, the mainstream media is now cannibalizing itself for profits, gutting basic journalism and slashing news budgets. Now we have worse news, worse programming, and a corporate media trying to murder the CBC while it slashes its own budgets for another quarter of dividends.

    • I don’t want the CBC deciding what “the public good” is. That’s why we have democratically elected officials. What the hell would a broadcasting company know about “the public good”? They’re broadcasters, not policy makers.

      • Hear, hear!

      • What a bizarre idea, that the only people able to pass judgement on what might be lacking in national broadcasting are politicians. They’re absolutely the worst people to answer this question because, being subject to re-election every four years, they are ultimately motivated to represent the majority view and rarely if ever motivated to represent the minority view.

        Your suggestion is a recipe against diversity of content.

        • Then let the national broadcasting personnel speak for themselves, at long last!

          Does Peter Mansbridge believe that HIS salary, bonuses and expense account should be made public because the money HE gets paid every years is tax payer’s money after all. Does Peter believe that HE should be open and transparent when HE reports that others should be open and transparent when it comes to how our tax dollars are being spent – like government and the like?

          Or do you think that Peter should hide behind the Corporation’s leadership, and Peter should just act as a trained seal?Does Peter not have a mind of his own when it comes to believing in transparency and openness in regards to tax payers’ money?

          • I do not see the value in revealing the salaries of reporters, anchors or television personalities. Since I don’t see any point to id, I do not believe that it’s seal-like or cowardly of him not to print you out a copy of his paycheque. Until you explain how it is good for the public to know, he is entitled to his privacy.

            If you believe that he could be promoting or presenting stories with a financial bias, it is less his salary that is important than his vested interests. I could see the benefit of having those with editorial control over the news be accountable to an independent media watchdog who is responsible for seeing if Reporter X only spends a lot of time researching the evils of Technology Q because he’s an investor in Q-Tech’s competition.

            However, I don’t believe that this information *must* be public. As long as someone is working to prevent unacceptable bias we’re miles ahead of the complete lack of transparency of corporate media.

            I don’t even know why you’re bringing up Mansbridge to be completely honest. It seems really strange. How did he anger you so much?

          • She thinks this is a gotcha question that will expose all that is wrong with the world to the loonie left. She hangs numerous arguments on such gotcha questions instead of discussing the topic.

      • “I don’t want the CBC deciding what “the public good” is. That’s why we have democratically elected officials.

        That is so funny! Democratically elected officials?! Without representation, how can it be democratic? Two business parties that make policies to benefit themselves and their cronies when they leave to practice law, or other endeavors that they plan to profit heavily from.
        Yeah, right. Sure, that’s a much better way to make sure that the public good would be adhered to.

        I’d say that the CBC has benefitted me personally, much more than any of the social programs also victim of slash and burn politics we’ve been experiencing – particularly since the Harris government. No, I don’t think the so-called social parties would do a better job. Over-spending is not a solution however much it may seem to be needed after years of neglect of social programs.

        Sustainability would be a much better approach. Social Business is much more sustainable than either non-profit or for-profit industries. If journalists and politicians could get behind true Social Business legislation, we could provide adequate social programs and reduce unneeded expense on tax-payers.

        • What in God’s name is “Social Business” supposed to even mean?

          Is it just shorthand for “business doing whatever I feel is awesome and not other stuff, and who cares if it makes any sense or actually serves the interest of consumers”?

          Because that’s how I can’t help but read it, and that’s incoherent.

          Sustainability: Another word meaning nothing at all.

    • One is never having comparable levels of public broadcast funding to other Western countries

      So… “other countries waste piles of money on State broadcasters so it’s a problem we don’t”?

      Shouldn’t it be established that it’s good before asserting that one should do it Because Other Countries Do?

      (Also, note: You’re not going to get a state-funded monopoly broadcaster without government interference, period. To imagine that’s even possible is hilarious.)

      And yes, you bloody well can have a “self-governing democratic society” without “public broadcasting”. Asserting that a State-funded broadcaster is simply necessary to democracy is completely unfounded – and indeed runs afoul of history.

  3. “No social or economic arguments against privatization of the CBC are possible.”

    Kady would have to get a proper job and stop being a propagandist?

    CBC acts as a giant fluffer for pols and bureaucrats, the CBC is here to stay because our pols are incapable of thought/argument and nowhere else is an interview as cushy as CBC sycophants reliably provide.

    Our left wing intelligentsia does not care about private businesses being forced to subsidize, and compete against, a behemoth public body that few actually watch. Left wing Canada is never going to give up control of the airwaves, hoi polloi must be forced to consume government propaganda.

    • As a lefty I have found Kady to be strongly neutral in her coverage. I challenge you to actually present some propaganda. Kady seems, if anything, primarily a fluffer for politics at large. So I suppose if you hate politicians and Parliament itself, Kady would be a propagandist. I’m fairly sure the whole movement of government and Parliament excites her. (Which means she’s really where she should be.)

      Edit: I don’t care one iota about football (soccer). Do you think it should be me reporting on matches, or someone who likes the game and will report on it (and both sides) with enthusiasm?

      • Yes, Kady O’Malley seems to have an interest in politics and doing what one likes to do best is the right thing to do.

        I will gladly take on your challenge to illustrate that Kady is indeed very biased in her reporting.

        When she was writing her most recent articles on the Rathgeber’s resignation, and furthermore when she commented on that particular topic on last Friday’s CBC’s P&P, she never once told the audience that the CBC has threatened to take the government to court in regards to Bill C-60 (a bill about salary and compensation structures for crown corps, including the CBC) AND she never mentioned that Rathgeber’s private members bill in its original version would have given the CBC another reason to take the government to court over THAT bill, too, at least if the CBC is consistent in its thinking.

        It is of the utmost importance, when Kady O’Malley is being paid for by the tax payers, that she present a balanced overview of what is or has been happening in politics. If the likelihood that CBC would have taken Rathgeber’s private members bill in its ORIGINAL version to court, fighting the government over that original version, then, yes, Kady has a lot of explaining to do by not telling that CBC is taking the government to court when it comes to the CBC opening ITS books.

        You see, HAD Kady told us that part of the story (the CBC’s insistent threat to take the government to court over opening the books) then Rathgeber’s story of resignation would have to have been told quite a bit differently.

        It is easy for journalists to claim they are objective when leaving a large part of the content hidden and unreported. No, this is not a case of under-reporting (regarding the CBC and court actions); this is a clear case of NOT reporting on all of the important facts.

        Personally, I find it very offensive, when a group of reporters, on a Friday afternoon,sit around a CBC P&P desk, to act like a bunch of giggling schoolkids now that they can uphold Rathgeber for being such a hero in bashing Harper to bits and pieces (aren’t they having fun!! – Harper, the man who cannot be trusted; Harper, the man who is so secretive) but conveniently forget to mention what the CBC has been up to for many years in regards to taking the government to court. Does the CBC tell Kady to not touch THAT subject? Is Kady that much of a trained seal to listen to the CBC management at all times?

        I would really like to know!

        • Unfortunately I am not as informed about this issue as I would like to be. I’m trying to work out what was changed by the amendments to C-461, but all I can find is reference to a raise in the salary threshold and reference to Access to Information requests. (I also didn’t see that P&P.)

          Firstly, when invited on P&P, Kady may be functioning not as an employee but as a guest. I’m not sure how it works, contractually. The other people on the panel would primarily be talking heads, for example, Andrew Coyne or Chantale Hebert. We wouldn’t expect them to behave as public servants simply because they’re on the CBC, even if they are collecting a fee for their appearance. (They do, I assume?)

          That, of course, does not mean any of them should act without integrity, nor does it mean that she shouldn’t have brought up the threat of legal action. It’s important to consider though, that she, like the others are functioning as commentators on P&P, not as reporters. It is not her job, or their job, in that capacity, to portray every last detail of the story, but rather to comment on what is most important to the events. It is assumed that viewers of panel shows like that will have a basic understanding of the situation. As such she may simply have left it out if she didn’t consider it relevant to Rathgeber’s motives or the motives of the CPC in amending the bill against his wishes.

          Do you believe the PM had C-461 gutted to avoid legal action from the CBC? If not, why would Kady mention it? Did Rathgeber suggest that was the cause? Did Harper? Did anyone? Again, admitting I do not know the whole story, I have trouble believing that one Liberal MP’s assurance that the CBC will sue is the cause of the PM backing down on sticking one to the CBC.

          So while “fair disclosure” is important, there’s a limit to what you need to say every time you open your mouth. If it’s not actually pertinent, there’s no benefit to bringing it up. Otherwise all the reporters would have to take 5 minutes at the end of the conversation and go through a list of potentially related items like they’re the side effects section of a US drug advertisement. In fact you may end up presenting the implication there’s a connection when there isn’t, if you start blurting things out.

          I didn’t see the episode, and I can’t find a guest list anywhere for P&P episodes, but chances are, they weren’t all CBC reporters, and some might not even have been press of any kind. Usually there is a politician or two, a poli sci professor, a think tank talking head, etc. Additionally, the point of panel shows like P&P is a conversational environment. The one is not, and will not be completely professional. If by chance all the guests agree that someone has made a mistake, or that times will be tough for someone, they may all shake their heads and laugh, even people who are sympathetic.

          (You’re also accidentally suggesting that Rathgeber isn’t admirable in this case, and that Harper isn’t secretive, which doesn’t help your case.)

          So, I am open to the idea that Kady should have mentioned the potential of a lawsuit, but I need more information. I’m just not sure where to dig it up right now, and I’m going to admit I am too lazy to watch 2 hours of P&P to see Kady’s part. Maybe I shouldn’t have gotten into this without the will to dig, so I might have to grant you a technical victory today.

        • I looked at how long your letter was and thought you were going to argue something well, but it seems not. Kady is supposed to reference what her bosses are doing in court as context for her reporting. Very strange. I’d fire her if she did. How does it affect the facts she is reporting? Have I missed something?

    • My experience is that those who are most prone to accuse others of promoting propaganda, are most likely to promote their own by accusing anyone who disagrees as a leftist.

      It’s the McCarthy era reborn. Witch-hunts don’t replace intelligent discussion or address issues. They just keep spinning around and perpetuating the same dogmas – and the same lack of results!

      Let’s have real discussion without slagging other opinions, shall we?

  4. If the CBC was so bad, the rightwing wouldn’t constantly be spending so much time and effort trying to get rid of it. They’d just ignore it and let it die on it’s own.

    To save money? Hah! We waste ten times as much money on other things….F-35s for example….that benefit no one

    To allow private companies to compete? Isn’t it amazing how the market is constantly in need of help….they apparently don’t appeal to people on their own.

    And the overtones of the Soviet Union don’t work anymore. No one but Cons confuse state television and public television.

    If Canadians wanted to watch rightwing Libertarian programming, they would do so….obviously that isn’t working.

    • Jeez, I thought she had gone away.
      If you want to know what a twisted and idiotic sense of logic sounds like, reread that first sentence of the local troll.
      We don`t want to get rid of the CBC because it`s so bad. We want to get rid of it because it`s so bad and we take a billion dollars a year out of healthcare, or add it to our debt, and give it to Mansbridge and Kady and gang.
      That should be self-evident to even the most dense troll.

      • Hahaha! You are terribly optimistic if you think the most prolific of all commentators on Macleans is going anywhere.

    • TROLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Please shut up EmilyOne. I can’t read any article on Maclean’s without you chiming in with your nonsense. You’re a troll. Get a blog and let intelligent people have real conversations about ideas on here. You do the opposite of inspiring discussion. You think if you post most frequently then everyone else looks defeated. I think the rest of us just have fulfillment and satisfaction in our lives. Keep drinking from that infinite well of bitterness, but stop posting on here. Or, at least be respectful of the opinions of others.

  5. Oh this is rich. A Rogers troll whining about our public broadcaster. What’s the matter? Losing your viewership? Maybe your preferred electronic smarm isn’t particularily palatable. Create some compelling content instead of denigrating those who do. We’ve survived exposure to your Rogers nonsense as well! Maybe it’s time for Rogers to go!

    • Maybe! But, technically, this is what’s called ad hominem!

      • Gee, and here I thought ad hominem would be calling
        you a spiritually damaged survivor of the Byfield Bubble.
        But that’s over the top. Go with God …

    • Did you say SHE is denigrating someone? :0

  6. CBC TV looks like it isn’t necessary anymore because it set the standard the private networks reached for and largely achieved, but would quickly abandon if it wasn’t there. The actual problem with CBC TV is that funding cuts forced CBC to compromise public broadcasting principles to be more commercial and as result it often looks like just another broadcaster.

    CBC Radio, on the other hand, blows every other radio station out of the water, and actually reflects the best of what Canada is, and offers to the world.

    Where is the private radio broadcaster that does long form radio documentaries? Daily current affairs shows that cover local, national, and global stories? Shows that critically examine religion, sports, philosophy, arts, literature and popular culture? Music programs that give insight into the history and development of music and trends from opera to hip hop?

    I must have missed the decades of private sector radio broadcasters that rivaled the intellectual presence of Lister Sinclair, Peter Gzowski, Barbara Frum, and living legends like Eleanor Wachtel, Katie Malloch and Michael Enright and many more coming behind them. We would lose that completely if we didn’t fund the CBC because private broadcasters don’t even try to compete on quality.

    • Red alert. Red alert. The vast right wing attempt to dismantle CBC TV and Radio Canada has now reached a critical stage of it development. We must man the barricades and be prepared to sell our lives dearly in their defense. Free speech is a right that you can’t take for granted. Bring out the main artillery. Take no prisoners. Show the enemy no quarter. Let us rid the country of this pestilence once and for all.

    • I used to listen to ‘Ideas’ for yeaaaars! Years and enjoyed it immensely. Now, when I check in to listen to CBC’s Ideas, I can stand it for about five minutes before the over the top sanitized information makes my brain go puke!

      Ideas used to be about interesting topics. Now the topics are mostly left leaning subjects and the commentary is so left leaning it is simply unbelievable. I now tune into BBC’s kind of ideas! Much much better and so comparable to the old programming of Ideas!

      Toodeloo ‘CBC Ideas’, it was nice knowing you!

      • BBC eh? Its subsidized too.

        • Ah, yes, but I don’t think BBC could get away with attempts to undermine a democratically elected government, do you?

          • By ‘undermine’ if you mean reporting fraudulent expense reports by already overpaid senators, then, I guess you are right. But who else will point them out, the Sun Network? Rob Ford? oops.

          • No, I was thinking if the CBC can’t turn the current government mini scandal into a grand scandal with the facts, then inventive investigations must be the next step.

            Oh, and never mind that all political parties have those not-so-secret funds, because, well, saying that much would wreck the entire set up. Pretending that other parties are somehow holier in dealing with party funds is a joke! CBC knows it is a joke, but now the face saving for CBC has set in! It’s all for good drama at minimum cost for the CBC’s production department! No costumes either.

          • Thank you for clearing up my confusion by calling fraudulent claims amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars a ‘mini scandal’. Then Mr. Wright ‘gives’ $90,000 to Mr. D. in a gesture of friendship.

            Of course, the other parties have their funds also. Mrs. May’s fund must be at least $100.
            As the Tories claim, the spending in the fund is subject to scrutiny. They forgot to point out that the scrutiny only applies to the period of election campaigns, and since we aren’t in one since 2011, Mr. Wright could have pulled the ninety grand from this fund without anyone needing to know.

            If Ms. Wallin can’t make ends meet from her million dollar directorships, plus Senate salary, +++, then she has to find other sources of funds. Why not charge the Senate for her travel to those pesky meetings in Toronto, since none are in her ‘primary residence’ in Saskatchewan.
            None of this was ‘made up’ by the CBC or me.
            I think not.

          • [citation needed]

      • Maybe if we funded the CBC properly it could live up to the standard set by the BBC.

        • Maybe if the CBC personnel, journalists and news anchors alike, would not act as trained seals, holding themselves accountable to CBC management only!

          Where is their individual accountability and transparency to be found?

    • Exactly…..instead of promoting the same mindless crap we have to swallow from other garbage networks, both north and south of the border. Cancelling cable was the best thing I have ever done in my life. Now I choose what to watch when I want without having to filter through the latest ‘unreality’ show with it’s crop of talentless idiots du jour. Go CBC!

    • I’d go for losing CBC TV. I’ve never seen what they do. CBC should be about radio, which does ideas, teaching, knowledge. TV is about image. I don’t think CBC succeeds there.

  7. I still watch it. Is it really that expensive in the grand scheme of things? We know the PBS model doesn’t work (try watching it if you don’t believe me). I wouldn’t want to see it eliminated.

  8. Ah Colby: trolling IRL. Are we feeling attention starved today?

    • Has left 1,438 Disqus comments, none of which he was paid for; is excellent at identifying “real-life trolls”

      • I wish I got paid to troll, you lucky so-and-so.

      • Well, hopefully you are paid for it in reputation as there is certainly value. I came here by chance but your candid participation in the comments has me taking another look at Macleans.

        While I agree with many of your points, I disagree with the premise: The CBC or something like it IS useful. It doesn’t have to pander and desperately compete for our increasingly shattered attention with calculated provocation and emotional triggers. Same thing with donations, just a different flavour. Public broadcasting is useful like tenure is useful–beholden to none.

        Yes, that means it often produces drivel. It can also do depth and nuance and non-flashy things that enrich our discourse. Like a paper from the 60s or 70s when the Internet hadn’t eaten media budgets and everything hadn’t been digested into entertainment yet.

        • The question is not whether the CBC is useful. In some respects I personally find it useful. The question is whether there is a public benefit which accrues to the people who don’t watch or listen. Every single person in this thread saying “I find it worthwhile” is making my argument for me. Let’s hear from a few “I don’t consume CBC in any way but I find it worthwhile” people. We’re not going to.

          • Very good point! I think the time has come for this government to propose to do away with CBC, to then let the public at large decide if they want to go the PBS route; paying and fundraising for what they believe is worthwhile listening to.

            And indeed, if people feel the content is worth listening to, then they will pay. I refuse to pay for reading the G&M, because they may have some interesting content at times, they are, generally speaking, far too unbalanced in their reporting and commenting on politics. I won’t aid them in that sort of unbalanced promotion.

            I am willing to pay for the NP and I might consider paying for going on the Macleans webpage, on a wait and see basis of course.

          • I believe your prediction would fail, given the effort to find someone. In addition, I don’t see that as a reasonable bar to set. For an entity like the CBC, with an intentionally wide variety of content, consumption of one aspect doesn’t preclude someone from objecting to the other “wasteful” aspects.

            I, for example, do not have a broadcast TV source, and I don’t listen to the radio. The only CBC content I consume is the CBC news website and some satellite social media. (Despite music being one of my greatest pleasures, I don’t even spend time on the CBC music related websites.) My French is horribly rusty, so I doubt I would try Radio-Canada content if I had an English alternative. (Actually I’ve been thinking of signing up to updates from a French language news site to help with that… so that might change soon, if I don’t go with somewhere in France out of curiosity.)

            I could complain about specific compartments of the CBC (radio is dead! what’s with all the jazz?) and seek to gut, spin-off or defund them. My reasons not to do so are just as valid, and likely shared by some, who don’t consume any CBC content. I value the CBC as a whole, even when elements of it are unbalanced (too much jazz!), because it seeks to provide a wide variety of quality content, whether or not there is immediate financial reward.

            In fact, I suspect the majority will always view the CBC as being somewhat out of balance, because any mandate to represent the various elements of Canadian (and world) society will involve giving minority elements (and I don’t mean just ethnic or political, but cultural, stylistic, etc.) a disproportionate amount of coverage. The majority aren’t the point, the whole is. We already know ourselves (and we’re more likely to buy into familiar content), the CBC is here to tell us about our neighbours, play for us their music, inform us of their struggles.

            If the CBC isn’t doing a good enough job of it at present? Fair. We try to fix it.

    • Can you refute even a single one of his points? Isn’t your comment the exact definition of trolling?

      • I admit I was trolling Colby. It’s kinda fun, because he reacts. And I often troll the likes of you, Rick, because you don’t debate honestly.

        • Debate honestly? Coming from a troll? Thanks, but I’ll accept criticism from people who don’t just post things on the internet for the sake of it.

        • Just retired and now may have time to read comments. What does trolling mean?

          • Kind of like ‘baiting’. Leaving purposely inflammatory comments designed to initiate an argument etc.

          • What Argle Bargle said.
            If I replied to you with, “you don’t want to read this stuff; it’s just whining lefties and agressive righties trying to outdo each other”, that could be considered a troll comment because it’s intentionally annoying and intentionally distracting from the actual topic.
            Francine V. does a lot of that, but, in my opinion, not intentionally. I don’t know what that makes her. A concerned citizen who has a right to her own opinion but who doesn’t know how to see other points of view. But not a troll.

          • Thanks very much for the explanation.

            I must say I found the article quite biased and lacking in understanding for people like me who have watched, loved and listened to CBC all their lives.

  9. CBC TV is a sinkhole. They’ve had their successes in the past, but much of their programming is now indistinguishable from any cable channel or American station. I think I can speak for most of my generation in saying that much of our fondness for CBC derives from The Friendly Giant, Mr. Dress-Up, and Canadian Sesame Street, all now extinct for 20 years. CBC Radio is a pleasure to listen to, and CBC seems to have been a leader in web-based services. Perhaps it’s time to cast off the TV division and focus on areas of strength.

  10. CBC can go the day you prove to me that the corporate run press does not have an agenda.
    Of course the cbc has an agenda. But that agenda is mostly for the benefit of the people.
    You can not say that about Macleans as good a magazine as it is and as good as the editors are it will always show a point of view that is in favour of its owners and advertisers.
    Cbc is one against many. And that is what public funding brings you.
    Or we could spend the money on gazebos.

    • Sincere question: how’s this argument any different from you just saying “I like it”? More specifically, “I like it, so government should provide it.”

      • You could say the same thing about infrastructure projects, but we do them as we believe that there is a benefit to society.
        The benefit to society of the CBC is that it is providing a point of view that is not corporate driven. Without that point of view as can be seen in the United States money becomes the dominant theme and what the people want no longer matters.
        Can you not tell me that the press shapes peoples opinions and attitudes? If that is the case then is in not asking too much to have a opinion that is not based upon profit? Can you guarantee me that there is no editorial bias in major for profit newsmedia?
        Not that I have anything against profit, but in any society there needs to be a balance between corporations, government, and the people. The cbc works for people.

        • Every newspaper has editorial bias – it’s the nature of editorial, and it’s also part of the branding exercise. It’s much the same for TV. If you want a left of centre perspective, read the Toronto Star. If you want right of centre, read the National Post. For TV, choose between Fox and MSNBC in the US. CBC isn’t free of its own biases, either. For example, Radio Canada is notorious for a bias towards Quebec sovereignty. Pick any organization, and there’ll be a corporate culture.

          • You are looking at this from a left wing right wing Bias and I am loooking at it from a corporate vs people vs government bias. In our society they want you to believe that there is right wing perspective and there is a left wing and that is it. But that is not true. There are all kinds of perspectives in our society that must be examined.
            All you need to do is examine the mandate of the various medias. The mandate of the private news and broadcasters is to provide returns to their shareholders. The mandate of the cbc is to provide value to the people of Canada.

          • I don’t see a government-operated broadcaster as addressing your concerns. If there’s any remedy to your concerns about a diversity of perspectives, it’s the proliferation of the internet. No single organization is going to provide a diverse range of perspective – it’s a practical impossibility.

          • Apparently you do not listen to shows like Q or the Current or As it happens or even the national. These are shows that have a total Canadian perspective.
            You can not trust the internet as you can not tell what is true and what is not.
            The cbc is not always correct, but they give you a Canadian perspective that is especially needed when you live in a country right next to the most culturally influential country in the world.

          • I listen to The Current and As It Happens regularly; Q infrequently. To call them a “total Canadian perspective” is to take a rather selective view on what’s Canadian. I follow a number of media outlets; Q and The Current tends to hew more towards a Toronto-centric perspective akin to the Toronto Star. I don’t see what makes it more Canadian than Postmedia newpapers, The Globe and Mail, Macleans’, or CTV.

          • The internet is a content delivery system, not a content generator. The CBC gives value as a generator of content which may not immediately be seen as valuable in a corporate context.

            Edit: Hoopsopinion’s comparison of corporate shareholders to public shareholders is one I find useful myself. I tend to believe that the main reason some people object to funding the CBC is because they don’t want to invest in something that gives returns for everyone, including people they don’t agree with. In this they see a left-wing bias. “Multiculturalism? Documentaries about socialists? I’m paying for that? Clearly a left-wing bias.” When in reality the CBC is acting to provide value across the board.

          • CBC has value for SOME people in Canada, not for all.

            In fact, I would argue that the CBC gives some Canadians the opposite of value; when the CBC is attempting to undermine democratically elected governments, then I would certainly not want to consider that a value to our society at large. Would you?

          • He will consider undermining democratically elected government as a great value for the society if it is a Conservative government .

        • The CBC NOT corporate driven?? Please do tell.

          • Corporations are driven by the need for share price maximization and profit based motives.
            Crown corporations are around to provide a public service.
            As the funding gets cut, it becomes more difficult for the cbc to meet its mandate. If they received more funds they would not have to have advertisements then they could provide more public service.

        • CBC has no editorial bias? Only if you agree with it. What bugs me that I have to fund with my taxes leftist propaganda masquerading as balanced reporting. I have no problem with leftist propaganda as long as I don’t have to pay for it.

      • A real question? Most of those are closed questions, in my experience.

    • “But that agenda is mostly for the benefit of the people.” This kind of argument was made by the media of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. Lets face the truth CBC is controlled by leftists and they decide what benefits the people and what information is harmful to the people.

      • Are you seriously trying to tell me that you would rather watch the news from a US based model similar to Fox or MSNBC?

        These news agencies have no shred of credibility and are nothing more than pawns for the corporations that they represent. That is what you get when the news is all about big money representing big interests.

        If you think a national broadcaster is nothing more than government propaganda then why is it that it is the government that is trying to shut it down.
        The truly communist or fascist news is what FOX or MSNBC does, because they do not share opinions and every news story is biased toward their corporate masters.
        The cbc represents a alternative to big corporate news and has an agenda that is not corporate driven. That is the value of cbc.

  11. Social argument against privatization of the CBC:
    Having a media conglomerate that is not dependent upon corporations for funding allows us a counter-weight in reporting points of view that may be objectionable to corporations or donors. Private funding, whether through corporate sponsorship, or individual donation, comes with strings attached. Sometimes the truth hurts. A fully publicly funded media outlet is the only way to ensure that the truth get reported.. even if it hurts.

    So if anything, what we need is a CBC that’s even less privately funded than it is now. We need a CBC that has a source of public funding which is basically inviolate, and is prohibited from private funding whatsoever in order to ensure that funding provides no bias.

    • OK, but a) if the funding is state funding, the “inviolability” you’re talking about is inherently impossible, and b) this isn’t much of a defence of the actually existing CBC (which can chop up a documentary about Falun Gong faster than a Glock 17 can dismantle a rattlesnake). Your schema points toward some kind of permanent privately-conducted-for-stated-public-purposes nonprofit trust arrangement, so… well, um, the Star and the Guardian aren’t enough for you, I guess?

      • Not impossible. Just difficult. Kind of like how getting rid of the senate is impossible.. oh wait.. no it isn’t.

        We have the ability to make the CBC funding very difficult to touch.

        And I wasn’t defending the existing CBC.. like I said, I fully acknowledge this means we need an even more publicly funded CBC than we have. I was addressing your blanket claim that there are no arguments that exist.. which is plainly wrong.

        • You didn’t say what you don’t like about news trusts that are independent of government. If they meet your criteria, it is plainly right that you have no argument for the CBC model (let alone some imaginary alternative that goes to 11).

          • Any private news trust will have been set up to benefit an organization that is providing news which pleases the person setting up the trust.

            Only the public trustee.. aka.. the government.. can ensure that the trust is set up in such a way that it’s requirements are directed toward benefiting the public at large.

            Edit: Further, I would suggest that only the public at large has the resources available to reliably fund such an organization at a level where it would be able to do significant work toward the goal of informing the public.

          • Leaving aside the fact that the CBC has explicit statutory independence now, and we seem to agree that’s not successful, who are your actual trustees going to be–robots? The Stanley Cup has trustees, look how well that’s worked out. Oh, sure, all your argument depends on is the intervention of an angel with no politics, no personal or business interests, and no preferences that are not congruent with those of the abstraction of “the public”. Then, thousands more angels who will actually do the work without developing some nasty, self-serving insider culture. Any minute now.

            A good liberal should never confuse the government with the public.

          • The article was interesting, except that, prima facie, the argument is more or less moot. Even if everything the author said was true one cannot pontificate about the ills of public subsidies for the CBC when Maclean’s parent company itself receives public subsidies. Hi kettle, your black! Also, this gibberish about this issue somehow constituting a conservative/liberal divide is a false dichotomy. Many conservatives have championed the cause of a state broadcaster, TVOntario was created by a majority conservative government, albeit on a much more modest budget than the CBC. Just sayin.

          • Yes, best to leave aside that fact, because it’s completely rubbish, or have you not noticed that the CBC requires advertising to fund its operations and that it’s budget is under constant threat from the gov’t, and it’s very existence as a public station under constant attack by jealous pundits who don’t seem to think there’s a problem with a media sphere dominated entirely by large private interests, so statutory independence means precisely jack and squat.

            As for trustee, you’re the one who brought that up. I never did nor is it a requirement.

            What it needs is stable, predictable funding. Enshrine somehow that it receives 0.006% of government revenues — which is slightly higher than it gets now in order to compensate for the lack of advertising — put into place legislation that it deliver X hours of Canadian sourced original content, X hours of local news content, X hours of national news content, that it can not accept any advertising, and that the tenure of the CEO requires it survive a referendum run concurrent with every election that has the simple question “Is the CBC serving the public interest?”

            And a good conservative should never confuse individual interests with the public interest.

          • Somehow! Somehow!

          • That is indeed the question: who should be those trustees then?

            Trustees are individuals who hold opinions of there own, and thereby the CBC and the direction of its contents, will be set by such opinions. In other words; if those opinionated trustees would want that much ‘public money’ for running the CBC, then how would the trustees ever be able to claim that their direction setting is in tune with most of Canadians?

            It cannot be done. The only way for the CBC is to go the PBS route. If the people who value CBC content now and don’t mind spending their tax dollars on it. then it would be very logical to assume that those very same people would spend that money likewise, by not coming out of taxes and going into the CBC, but by saving taxes when the CBC is gone, and spending those saved tax dollars by giving them, on an individual basis, to something like the PBS. That way, the appointed trustees can manage that pot of money from people who agree with the trustees doing the direction setting and so forth!

            Very simple concept to understand. I don’t know how anyone could argue against such a suggestion.

            Yes, I can hear the counter argument coming that the tax savings of no longer having to publicly fund the CBC will not be passed on to the individual in any case.

            But for that sort of argument to hold up, one could say that then we might as well not go about saving any public expense, ever, if supposedly spending less by governments won’t make a difference anyway in the manner we are taxed.

            And we all know that argument is not the one we hear about all the time. quite the opposite in fact – government spends too much, we are being told and taxes are too high.

            People cannot have it both ways, but many, many people think it IS possible to have it both ways. That myth, that myth of ‘thinking one CAN have it both ways’ MUST be killed off before any of these debates can lead to anything.

            Consistency on ALL sides is of the essence. If inconsistency within the argument about the CBC is to be allowed, then nothing will change on that front, ever!

            It IS because so many inconsistencies are allowed to remain (CBC now taking and NOT taking advertising money, just to mention the latest of inconsistencies) that the debate won’t go anywhere. But Colby, you get the picture!

          • A couple of problems with your reasoning:

            1) Any time the government is involved, the organization is open to political meddling. Involving the government doesn’t eliminate bias, it merely introduces new sources of bias.
            2) Private corporations are also funded by the public at large. It’s the public who pays for the services provided by the corporations, and those payments tend to be voluntary. If you don’t like your cable provider, you can switch or stop subscribing. If you don’t like the broadcaster, you can stop watching. Either way, they’re deprived of your revenue. Governments can make you pay taxes no matter what, and elections are a rather diffuse feedback mechanism if your specific objection is television coverage.

          • 1. That’s like saying, any time somebody crosses the street, their open to getting hit by a bus. I mean, yeah, it’s true, but we can take reasonable precautions to make it less likely.
            Besides, given sources of bias, I’d much rather take the bias of the public at large than that of corporations.

            2. Yes, they’re funded by the public at large, but they are not responsible to the public at large — only to their own shareholders. So if their actions damage large sections of the public but benefit their shareholders, they have every incentive to do that, and none to stop. “Halliburton” ring any bells?

          • CBC is a corporation, not the public at large. They’re subject to their own groupthink, one of the most pernicious being that they’re the only true representatives of the Canadian public at large.

            Shareholders care about making money. Media conglomerates make money by selling their product (subscriptions and eyeballs to view advertising) to the public. If they offend the public, they lose money and the shareholders get upset.

          • Read your last sentence. Now, consider that sentence in the context of this statement: The Truth Hurts.

          • 1) Not true. Ever heard of arms length funding? That’s how the Arts are funded in Canada. Peer committees and the like. All it takes is some creativity on how to set up organizations.

            2) The public have almost zero influence on how private corporate media decisions are made. Also the cable companies have almost monopoly status in the market. Market choice is not an alternative to democracy.

        • In essence, everything we, as humans can dream up, could be possible. But that does not mean that it therefore SHOULD be as how you would want it.

          There is a difference what CAN be done and what SHOULD be done.

          The argument over abortion is exactly the same; humans have indeed made it possible to perform abortions. I the old days, one would throw the unwanted child over a cliff of some sort. But the fact that safe abortion is now a possibility, does not automatically mean that it SHOULD be done! I don’t want to make this an argument about abortion, but I wanted to illustrate that debates about issues must be clear from the onset; thinking that your argument is valid because it is not IMPOSSIBLE to do something, as in setting up a stable publicly funded CBC, does not mean that it therefore SHOULD be set up. This argument is about SHOULD or SHOULD NOT. That is the talk of public opinion.

    • Yes, private funding does come with strings attached; the strings deciding whether the money donated is being spent well , or not so well.

      The more the private fund giver decides that the contents are good, the private fund giver will continue to give, thinking IT is money well spent!

      And yes, sometimes the truth does hurt! I do not like my private tax dollar to be spent on CBC any longer. I can find sufficient contents most everywhere else.

      CBC must no longer be considered an infrastructure (and Colby referred to that change over time in his article above). CBC is a service! That’s it!

      Hi-ways, roads and gas lines going near and to your house are infrastructure. If there were no roads or gas lines going in to your home (for most!) then we would not be able to live the way all of us live now, regardless of personal income.

      But CBC is a service. It is a fact that without the publicly funded CBC, life would not change; the ones who never used it won’t know the difference, except that government expenses will go down; and those who liked the CBC service when it was publicly funded can keep listening to programs they like paid for by private donations or private memberships, etc, so nothing would have to change to the lives of those people either.

      It is a clear enough fact that Canadians CAN live without CBC services as it is structured. Clearly. There is no longer a REAL NEED for a publicly funded CBC to be in our lives.

      I would like so many other services. And I know I have to pay for those services most of the time. Here at Macleans, for instance, I get a service for free, still. And by ‘free’ I mean free in this case. (ok, if you want to make this an argument about that little bit of help the magazine industry gets, go right ahead, but I think you would be missing the point being made here) Macleans is a privately funded enterprise and I have no money in it whether I read this article or not. But CBC takes my money whether I want to read their webpage, listen to CBC radio or tv, or NOT.

      That is the point here; private people must donate to the CBC whether we want the service or NOT.

  12. “No social or economic arguments against privatization of the CBC are possible.” Well, here’s a try…

    In 2002 – 03 we watched our American neighbours get stampeded into a trumped up war in Iraq while the US corporate media mono-culture stood by — a passive megaphone for Bush Adminstration talking points. With no real debate. With no real examination of options and issues. 4,000 US deaths and staggering trillions of dollars of debt were incurred as result – to no good purpose.

    The lesson: When media fails, democracy fails. And there can be no true democracy without real media ownership diversity.

    Do we really want to bet the future of Canada’s democracy on the idea that getting the facts out to voters in our next crisis will be “good for business”?

    • “The Iraq war happened” doesn’t impress me much as an argument for a state broadcaster. Also, do people know what that second “C” in “CBC” stands for?

      • So he attempts to refute your argument, and in response, you just dismiss his. Nice.

        • His argument is “Countries that have strong public broadcasters like the BBC are safe from fiascos like the Iraq War.” Frankly, it dismissed itself before I got here, but I guess that’s not obvious.

          • :))

      • Many non-profits do incorporate. What’s your point?
        The lack of real discussion seemed to be his, which of course your knee-jerk attitude doesn’t address.
        Is this the kind of hack that Maclean’s is hiring these days?

    • Your recollections of the lead-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq seem markedly divergent from what actually happened. I seem to recall a lot of debate about invading Iraq on media, on the streets, and in government.

      • Yes, plenty of talking head opinionators spewing inane talking points, filling airtime and selling ad slots, while major news organizations aided and abetted the Bush administration’s march to war on what turned out to be faulty premises…
        – failed to question Bush’s central justification for the Iraq war: weapons of mass destruction that turned out not to exist.
        – before the invasion, the NYT published a series of exaggerated WMD stories by reporter Judith Miller on its front page.
        – mainstream outlets largely ignored intrepid reports by Knight-Ridder newspapers that questioned administration’s WMD claims.

        Media snooze, we all lose. One of the great media fails of all time.

  13. Glass houses, Macleans. This kind of petty and mediocre opinionism is precisely why we need the CBC. Hands off.

    • We need to spend $1.2B a year on a public broadcaster because you don’t like Colby Cosh’s personal opinions? Seems like a strange bit of logic.

      • I believe Mayana was referring to Maclean’s and the tendency toward “petty and mediocre opinionism” rather than Colby Cosh’s opinions. This didn’t start with Colby Cosh – I used to read Maclean’s in the 80s and 90s.
        Let’s look at what fat we could cut that will quickly add up to $1.2 billion. It shouldn’t be hard with the backroom deals, expensive upgrades to accommodations and limos waiting at the beck and call of the members of office with a sense of entitlement.

        • Cut whose fat? A privately operated company’s fat?

          It is their problem where private companies want to lather on the fat; if they spend too much on the fat being lathered on but don’t spend the money on the contents of their product, then the fat lathering will come to an end sooner than later.

          People are not forced to buy anything they don’t want. I used to read and pay for Time Magazine for over 20 years, until I decided that the reporting had indeed lost its shine and I no longer wanted to pay for it. Or perhaps it was time to read and pay for some other things in stead. That is the point within this debate: people have the choice. If Macleans, as a private entity, makes the choice to spend too much money on fattening up with expensive limousine rides and $16 glasses of orange juice, then that is their choice. It is the reader’s choice to decide if Macleans is worth reading as a magazine and worth it enough to be paying for it.

          I don’t care what Macleans spends on dishing out the fat to whomever; I am interested in the content of the product they sell.

  14. I can’t watch CBC. Not without subscribing to Rogers or Bell. Also having very limited bandwidth in my area makes it impossible to watch things online. I can only pick up two CTV channels ever since the great digital switch. People in remote areas don’t have options.

    • So the fact that CBC fails at it’s goal of being available everywhere in Canada is a reason to keep it alive? I guess this is the old “if it doesn’t work, throw more money at it” idea?

      • I wasn’t really saying that. I find it interesting that we have to pay taxes for a service that isn’t available everywhere though. It used to be but they used the digital transition as an excuse t tthe ssisisignal in the area. Where we once got cbc, ctv, omni, tvo we now only get ctv. Their excuse was most people live in cities or have cable anyway!

        • Uh.. I’m not sure what happened to my comment. Let’s pretend it was my signal being dropped from the bad service we get here…

    • Ouch. Okay, that really bothers me and something needs to be done on that front. Part of the reason I like the CBC, after all, is that I know (or thought I knew) that it was something all Canadians had access to.

      That you need to subscribe to a private service to get it strikes me as very wrong. May I suggest you write to your MP and explain the situation? I’ll be writing to mine as well.. but being as it’s Obhrai, I doubt I’ll see much come of it. Still.. doesn’t hurt to try right?

      After all, it’s supposed to be our public broadcaster, and if you can’t get it, then yeah, that’s something seriously wrong with it.

  15. The CBC should be wound up the assets sold off, pink slips issued.

    What a waste of taxpayers money, for what?

    The only programming that would be worth anything on the open market is Hockey Night in Canada.

    The rest of it sucks as bad as the LPoC, the once “natural ruling party”.

    What an F”ing joke!

    • Hockey on tv in Canada will be taken over by another network if CBC disappears. Perhaps because CBC does the hockey on tv, it might mean that in fact CBC takes something that other private businesses could to better if CBC was no longer running in the competition for televizing hockey.

  16. Give me the choice of subscribe and pay .Then the CBC and friends can do whatever they want.

  17. CBC should be axed along with the subsidizing of our film/music industry. Tax payers subsidizing inferior media and artificially making a market for it. (CRTC mandated Canadian content?) Let Canadian artists fend for themselves instead of never taking the training wheels off.

    Waste of our tax dollars.

    • Yes, big-money films are much better and financially sustainable. They’re much better at promoting the slash-and-burn American, and possibly far-right wing politics.

      The same ideas usually get perpetuated over and over, marketed toward mainly young consumers who surely have the wisdom to choose what’s best for themselves and the rest of society.

      Forget the fresh voice and experience that CBC has provided for years in music, culture and ideas.

      I’m tired of taxpayers subsidizing big-business, CEOs pocket-books, and a medical system that relies too heavy on mythical, expensive cures, such as for cancer, rather than real prevention – the latter won’t manifest unless doctors are trained in nutrition and real prevention that doesn’t rely so heavily on expensive technology.

      If we look at how effective present systems really are rather than the economic fables we’re presented with we could have real discussions that focus on real solutions – that are partisan.
      Changes in policy with each political party that gets in is one of the biggest wastes of time and taxpayer money.

      • Does Michael Moore make HIS films on public funding?

  18. Each year for weeks on end CBC-TV turns over the English network to the goons and greed of the NHL. So taxpayers subsidize those millionaires and all regular programming (including news at 10pm) is thrown aside. To be really relevant, CBC must abandon pro sports and let the privates cover them. And don’t get me started about Radio 2 (now sounding more and more like any of a half dozen loud music stations).

  19. The problem with CBC is much the same as the problem with the Senate, namely Stephen Harper.

    Stephen Harper stacked the Senate with patronage appointments that have little interest in serving Canada.

    LIkewise, Stephen Harper backed away from an election promise and cut CBC funding. As a result CBC had to limit existing programming, cut back on new Canadian programming, and add those bloody ‘grey power’ insurance commercials.

    CBC is an integral part of Canada and has shaped our identity. CBC is not only worth saving, but needs to be funded so that it can again provide a strong and uniquely Canadian voice.

    • So is the opinion of EverttColdwell. Fair enough.

      I am a Canadian, although I do not have a Canadian flag in the picture beside me, but the picture beside my name does have the maple leaf in it.

      You see, I am half and half. I was not born in Canada and I did not grow up within this country, the country you most likely did grown up in (my assumption and I apologize if that assumption on my part is wrong). I was therefore never exposed, when young, to the ‘typical’ Canadian mindset.

      There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing the growing up in one county or another and being subjected to the mindset of the times.

      But Canada is not a static entity. Nor is any other country a static entity. There is nothing fixed or stationary about Countries other than the frame of time.

      And the only thing constant about time, is that it is always changing; that then is time – the constant present of change!

      As an immigrant, I came to this country because of its many possibilities being available – its space, its young population, its growing diversity – to mention just a few of the reasons why I felt Canada was an attractive option. There were other reasons, as there always are when considering lives on an individual basis.

      But that is my point: Yes, I did enjoy many hours listening to Peter Gzowski, and programs such as Ideas, DNTO, 22 Minutes, Rick Mercer and so forth. And I did learn, mostly from Peter Gzowski, what a wonderful and interesting place this country is! I listened to Peter till the day he died, read his books and so forth, because Peter was not the political type. Peter was Peter, a man muddling through any and all possibilities! That was Peter to a ‘t’; believing that the old and the new are both interesting enough!

      But I don’t find Rick Mercer that funny anymore. I find his rants insulting, to say the least. And yes, DNTO is a fun way to spend a lazy Saturday afternoon, or when driving. But at times, when I still do listen to As It Happens, I am so disgusted by the biased attitude being taken on behalf of CBC’s interviewers, that I simply must turn the radio off and fume about that for a few moments in complete silence! The gall those people have! And CBC’s Ideas used to be one of my most favorite programs, but man, oh, man, the topics under discussion there now are so left leaning, the debate so without any logic attached, that I no longer feel I get much value, if any, out of that sort of shallow insights!
      I now rather pick up a good none fiction book about the meaning of life or the meaning of our universe.

      And see, that is what has been happening; not only has Canada changed, as it should be; CBC has changed also. Their relevance can no longer be measured by what CBC has to say; it must now be measured, in my opinion, by what it does not say. CBC, and its most ardent supporters are not acknowledging the fact that a static Canada does indeed not exist. Canada had grown into something you came to experience when growing up, and Canada, now, must still be given the opportunity to keep growing, finding a way not coming out of a static mindset, but coming out of an open mindset.

      I appreciate the fact that you, as an individual believe that the CBC should remain completely publicly funded. Fair enough. But you then also must understand that if you are given the courtesy of having the rights to having opinions of your own, that others are given the same courtesy and not be dismissed out of hand simply because you think the ‘other’ opinions arguing against the CBC are wrong because only you can have the right opinion.

      I would never want to be proud of a country in which only one kind of opinion is considered the right one. I did not want to live in China when I made the choice to leave the country of my youth behind.

  20. The CBC is the only radio/TV source available across the entire country which has a mandate to represent all Canadian people and to present information on all areas of the country to listeners/viewers. We are already living in a time of regional divisions. We need the CBC as a unifying power which keeps people aware that Canada as a whole is what we are and to feel a connection with all of it in spite of regional differences.

  21. This is a poorly written, myopic and opinionated piece, liberally dosed with inflammatory phrases… perhaps Mr. Cosh knows a bit more about snake oil salesmen than he’d like to admit?

  22. Yes, the CBC could be doing more, if it’s funding had not been so drastically cut back by Mr. Harper. That move was done, to make the CBC fail! It’s easy for people in big cities to scoff at CBC, but the CBC is still a very unifying entity, especially if one is not an insulated umbilical gazing urbanite. The author of this article needs to broaden his outlook, and his sarcastic writing style only diminishes his arguments.

  23. But I suspect the Canadian public still supports the CBC in droves compared to the small amount of popular support Canadians bestow on MacLeans magazine. And I doubt there’s a single MacLeans writer that garners even a tiny fraction of the support & adulation any number of CBC journalists, & radio & TV hosts both local & national, garner, Mansbridge & Ghomeshi being just two of many CBC hosts with both high visibility & huge popularity MacLeans writers could only dream of (i.e. since “Dr. Foth” Fotheringham retired from writing his legendary MacLeans column). By comparison, It’s a good bet 99+% of Canadians have never heard of Colby Cosh, & few of those among the 1% or less who may have heard the name are likely to also be huge supporters/fans.

    It’s pretty evident far more Canadians still greatly value the CBC & CBC journalists/hosts than value MacLeans & its writers. Fotheringham’s sadly defunct column proved it’s possible for a mag like Macleans to have star writers with high popularity among Canadians. Where are they today? I’m guessing Paul Wells is Macleans most popular writer, but he’s no Dr. Foth. Today’s MacLeans has no writer anywhere close to Fotheringham’s talents & popularity. MacLeans is but a ghost of its former self. Or perhaps Cosh’s zombie metaphor would apply – it certainly applies better to MacLeans than to the CBC.

    • The CBC: successful and popular! That’s why it needs such an enormous subsidy! (Scroll down for the “the CBC’s important mandate means it can never be successful and popular, which is why it needs a subsidy” arguments.)

      • This doesn’t really say much. The fact some CBC personalities are well known doesn’t make up for the CBC’s work which is not profitable.

        And really what are you suggesting, that the CBC’s big bucks are poaching all the talent from the private sector? If only the CBC didn’t have Jian Ghomeshi then CTV could?

        Do you think they’d really try?

        • No, a private broadcaster would never try to hire a star away from the CBC. Obviously.

          • Well then why haven’t they succeeded? The CBC’s fat purse?

          • Have a grownup explain Google to you and type in “Stroumoboulopoulos”, champ.

          • You got me there, I’m a big fan of George, and I even follow him on Twitter, but that was news to me. Alas, George on CNN doesn’t really prove much, since CNN ain’t Canadian.

            You keep latching on to single lines of mine as if they’re the foundation of my post (rather than the tail end). Is that how you read posts, or are you trying to punish me for not making my quips at the end based on my core argument?

            Edit: You could say that CNN instead proves the point that if for-profit TV wanted CBC’s talent crop, it could get it. But I won’t say that, because a single cross-pollination is hardly a sufficient sample size.

      • Fish in a barrel. Much of Private media is massively in debt and experiencing huge losses. This has been happening since long before the intertubes because they bought up papers and TV, slashed content and justifiably had readership drop precipitously. Why are investors subsidizing the private media? Because they see a benefit in having their views propagated. Same with the public.



    • And you don’t feel that the level of excellence has gone down at the CBC as well?

      Because that is exactly what I think has happened: CBC is now mainly a left wing propaganda machine. Any other leanings are almost always immediately mocked by CBC reporters or believers in CBC.

      If one does not like the CBC then one must automatically be stupid enough to like Sun News, and so the reasoning goes. Perhaps it is time for you to leave your prejudices out of the debate and try to at least understand why others are not so much in favour of a publicly sponsored CBC. Many fat cats hanging out at CBC headquarters who would not want you to know how YOUR money is being spent by THEM.

      And it is those CBC fat cats in the head office who do not want you to have a look at what they are spending on themselves because they say you have no rights in that regard!

      • Maybe Harper raised the limit in C-461 because not enough of them make enough money for it to be politically useful information?

        Just joking, but it’s a funny prospect :)

  24. The decision to drop Postmedia’s ads, as well as all of the CBCs profit-oriented decisions, are precisely the fault of attacking the CBC for not being profitable. The returns we should be expecting from the CBC are not in dollars but in creating a wide variety of quality content. The goal of the CBC was not, and shouldn’t be now, to profit.

    So, in a sense it was a mistake, but the mistake was initially caving to the idea that direct profit is the only metric by which the CBC’s performance can be measured. (Especially foolish when the goal is to give access freely.) It’s also ridiculous to blame the CBC as a concept because the CBC as an organism in the present can’t justify its own existence as a competitor (to your, I suspect, rather steep standards) when it has only done what people have asked: to try and be competitive!

    If the media universe of today is much like media when the CBC was created, how could you possibly argue that it has no valuable goals now, unless you also felt it had no value then? The content creation problem hasn’t been solved, merely delivery. And with the profit-oriented media industry still in massive flux, you can hardly argue that the creation of varied and quality Canadian content can safely be handed over to the for-profit industries starting tomorrow. If anything, most of the industry is still completely risk-averse, preferring to generate pablum like US reality TV clones. How in the world can you say that there’s no role for a CBC charged specifically with ignoring the sanctity of profit and taking risks?

    You also point out that the CBC can still chose to provide advertisement free content for children. You don’t say why this is no longer necessary or valuable except to say that they’re no longer in front of screens. (Sure, maybe not CRTs but I’m dubious they’re not watching TV of some sort.)

    And spare me the forced transfer of wealth crap. The CBC is hardly unique in that. Lots of people are forced to pay for things they don’t like or care about. The fact you consider it smarm isn’t any more compelling than the fact I don’t.

    • “I agree that it’s a forced transfer of wealth, but it’s an awesome one that I like.”

      • This is beneath you. You do nothing here but try to diminish my entire response to THAT, when the entire point of including the last paragraph is that government is all about forced transfers of wealth?

        Be it roads, schools, the police or the arts, we are all subject to taxation even if we do not derive direct benefit from, or even morally approve of, all the ways it is spent. We expect pacifists to fund the military and armed police, we expect religious people to fund medical procedures like abortion. My entire point was that the fact YOU don’t like it is as much a non-issue as the fact that I do.

        If you do not approve of taxation for public services in any case, say so, and save us from having to read weak arguments like the above article.

        • Oh, I see the problem. You don’t understand what a public good is. There is, in principle anyway, some benefit from the existence of roads to people who don’t drive on them; there is benefit from the existence of the military to people who don’t join. What’s the benefit to me from you enjoying the CBC? I’ll wait here while you figure it out.

          • Have you ever considered that you see a lot of ad hominem here because you yourself breed that sort of environment?

            I do understand what a public good is. I believe the CBC, BBC and similar projects ARE public good. (More on this below.) My point was that the nature of what is or is not a public good is subjective. A road is not a public good if you’re a hardcore primitivist. Armed forces are not a public good to a pacifist. I wasn’t bringing up “no good to me” examples, like youth sports programs for people who don’t care for sports and don’t have kids, but cases where the “benefit” is anathema to a portion of the “forced wealth transfer” base.

            I don’t support the CBC because I am a huge fanboy of their content. I find a lot of it freakin’ boring. I usually actively dislike jazz. Most classical (etc.) music bores me. I am incredibly picky about folk and country. I don’t like radio plays. It is not and never was about whether I am a fan of everything the CBC does, no matter how many times you snidely insist it is. I support the CBC because it is, or should be, a broadcaster and creator of a variety of quality content which does not dismiss projects or avenues as unprofitable, or unpopular, because it must pursue a profit motive. You want it to live paycheque-to-paycheque, with all the associated anxieties that creates, when It should be free to experiment and take risks at presenting a multitude of aspects of Canadian life and society without worrying about whether they’re going to have to fire a bunch of their staff if a project is a success only to critics..

            And the fact is that this “public good” shit is up for negotiation. You don’t get to unilaterally declare the CBC’s not a public good (and suggest that unlike all the other controversial programs funded by taxation, this is an egregious forced wealth transfer); it’s decided through consensus. The way to change consensus is to argue that no public good comes of the service, and you’ve failing at that (not that it seems you really tried).

          • Oh, I’m sorry, we forgot that the world revolves around you.

            So it’s our job to make sure every tax dollar and every public good benefits everyone equally? That is not possible. One wonders how you got this job if you don’t understand the simple fact that there are necessary contradictions in running a nation state. It’s you who needs to figure things out.

            The public good of a public broadcaster? Such an easy question, it’s laughable. Democracy benefits from a plurality of voices and opinions. Since the massive commercial concentration of private media has reduced the number and scope of ideas and opinions in the information marketplace, the CBC’s independent voice keeps the media from tilting too far. This leads to a better informed public and a more egalitarian society. All things you hate, no doubt.

            The most ridiculous thing is that you fail to point out that your private media is massively subsidized by investors because they know that controlling the media they can control the debate and get business friendly laws passed. They obviously see a value to subsidizing information in their favour and so do workers and citizens.

            In fact, the CBC is needed now, more than ever considering we have by far the most concentrated media in the G8. What we really need is media reform. Where is that story in your perfect “free market” and yet somehow also monopolized media?

  25. How many of the Aboriginal nations do the private organizations service in their own languages? Much of the content on the two main English language TV networks is American. Very little on the CBC is foreign made. CBC content is refreshingly Canadian. Let them produce an equal amount of Canadian content before they complain. The privates only service the major markets.The rest are ignored. “Me thinks thou dost complain too much.”

  26. I absolutely love CBC. I don’t have time for slanted news so this is my favorite place to be. It’s on all the time I’m home.

  27. Yes according to your article the CBC should be closed lock, stock and barrel and the taxpayers should not be subsidising any broadcasters like Rogers etc. in any way shape or form.
    And what about those illustrious people in the supposedly private industry like the National Post’s Andrew Coyne , who show up on the CBC and get paid like big bucks.
    Case closed so let’s get on with it.

    • Yes I fully agree with the first part of your statement. CBC uses taxpayers money to hand out to freelance journalists and commenters to buy their loyalty. Has Andrew Coyne ever uttered one word criticizing the CBC?

  28. Support the CBC

    • Best comment on the page.

      • The language of seals, and you like that the best? Interesting!

        Support Harper. See, now you can call me a seal too.

  29. You are right on Colby. CBC is a left wing propaganda machine that of course the left wing love.

    • Odd then for a supposedly left-wing media bastion to make a star out of Kevin O’Leary, a “greed-is-good” (he actually uses this phrase sometimes, & means it when he says it), uncompromising right wing, deregulation, lower taxes capitalist to the max., if there ever was one. CBC has given O’Leary not one, but two shows to co-star in. Even odder is anti-gov’t O’Leary (O’Leary loves to repeat a Reagan line that goes something like: “The most frightening sentence in the English language is ‘I’m from the gov’t & I’m here to help you.’ ” ) in allowing himself to be employed by the public broadcaster whose subsidies his philosophy surely would say he opposes! Or how about right-wing hockey+ social commentator Don Cherry’s long CBC career? Those two CBC stalwarts are spewers of right wing propaganda. By contrast, I don’t see right wing propaganda machine Sun TV giving a show to left-wing columnists Linda McQuaig, or Thomas Walkom, or anyone like them.

      • I really friggin’ hate O’Leary.

      • So CBC deems to have a couple of people on the right and they are then presently balanced views???

        • Rex Murphy, & Andrew Coyne, to name two more CBC regulars that come to mind immediately that are on the right.

          As an example, note CBC’s weekly “At Issue” political panel, CBC advertises as “the most watched political panel in Canada”. Two of three appear to lean right (though thankfully, neither are partisan shills) Andrew Coyne & Bruce Anderson. And the third ,Chantal Hebert, though she writes for The Star, hardly seems a left winger. She’s just an insightful political analyst.

          The prior version of the panel had Alan Gregg instead of Anderson. Gregg had been a prominent Progressive Conservative & primary pollster for Mulroney’s gov’t. Again, 2 of 3 leaned right.

          Or the CBC’ s “Insiders” panel has insights of backroom political operatives from all 3 of the main political parties. Seems pretty balanced. The claim CBC is a bastion of left bias is much more a myth than it is reality. Where’s your evidence to the contrary?

  30. “It was there for remote communities in need of news and economic
    information; there to cultivate the artistic pastimes of the elite in a
    pan-Canadian accent”. So, have the remote communities disappeared then? Have Canadians no more need of media that reflects what Canada is? If we get rid of the CBC, we end up with regionalism up the whazoo. What Canada is as a country becomes mindless American entertainment thanks to CTV and Global and all the American networks competing for our attention. We no longer have a complete sense of Canada as one nation with a multitude of cultural differences. Stephen Harper wants to get rid of the CBC for one reason – he can’t control it’s message. And with Harper, it’s all about control. Shame on you, MacLeans for taking Harper’s side. Since when did you become Harper cronies?

    • First we should get past the illusion that anything in Canada could ever be pan-Canadian. There is French and English.
      The elite say one thing in English and another in French.

      Pan-Canadian ended about the time when (TCA) Trans Canada Airlines was changed into “Air Canada” – I knew then and there that my heritage was being destroyed.

      • No, sweetie, “Trans Canada” was changed because it became an international carrier, not just ‘trans-Canada’. It updated to reflecct the new reaity. Just as Canadian Pacific Airlines eventually ended up being Canadian International. You better stick to something you actualy know about.

        • I knew that someone was screwing with my heritage when they changed Trans Canada Airlines to a French version of the name instead of Canada Air or Canada Airlines. I disliked it then and I don’t like it now.
          – Philippine Airlines is not known as Air Philippine nor is American Airlines know as Airline American. I was not very old when the change happened but I still remember as a child feeling robbed and I don’t need someone who thinks they are clever calling me names “sweetie”. Name calling lowers the value of what you say. I do however agree with your statement; Stick to something you know about. I am a Canadian and I prefer seeing CANADA first. The only place we really need bilingualism is Quebec and there they have pretty much banned English.

  31. The argument for the CBC is identical to the argument Sir Humphrey Appleby made about “the arts”: to roughly paraphrase, it’s not about what people want, it’s about what they ought to have. Trying to privatize it might make economic sense but it would be political suicide.

  32. I am someone who watches the CBC just to see who their favorite flavor of the week is or who will the be the one put on the chopping block this time. The CBC does not do Canadians any favors by trying to impress app-on us their beliefs. I do wish they would go private, and not pass themselves off as speaking for all of us. We are not all Liberals in this country, this is why we need to have the Sun broadcasting as well. There are some out there who need to think for themselves.

    • In Canada, we spell them “flavour”, “favour”. You have been reading too many American novels and, I take it, prefer to slum with the ranters of the Americanized horror shows Sun media.

  33. Of course Rogers is against the CBC – that’s your competition. Get serious and you’ll be taken seriously.

  34. The CBC is very good; it could be better. Governments should leave it alone to do what it does and make sure it is well funded.

  35. Even in a relatively large market like Vancouver, CBC is the only radio channel that I can stand listening to. As for TV, from Canada I enjoy CBC and The Knowledge Network and from the US, PBR and PBS. The remainder is just a hundred channels of shit.

    Is that worth my tax dollars? Currently, for me the answer is a resounding yes.

    • My viewing/listening habits are exactly the same, though am far from Vancouver.
      Hope your Knowledge Network membership is up to date!

  36. Such conservative codswollap is why I stopped subscribing to MacLean’s.

  37. Given the content duplicated across the many forms of media, I think a more appropriate topic would be “Why journalists and reporters have outlived their usefulness”

  38. Yep lets get rid of public broadcasting so we can have more right wing bs over their failed economic model. Its not enough the right wing can buy papers like Macleans and turn them into right wing propaganda machines, have crooks like Black establish right wing papers like National Post, create the stupidity of Sun media. No the right wingers now want to eliminate anything that disagrees or even questions the party line. For all its failings the CBC gives a more honest presentation of the world than business owned propaganda machines used to propagate their own interests.

    • The Toronto Star has a right to exist, right? And the Globe&Mail, I suppose!

      So, what do you think about the fat cats at CBC’s head office using our money as they see fit without wanting to open any of their financial books to Canadians?

      You think the fat cats at CBC should hide how they spend OUR money?

      Don’t be shy to tell us how you think about people using public money!

      • Fat cats? Do they really compare to the fat cats that own and run the rest of the most concentrated media in the G8? That’s Canada in case the author failed to mention it.

        The fat cats that own this magazine see fit to make sure only their viewpoint gets across. We have the most concentrated media in the G8 by leaps and bounds! You either believe that a plurality of voices is important in democracy or you don’t. If you don’t then by all means, lets let the last independent voice get swallowed up by one of the five companies that control 99% of newspapers and over 81.4% of television media.

        These stunning facts are completely missing from this article. Does that possibly make you doubt the sincerity or competence of this author? I, for one am happy to pay the CBC to do it’s job. Better than this waste of space.

    • Macleans right wing? I cancelled my subscription because it was taken over leftists. CBC gives honest presentations and the economic model of the conservative failed? It just shows how skewed your world view is, maybe you would prefer the economic model of Cuba and Venezuela? Muzzle dissenting opinion is a leftist habit.

  39. WHAT OTHER WAY! TELL US ABOUT THE OTHER WAY! – Sorry, just watching Game of Thrones

  40. On a half serious note (to respond to some comments below), is the BBC really the model we want the CBC to follow? Have you listened to BBC Radio lately? Or viewed BBC International News Service on the the “Tele” (joke) – not that exciting

    • The BBC is more than just their news. And I see the BBC news website get linked by people on a regular basis. (People I respect, as opposed to cretins, just in case someone wants to try the popularity != good argument.)

      Even if chunks of the BBC are stale lately (or embroiled in molestation scandal), that doesn’t mean the entire model is bad.

      • But you obviously haven’t read the Broadcast Act and the role outlined for the CBC in the Act. And seem to have very little to offer about how to redefine the CBC’s role or the Broadcast Act as a whole

        • You’re right that I haven’t, and I’m speaking in context of how I see the CBC and what I think it should be, which is probably coloured strongly by my time in community radio.

          I acknowledge this is a weak place to stand and I am at least somewhat sheepish.. (Also somewhat ambivalent)

          I will, however, defend myself inasmuch as I have not actually been speaking of how to redefine the CBC, because I haven’t seen it as needing radical redefinition (yes, again, with the admitting to not having read the legal mandate directly). This is not really the right context for me to discuss revitalizing the CBC, as the whole premise here is to defund the CBC, when I consider the value of something like the CBC to be in its ability to provide less popular (and thus less financially viable) content. Since I don’t see PBS as a good next step, my goal here is to refute the article’s assertion.

          • That’s OK, if the CPC wanted to amend/change the Broadcast Act they would;instead, they will go with it till near exhaustion (i.e Gun Registry) and move on to some other huge outrage. – BORING

  41. Also alot of concern about objective news reporting – how much of CBC’s current budget is for reporting news?

    • Excellent point. And how much of CBC’s budget is spent on taking the government to court when the government wants to open the CBC’s books to the public?

      How much money is being spend in the courts by CBC for THAT? I want to know!

      • Well… I wouldn’t be milking that argument too hard right now

      • Correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t the lawsuit be about access to information sources and independence not about salaries?

        I highly doubt the CBC would sue to hide salaries only, and it would be bad to conflate the two.

  42. “The frozen North is on a near-enough-equal footing with downtown Toronto when it comes to digital access.” As someone speaking from the Frozen North…. No… No we have not and I would urge the author to do some research prior to making an assertion of that magnitude.

  43. I resent the $1 billion paid by us taxpayers. It is a complete waste of money. If CBC cannot stand on its own without taxpayers propping it up, it should be put to rest. A loud, very vocal minority of Canadians scream every time the worth of the CBC is questioned but if the people on the street were asked if CBC is worth $1 billion a year, you would hear a lot of dissenting opinions.

  44. I support the CBC, mostly for its news broadcast, covering of public events, awards programs, and the sports coverage. I’ve also grown fond of its website, and the easy-to-access forums.

    Yes, their budget seems high. I wonder how much they spend on foreign productions (meaning ‘American’) to fill up the broadcasting day … this I consider a waste.

    “The public subsidy to the CBC is a forced transfer of wealth from people who don’t like it to people who do” … um, just like every other public expenditure, you fool.

    Keep the CBC. Trim their budget.

    • Their budget has already been trimmed often enough.

  45. but then who will tell us what to think?

  46. I wonder how many full time CBC employees using alias names with all the resources of CBC at their disposal are on this discussion thread bashing Colby Cosh that dared to question the usefulness of CBC and the 1.2 Billion taxpayers money that it gets annually to spend as it sees fit.

    • Tinfoil hat much?

  47. I hate paying taxes to support the Senate and the pigs at the trough in Ottawa, so let’s abolish them too. We all hate paying for something that we don’t use, Colby, but that’s the way it is in the world. We pay EI and most of us don’t use it. We pay CPP when we could probably invest better ourselves.

    Colby Cash, it’s time to leave the last century and get yourself a new haircut. While you’re at it, go on over to England and attack the BBC. Good luck on that one, sport.

    • Personal abuse? Check. Can’t spell four letters in a row without screwing up? Check. Thinks the CBC is a social insurance scheme of some kind? Check.

      • “Personal abuse? Check.” Oh, the irony is just too much.

        • Cannot possibly grasp how “get a haircut” is off-point and not appropriate for a comment thread: check.

          • Note to those whose hobbies involve writing internet manifestos: the above comment is not an invitation to a casuistic meta-discussion about comment policy. Neither is this one.

  48. Oh Winkee and Cosh, you started off sounding sane. Ended by pounding each other in the rain. Points to Cosh for picking on CBCer’s complaint about the Corp carrying ads for private sector websites. If the CBC is to censor ads, it should not be on such self-serving grounds, surely. But Winkee also gets a point on my card when he observes that the “unfair competition ” whine is past its prime. The private-sector media oligopolists serve it at every meal and it just doesn’t improve with age. It was Izzy Asper’s house red. The Peladeaux serve it cut with chlorox.

  49. “The public subsidy to the CBC is a forced transfer of wealth from people who don’t like it to people who do”, I could say the exact same thing about sending Canadian soldiers to fight in foreign wars. I could also say the exact same thing about tax breaks to oil companies – about $1.4 billion to the fossil fuel industry every year. You can put me in the “don’t like” column for those two. Everyone pays for something they don’t like, it’s the price of living in an open and just society.

    Funny though, when our Conservative PM really wants or needs to get his message out to Canadians with at least some credibility he always runs to the CBC for a one-on-one Q&A with Peter Mansbridge. Certainly haven’t seen anything like that on Sun TV.

  50. The CBC, like all government agencies, should have a sunset clause on its existence. That being said, it should do a ZBB – zero based budget….
    But to report to whom?
    – hacks and elected officials with their own agenda?
    Community groups? Lobbyists?
    How about the tax payer?
    We could elect to fund – or not fund – the CBC when doing our taxes.
    I for one, would allocate funds there and remove them from elsewhere.

    PS it is the unfunded pensions that worry me.

  51. The article simply makes no sense. Argument 1: CBC was created for ‘aesthetic’ reasons. Huh? Then a paragraph is spent showing that that is the least appropriate word.

    The reasons for KEEPING CBC have NOTHING to do with history. Canada has the most monopolistic media in the industrial world. Go to New Brunswick, where Rogers is a grim shadow of programming with virtually no budget and no brains (I know NUMEROUS people who have worked for it and fled from them, and its not even the corporations fault as much as local union members whose conduct you would not believe if I wrote about it).

    They do NO investigative reporting, and TV shows are repeating thousands of times, six times a day. The ONLY other option is Irving. A company that makes Rogers look like a niche marketer. They are active in virtually every aspect of the economy and newspapers there rarely even mention a business story.

    The CBC is ‘not much better’, but at least its SOME better, certainly enough to justify its relatively meagre cost.

    Only in Canada would this argument even be taken seriously coming from a giant corporation that not only controls the media itself, but the MEDIUM that it travels through. To state that ‘you don’t have to read it’ is as ‘diffuse’ as saying ‘you don’t have to vote for it’ when talking about voting differently because of media policies. The problem is NOT personal liberties, it is the fact that so many WON”T stop listening, which will affect how they view the world, which will be based on that corporation’s wishes.

    CBC should be PUBLIC. Salaries should be disclosed, thats a given. I don’t listen to ‘The Current’ to hear Anna maria Tremonte, but to hear the stories, most of which are done as well content wise with junior subs. Management should also be composed of public representatives, not a massive shadowy bureaucracy. They should be FAR more ‘left wing’, because its idiotic to call ‘left wing’ the liberal party. ‘Left’ means grassroots, and CBC is doing an increasingly poor job with that, which means at some point they will be beyond defending and the cry will be ‘we need a PUBLIC broadcaster’.