82

Apocalypse now

The CBC and National Post? Andrew Coyne tries to figure out the implications of this bizarre marriage.


 

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the National Post today announced an agreement which will allow both organizations to share content across their respective media platforms. The agreement is effective immediately.

CBC.ca will run daily financial stories and podcasts from the Financial Post in CBC’s online Money section, and The National Post will run daily sports stories in the sports section of nationalpost.com and periodically in the sports section of the newspaper. Financial terms were not disclosed.

No, this is not April Fool’s. I don’t quite know what to make of this, it’s so bizarre. I don’t mean it’s a bad idea. It’s just … bizarre. And I have a feeling this is just the beginning.

There are two ways of looking at this. One, the National Post, a private newspaper, is now partially funded by the taxpayer.

Two, the CBC has just been partially privatized.

Either way, the implications are profound. Will the Post have to troop off to CRTC hearings to explain why it is not featuring more aboriginal women in its sports coverage? Should the CBC’s public subsidy be reduced proportionately in line with the amount of privately-funded content it runs?

Plus the CBC is a union shop, while the Post is not. Isn’t this a way to do an end run around union contracts? What if the corp goes on strike? Does this put the CBC in the position of running scab copy?

A little while ago I warned of the consequences of broadcasters and newspapers getting into bed together. But I’d no idea it would come to this

UPDATE: But of course, this is the real news.


 
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Apocalypse now

  1. I wonder exactly where the idea came from, who directed it and told the CBC brass that this was what's going to happen? Can we expect Jonathan gag Kay muscling in on the At issues panel? Maybe have Kelly McParland have his car break down and needing assistance on the next episode of Little Mosque on the Prairie…

  2. … oh, and as a canwest product, let there be no mistake how much the NaPo's survival depends upon government $. Lots and lots of government $.

  3. How strange that this worries you so. To my mind the thing that is really bizarre, and really dangerous, is that we would have a publicly funded broadcaster that was not only able to report news but was able to play a hugely influential role in the way news is reported in this country. Yes, it has been going on for decades, but, really, if you want to worry about a situation that is just rife with ethical problems and creates conflicts of interest left, right and centre that's it.

  4. How strange that this worries you so. To my mind the thing that is really bizarre, and really dangerous, is that we would have a publicly funded broadcaster that was not only able to report news but was able to play a hugely influential role in the way news is reported in this country. Yes, it has been going on for decades, but, really, if you want to worry about a situation that is just rife with ethical problems and creates conflicts of interest left, right and centre that's it.

    I'll grant you, there is something troubling about this new deal but after decades of this much larger problem it's a little strange. And there is a simple solution, legilslate the CBC out of the news business. They never should have been in it in the first place.

    • Yes, they stand between us and the corpocracy after all.. how dare they!

    • But how else would the Liberals get all the free cheerleading?

  5. Maybe not quite the same thing, but haven't CBC and TSN done some content sharing in the past? (curling, maybe?)

    Also, I remember that failed Idol rip-off show hosted by George Strombo was a co-production with an American network.

    I only mention these to muse if this isn't the first time the CBC has gone a bit 'private,' and that private enterprises haven't partly benefitted from a taxpayer corporation.

  6. This could get confusing for some of the commenters here. If cbc.ca and nationalpost.com really get into this content-swapping tryst, how will people know whether to cheer or boo news coverage from one of these websites?

    • "… how will people know whether to cheer or boo news coverage from one of these websites?"

      Easy, we'll look to see whether the coverage continues to be biased or not, and boo or cheer accordingly.

    • How will people know whether to cheer or boo news coverage from one of these websites?

      By what the logo looks like?

  7. Of all media – the wacky National Post who use bloggers that are extremely partisan as journalists?

    Hmmm….Harper appoints a long, faithful conservative to head the CBC – uh, huh.

    • Of course! the C in CBC stands for Conservative…..that sneaky Harper

  8. You've missed another implication. This will push the CBC further to the right. The financial stories in the FP are rightwing and political in most cases. The opposite won't occur to the FP though, since they're only picking up sports stories. Leftwing media is almost gone in this country and when the last of it dies, so too will our illusions that we're a democratic nation.

    • "only" picking-up sports stories? Where are your priorities?! This is going to give CBCs Toronto Maple Leafs biased sports coverage even more influence across the country. Who cares if we're not living in a democracy!

    • So left wing success and 'democracy" are the same thing? This explains a lot.

      • What I'm saying is that as diversity of opinion disappears our democracy weakens. That is what's happening. Leftwing opinion is being steadily pushed out of he biggest forums in favour of more and more rightwing opinion.

      • What I'm saying is that as diversity of opinion disappears our democracy weakens. That is what's happening. Leftwing opinion is being steadily pushed out of the biggest forums in favour of more and more rightwing opinion.

        • You are mistaking the idea of diversity with the notion that some kinds of opinion have a right to persist forever.

          Once upon a time progressivism and social credit ideas were influential voices in this country. Over time they declined and then vanished. Diversity of voice wasn't hurt a bit. Today the Trudeau vision and red tory vision of Canada are rapidly declining and will (probably) be gone within fifteen to twenty years. None of these ways of thinking have a right to exist and if they can't persuade Canadians to listen anymore, into the dustbin of history they go.

        • You are mistaking the idea of diversity with the notion that some kinds of opinion have a right to persist forever.

          Once upon a time progressivism and social credit ideas were influential voices in this country. Over time they declined and then vanished. Diversity of voice wasn't hurt a bit. Today the Trudeau vision and red tory vision of Canada are rapidly declining and will (probably) be gone within fifteen to twenty years. None of these ways of thinking have a right to exist and if their adhgerents can't persuade Canadians to listen anymore, into the dustbin of history they go.

        • You are mistaking the idea of diversity with the notion that some kinds of opinion have a right to persist forever.

          Once upon a time progressivism and social credit ideas were influential voices in this country. Over time they declined and then vanished. Diversity of voice wasn't hurt a bit. Today the Trudeau vision and red tory vision of Canada are rapidly declining and will (probably) be gone within fifteen to twenty years. None of these ways of thinking have a right to exist and if their adherents can't persuade Canadians to listen anymore, into the dustbin of history they go.

          • Boy, Jules, you're being a tad delusional there… must have drank a bit more of the Reformatory Kool_Aid then normal this AM.

            Canada is a traditional "liberal" values nation, and I doubt either idea or concept is going to disappear any time soon. It may go into the background a bit, but everything goes in cycles.. and in a nation like Canada.. I'm more willing to bet the hard-right wing lines of Stephen Harper and his version of Conservatism are the ones that will soon fade back – held by rural areas and fortress Alberta.

          • Aren't you being a little quick identify liberalism with the Trudeau vision? Trudeau pushed a particular kind of liberalism and currently the Trudeauites can't even be sure of prevailing in their own party.

            As to traditional liberal values (is there some reason you needed to put that in scare quotes?) why certainly but every single party currently upholds liberal values in that broader sense.

          • "Today the Trudeau vision and red tory vision of Canada are rapidly declining and will (probably) be gone within fifteen to twenty years."

            Thank you, Ms. Cleo.

          • You are mistaking the idea of diversity with the notion that some kinds of opinion have a right to persist forever.

            That's not the case. There exists all manner of opinions that aren't past their due date but have simply been shut out of the large forums that drive our discourse. The tax debate is a perfect example. If you only follow theses forums, as most people only have time to do, you'd never know that there are lots of people out there who actually don't think paying taxes is the greatest evil to ever plague mankind. Simply put, the tax debate has been completely hijacked by one side and this has created an environment where it's not even permissible for a politician to muse about the necessity to raise taxes; even to counter a massive deficit. We've lost the diversity of opinion on this issue–and it's not the only one–and our democracy has been weakened because of it.

          • On this point I agree with you completely. In fact, it's 10x worse in the US. The Americans will HAVE to raise taxes but no politician is even allowed to talk about it.

            To be fair on the tax debate, the left side constantly advocates for raising corporate taxes but not small business or personal as though corporate taxes don't have an impact on jobs and prices. The right acts like all tax any tax no matter what is evil. Neither of these positions are helpful.

    • "Leftwing media is almost gone in this country and when the last of it dies, so too will our illusions that we're a democratic nation."

      Or it could mean that left-wing are not inclined to buy lefty news, just like the right does not support con media.

      I don't know what these means for the two orgs but I do know that Nat Post can use all the help it can get. Other than A section, paper is dire.

    • right on and so sad – another manipulation by the skilfull conservative Mr. Harper

    • Yes with these extreme right wing media talk shows we all know a few of those blow bags our democracey was badly damaged and now with the cbc changes its very close too gone.it seems the extreme right is trying aful hard to push there ideals lately is it because of all the coporate failures and corruption and bail outs and some form of socialism had too come too there rescue theres nothing wrong with free markets private bussinesses ect but theres also a place for a good public systym roads medicare army social justice somthings just cant be done properley privately theres a place and time for everything theres benifits on the right and on the left and hopefuly we can meet somewhere in the middle hope for balance and harmony in this great country

  9. Allegations of partisan politics seem to plague most news reporting. While I'm sure there are some who would disagree, I find the CBC to be pretty good at providing both sides of the issues.
    On the other hand, I find the NP to be pretty much in the "right" camp.

    Is it just me, or is this a wee bit frightening?
    I like having a publicly funded broadcaster who has a both a responsibility and a self preserving interest in balanced reporting.
    Budget cuts, and now, this. Is the CBC gettinng squeezed? Is this good for Canada? Should we be getting our pitchforks and torches out of the garden shed?

  10. Allegations of partisan politics seem to plague most news reporting. While I'm sure there are some who would disagree, I find the CBC to be pretty good at providing both sides of the issues.
    On the other hand, I find the NP to be weighing down the "right" side of the scale.

    Is it just me, or is this a wee bit frightening?
    I like having a publicly funded broadcaster who has a both a responsibility and a self preserving interest in balanced reporting.
    Budget cuts, and now, this. Is the CBC gettinng squeezed? Is this good for Canada? Should we be getting our pitchforks and torches out of the garden shed?

    • "… a publicly funded broadcaster who has … a self preserving interest in balanced reporting. "

      I think that'a contradiction in terms.

      "While I'm sure there are some who would disagree, I find the CBC to be pretty good at providing both sides of the issues. "

      Even the CBC's own ombusdman disagrees with you on this.

    • "… a publicly funded broadcaster who has … a self preserving interest in balanced reporting. "

      I think that's a contradiction in terms.

      "While I'm sure there are some who would disagree, I find the CBC to be pretty good at providing both sides of the issues. "

      Even the CBC's own ombudsman disagrees with you on this.

    • "… a publicly funded broadcaster who has … a self preserving interest in balanced reporting. "

      I think that's a contradiction in terms.

      "While I'm sure there are some who would disagree, I find the CBC to be pretty good at providing both sides of the issues. "

      Even the CBC's own ombusdman disagrees with you on this.

    • we tried 10 years ago but the crtc is rather useless today regarding mergers……..yeah, we should be screaming loudly but the fact is we are gutless to do anything about the Big C – and he knows it so he keeps pushing and pushing, disassembling cananda as we once knew it with our priveledges one wee bit at a time. It started with Mr. mulrooney and the big C……..and now global priority interests and big corporations all have a squeeze on us.

    • ITS GETTING REALLY FRIGHTNING MOST THE NEWSPAPERS RADIO TALK SHOWS TV NEWS ECT IS EXTREMELY RIGHT WING THE ARE BOUGHT AND PAYD FOR BY THE CORPORITE ELITE .BECAUSE THERE PRIVATE THEY CLAIM THEY CAN BE RIGHT WING BIASED THERE SOLE PURPOSE IS TOO PROMOTE AND PROP UP THE EXTREME RIGHT BUT THE GET GOVT HANDOUTS PLUS OUR ADVERTISEMENT DOLLARS . AND BAILOUTS .IVE ALWAYS FOUND THE CBC VERY FAIR VERY FAIR AND UNBIASED MAYBE SLIGHTLY RIGHT BUT THEYLL TYE INTO ALL PARTYS WHEN INTERVEIWING .NOW WITH THE NEW CBC GOING MUCH MORE TOO THE RIGHT WHOES THERE TOO SPEAK FOR THE OTHER THREE POLITICAL PARTIES THIS IS VERY DISTURBING AND MUCH LIKE WHAT HAPPENED IN GERMANY DURING HITTLERS REIGN OF TERROR OR IN COMMUNIST RUSSIA WAKE UP PEOPLE WHAT WILL HAPPEN WHEN HARPER FORMS HIS NEW MAJORITY GOVERMENT WHICH I THINK HE WILL .AND CANADIANS WERE MAD ABOUT THE COALAITION COME ON . WEVE BEEN BRAINWASHED BIG TIME BY THE PRIVATE MEDIA THE CBC WAS THE ONLY TV AND RADIO THAT WAS LEFT UNBIASED ALTHOUGH SOME TIMES CONTERVERSIAL . THERE NOTHING LEFT TOO GIVE US UNBIASED INFORMATION AND I THINK CBC IS GOING TOO BECOME PRIVATIZED OR HASTLY BECOME JUST ANOTHER TOOL FOR THE EXTREME RIGHT WHILE IM NOT AGAINST THE RIGHT OR LEFT OR MIDDLE .

  11. Geez, how bad a shape must Canwest Global be in for the Canwest news publishing division to avoid "doing a deal" with a network it already owns??!?

    As for the apocalypse, Coyne is bang on. Good heavens, what might be next? Perhaps some bigshot editor of Maclean's might get a regular weekly gig on a CBC News program like The National or something. Oh, wait…

    Now, off to read about that TD Canada Trust product placement story.

  12. Like most of you, I blame Alex Trebek.

    • Ever since he lost the mustache, our democracy has been hurting…

  13. …the National Post, a private newspaper, is now partially funded by the taxpayer…. Will the Post have to troop off to CRTC hearings to explain why it is not featuring more aboriginal women in its sports coverage?

    You tell us, Andrew. Isn't Macleans partially funded by taxpayers?

    • Explains the constant attack on the Libs………funding

  14. The Globe and Maill CTV merger left CBC isolated.
    With the Globe/CTV pro Harper coverage, during and post Duffy, will the Liberals catch a break from the new outfit?
    Do the Aspers still own the Post? There's history there.
    And finally, Can we shed a tear for Conrad today?

    • Didn't that merger actually, more accurately, leave the National Post isolated? Isn't the Post kinda in trouble these days?

      On that note, I thought the NP was already getting taxpayer subsidies of one sort or another. Am I wrong about that?

      When Mr. Coyne wrote about the NP "now being partially funded by taxpayers" my first thought was "weren't they ALREADY being partially funded by taxpayers???" I fully admit that I could be 100% wrong on that point though. Any clarification from anyone?

      • I don't know if CanWest or the NP receive government subsidies but they are certainly dependent on the government inasmuch as they are dependent on advertising revenue. Major media outlets like CanWest have received millions of dollars in government advertising money in the last two years thanks to the Economic Action! Plan and other government communication campaigns.

        I believe the federal government now spends more on advertising than ever before, or at least since the Charlottetown Accord period (I wish a journalist would look into that). A cynic might conclude that this advertising is really the bailout CanWest and Quebecor were seeking a few months ago, as well as self-serving government propaganda.

    • The Asper's history with the Liberals ended with Izzy. All you need to know about the next generation's politics is that the current federal government is thorwing a huge pile of $ at their pet project — the $100 million Canadian Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg. And the director they just hired is former Manitoba PC leader Stuart Murray.

      • You're right.

  15. You're reading too much into this. They're just swapping finance and sports feeds, saving money on both sides, and filling some web content in the process. I wouldn't read anything more than that in this story.

    Besides, most of the Canwest news division will most likely be bought out as part of their debt consolidation process. In fact, the G&M is reporting that Godfrey (current Natpost CEO) may be heading a private equity backed group that will take over these papers.

  16. The blind leading the blind.

  17. Wait until you see their new combined logo!

    It's a big C, with a maple leaf in the middle…

    • Mainly blue, of course.

    • my chuckel for today – bang on!!

    • They had better watch out for VANOC. They're really big on going after Olympic trademark infrigers.

  18. I predict either absorption of the National Post into the CBC's left-wing world view, or that there will be an ideological flame out in about a year or two in which the CBC and the National Post break apart.

    • You know, I keep hearing about the CBC being so very left wing about things. Could somebody provide evidence to support that assertion?

      • Um, the number of former employees who have run as NDP candidates, for example ? Just a thought.

        • Like Ron Collister and Peter Kent and the sibling Scud Stud ?

      • Their obudsman's report from last year?

          • Yes. Page 6, first paragraph sums it up nicely.

          • Yes. Page 6, first paragraph sums it up nicely.

            Apparently he's also made similar observations about Newsworld but I've never seen that report.

          • Yes. Page 6, first paragraph sums it up nicely.

            Apparently he's also made similar observations about Newsworld but I've never seen that report.

            The incident in which they were caught feeding questions to Liberal MP's was another clear indicator of bias.

          • Yes. Page 6, first paragraph sums it up nicely.

            Apparently he's also made similar observations about Newsworld but I've never seen that report.

            The incident in which a CBC reporter was caught feeding questions to Liberal MP's was another clear indicator of bias, although to be fair they (the CBC) took action against it.

          • Also, there was the Newsworld one involving Niel MacDonald's Palin reports, if I recall, and something to do with Mansbridge referencing "reports" that were in fact MacDonald's own. (I don't have time to look it up right now!).

            I'm not sure that paints a picture of a corporation with a raging left bias, given that there's mechanisms to address complaints of such things. But that said, I've never much liked the platform they give Malick (it's not like there's a paucity of opinionated bloggers out there).

            I just prefer precision over blanket claims. I have a lot of trouble with the quality of their news these days, but my sense has generally been that they lean toward boring centrism, for the most part.

      • Internal polling in 2006 had 92% of CBC Ottawa employees with voter intentions not allied with the Conservative party. I guess the rest were on paid sabbaticals and union renewal brainwashing retreats.

  19. I think I'll look for an analysis on this from someone who actually understands media. And that ain't Andrew Coyne, that's for sure.

    It's a bad idea, in any case. What the idiots in charge of media see as rejuvenation through "synergies" the rest of us see as yet another manifestation of its decline.

  20. Once the Budget Bill passes and the CBC's borrowing limit is raised nearly 900% I expect the CBC will borrow itself into oblivion.
    I know the National Post is hurting, but this is a strange wagon to attach its horse to.

  21. This is going to be like the fusion of Neo with Agent Smith. Too funny.

  22. The CBC has been like a whipped cur whimpering in the corner ever since the Mulroney Gang
    started snarling at it in the 80's.
    Left wing indeed … like all those flaming radicals on the only political show it has .. At Issue.

  23. I think media influence should be discussed at the next forum – Macleans/Coyne/Wells and guest participants

    The first one was excellent, but I wonder if they'd dare go into that and our lost democracy.

  24. So it looks like the Harper/Giorno gang are heading for a majority. They'll take a serious run at dismantling or selling off the CBC. They'll pack the CRTC with right wing sympathizers.
    Is this a brilliant poison pill move by the CBC to avoid being split up and sold, or a brilliant move by the Post to end up with the CBC assets? Both??

  25. Not too surprising that the financial side of the left wing CBC is being replaced. How many socialists would you take financial advice from?

    Invest in tin foil (makes nice hats) and anything green!

    But they do a bang up job of hockey coverage.

    Now if only the news portion of the CBC could be replaced, the Liberals would actually have to start paying for their propaganda.

  26. infringers. (sigh)

    • infrigers was funnier.

      lol

  27. Where did the comments go? There were 52 of them just a while ago and now they have all disappeared?

    Update: Never mind, they're back. For about fifteen minute sthere they wouldn't show up for me.

    • Thank you, we will look into that issue.

  28. Robert MacLelland: The CBC is right wing, and left wing media is almost gone in this country?

    How far left can you possibly get that the CBC looks right? Enver Hoxha?

  29. " I love the smell of napalm in the morning, it smells like victory"
    Which brings us to the important question of who will be the napalmee, and who will be the napalmer.

  30. Does this mean that Rex Murphy will write the sports column ??

  31. Weird. I hope the people who still think that the Post – owned by the heavily Liberal race hustling Asper family – is "right wing" or "conservative" get the knack here and clue in. They're hideously culturally Marxist and don't even bother concealing their hatred of white/Christian Canadians anymore.

  32. Behind this action is the fact that newspapers, and the media in general, increasingly under financial stress. This results in them not being able to obtain the breadth of coverage that major newspapers used to have. They cannot afford to do do the real investigative journalism that provides meaningful insight. They cannot afford to be controversial because they cannot defend frivolous lawsuites – especially in Canada where if you dare speak of the current international roots of terrorism you get dragged in front of a Human Rights Commission ( We’ve read lots about the unreasonableness and incompetence of those groups in McLeans before) to defend yourself on your own dollar while taxpayers pay the complainants bill.

    All of the foregoing mean that the reader is less informed and that the media, as historically, a key defender of each citizens right to to know, think and express is increasingly being deminished. The search for a new financial and operatiing model is required and I don’t think the traditional media have solved such core issues. Just saying, go to the interent, is too vague to be meaningful to them.

  33. I know this agreement must sound strange to many readers, but I think either of Andrew's "two ways of looking at it" would be overstating the case. The CBC is not being privatized, and the National Post is not receiving taxpayer funding. Nor is this agreement really all that "bizarre" — except when one considers the fact that the National Post not that long ago had an active CBC-bashing campaign. Strange bedfellows, perhaps … or perhaps not.

    For several years at least, many of the stories and photos you find at CBC online have been from Canadian Press, which shares content among numerous other mostly privately owned media outlets, in particular most Canadian newspapers. A couple of years ago, however, Canwest pulled out of Canadian Press, and the word is that Sun Media is preparing to do the same. So this content-sharing agreement between the Post and the CBC seems to reestablish a link in a long-established Canadian media content-sharing chain, a link that was broken when Canwest newspapers left CP.

    What is at stake here is not the nature of the CBC as a publicly owned and controlled media organization, nor whether the National Post might receive backdoor funding from Ottawa, but the role of CP as the main vehicle of content-sharing among large Canadian media organizations. For reasons we can imagine, it may be more palatable — or more feasible — for the National Post to share content with the public broadcaster than with other privately held media organizations (read competitors).

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