What Was Wrong With CBC’s ‘The National’ Friday Night (October 20, 2017)

I continue to get overwhelmingly positive feedback from readers on my media criticism of CBC’s flagship program. However, I did notice some on Twitter dismissing the whole exercise as a waste of time.

My response to these people is apathy begets no change. Also, for those who think “everyone thinks it’s a joke”, the sad reality is the vast majority of Canadians still approve of the CBC (as much as 80%, although admittedly the one poll was commissioned by Friends of Canadian Broadcasting) and want it supported by the government. They’re completely oblivious to the inherent biases permeating throughout the Mother Corp. So complacency and the assumption most Canadians dislike the CBC are both foolish mistakes.

Anyhow, from now on I will try and keep these short and bittersweet so their palatable for a wide audience. I will also be calling on readers to voice their dissatisfaction with the CBC’s coverage in a polite but relentless way so that we can invoke real change at the so-called public broadcaster. More on that at the end of this piece.

On Friday night CBC’s Duncan McCue sat in as the host of CBC’s The National. But first I was bombarded with another one of the Wynne government’s ads in it’s ad bonanza buy in a desperate attempt to dupe Ontarians into thinking they’re doing a good job.

McCue: Canadians struggle to cope with a frightening new reality [chyron (an electronically generated caption) BORN ADDICTED was placed at the bottom of the screen as images of a baby and then heroine being heated up flash across the screen] the smallest victims of the opioid crisis. The saddest town in British Columbia [MOURNING IN FERNIE] Residents mourn the death of three men who died of an ammonia leak at a local arena. The Fortress of Louisbourg fronts a new enemy. [THE NEW ENEMY] Expert: ‘The sea level has risen about a meter since the eighteenth century.’ When Gord Downie died Canadians lost a beloved musician [The Downie Brothers]. Mike and Pat lost a brother. Tom Power of ‘q’ talks to the Downie brothers.

Like I said, CBC likes to talk more about the dead than the living because you don’t have to speak ill of the dead.

I guess the Morneau scandal had suddenly dissipated by Friday according to CBC. Why is the opioid crisissuddenly the lead story? Is this sadly new? A good feature on this is definitely a warranted story, but why is it the lead story? The Fernie story was important to report on, but I’m not sure it deserves to be reported repeatedly on a national news broadcast as a lead story? As cold-hearted as that might sound, do Canadians been to be informed about the details of the funeral and mourning of this tragedy? Of course the CBC loves a good climate change story as much as the Liberal government does. New enemy? And does The National really need to spend more time on remembering Gord Downie? They already spent over 30 minutes of the 45-minute program remembering him on Wednesday.

Here’s the breakdown of the time allotment to each story last night.

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Now the opioid crisis is clearly worth covering. As McCue pointed out, there were 2,816 deaths in Canada last year caused by the drug. And the reason for The National led with this story was data showing 1,846 babies were born with addiction in a recent 12-month time-span throughout the provinces, minus Quebec. My problem is that this story isn’t breaking news, so should be presented later in a news program. But the CBC likes to shock viewers with distractions from the most important news of the day. The report then segued into a 30-second report on the country’s health ministers meeting to discuss ways to deal with the crisis and with the legalization of marijuana.

Next up, The National spent almost three minutes on hearings from the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry. This seems to be a favourite story for The National to cover, as they give several updates weekly. Long unsolved deaths and murders of indigenous women is definitely a tragedy worth some coverage, but the outcomes of the inquiry are already obvious to anyone who knows enough about Canadian indigenous issues. Drug and alcohol addiction on many reserves, caused in large part from former Canadian governments’ abusive treatment of indigenous people, including the government policy of residential schooling, which led to a whole generation of indigenous people being physically, sexually and emotionally abused. On top of this add the racist Indian Act, which treats indigenous people like children instead of equals keeps them segregated on mostly undesirable lands. This has led to abject poverty. All of this, in combination with many band chiefs and their families’ corruption and greedy graft, has led to despair in many of these communities. This results in many indigenous men committing crime and being incarcerated at much higher rates than the general population. It also results in many indigenous women to drug addiction and resorting to making money in the highly dangerous sex trade. These are hard and extremely uncomfortable truths for all Canadians to face. But Canada has already had other inquiries and reparations given to the indigenous community, and I personally think Trudeau cynically decided to do an inquiry into only indigenous women–not the many indigenous men also struggling–because it plays to his brand of him being a feminist, and makes it look like he truly cares about indigenous peoples when he scrapped the   First Nations Financial Transparency Act, despite the former governmnet’s legislation helping to reveal some greedy band chiefs’ families–the ones that had complied to the new legislation at least–were hoarding government reservation money for themselves. Trudeau made a bargain with the devil by promising to scrap the legislation in order to get the corrupt chiefs’–let me be clear, this is not to say all band chiefs are corrupt–support in the last federal election. So as Trudeau helped to re-hide reservations’ finances from scrutiny of the average indigenous band member, ultimately allowing for them to be continued to be taken advantage of, Trudeau threw them and the media a bone in creating yet another inquiry into what we already know the findings will be. The recommendations will then largely be ignored or inadequate and the toxic system many indigenous people live on will stay the same. But CBC has fallen for MMIWG inquiry hook, line and sinker because they like the narrative. Friday’s report only presented criticism of the disastrously managed inquiry from indigenous families saying they weren’t getting enough time to give their testimony. No mention of the people running it quitting and The Native Women’s Association of Canada calling the inquiry a failure were mentioned.

After that report, The National cut to break, but not before letting viewers know they would be reviewing Trudeau’s record on keeping his election promises after the break.

After the break a follow-upreport on “Quebec’s controversial religious neutrality law” looked at both sides of the arguemnt. Of course that meant, including 15 seconds of Trudeau in a construction hat and then bespoke suit, all the experts and vast majority of people interviewed were against Bill-62. Even though the report admitted a recent poll shows a strong majority of Quebeckers support the bill, the only people the reporter could find were a couple country bumpkins from a “farming community” who agreed with it.

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After that, CBC turned to Ontario politics for a brief 25-second segment. No, it wasn’t to report on how Wynne’s government is blowing an additional $4 billion on her government’s Fair Hydro Plan to service the debt in a convoluted accounting scheme that keeps all of the additional billions in debt added by the plan off the so-called balanced budget this year. No, instead they needed to help the historically unpopular Liberal Premiere by reporting on how she is suing her opponent for libel because he said she was standing on trial in the Sudbury byelection bribery case. Although Wynne is not herself standing her trial, two of her aides are, and so her government by extension is sort of on trial for corruption, and she was allegedly involved in offering someone a job to step aside. None of this was made clear of course, only that “Brown has refused to retract and apologize for his statements.” Basically the short clip was out to make Brown look bad, instead of reflecting the far more important reality that the Ontario Premiere is desperate to distract from her horrendous approval ratings and her Fair Hydro Plan scheme. The National was all too happy to oblige her.

The next segment worth mentioning was on Fort Louisbourg, which basically just assumed as the gospel that the island is under attack from man-made climate change. Case closed.

Then came another Gord Downie marathon where 590 seconds was spent on Tom Powers’s interview with his brothers. Of course the interview turned political, discussing Gord’s last effort to push for reconciliation between indigenous people and the rest of Canada, which the The National‘s previous segment from that night on the inquiry falsely suggests the Trudeau government is working on to accomplish.

After the break, the CBC spent 45 seconds again reminiscing over Trudeau’s “strong majority mandate” (according to CBC it wasn’t a strong mandate when Harper got 0.2% less of the popular vote in 2011) in his “remarkable turnaround” (not too surprising for CBC employees themselves though, as they did their darnedest to push him into power) and “pull[ed] off a huge upset from positive messaging and big promises.” The segment opened with Trudeau himself: “If you want a government that is hopeful, and the vision, stands up for this country, that is positive and ambitious and hopeful…” This fawning introduction also made sure to have plenty of adoring pictures.

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Finally McCue got to the point and started going over promises made by Trudeau and his record so far. First, was the promise of infrastructure spending and how the Canadian infrastructure bank, which The National made no mention of how Canadian taxpayers will get hosed by corporate investors with exorbitantly high interest rates, is going to be operational next year. At least they did mention how $2.5 billion of the promised amount “was missing from the projected infrastructure spending this fiscal year.” next was the Trudeau’s record on the environment, mentioning he’s in the middle of introducing a federally enforced carbon tax (failing to mention he promised not to do that). At least The National did give him a failing grade on this file thus far however. Then The National looked at Trudeau promises to indigenous people, say “he delivered” in launching the inquiry “but so far the inquiry is widely seen as a failure.” But then CBC downplayed it by saying “Trudeau made another show of his commitment to indigenous people by splitting the Ministery of Indigenous and Northern Affairs…” If anything splitting the ministry will just cause more bureaucratic headaches and is just virtue-signalling, there is no proof this will actually help indigenous people in any way. However, at least the one department is supposed to work on the long-term goal of ending the Indian Act (don’t hold your breath). Next was health care, where the government did succeed in renegotiating health care with the provinces. Then came marijuana, a VERY important promise being kept. “The young and cool leader who admitted to trying pot brought in some votes.” Next was the electoral reform promise Trudeau’s government intentionally sabotaged electoral reform, saying it was one of his first broken promises in February of this year. Not so, as you can see in this great resource, https://trudeaumetre.polimeter.org/. Then came his delivered promise of the Child Benefit Plan, which CBC made clear was Trudeau being Robin Hood after a miserly Harper. By the way, this whole segment continued to be littered with Trudeau glamour shots. (I understand he’s very photogenic and boradcast needs lot of images, but CBC goes overboard with the videos and camera shots of the PM, many coming courtesy of his personal photographer.)

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Then came the supposed balanced budget by 2019, pointing out that he’s not on track for balanced budgets. CBC did point out how he’s run two consecutive deficits budgets three-times as high as he promised, but of course Trudeau can burn all this money in the three years, adding to the total national debt, then clean the books like Wynne in the latter part of his mandate and speak no more of the billions and billions he added in our debt burden. And that was it. Pretty pathetic review overall. Here are some of Trudeau’s other failed and kept promises below via TrudeauMeter.

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After that The National spent well over 11 minutes on veterans turning to playing the guitar to cope with PTSD. The report had one veteran thanking Vets Canada, no mention of Trudeau’s betrayal of veterans in breaking four promises to them was included in the report of course. Instead you would get the impression Trudeau has been helping them because “only in recent years has the government provided a small contract to help Vets Canada reach more people.” Yes, Trudeau has really shown he cares about the veterans.

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After throwing so many precious minutes on this feature story, there was no more time to include a follow-up report on the “unusual” scandal involving the Finance Minister, even though he was hammered in Question Period on Friday or the new juicy revelations just learned.

I will have more direction for readers fed-up with CBC bias coming up, but for now I ask that you share these critiques on Facebook and Twitter. Trust me, these deconstructions take a lot of time and it is torturous to subject oneself to state media propaganda, but I think it is a worthy endeavour to expose it. Also, please click on the link below to the YouTube video of The National from Friday night and put a thumbs down if you are disgusted with the coverage from that night. Thank you, and stay tuned for more.

The National (October 20, 2017)

 

 

 

 

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