Addicted to novelty since 2001

Don’t Look Here for CBC Lockout News

Tod Maffin is doing a great job of rounding up news about the lockout. The most interesting bits:

  • Apparently a group of locked-out producers are going to launch some Web broadcasts next week at CBC Unplugged (currently hosting Maffin stuff, but going to switch over shortly).
  • Producer Robin Rowland claims that if people submit photos of news events to the CBC, “they are electronically crossing the lockout picket line.” This is utter nonsense. Robin should remember that the CBC is a publicly-owned institution. Its crucial role in keeping Canadians informed trumps his union’s short-term concerns. If you’re considering submitting a photo, weigh the options: more-informed populace or happier, locked-out TV producer. I know which way I’m leaning.

That said, I am really digging the replacement BBC news. Living in Ireland, I learned that the BBC offers the best TV in the world.

UPDATE: Robin replies here. He says, in part:

I will make one comment about Darren’s post where he says the CBC’s “crucial role in keeping Canadians informed trumps his union’s short-term concerns.” The CBC abandoned its crucial role when radio coverage of the storm was not available. Asking for a neat picture of a downed tree, whether or not it is free or paid for, has absolutely nothing to do with the public interest.

While avoiding a debate about the informational value of photographs, I will say that Robin’s argument is the thin edge of a worrying wedge. Extending his logic, should I not send in news tips to the CBC? If I’m, say, a whisteblower in a government cover-up, should I refuse CBC interviews because they’ve locked out their staff?

4 Responses to “Don’t Look Here for CBC Lockout News”

  1. JohnB

    You wrote: Living in Ireland, I learned that the BBC offers the best TV in the world.

    Typically Canadian understatement!

    I don’t know if this happens cross-Canada, but here in the Centre Of The Universe, on CBC Radio 1 “CBC Overnight” (which I discovered when I couldn’t sleep one night) carries excerpts from other public broadcasters. The news segments from other broadcasters are not as good as the BBC’s but the English language services of Radio Nedlands and Deutsche Welle are also excellent listening.

    There was a time when CBC’s explicit mandate was to “tell Canadians about Canada.” Unofficially, they seem to have moved to “tell Canadians about the world using the world’s voices.”

    I’d willingly see CBC TV closed down in a heartbeat if I could feel confident that all the funding would go to CBC Radio. (Of course, if we did that then we couldn’t find a new Governor General!)

  2. 'nee

    “If I’m, say, a whisteblower in a government cover-up, should I refuse CBC interviews because they’ve locked out their staff?”

    Yes! Just like you don’t buy Nike because small children did the stitching, or read the National Post because it’s a conservative mouthpiece, or watch Reality TV because it’s evil. If a company is doing something unconscionable, patronizing them is in effect sanctioning their behaviour. Just because the CBC is nationalized doesn’t mean that principle doesn’t apply to them. In fact, symbolically, it applies even more to them.

  3. 'nee

    I asked on the previous post about this subject whether or not their pay was equivalent to others in their own field, here’s the answer in a nutshell.

  4. Darren

    ‘nee: Firstly, I don’t necessarily support the union’s position, so there’s that. Regardless, I disagree that we can lump Nike and the CBC in the same pot. The CBC holds a unique position in the Canadian culture–they’re not just another broadcaster. As such, the nation’s interest in the organization supersedes the relatively trivial matters being debated on the picket lines.

    As for that comment thread on Maffin’s site–that must be a hell of a big nutshell.

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