CBC blurs line between media criticism and jealousy

Today, we find our ragtag independent news organization the subject of a CBC article.

Ali Taghva Montreal QC

Today, we find our ragtag independent news organization the subject of a CBC article.

The national state broadcaster has claimed that we blur ethical lines. While we appreciate the attention of the CBC, partisanship is an interesting charge coming from them, a major outlet that continues to take hundreds of millions of your tax dollars while spreading woke social justice messages and left-leaning content on an hourly basis.

The argument is that we exist in a “grey area” between journalism and “pamphleteering.” In their attempt to establish this argument, they dust off Alan Conter, a professor of journalism from Concordia University. Conter claims that transparency is key, and that what we do is “less journalism and more pamphleteering.” What CBC and Conter fail to disclose is that Conter is a former CBC executive producer. Conter is right about one thing: Transparency is key. We wonder why CBC wasn’t transparent about this connection.

This all comes at a time when public confidence in the state-funded broadcaster is at an all-time low. The public sees the slow dance between legacy media like the CBC and the Trudeau government. It’s right there in plain view, under a spotlight. It’s almost romantic.

In November of 2018, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that he would be handing out 600 million dollars to media organizations. Instead of focusing on innovative, independent, new media outlets that would reflect ideological diversity, the Trudeau government had a pre-approved list of “acceptable” organizations.

Recently, MP Tom Kmiec asked the Finance Committee whether or not our organization was eligible for these funds to support journalism in Canada. Of course, there was no clear answer to this question. Would we qualify? We doubt it because the plan seems to have been to shore up support to the old guard of information. This is why the panel tasked with deciding who gets the funds was stacked with left-wing organizations like UNIFOR.

Even if we did qualify, we would reject the funding. Why? Just as we are not beholden to the whims of the Conservative party, we refuse to be duty-bound to the Trudeau government as well. Despite the CBC’s flaccid attempt to paint TPM as conservative activism, we are actually remarkably ideologically diverse, boasting contributors from across the world and all over the political spectrum.

Looking past these problems, pound for pound, the CBC has been ineffective at actually meeting its own mandate. For example, the CBC chose to air an episode of Murdoch Mysteries instead of live coverage of Toronto’s October 22 election.

Editor’s note: This article has been edited to reflect the CBC chose to not run live coverage, rather than the debate.

Is an episode of Murdoch more important than actually using government funds to put forward content that relates to the people of Canada? Perhaps Murdoch should solve the mystery of CBC’s priorities.

Over the last few years, the organization seems to have moved more towards becoming an America obsessed news and entertainment platform hungry for advertising-driven content, rather than a wholesome public broadcaster out to tell the Canadian story.

As a result, I would even argue, the CBC has become destructive to the media ecosystem as a whole. Even with a $1 billion in annual grants, the CBC continues to report their competitors’ scoops often without credit, according to Canadaland.

When mistakes are not being made, and scooped competitors not going uncited, the CBC appears to be stuck making content which simply fails to grab the imagination of most Canadians.

CBC’s television ratings are abysmal. They often don’t even make an appearance in the top thirty weekly television programs in Canada. If they do, it’s the result of a hockey game. If it weren’t for their hometown hockey teams, most viewers would probably forget that the CBC exists. It’s not just on TV that the company fails to get an audience, The CBC’s website on Alexa ranks at 24 in Canada, Narcity, a local website which spends less than $10 million ranks in at 22.

Ever wonder why so many established media companies need bailouts while the younger ones don’t? It isn’t because we rely on the work of others. It is because young companies like ours are eating the digital lunch of the establishment while the CBC is desperately trying to catch up. To be honest, the CBC seems a little bit jealous.

For the most part, outside of us and a few other organizations, there is no separated private market now. Just a straight-up state broadcaster, and a plethora of other companies jumping over each other to compete for the same pool of cash. The Post Millennial is outside of that context. We do not want and will not take federal bailout funds.

If we did, we would actually be in the grey area that the CBC was struggling to project onto us.

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