Friday, December 04, 2009

CBC and me

Things are getting really slack around here and I'm really sorry about that. You're right: what I need's a good kick in the pants. Only, my legs don't go that way and, obviously, you're not allowed 'cause you'll do it too hard.

Here's something anyway:

I’m still trying to figure out whether it was a small moment of courage, or just a different way of talking about the same old story, when Peter Mansbridge brought up the Tiger Woods story on the “At Issue” panel on The National last night.

Mansbridge asked the panel for their thoughts on what the obsession with the Woods story says about us – meaning the greater “us”, as in all of us.

I think the question would have been more courageous, and more relevant if he’d meant “us” to mean “us” as in the CBC.

This from concerned former CBC journalist, Andy Clarke (who explains the reasoning for his excellent new blog, CBC and Me: Watching the CBC Do Itself In, here). He continues:

The crew in charge at the CBC now tosses around the word “transparency” to talk about how it covers things differently than it did before.

“More transparent,” they tell us.

Well here’s what I’d love to see in terms of transparency. I’d love to see Jennifer McGuire – who’s in charge of CBC News – take to the airwaves and say something like…

“You know what? We’ve been talking about this in our newsroom, and we can’t figure out for the life of us what the news value is in this story. So, we’re not going to report on it anymore. We’re going to leave it to others to obsess over, and report on. You guys are smart enough to know where to find those others, but we’re going to move on to other things.”

Fat chance, eh? It will never happen with this leadership team at the CBC.

There's much that annoys me about the CBC--I should say, there's very little that doesn't annoy me, and annoy me exponentially more with every passing year, about the CBC--but I am definitely of the opinion that it is an institution worth retaining. It requires, however, a great deal of reform. Andy Clarke's seems to be a serious and principled voice toward that end--even as he works from the outside--and is well worth your attention.