Skip to content

For God’s Sake, Give the Man a Chair

Give the man a chair!Rick Salutin has a serious go at CBC (TV) news in the Globe and Mail today, and I think his criticisms are richly deserved. I’m not a regular viewer of The National, the CBC’s flagship news program, but I did catch it a couple of times this week. I was struck by how hard it was to pay attention. I was distracted by the lack of chairs.

“Why is everyone walking around? Why are we watching a conversation between Peter and that reporter babe (does anyone else find the proportion of gorgeous young women working as reporters there suspicious) in PROFILE? Shouldn’t we be cutting to their faces at least a little?”

I dunno, maybe I’m an old fart, but Rick’s article focuses on the content issues, which are legion.

I have a life-long love affair with CBC Radio, but I’ve always been baffled by CBC TV — why, for example, is there so much advertising, and American programming — and indifferent to CBC news. The latest make-over does not endear me any more, but Rick says it better:

The CBC execs are beside themselves with the thrill of it. Their endless in-house memos rely heavily on triple exclamation marks as punctuation: “The energy in the building is palpable … The torch has been passed … We have moved from a Buick to a Ferrari …!!!” (Oddly dated images, by the way, and insulting.)

It’s as though it’s all about them: their new sets and graphics, full-page ads, U.S. consultants. Watching CBC news now feels like living inside English-language boss Richard Stursberg’s head, the man who endowed the CBC with a “factual entertainment” department. Yet, oddly it is still a public network, paid for by all of us. In ancient times, the founder of the National Film Board, John Grierson, used to remind employees daily that they were there to serve the people of Canada, not his own abundant ego. That simple thought out of Richard Stursberg’s mouth is unimaginable. Instead, the people who pay are treated as bottom-feeders not worth a reference to a former premier or a translation from the Greek in yesterday’s Olympic torch feed from Athens. (CTV had a translation.) Let them eat sets and graphics. Low-rent TVO’s nightly hour, The Agenda , now outdoes anything on CBC.

I was relieved to see that they gave the At Issues panel (one of the segments I always enjoy, even if it leaves me gnashing my teeth some days) and Rex Murphy chairs. Old farts shouldn’t have to stand.

And kudos to Rick for mentioning The Agenda. Excellent program!

One Comment

  1. I turned it off last night (just after they did another story on how the world was bound to end from H1N1) when they promo-ed the item about why it’s dangerous to wear high heels.

    WTF? What is that? That’s more than a slow news day, that’s just poor, clouded, weird news judgement.

    CBC news has jumped the shark.

Comments are closed.