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BC TV Stations Give Away Their Integrity

October 23rd, 2008 · 5 Comments

It was an incredible sight: Premier Gordon Campbell delivering an entire speech … uninterupted, unquestionned and unedited … right there in the middle of the 6 o’clock major news shows.

In the middle of the news! A complete speech! With no questions! All of it carried LIVE on FOUR television stations (CTV, Global, CHEK and the Legislative Channel) flowing through cable to most of the homes in Vancouver … and indeed, throughout the rest of the province as well.

Some of the stations carried the premier’s election campaign speech  (because make no mistake ..that’s what it was!) happily and willingly; others, I’m told,  only after coming under direct pressure from the Premier’s office. Either way, I submit they sold … no, they gave away … their souls … and their integrity.

The legislative channel was the proper place to carry the premier’s speech in its entirety, so anyone who wanted to see it could have done so. And I would have been one of those who tuned in.

But by carrying the whole speech inside their “news” programs, I would call CTV,  Global, and CHEK the premier’s private ”whores”  … but I would in fact, be wrong. Because apparently they didn’t even get paid for their air time. Did they just give it away?  That just makes it all worse…. and makes them political sluts, not whores.

Whatever happened to the practice of allowing the government or a political parties to buy time on television: either before or after a news show; or at 8 p.m. or whenever???? Why was that not done in this case?

Or give them air time … in case of a critical situation .. but NOT in the middle of the major news show of the day.

I am aware of only ONE case where a similar event occurred: BCTV gave Premier Bill Bennett live time at the top of the Newshour to announce an election. But again, that was to announce a full provincial election … not just to announce government plans and promises.

Where does that stop? Will the news shows be giving the government free speech time in the middle of the news to announce new highways? How about health care initiatives? Or new plans to tear up any contracts?  What makes economic announcements any more special that they warrant an entire free speech in the middle of the news show to go laong with them? 

Have CTV, Global and CHEK lost so much of their integrity and backbones as news organizations that they are now making mid-term partisan political speeches by the Liberals part of their “news” offering? 

Adding another insult to the viewers as part of the whole process, after Campbell spoke unquestionned and uninterupted for about 12 minutes … the stations  had comparatively brief reaction (from just a simple taped clip to two to three minutes “live”) from Opposition Leader Carole James …  but she faced questions … no unfettered air time here …. emphasizing even more the BC media’s terrible double standard.

Only the CBC … to the credit of their news sense and their journalistic integrity refused to play the game ..and carried details of the Premier’s new economic plan, along with a video clip from his speech, just like a  news story … which it was.

I did notice the three sell-out stations also invited comments/reactions from business, labour and university types … but they were kept VERY short and limited, in comparison to the totally unchallenged “promo” speech time awarded the Premier.

Looks to me like the Premier USED the media to launch his re-election campaign, complete with tax cuts and wonderful promises for some. 

And in what we saw Wednesday night,   the mainstream media have signed on  …. and taken sides: a highly dangerous move in a city where so much of the media is controlled by two corporate entities, thanks to concentration of ownership and the resulting “convergence” it has brought.

Perhaps a reporter on CHEK TV said it best, as the partisan television travesty ended: “Hey Premier, you have us to thank. We stuck with you, buddy.”

 Harv Oberfeld

Tags: Media

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 B.M. // Oct 23, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    Thank you, Harvey. Thank you. Thank you. Exactly what I was thinking as I saw it go down. But why are you the only one saying anything? Where is the NDP on this? You would think they would be concerned?

  • 2 Grant g // Oct 23, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    Gordon Campbell T V

    Who else spends any where near what gordoh spends on advertising!
    When the gag law kicks in there will be only one advertiser(under the guise of goverment imformation)

    Interesting that on tuesday global newcast that Keith Baldrey stated that “Global news was not going to let Gordon Campbell hijack the news hour”

    Looks like Baldrey got over-ruled.

    I agrree Harv with your premise.

    I also believe that it will backfire on Campbell,the more he shows his face the more people`s hair stands up on the back of their necks.
    The 12 minute advertising slot will and did fail!

    What was the bribe?
    #1 return ferry service that was cut 2 weeks ago

    #2 lower ferry fares temporarily to what they were last year.

    #3 People`s deposit in BCs credit union were never ever at risk.

    #4 A private pension fund(volentary) –not exactly a quick fix–try 20 years from now.

    #5 I heard nothing about fast tracking P3s –They can`t get funding / IE port mann/ putella bridge

    #6 5% tax cut—That tax cut is carbon tax collected/thus it is a saw off at best.

    #7 Expect more cuts to education/ to equal the school tax that got removed /20 million a year

    #8 The reduction of small business tax and raising of the fees to collect the PST is good

    Finally—The advertisement/speech —Did nothing for seniors, students,forestry,minimum wage earners/the unemployed/ forestry towns/crashing housing market

    And it proved that Campbell is a bald faced fibster–He has interfered with BC ferries/ which he claimed was a private corporation free from political interference–The same thing when they interfered with Translink.

    P.S. — BC Hydro went up 15% in april—A 2 teir premium rate hydro went into effect october 1st —BC Hydro`s bas rate is going up 13% more at the end of the month–Year over year BC Hydro increase is over 30% –That cost home owners over 500.00 a year, even apartment dwellers its over 150.00 a year increase.
    It blows away ANY TAX CUT !!!

    By the way BC Hydro made 400 million last year—That number will rise to about 600 million year over year—And don`t even get me started on ICBC

  • 3 Olivia // Oct 23, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    I was watching CTV and they said that the gov’t said it was not going to be a partisan/political speech, but did anyone else notice the 2 digs about the bad old 90′s? ie: the bad NDP government, and he got to say it on live TV. How can anyone believe anything this government says? He is pure slime in my opinion.

  • 4 Gary E // Oct 24, 2008 at 1:51 am

    I think many people noticed the slag on the 90′s, Olivia. As well as his blatant interference in a private company. And David Hahn is on record saying that he knew nothing of the situation until 20 minutes after the “campaign speech”.

    (Response: So much for the ferries operating independently! Funny how when there are troubles, talk to the ferries, but when there’s an election coming, the government finds it DOES have a role! ho )

  • 5 claudia // Oct 24, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    I haven’t been able to watch or listen to Campbell on any TV or radio program for a long time. The man disgusts me, and I always change the channel. I also stopped watching BCTV news a long time ago. It is phoney and there is no depth or balance to any stories. After Campbell is voted out next spring, I am sure he will be known as the worst premier in BC history.