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CKNW Swallows Premier’s Bait: Hook, Line & Stinker

October 24th, 2008 · 11 Comments

It was bad enough three private television stations aired in the Vancouver market (CTV, Global and CHEK) abandoned their integrity and embarrassed themselves by giving Premier Gordon Campbell a full 12 minutes in the middle of their major evening NEWS shows to make a partisan, political speech … unedited and uninterupted and unchallenged.

What the spineless wankers or partisan corporate bean-counters, who now run these stations,  don’t seem to undertand is that the major evening news is the ONE PLACE viewers have, until now, always expected to be able to turn to and see top quality journalism,  telling the truth about what’s going on in our society  … all of it delivered clean, spin-free and laid out in honest, critical stories by highly principled reporters on an indepndent, totally UNCOMPROMISED show.

Not any more!

In my view, CTV, Global and CHEK Wednesday night abandoned these principles, turned their backs on their viewers’ right to expect only real reporting …. and prostrated themselves on the alter of partisanship and political promotion for Premier Gordon Campbell and the Liberal government..

And Thursday morning, I would submit, CKNW was even worse.

There was talk show host Bill Good, introducing “special” extended coverage on the economy … not only completely filling his own three-and-a-half hour show, but also Christy Clark’s two-and-a-half hour show that would follow that. 

Now it IS possible CKNW had those SIX HOURS of special programming on the economy “and it’s impact on you” planned for days or weeks … nothing to do with the premier’s speech Wednesday night. If so, they should be still embarrassed: so late out of a gate that opened weeks ago!

But if their “special” programming was timed purposely to coincide and follow the premier’s address, then they should really hang their heads in shame. They would have been guilty of largely”hyping” for the Premier and his pre-election campaign .. a horrible, pandering partisan posture for a once-proud news leader.

Whatever the reason behind its timing, the CKNW “special”, in my view, was little more than a day-long promotional feature,  adding weight and credibility to Wednesday night’s partisan political speech by Campbell.

And how ironic, it all started with a 12 minute interview with the Premier “in the hot seat”.  Well, someone apparently forgot to turn the seat ”on”: all I heard was a gentle Bill Good interview with the Premier … no heat, no fire, not even any smoke.

And it all got worse after that!

After 9 a.m. … NW’s “special” turned to a segment that Good said was organized with substantial “help” from NW financial host Michael Campbell.   Geez!!! 

It’s well known that Michael is Premier Gordon’s brother … but THAT is not what turned me off! Have you listened to Michael’s NW show? In my personal view, it is the worst, one-sided apology for corporate greed and excess I have ever heard on Canadian radio. 

For the next hour … we heard Campbell, financial analyst Michael Levi (who I totally respect) and two bank investment officials talk (all of them from what I would describe as a conservative point of view)  about issues facing investors … offering basically nothing I could detect as new … just the same old talk we’ve already heard so many times over the past several weeks. 

But it all enhanced the sense that we were now somehow dealing in detail with very important economic issues… all helping I believe, to boost the impression that the premier’s speech was a real “happening”!  (Rather than have any labour or social community group types on air to question the whole event.)

And it went,   on and on.  After 10 a.m. more investment types, one suggesting this is even a good time to buy stocks (with what?) and after 11 a.m. real estate, business and retail experts rounding out Good’s economic “special”.

But what was missing was ANY discussion of the impact our troubled economy is having on  those who feel it most: people earning minimum wage or just above; those facing such high cost of living they have been already forced (before the current economic disaster) to live three or four or more to an apartment; those who can’t even afford monthly bus passes to get to/from work; seniors facing higher than ever living costs on fixed ..or dropping incomes,  or facing higher prescription drug costs; or students; or single parents struggling just to take care of themselves and their kids .. with no hope of ever “investing”.   Their plight was totally ignored.

In fact,  the CKNW Special was, I felt,  largely a “let them eat cake” look at what’s going on in BC today.

Disappointing too, that on the Good show, all three and a half hours of it … they didn’t have ANY interviews with ANY expert I would describe as having a left-wing perspective at all.  (Did Michael come up with all the invited guests? LOL)

They finally got to NDP Leader Carole James in hour four … interviewed by talk show host Christy Clark (a former Campbell cabinet minister … to be sure,  but who conducted I thought a very fair interview.)

But the whole event was so one-sided, I felt, that I would put it down as little more than an effort to promote and advance Gordon Campbell’s pre-election posturing, which I believe CKNW fell for, hook, line ….    and stinker.

Harv Oberfeld   

Tags: Media

11 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Rob // Oct 24, 2008 at 6:52 am

    I agree but Mr. Good lost all credibility when he gave the first soft shoe interview with Gordon Campbell after the Election in 2001 and basically agreed with everything said about how campbell had to clean up the NDP’s mess. and destroy lives rip up contracts and break promises even though he knew the NDP had a surplus. Never disagree with a guest and definitely defend him from the pinko callers.

  • 2 Gary E // Oct 24, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    Harv

    I’d like to thank you for helping myself and I’m sure others in your in depth writings about the goings on in the Media. It is really refreshing to know that there is someone out there with knowledge of the workings of a reporter. For a couple of years now some of us had been labeled by members of the press as conspiracy theorists. Part of that label came from writings about the Legislature Raids in 2003. ie; Government is hiding things or covering up. But I had noticed that when we started taking the press to task for lack of reporting, that is when the conspiracy theorist thing emerged.
    Most of us are not professional reporters, but average Joe Citizens who see that something is drastically wrong with this government and the press. And your input is invaluable. Your reporting here not only shows us what is missing but what questions we might ask.
    And secondly Harv, thanks for this article which shows me the extent of the prostitution going on with the media and this government in particular.

    (Response: Thanks, Gary. That’s why I do this: Lord knows I have lost some good friends in the media (and made new ones as well!) as a result of my honest beliefs opinions expressed here .. and note there are no ads on this site ..so I benefit in no way, other than being happy to generate discussion that I feel is important to our democracy and media integrity. As to your specific comments, I still do not believe there is a “conspiracy” … just independent favoritism now being openly promoted and expressed by the corporately run and owned media favoring the conservative or right-wing point of view … and apparently there are no longer the strong newsroom managers who somehow used to successfully be able to fight this off and protect the BC media’s integrity.. ho)

  • 3 Grant g // Oct 24, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    Nothing more too add —Harv, this is by far the best peice of telling the truth I have seen in years.

    No pandering,just the honest truth, its about time that someone with standing told the MSM what the people of BC are thinking!

    My hats off to you Harv!

    P.S. Keep that up and your likely to get STEAK and SPAGHETTI

  • 4 G West // Oct 24, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    Once again Mr Oberfeld I find myself thinking that you should come out of retirement and grab one of those microphones.

    The current batch of holders seem to have forgotten they aren’t supposed to be cheerleaders.

    Well done.

  • 5 BC Mary // Oct 24, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    Many thanks for this outstanding column, Harvey. You’re doing something very important for the people of BC and, I hope, the next generation of journalists. It’s much appreciated.

    Strange to realize that, as Gary E said, we’re creating a whole fresh genre of Alternate Press which is trying to fill the gaps in news coverage.

    It’s not difficult to understand why this is so. Big Media depends upon advertising, advertisers are Big Business and contradictory as it may sound, Big Business is anti-worker. That much I regretfully understand.

    So while hating it, I sorta halfway grudgingly do get it that CTV, CHEK, Global, and CKNW have totally caved at the feet of Campbell … but …

    I absolutely cannot understand why today’s proud old Globe and Mail would turn its lede editorial into a slavering, slobbering bootlick for BC’s most hated premier.

    Would you talk a bit about that, please?

    (Response: It really doesn’t bother me to see anyone taking a particular editorial stance IF they really believe it and are not just following some corporate order or edict, I have no problem with it. It’s their view. ho)

  • 6 BC Mary // Oct 24, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    I guess that’s my point: how could they possibly believe the stuff they wrote?

    By the process of elimination, the reader is forced to believe that The Globe and Mail was indeed “following some corporate order or edict”.

    My guess is that they picked up a Press Release and because of the inability of Easterners to understand B.C. matters, they just swallowed the bait without chewing.

    In other words, I cannot see how it would be their own honest view if they had come to it through due diligence.

    I think, too, that they really needed to hear from the British Columbians who rushed into print.

  • 7 Stephen R // Oct 24, 2008 at 11:47 pm

    Spot on Harvey

    Hopefully, this is one of the reasons that people will turn to the “blogosphere” where there are a wide variety of voices and a true diversity of opinion.

  • 8 Tired of Lies // Oct 26, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    It will be a cold day in hell before I return to the major news stations to get unbiased reporting on issues.

    Sadly the newspapers really aren’t much better.

    It would help if there were anti-monopoly laws for papers and news station ownership.

  • 9 Romeogolf // Oct 26, 2008 at 7:34 pm

    I’ve largely given up on the mainstream media for being fair and balanced, never mind offering actual news (instead of advertorial, infotainment, and mildly edited press releases). I mostly keep and eye on it to track the disinformation. The blogosphere and independent media are critical to maintaining media democracy (http://democraticmedia.ca/), which is why Net neutrality is vital (http://www.saveournet.ca/). The degree of media concentration in this country is an absolute disgrace.

  • 10 John M // Nov 4, 2008 at 11:31 pm

    When you are used to listening to Raiffe and a few other good interviewers that NW flushed it’s tough listening to B. Good. His best line ever was when he said “they farm oysters don’t they” Well, when oysters start migrating up the Skeena and Fraser I’ll see his point. I can’t listen to 98 any more so missed the interview.

  • 11 Sussie // Nov 4, 2012 at 2:54 am

    Throw Vander Zalm back in the toilet he came from! And flush it quick berofe he climbs out again. He had just totally screwed the people of BC.With all his horseshit delaying tactics and not targetting Campbell he has snatched defeat from the very jaws of victory. He saw history smiling on him and didn’t have the heart, the nerve or the moral compass to grasp the golden ring and ascend to the ranks of those whose very memory is loved by all. The whole world was watching and saw him play us for fools. We have an Angus Reid poll showing that 76% of the people in at least 12 Liberal ridings would actually go to the polls and vote for recall. What does Vonder Boy do? He holds a contest to possibly put some pressure on in three ridings and which will ensure that this rotten government we all suffer under will not be defeated! That is called a red herring, also know as lying to the people in an effort to divert their attention from the subject at hand. Thing is, it is so crude and so obvious that it may not have its desired effect. People who are fed up with lies may just throw Vander Zalm off the train and roll on to victory without him. Or we lose one of the very few chances we will ever have to improve our standard of living and standard of political reality – our choice.And today on the CBC, they had Chris Delany on for all of a few minutes and he was pushing the same ‘Survival’ malarky when who should phone and scold him like a schoolboy but Bill Bennet. (the former premier of British Columbia who was convicted of insider trading and banned from securities trading for 10 years, was up on his high horse telling us how honest he is compared to Delaney)Well Chris, I guess it’s nice to know who your friends are. The CBC has never been balanced – they’ll snow you blind with stories about Peter Gzowski or Farley Mowat’s boat, but when it comes down they always land hard right just like they did today. Don’t you know you are being taken for a fool? So that leaves the NDP, don’t expect too much. If they had a real leader, now is the time to take the gloves off and come out fighting. But they don’t. Some people even suspect they’be been infiltrated and nullified by the neocons. Well, I can’t think for you.So to all those people who canvassed for petition votes, well you have my sympathy, but they only way to get back on track is to throw away those leaders who have stabbed you in the back and start organizing riding by riding. You don’t have to listen to Vander Zalm if you think he just another neocon emerging from his Trojan horse. Throw him off the train!