I hesitated about starting this discussion … because I haven’t even made up my own mind on the answer to this question, but I’m starting to lean towards Yes.
On Sunday’s Power and Politics, the CBC decided to test Tory Leader Stephen Harper’s contention last week’s that TWO NDP governments in BC had been “an unmitigated disaster”.
Rosemary Barton raised the question “Does the NDP have a poor performance record when it comes to managing public money?”
A good question!
But WHO did the CBC go to for an answer? An independent economist? A political scientist?
No! The CBC went to former NDP Premier Mike Harcourt ….. to evaluate the NDP’s record! And surprise, surprise! Harcourt concluded the BC NDP did NOT have a poor performance record while in office.
That stinks! I’m not referring to Harcourt’s conclusion, but the CBC ‘s choice of who to pose that important question to … during an election campaign.
Really unacceptable from a point of view of both journalistic standards and independent analysis.
On Saturday’s The National, the CBC reported the Tory government’s new plan to expedite the refugee process and also had the response from both the NDP and Liberals.
But then, the CBC went further … going to a refugee support group, where …surprise, surprise… participants felt the Harper government’s response is still far from enough. Not a single voice, though, elicited by CBC from other Canadians, who may actually agree with Harper’s actions.
Whatever happened to reporting both sides? And I am noticing more and more of what I perceive to be slanted one-sided reporting from the CBC on both national and international issues.
So it did make me wonder … is the CBC slanting its coverage to be OVERLY critical of and embarrass Harper and the Tories? And give sympathy … or at least much softer treatment … to the NDP and Liberals?
And it’s something that occurred to me before … but I wasn’t prepared to reach that conclusion because I have found the CBC’s Power and Politics program to be eminently fair (I think Rosemary Barton is doing a terrific job… apart from today’s Harcourt choice) … and I also find The National’s At Issue panel fair and unbiased.
But I no longer believe that of their national “news” reporting.
How many times did the CBC run their “pee in a cup” footage showing the Tory candidate who was dropped after being exposed doing the dirty deed on tape during an earlier Marketplace investigation of home repair companies!
How many times did they, and other media too, question that choice of a candidate or push that news story! Many, many, many. Pointing to the embarrassment and running the footage several times even after the candidate was dropped.
But there was also the case of the NDP’s communications director who was revealed to have written some terrible, insulting references on Twitter directed at the entire Catholic Church and in another, even hurled a “Go F-k yourself” to the Pope.
That in my view is MUCH WORSE than some individual candidate peeing in a cup: it was insulting to Canada’s 13 million Catholics … the single largest denomination in the country.
The issue was covered …but much more gently than peegate … and, in my view, too quickly dropped after the staffer apologized.
No hue and cry or even ongoing, pressing persistent questioning from the CBC or other media to NDP Leader Tom Mulcair as to why the staffer was not fired.
Mulcair said the apology was good enough for him … and the CBC/media dropped the matter.
I believe would NOT have been good enough had it been a Harper communications staffer who had tweeted the insults and filthy language.
The CBC … so pressing and persistent on TORY gaffes, failings … would have raked Harper over the coals, I’m convinced, much more than they did Mulcair, until the staffer stepped down.
And just imagine if it had been directed not at the Catholic Church but let’s say, at Islam and a prominent Imam or Judaism and its Chief Rabbi. I believe the guy would have been gone within an hour!
However, the issue that has raised my greatest concerns about lack of objectivity of the CBC has been the overage of the refugee/migrant dispute.
It’s my impression that the CBC is pushing the Liberal/NDP positions on the refugees.
Mother Corp, for some time, has NOT been fairly REPORTING the story from all sides; they have been ADVOCATES for just one side: selectively covering the issue OVERWHELMINGLY from only the migrants’ point of view … dismissing any concerns/impacts such a HUGE flow of people is on EU countries and totally IGNORING the facts/stories of how the richest Arab/Muslim countries (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar. etc.) have TOTALLY closed their gates to the refugees/migrants.
In fact, last weekend, I felt the CBC News actually pooh-poohed the EU for daring to suggest there are limits on how many refugees/migrants Europe can absorb: SPECIFICALLY pointing out in a graph the refugee numbers taken in by Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan … but NOT A WORD about those Arab countries failing to take ANY.
And what about legitimate European citizens’ concerns about the long-term social, political and security impacts of taking in hundreds of thousands more Muslims into their midst?
Has the CBC forgotten the murder of the Danish cartoonist, the Charlie Hebdo massacre, the London transit bombings, the murder at the Jewish deli Paris (and the increase in the number of assaults, insults, vandalism being directed at Jews by Muslims in Europe)? Or do they just not report the growing concerns by Europeans because it does not fit their agenda?
Why so one-sided?
I believe there are TWO reasons: the CBC … especially The National … has developed a decidedly left-wing sand fairly easily recognizable slant/bias in its news reporting, so pushing the NDP/Liberal agendas comes naturally; and there may also be an anti-Harper bias at the CBC because of the Tory budget cuts at the CBC over the past few years.
In 2012, Harper’s government announced $112 million in cuts from the CBC’s $1.1 Billion annual budget; in 2014, news reports outlined another $130 million in cuts.
No doubt Harper is not loved by many at the Corp!
But that should not be reflected in its news coverage of the campaign.
(P.S. anyone reading this blog piece feel I myself am biased in favour of Harper/Tories, I have already written that I will NOT be voting Tory, because of MANY Harper failings. You can read that blog here: http://harveyoberfeld.ca/blog/happy-canada-day-time-for-harper-to-go/ . But that does NOT mean I feel NEWS reporting of the campaign should be one-sided. )