Monday, March 10, 2008

Stop Public Funding of CBC TV Already

Along with many other Canadians, I have long wondered why the Canadian public subsidizes a commercial TV station. The only justification I could come up with was that the CBC makes possible some good Canadian TV shows. Other stations also sponsor some good TV shows, so it's a slightly dodgy argument, but you might come to believe that there are good Canadian TV shows that would not be made without the existence of the CBC.

Now the CBC has cancelled Intelligence, a brilliant ground-breaking show that is very popular. It kept The Border, a trite silly stupid show that is more popular. It also cancelled MVP: The Secret Lives of Hockey Wives, which I can't really argue for except that I am totally engrossed and am personally sorry to lose it. It kept Sophie, which I'm glad about. And it continues to co-sponsor The Tudors (along with networks in Ireland and England, who presumably would have produced the show without the CBC), which is one of the greatest shows ever. And of course CBC produces some other good shows, like The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos and, I suppose, The National, which I hear is good but I don't watch. (I prefer to read my news and when I want to catch something live, I find CTV Newsnet is generally better.)

But the breaking point for me is Intelligence. The cancellation of this brilliant show is so idiotic that it makes me believe that CBC has no mandate to promote excellence in Canadian programming. Therefore, I can think of no reason for tax dollars to pay for CBC TV. The ginormous cash cow Hockey Night In Canada can be bestowed on a private network. We can watch reruns of Frasier and The Simpsons on another channel. Enough already.

The cancellation of good shows by the CBC came ominously close to the decision to merge CBC radio and TV divisions. Does this spell more disaster for Radio One? In the desperate attempt to attract youthful listeners, the CBC has thrown money at initiatives like Radio 4 (publicly-funded commercial radio), thus draining resources from Radio One; and it has done its best to dumb down Radio One, leaving only a few decent shows (The Current, Writers & Company, As It Happens and a few others). With management making such disastrous decisions about TV, I shudder to think what's coming next for my favorite - hell, my only - radio station.

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4 comments:

Billy Jack said...

I gave up on the CBC after they cancelled the Tommy Hunter Show back in the early 1990's. I agree with you...no need for government to sponsor a commercial station. Let it live on its own merits or die quietly.

Clown Party of Canada said...

“Let it live on its own merits or die quietly.”

This will never happen. Just like the LIEberals do not know how to survive without power, the CBC does not know how to report news if its existence depended upon it. They do serve one purpose … support the LIEberals under DeYawn as much as possible – to the point where they ask the questions at an inquiry rather than a member of parliament.

I think I saw that it gets 1.7 Billion a year. What for?
They do not even deserve 1 million. If it were not the “spokes channel" for the LIEberals they wouldn't be on the air. CBC is nothing but a "tick" sucking money out of our pockets and does little for it. That money can be used more effectively in other areas such as military [which has a less amount than CBC at their disposal] or research in fighting pollution more effectively.

I thought the CBC was originally formed in the "dark ages" when there was very little communication in Canada. Well, things have changed and as far as I can see the CBC - like the CWB is out of date. Total waste of our tax dollars and I agree that they should be left to die. No pity on this end for the CBC.

ambient said...

The CBC fulfils an integral role in the Canadian media landscape. Oft-maligned for its billion dollar budget, one must realise that much of the public funding actually goes to the radio networks. The $616 million budget for CBC Television is in fact smaller than, for example, the $656 million in revenues of private broadcaster CanWest Global. The CBC's programming, including its news and investigative journalism shows, are internationally respected and rebroadcast in many American and global markets.

The supposed left-wing bias in its news coverage is something I personally have never noticed but the CBC should be held accountable to fair and balanced reporting. It is definitely not constructive to suggest the complete obliteration of this Canadian institution. If there are changes to be made, let them be debated in a democratic fashion and implemented as agreed to by consensus. Who else is going to remind us of our identity? If we lose sight of where we've come from, how will we ever get to where we want to go?

"We must take care: lest blown away by a torrent of passion, we make shipwreck of conscience."

ross said...

response to ambient's comments:
It is irrelevant to compare CBC news coverage to US news coverage. what is relevent would be comparing to BBC, ABC (Australia), and numerous other European channels. CBC news is completely irrelevant to the world. If you live in little town Canada with no perspective on the world then possibly you think different. Personally, I am angered that my tax dollars are wasted not only on CBC TV but also on CBC radio. utter-rubbish in today's world.