Ads have been appearing throughout Canada on billboards and in public places comparing Donald Trump’s request to fund a border wall with Mexico to the USSR border wall in East Germany.
Currently President Donald Trump is considering a tentative deal with congress to fund a portion of the border wall. The US President has indicated he wants to avoid another government shut down over the issue and see legislation before signing the deal.
CBC is scrapping its flagship show The National’s new format that had a four-host format and slowed down the program to include long features.
The show was created in the fall of 2017 after Peter Mansbridge retired. The CBC cited negative audience feedback for the decision to scrap the new format, according to the Globe and Mail. The National had been losing tens of thousands of viewers over the past two years, as fewer Canadians have been tuning in.
Rosemary Barton has been moved from an anchor position to the position of chief political correspondent for CBC News. Barton was embroiled in a controversy during the 2019 election after she was named as a plaintiff in a copyright infringement lawsuit against the Conservative Party of Canada after the party used some CBC footage in a campaign attack ad, something all political parties do, which copyright experts said is likely acceptable under fair dealing.
Conservatives have long complained that Barton is partisan for Trudeau’s Liberals, citing her softball interviews of Trudeau, her taking a selfie with him in Washington, and dismissing the Liberal’s large deficit spending as not a problem.
“Television news viewership is driven by consistency, both in format and in presentation. Our audience told us they want to know what they can expect night to night: who will bring them the news and how it will be delivered. We listened. This season we have slowly introduced measures that lead to a more consistent program – including tweaks to our format and sharpened hosting roles,” executive producer of The National Chad Paulin wrote in an internal memo to CBC staff.
Paulin’s memo also addressed Barton’s move.
“Rosemary will bring her unmatched political insight to all of CBC News–including digital, podcasts, radio, and television political specials. She will continue to bring analysis to The National, including contextual reporting, long-form stories and key political interviews. Rosemary will also continue to host At Issue.”
At Issue is a segment included on The National in which political pundits give their opinions on Canadian politics.
Adrienne Arsenault and Andrew Chang, two of the four co-hosts of the scrapped format, will be the two hosts of the program from Monday to Thursday. The other co-host, Ian Hanomansing will be The National’s anchor on Fridays and Sundays.
By the summer of 2019 The National had lost nearly 25 percent (about 124,000 viewers abandoning the program) of its viewership from when the new format was launched, despite the CBC spending a lot in a promotional campaign to sell Canadians on the new anchors and format.
The public broadcaster’s shrinking audience and relevancy has led to ad revenues dropping 53 percent from 2014 to that of 2019.
In the first six months of 2014 the CBC pulled in $192.2 million in ad revenues. The first half of 2019 that overall number had dropped to $90.9 million. In in the first six months of 2017 the CBC brought in 92.8 million in ad revenues, almost $2 million more than this year.
The CBC cut 35 jobs at its HQ in Toronto in November due to the continual downturn.
“I often joke it is easier to manage growth than downsizing,” said CBC’s Radio Canada’s executive vice-president Michel Bissonnette at the Commons heritage committee earlier this year. “Unfortunately we are in a downsizing environment, and we have to maintain our services for all Canadians.”
The CBC receives $1.2 billion from federal taxpayers every year, a total that was increased by $150 million annually by the Trudeau government when the Liberals took power in 2015, fulfilling a campaign promise which left the public broadcaster in a major conflict of interest in covering federal politics.
Almost two years ago the CBC relaunched its flagship show The National with a new format, replacing anchor Peter Mansbridge with four anchors. Despite The National‘s audience dropping 10 percent (from 525,000 to 460,000) by April of 2018. By June 2019 the audience had dropped off another 59,000, or 13 percent. Even though the new format is failing, a distant third for ratings compared to CTV and Global, the CBC has continued on with the new format and four hosts.
The National‘s co-host Rosemary Barton was caught in conflict-of-interest controversy during the 2019 election when her name was included in a lawsuit against the Conservative Party of Canada for using clips of CBC coverage for copyright infringement. Although her name was eventually removed from CBC’s lawsuit, Barton never answered whether she knew her name was going to be included as a plaintiff initially, and she continued to cover the news for the rest of the election in spite of the apparent conflict of interest. This and other actions by CBC employees during the election raised questions about the public broadcaster’s claim to impartiality.
Amidst calls for proactive measures on the global “climate crisis”, 11,258 scientists from 153 nations agreed with the findings in a recent BioScience publication. They warn of “untold suffering due to the climate crisis”.
Unless we commit to reproducing less, “transition” from fossil fuels, cut meat from our diets and end deforestation, the effects will only worsen, according to the publication.
The Liberal Party dogma echoes these sentiments. From using Inuit Canadians as props to giving fictitious sympathies to the prairies (having labelled them as “climate change deniers” in the past), the false moral platitudes undermine attempts for rational discourse.
When that discourse sours to the received wisdom being beyond reproach, and media mix education with indoctrination, society suffers as a result.
Yes, climate change is just that–a serious issue trumped up by alarmist rhetoric.
Like health care, education, and yes, even climate change, contentious issues such as these require honest debate, realistic goals, and a plan to achieve said policy aims. Combating climate change can occur without alienating large swaths of the population or moving to “phase out” entire industries.
While it is no secret that Albertans are the least receptive to coercive climate action, the backlash from a recent poll demonstrates how divisive mere inquiry can be. Suggesting an alternative to the carbon tax even constitutes the label of climate change denier.
Therefore, if it is true that “Scientists have a moral obligation…to ‘tell it like it is’, then, perhaps, the demonizing of one’s opponents, as the political left often does, is not how we save the world from the pending apocalypse.
Effectively, the climate change issue has become a means by which tragedy is politicized, opponents mischaracterized, and the genuine need to educate gone with the wind. It’s all about centralized control, increased taxation, and not the freedom to choose.
The recent High Level fire was not caused by climate change, but arson
The CBC pinned the devastating fire this summer near High Level and Chuckegg Creek on climate change, using wire copy from Canadian Press reporter Corlette Derworiz with the misleading headline “Alberta wildfires linked to climate change, scientist says”.
Despite the fires still raging, the CBC article began by spinning the story in service of the climate change narrative, before the smoke had settled and the cause of the fire was even established.
We now know from the release of the RCMP’s investigation that the largest of the fires around Chuckegg Creek and High Level were caused by arson, something that was made public on Oct. 22.
Of course, climate change will result in more wildfires. Nobody would contend that warmer weather makes for drier conditions, but in this case, the reporting was dishonest. Emphasizing a single factor without acknowledging other causes, including arson, was irresponsible.
The premier’s response at the time included the need for more context as to why this fire season may be worse than others, including but not limited to climate change.
“‘I accept the science on anthropogenic climate change,’ Kenney said in a news conference. “But, in this particular instance, I can tell you we are on the five-year average for forest fires in Alberta… The large one right now is happening in an area where there has not been a fire for 80 years, and so, regardless of other factors, it was due eventually for a large wildfire.’”
In our interview with the CP reporter, she said, “Kenney’s comments aren’t wrong, but fire scientists say they don’t tell the whole story,” which is ironic, given the original story included misleading quotes from the scientist she interviewed.
It all seemed quite strange that the quotes from Dr. Mike Flannigan, who has a Ph.D. in Plant Sciences, and who specializes in fire’s interaction with climate, would give such a lopsided take on the northern Alberta wildfires. His quotes, peppered throughout the article, read like climate change propaganda, which, now having talked to him, are deeply misrepresentative of his views.
A quote like “We are seeing climate change in action,” makes it sound like Dr. Flannigan is speaking on the northern Alberta wildfires, and like other quotes, are lacking in context, suspiciously short, and do not reflect something a respected environmental scientist would claim while a wildfire is still burning.
When we called Dr. Flannigan to ask why he seemingly had attributed the fires solely to the increased risks from climate change, the ensuing discussions pointed our concerns back to Derworiz’s piece that the all-too-credulous CBC published because it fit the public broadcaster’s confirmation bias.
Upon questioning him, it was soon evident that Dr. Flannigan is very detailed in the way he handles the issue of forest fires. The quotes included were tailored down to meet the CP’s and CBC’s climate change narrative.
As Dr. Flannigan put it:
“Media like sound bites of ten to thirty seconds, where, unfortunately, you can’t get into all that you know, but you try and hammer home the major points and often I do try. But it doesn’t always make it because things get cut, that the amount of human activity in northern Alberta has increased significantly. And so we’re seeing more impact because more people are living and working in the forest as compared to 40 years ago. So that’s why we’re seeing more Chuckegg Creeks, Slave Lakes, and Fort McMurray. It’s because there are more people there, and they’re starting fires.” Dr. Flannigan
When we followed up with the CP reporter to question the editorializing in her news article, she said it was unfair to expect her to get the cause of the fire correct as she had less information when she wrote the article. This misses the point entirely.
The issue is that CP wrote a story about the northern Alberta wildfires and linked them to climate change before having all of the evidence. Even if the cause of the major fires around Chuckegg Creek and High Level had been strongly linked to climate change, it would still not be correct to write the story before confirming that as factually accurate.
If you don’t have the information, then you don’t write the story. That’s how journalism works.
On the call, the reporter pivoted her position from climate change being linked to the fires to climate change, generally making wildfires worse, which is a palatable position, but not one that was portrayed in her article.
She deflected criticism of the information she presented back at Dr. Flannigan, stating, “I’m not giving you different information. The prof is the expert. He’s the guy that you should talk to.”
Dr. Flannigan told us, “I don’t usually like to go to individual events and say, yes, that’s a direct result of climate change.” That contradicts the premise of the article which broadly links all the fires, including those close to Chuckegg Creek and High Level, to climate change.
Again Dr. Flannigan had said that he doesn’t just give soundbites nor link causes or factors to fires while they are still burning. He will provide extensive information to anyone who comes looking for his expertise.
“Media wants a hook, and the more sensational, the better. So, I can sometimes talk for 40 minutes, and it will be reduced down to thirty seconds or twenty seconds, and they [only] take snippets. And sometimes it’s out of context, or at least it’s not complete. It’s incomplete. And yeah, I mean, it’s a very complex issue, and to reduce it to one point is–yeah.”
The CP reporter responded to us when asked if it was okay to run a story before getting in all the evidence, saying, “Well, I don’t think that is any different than Premier Kenney making statements about what he thinks caused the fire at the time.”
Having mentioned Premier Kenney’s response to the fire, she claimed her article was a response to his “strong statements.”
“I believe that is why we did that story at the time,” she states.
Though the author isn’t wholly to blame, the CBC is dogmatic on the climate change issue and gladly publishes alarmist rhetoric on their website regularly. Those opposing the so-called “climate crisis” are ex-communicated as “deniers”, while Greta Thunberg is given sainthood.
Based on this editorial trajectory, it isn’t a shock that the CBC has set up an incentive structure that could result in a biased, inaccurate piece being published without sober second thought.
It doesn’t seem to matter to them that a misreporting of the issue could impact the lives of people living in northern Alberta. People need to know accurate information on what caused a fire to be able to make an informed decision on continuing to live in the area or not.
For the record, the CBC never updated the original article or made any retraction of the information provided within.
Since CBC receives well over a billion dollars of taxpayer money annually, it would be nice if Canadians could rely on accurate information, especially in stressful situations like wildfires or extreme weather events where evacuations occurred.
While CBC and CP mislead Canadians, The Post Millennial provided quality coverage of the region, even before the fires
The importance of shining light on underreported issues with a large platform or spotlight is crucial—especially so as we make concerted efforts to mend historical injustices.
And speaking truth to power, including the mainstream, is vital for the free press to do so consistently, and to do right.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has big plans.
To truly do that though, the CBC would have to function as a media producer that represents all Canadians.
With only one week until the election ends, they have blown that opportunity by not just blurring the line between partisanship and journalism, but erasing it altogether.
For those catching up, the state broadcaster will be taking the Conservative Party of Canada to court for using clips of the broadcaster’s footage in an online attack ad, something other parties also do, but CBC decided to single out the Conservatives.
Stunningly and stupidly tone-deaf, the CBC named Rosemary Barton and John Paul Tasker as applicants in the copyright infringement lawsuit, but are now planning to amend it to remove both journalists’ names after facing serious backlash from the public and experts alike.
Part of the public outrage came from the fact that court documents show the CBC began sending letters to the Conservative Party on October 7th.
That was the same day that the only official English Leaders’ debate was moderated in part by CBC journalist Rosemary Barton.
At this moment, it’s not clear whether Barton was involved since then, or if this was handled without their knowledge. But lawyers not involved in the case are saying it’s pretty hard to believe Barton wasn’t involved in the lawsuit where she was named as one of the applicants. Either way, there’s a serious problem.
If CBC journalists Barton, co-host of The National, and Tasker were aware of the lawsuit it would mean Barton co-moderated the leaders’ debate while not disclosing to the public she was suing Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer’s party.
If they were unaware, the CBC was so trigger happy that it initiated a suit including named applicants without the knowledge or consent of the journalists.
Both cases are worrying. And this is just the beginning.
According to an article published in the Globe and Mail by lawyer Michael Geist, “the lawsuit is all the more puzzling because the legal claims are quite weak. The majority of the seven clips do not even include CBC journalists. Three are taken from the English-language leaders’ debate and one from a town-hall meeting with Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. Of the remaining clips, Ms. Barton says nothing in one, and the others run for a total of 10 seconds.”
Interestingly, while the CBC continues to sue the Conservatives for copyright infringement, according to a 2018 Canadaland report, the state broadcaster itself remains mired in its own legacy of stealing scoops from small private Canadian content producers without giving credit.
Regardless of the hypocrisy, the CBC has also been quick to attack and criticize independent journalism in this country, often labelling it as unserious or lacking credentials.
Indeed, Barton even had the nerve to tweet out the suggestion that not all journalists are real journalists.
It was a clear swipe at Andrew Lawton of TNC who had to force the government’s hand by getting last-minute court-ordered accreditation after being targeted, blocked, and harrassed by Trudeau’s campaign as well as the Trudeau government-appointed Leaders’ Debate Commission. Once a federal court judge ordered the commission to give Lawton accreditation, a CBC journalist allegedly conspired with one of Trudeau’s aides to try and stop Lawton from asking Trudeau a question.
The embarrassing news of Barton’s involvement in CBC’s lawsuit dropped one day later, and the subsequent removal of her name and denial she was involved followed after her and CBC got blasted on Twitter. This begs the question: why do so-called real journalism outlets launch frivolous copyright suits against a particular political party mere days before an election without disclosing it to their audience?