Every year, hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars are availed to maintain the operating budget of the CBC. Every year, millions of Canadians wonder whether the juice is worth the squeeze. In an increasingly digital age, where the proliferation of social media platforms has largely decentralized and democratized the means of journalistic production, traditional forms of media have suffered a massive decline. The information oligopoly that existed in the 20th century simply doesn’t in the 21st, a reality that is clearly reflected by the trajectory of the industry. And while privately owned newsrooms across the country have been forced into an indefinite state of fiscal austerity, the CBC’s prospects are—at least until this October —markedly less precarious. It is, then, troubling to see how zealously and unapologetically the organization cranks out brainless clickbait on Snapchat.
Last September, the public broadcaster announced its foray onto the platform as a way to “better inform young Canadians and foster media literacy.” Unfortunately, the content being produced is informative in ways that disappoint, and conducive to a strain of media literacy that the next generation of consumers could probably do without. Rather than using the account as a theatre for the critical examination of important social issues, the CBC uses it as a cheap digital colostomy bag for the excesses and clichés of millennial internet culture. Exploits like this, which already exist en masse in the private sector, should prompt Canadians to question the fundamental purpose of the CBC.