The CBC News Network announced last week it was cancelling its flagship business program On the Money, ending the tradition of covering business news in-depth since the all-news channel’s inception in 1989. The cancellation seemed inevitable after being shifted from a prime time evening slot to 4 pm, where it was regularly interrupted by news conferences and weather reports.
But killing off the national broadcaster’s main vehicle for business news and commentary raises the question of whether the CBC was motivated by its growing bias against business people’s views of the world, which inevitably tend to be more conservative. No one cited ratings as a factor in the decision; rather, CBC management blamed budget constraints, as the $500 million of additional funding newly provided by the Trudeau government is supposedly not enough to cover the development of a digital platform for its broadcasts. If true, this shows just how serious is the disadvantage of private-sector news broadcasts who cannot possibly match the CBC in developing new platforms, especially when the CBC gives all its programming away for no fee.
However, budget constraints are a lame excuse. Everyone has a budget, which only forces management to reveal its priorities. The CBC’s budget has expanded sharply under the Liberal government, but it chose to divert funds into costly ventures such as The National, while starving other programs. True to its public sector roots, the CBC never trims employee compensation as part of its search to cut costs.
It seems more likely that On the Money was targeted because it was the last bastion of pro-business commentary (at least by comparison with other CBC programs). After all, the show and its predecessor The Exchange helped make Kevin O’Leary famous enough to make a run for the leadership of the federal Conservative party — a dangerous precedent. The extensive airing of O’Leary’s conservative views on The Exchange was subsequently shrunk to five-minute round-ups by such right-wing thought leaders as professor Ian Lee and entrepreneur Mark Satov. Mercifully, viewers will no longer have to listen to the equal coverage the show insisted on giving to raving redistributionists like Armine Yalmizyan and Angela McEwen.
While cutting On the Money the CBC continues to subsidize various programs such as The Current and The Sunday Edition, which have come to resemble graduate school humanities seminars on identity liberalism, encouraging listeners to view themselves in terms of victimization and identity politics and against the growing greed of the business class. The most honest title of a CBC program is the radio show The 180, which covers not the whole 360-degree spectrum, but half: from the centre to the far left.
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