CBC TV is a shambles: Nobody watches TV out of patriotism


Rehearsal for The National news program at the CBC studio in Toronto, on Nov 1, 2017.



While speaking at an event in Toronto this week, Catherine Tait, president and CEO, CBC/Radio-Canada, was asked about what message she wanted to leave with the audience and with Canadians. Among her answers was this: “Keep communicating with us.”

Fine. Here goes: It is increasingly difficult to take CBC TV and its management seriously. It offers a lot of mediocre content. It seems to pay no attention to ratings. The flagship national news program is a continuing shambles. And the CEO seems oblivious to the need for clarity on multiple issues.

In the matter of clarity, it is downright bizarre what happened after that event. Tait told Simon Houpt of this newspaper that the public broadcaster is open to production partnerships with Netflix. Since October, the entire Canadian industry and public have had the distinct impression that Tait was withdrawing CBC from deals with Netflix, a platform that had introduced some CBC content to a vast, sometimes appreciative, international audience.

According to Tait, “That was incorrect journalism. I was misquoted.” Now, on what planet does the president and CEO of a major broadcaster allow a significant misinterpretation of corporate policy to go unchecked from October to late January? On shambolic planet CBC.

Such conduct is jejune to an exasperating degree, and implausible. A more likely scenario is that the no-thanks-Netflix policy met with bewilderment and was, of necessity, reversed without acknowledging it was reversed. Another possibility – one can only speculate about what carries on at the level of CBC shambles and shenanigans – is that the new federal government found CBC’s entreaties for more and more funding a bit baffling, since CBC TV is turning down the opportunity to partner with a streaming platform that spends billions on content. Possibly the phrase “Cutting off the nose to spite the face” was used. If so, it was apt.

That event featured the CBC president in conversation with CBC personality Arlene Dickinson – hardly the foil and questioner the occasion demands – and Tait’s topic was summarized as, “Staking Our Ground: Preserving Canada’s News and Culture in a Digital World.” I watched all of it online. It was not quite as painful as watching The National trying to be relevant on most nights. Not quite.

Tait’s outline of CBC’s role amounted to an eccentric synthesis of self-regard and platitudes. CBC is a public broadcaster, right? Oh indeed: “Our investors and shareholders are the Canadian public.” How do you make the case for the CBC in this vast digital world? “It’s a world of disinformation,” you know, and CBC has standards on that stuff. Why, CBC represents “social cohesion and nationhood.” And why should people watch such fare as the comedy Kim’s Convenience? Ah, Jiminy, you know that show illustrates “our tolerance of immigrants.”

Read the rest of this column  HERE.


  1. Funny that the government run TV and radio stations come under such close scrutiny. The CBC is no more inefficient, or poorly managed, or unresponsive to tax payers needs than any other government run program.
    The CBC provides a very important service. It is a place where the existing Federal government can get all the “free” air time it wants prior to or during an election campaign. It also is an excellent source of talent when a plum position in the senate or perhaps Governor General opens up.
    It provides good jobs to 3rd rate talent from one ocean to the other.
    No the CBC is no worse than any pork barrel , lazy, over paid, over pensioned, over benefit , arm of any of our three levels of government.
    #defund the CBC should be # fixed term limits #no more senate # no more defined pension plans # cut taxes at all 3 levels of gov by 25% # cut back all salaries of any government worker by 10% # freeze all public sector wages and benefits until private sector catches up# flat tax rates # tighter boarders# no special interest groups # common sence

  2. 13

    Well said, agree almost with everything you say .

    Almost all other Hard Working, Contributing, Canadians including “Pensioners that pay huge taxes agree with you .

    Then there are the groups of which you speak, they do not like to be held accountable .

    Really agree with the Flat Tax, that should be considered very seriously .

  3. CBC wastes money by building mega studios in the most expensive locations. Why on earth do they need a storefront studio in Edmonton? The local TV station does not produce anything that requires a live audience.

    They blast out the French language radio feed to a bus shelter where, I imagine, few French language speakers wait for the bus. They COULD entertain waiting passengers by broadcasting Radio One, a service that broadcasts in a language understood by 100% of the population. But no.

    Their local news set could have been put together by visiting Best Buy and spending a few hundred dollars, but I can well imagine they spent thousands on it. Nobody is watching.

    The photograph in this article shows “The National” news set. It looks ridiculously expensive. GlobalTV uses a green screen. So does REBEL Media – an alternative news source that breaks more real news on a limited budget than all the expensive CBC reporters combined. Why can’t CBC use the latest technology?

    Radio, on the other hand, is highly rated and can broadcast from anywhere. But it is located in the same – expensive – storefront studio.

    An auditor, even a mediocre one, could recommend million$ of savings. These dollars should go towards producing documentaries and dramas, not news. Dramas that could and should reflect Canadian history and culture, as per CBC’s original mandate. Private broadcasters refuse to produce programs such as this.

    There are far too many news sources these days on the Internet that give me what I need to know BEFORE CBC reports it.

    It’s not CBC as a whole that needs to be defunded, it is CBC TV News. Shut that down.

  4. You guys are idiots. Who provided valuable information when Newfoundland was overwhelmed by snow? The CBC. It’s provided a valuable public service for years and will continue to do so. Sorry it doesn’t always fit your political views – a lot of things in life won’t fit yours (or my) political views. That doesnt’ mean it should be tossed in the garbage

  5. Philip

    You probably make a good point when you state certain parts of the CBC should stay and that is the hard News that reports events as you suggest and the CBC Broadcast that covers Remote areas of Canada but it must be 100% devoid of Political Bias content .

    You make a gross error suggesting that people here are against the CBC because their narrative does not always fit “Their” Political Views, the fact is the CBC should fit NO Political Views at all, that is what a News Organization should be . People here that find fault with the CBC would not even want the CBC to conform to their Political Views because it is not Fair and Balanced .

    To suggest other wise is plain uh silly .

    There you go Philip, Ball now in your Court .

  6. You watch Fox News, BMCQ? You approve of how they they present the news?

    All I read on here is that CBC and CNN are trash, and fake news. Yet it’s awfully hard to find any comments on this site suggesting Fox is biased. I’ve read more than a few comments from you fawning over some set that Fox aired.

    Yet 90% of what I see on Fox leaves me bamboozled that anyone would think it’s unbiased. It’s slanted right. And hard right. And if that’s your political leanings – and it’s clearly the leaning of 90% of the commentators on this board – more power to you

    But let me guess….you think Fox is just telling it like it is, BCMQ?

  7. Philip

    Actually I watch many different news and opinion shows . I also read many different papers and listen to XFM and one ot two other radio stations s including a bit of CKNW when in the car .

    I even listen and read the BBC even though I feel they are very biased against Israel and somewhat Anti Semitic, showed favour to that POS Jeremy Corbin and his Labour Minions during the recent U.K. Election and Freedom Vote and are quite often dishonest in their coverage of anything Conservative . As someone interested in politics and world events I feel it is my duty to watch, listen too, and read as much news as I can .

    I then do my best to filter out the BS Don Le Mon, NYT, WAPO, MSNBC and so many others dishonest, hateful, biased, manipulative, and disrespectful drivel and try to make an honest conclusion to what the real news is .

    I also watch, read, and listen to Opinion Media as I feel that is very important, I want to hear al sides of every story I can and because of that I feel better informed .

    We all have our own bias and we all have our favourites and those we dislike, we then must make decisions based on the information we take in and form opinions on what we feel is as close to factual as possible keeping in mind that almost all reporting has a certain level of bias .

    I strongly believe that probably 90% of Media of all types, Educators/Teachers, Public Sector Workers, and Special ?Interest Groups of all types are Biased against anything Conservative so I do not think FOX or Rush are any Great Threat to “People Kind”, somehow Lofe will go on .

    I do however find it most telling and very interesting that in spite of those odds in the U.S., Canada, and the Soon to Be Free United Kingdom Conservatives not so Rich, Rich, and somewhere in between Stand Proud, Stand United, and Stand Strong . .

    Think about that for a minute .

    You might also want to think about this, ever notice how Conservatives always allow the other side to have their say and allow an opponent to make their point and those on the Left Shout Down Opposing Points of View ?

    Perhaps it is time to find a Safe Space Philip, I suggest you travel to the nearest University Campus as quickly as you can .

  8. brother

    You make some interesting points, perhaps the CBC and the Federal Government should be talking to you .

    One thing for sure Canadians in remote areas should be provided News Coverage and Information Programming however practical and possible, with the technology now so readily available that should be accomplished relatively easy .

  9. Funny how the left is ok with 95% of media outlets being biased to the left and then are really angry and insulted that any outlet should DARE to be biased to the right. Somehow showing the other side of the news story and maybe playing the ENTIRE news clip instead of just editing out the part that makes Donald Trump or anyone who supports him look bad is terrible and should be stopped. Maybe the arrogant, superior in their own minds, people who look down on FOX should watch it more often. They wouldn’t have been so surprised when Trump won the election in 2016 and won’t be surprised when he wins again November.

    And to anyone who pulls out that old “Trump didn’t really win the election because he didn’t have the majority of the popular vote”, do a search on that friend of the left – google – on the popular vote in the Canadian election last fall. You’ll find that Trudeau didn’t win the popular vote either. In fact, the Conservatives did, and by almost the same proportion based on population as the left is so quick to point out that Clinton beat Trump. The difference is that when the left loses they don’t accept the results and when the right loses they accept the results, change their leader, and move on. Nobody ranted about how Trudeau had no right to govern and that the Liberals should be overthrown. But then, the Conservatives don’t believe they have the “devine right to rule” like the Liberals in Canada or the Democrats in the U.S..

  10. Rick

    Of course Anderson, Wolfe, Jake, Don Le Mon, and Fredo are straight up Hard News People Kind .

    They play fair and balanced all the time and respect all Americans .


    It is always fair to challenge and even criticize but when Make Believe Mensa Members like Don Le Mon actually think they know what is going on it becomes quit ridiculous .

    If it was not for the fact that Le Mon ticked ALL of the PC SJW Boxes he would be lucky to land a job in the Classified Dept. in Bismark ND .

  11. You guys are great.

    So BCMQ, you sense bias in everything, pretty much. Methinks the bias is coming from you

    And I noticed you didn’t actually answer my question about Fox News and any biases it may have.

    I AM with you guys on the left yelling things down. The uproar over Don Cherry and the complete disinterest in Trudeau’s blackface was hypocrisy at its worst. I was embarrassed for a lot of people on that.

    But my original point is that bias exists in all of us, and it manifests itself in how we view the news providers.

  12. Again, I watch, listen, and read a lot of different news from many sources some or all have certain bias . I lean Conservative so I have a certain bias yet I still take in info from CNN, BBC which has great world news coverage even though they are Anti Israel and Anti Semitic, I separate that from news as best I can . I have for unknown reasons watched any CBC, I do not watch as much CNN, I simply feel they are a one trick pony as is MSNBC, NYT, WAPO and a few others .

    I do record CNN Smerconish as I feel he makes an effort to be fair . Biggest problem with him is he does a Poll every week and the results always reflect his audience 80% Liberal 20% independent thinkers but just the same he os good . Fareed, FREDO, Anderson and Don Le Mon are unwatchable now, they have TDS and it gets worse every day Trump is POTUS .

    I watch very little of Fox News Hannity and Ingraham, I like them but they are repetitive . I like Tucker and watch him often, I like how he has opposing opinions s on with him, the exchanges are educational and the Dems he has on are good .

    As to PM Justin and Black/Brown Face?

    PM Justin is inept, impotent, imbecilic, moronic, juvenile, a preening cupcake, a Groper, and he is truly only a legend in his own basement . He has no substance, he is shallow, and he is just plain stupid but he is no racist, he actually thinks he is cool and what a fool he is to think that .

    What do you think would have happened if it was Stephen Harper, Scheer, or Doug Ford that showed up in Black/Brown Face ?

    What do you think the CBC, and the rest of Liberal Media would have said about that ?

    Of course we ALL have Bias, we would not be human if we did not, what kind of a statement is that ?

    I remember reading Walter Cronkite where he stated he always leaned a bit Liberal but he never ever allowed trait to come across on TV, He said that would be unprofessional .

  13. Anyone notice how rapidly the above debate morphed from Canadian public news broadcasting to US “chase the ratings” news? Now, please go ahead and explain to me again why we do not need a Canadian non commercial news service!


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