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Saturday, May 18 2024 @ 02:07 MDT

The CBC Saga...

Jason ramblingBack here I mentioned that half the candidates in Calgary-Egmont, myself included, were not mentioned in a riding profile piece on the CBC. Now, given that the taxpayer funded public broadcaster had just given three candidates free publicity without mentioning the rest of us other than a throwaway at the end of the report, this struck me as being a little unbalanced. So I wrote a letter, email really, to the Calgary Eyeopener and cc'd the CBC ombudsman. That email elicited this response which I will now dissect.

First of all, we are only doing profiles of select ridings. We are focusing on ridings where there is an interesting story to tell, or a contentious race to watch. Egmont is interesting simply because there was a controversial nomination process which may lead to a split on the right.

Fair enough, the contentious nomination process for the Tories makes it interesting for sure. Given the three way split of the right wing vote, as was the reporter's premise, you'd expect the Wildrose Alliance Candidate to get some air time too, but he didn't.

That split, realistically, gives the Liberals a chance to come up the middle. Given that the NDP received only 600 votes in the last election, it is not likely to be the primary beneficiary here. Therefore I spoke to the two candidates who are likely to split the vote, and the one who might benefit.

This is the "you're campaign is too small to warrant any of my time" argument. I presume this was to explain why my campaign wasn't even contacted. I can only assume that the Greens and the WA also weren't contacted. The part I find interesting with this comment is that QR77, the private talk radio station here in town not only contacted me before doing their report on Egmont, but interviewed me for several minutes. The interview got played as well. For those of you who don't live in the broadcast area of QR77, it's well known as a right wing radio station and not likely to be sympathetic to the NDP cause. Given that, QR77 not only managed to contact me, but interviewed me as well it seems that the public broadcaster could have at least given the other three parties the same courtesy. Further given that during the CBC report, it sounded like the reporter went door knocking with Chandler, there was probably plenty of time to give all the candidates a quick phone call to ask for a quick comment.

The fact that the Wildrose Alliance candidate also wasn't mentioned is telling in that the WA is also splitting the right wing vote and is just as likely to benefit from that vote split. The WA candidate wasn't mentioned and didn't get any air time either, making the claim that why the reporter spoke to who she did somewhat suspect.

This was then followed up in the same email with:

Given the time constraints of a five or six minute radio piece, I can't represent all of the politicians or parties running in each riding.

Again the private broadcaster the area was able to do that and with proper planning the CBC could have done the same. Either way, the taxpayer funded CBC gave three candidates in a riding 3-4 minutes of free publicity while deliberately marginalizing the other three candidates. It's not the lack of interview, I can understand time constraints, it's the virtually complete lack of mention at all. It gives the impression that the CBC has decided that some campaigns are more deserving of publicity than others, meaning the CBC is now taking sides in an election campaign. This is something that the public broadcaster should not be doing.

At this point the reporter then goes on about how they've interviewed all the party leaders and given news coverage to all the parties... yada yada yada.... completely missing the point. First off, the voters in Calgary-Egmont aren't getting a ballot with the party leader's names on it. They're getting one with the local candidates names on it, and the CBC just basically gave free publicity to exactly half of them and ignored the others. Second the reporter implied not just in the report as broadcast, but in her response to me that the other three candidates are irrelevant, a message no doubt received clearly by the voter.

So I responded to the first reply in another email explaining that it's not just about the interview, but that it's about being mentioned at all. This garnered a return email:

I did have your name in the script ... however, as sometimes happens, we got squeezed at the bottom of the clock and started editing on the fly to fit everything in.

First it's we weren't important enough to be included, now it's we were edited out on the fly due to time constraints. The fact our names were in the script is nice, but since they weren't read out on air, irrelevant. The names could have been mentioned the next day in a short "We're sorry we ran out of time but the other three candidates are..." piece. That hasn't happened yet to date.

This email gets even better, as I'm told:

FYI - you were mentioned by name when the story ran on the Edmonton afternoon show, RadioActive.

Well, that's much better. I'm sure that the one or two voters from CALGARY Egmont that just happened to be in Edmonton that afternoon got to hear it. So the CBC gives the Tory, the independent and Grit candidates minutes of free publicity in the city where the people who will vote in the riding while ignoring the others, but thinks it's OK to give the other three a mention in the drive home show in a completely different city. Given that I did get an email from a friend up north who actually gets CBC Edmonton's signal who did say they heard my name, the names did go out up north, but not here where it matters. As an aside, my friend stated that they thought the report was poorly done.

So basically now we have a publicly funded broadcaster who sees it as their job to pick and choose winners in an election and give publicity to who they thinks in the best position to win. I expected this from the private broadcasters in Calgary, but they surprised me in being more balanced than the CBC, which is a reversal of what is normally the case. I'm wondering if, in the upcoming federal election, CBC Calgary will only interview Tory candidates, after all, they're the only ones that are going to win anyways.

So I have responded back and lodged a a formal complaint with the CBC ombudsman, but I suspect that they've "circled the wagons" over at the Eyeopener and I won't hear from them again. So it's up the food chain I go...

The CBC Saga... | 6 comments | Create New Account
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The CBC Saga...
Authored by: Anonymous onWednesday, February 27 2008 @ 02:55 MST
Hmmm... I think that reporter must be a Conservative... I've heard a few of their reporters colouring things to the right recently.

A CBC reporter sideswiped Kent Hehr's doorknocking when they looked at Buffalo (I thought it was most inappropriate for them to air a senior expressing support to Kent, and then air a second piece where the reporter had gone BACK to the senior, and she retracted her support along the lines of 'of course I'm voting Tory, but he was such a nice boy I didn't want to tell him that'. Gee, THANKS! Didn't see you do that to any of the right wing candidates, why back stab Kent?)

Now, back to your issue: Take a look at the comment that the reporter makes in "That split, realistically, gives the Liberals a chance to come up the middle. Given that the NDP received only 600 votes in the last election, it is not likely to be the primary beneficiary here. Therefore I spoke to the two candidates who are likely to split the vote, and the one who might benefit."

"GIVES" the Liberals a chance?!

I see... she thinks that the only way the riding would go left would be a vote split? Oye! Wake up! The political temperature in Calgary has changed - a lot. (Although Chandler would blame that on people who 'don't know that when they move here they have to vote like Albertans'). The incombent Dennis Herard has retired, and the riding is wide open.

Sorry, but the Liberals stand on their own two feet and are deserving of merit. And even if the riding did not have the Chandler Contreversy, there still is a good chance of the riding swinging towards the left.

Certainly if you look at the results from the last election in Egmont it's clear that the Liberals have a chance. And if you realized some of the background of the last election, you would realize just how strong the Liberal support is in the community (albiet in pockets). It would have been nice if Mike Queenan had put any real effort into his campaign - but as it was an absentee campaign, no literature drops and signs that went up ten minutes before election day, it is absolutely amazing that the Liberals did as well as they did. And the tide is certainly changing in Calgary - and in Alberta. I think that our new government is going to be a lot further Left.

I heard the interview - and I had the impression that our friendly neighbourhood reporter was actively trying to promote Chandler. I would love to give it a second listen - but lo and behold, it's not even available online.... (However, if you want to listen to a story about a 10 year old busker, that's high enough priority to merit an internet audio stream.)

As a side note about this morning's story about Donna, the Chinook Health Region board member's attempts to publicize their support of the local Tory - it's also quite supportive of the right. Sure, the individual had his knuckles slapped over running the ad, but it got press all over the province, and Cindy (I don't have to account $11,500 of taxpayers dollars) Ady's father Jack (another former Tory MLA) spoke out about it, but it was all window dressing. sure, he was "surprised" that Donna did something inappropriate, but it's a little late to do anything now. He is "hopeful there is an explanation" and "She can endorse whoever she pleases... [as an individual, but not as a board member]".

Of course, they posted a followup ad to detract the board's support of a political party, but the horse was already out of the barn. (And that second ad only brought more attention to the first promoting the Tories! I guess all of the media attention scrutinizing the case didn't hurt them either... and here they even get mention in your blog. The mind boggles at the amount of free press that the right wing is getting over this.)

Of course Jack didn't even know who paid for the ad, nor could he locate Donna - but agreed that it was inappropriate for any board member to take a public stance as part of the board...

Nice to know it is a simple misunderstanding that needs to be dealt with - and that nothing will be done to censure the board member's actions. Just imagine if she would have come out in favour of the Liberals, Greens or NDP. The board is not going to discipline the board member, it's up to the (Tory) minister in Edmonton.

  • The CBC Saga... - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, February 29 2008 @ 08:42 MST
  • The CBC Saga... - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, February 29 2008 @ 08:26 MST