The CBC Saga...
Wednesday, February 27 2008 @ 12:16 MST
Contributed by: evilscientist
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.
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...