Source : National Post
Re: CBC Must Drop the Propaganda
, Jonathan Kay, June 18.
Recent criticisms by Jonathan Kay and the National Post of CBC Radio fundamentally misrepresent the mandate of its programs, and cannot go unanswered.
The latest target, As It Happens, is not a news program. It is a program of opinion and commentary about current affairs. Strong views passionately expressed are the show's lifeblood, and the reason it has been a popular mainstay of the CBC Radio One schedule for decades. Balance on the program is monitored and maintained over time, not within individual items. On an ongoing basis, the program has broadcast, and continues to broadcast, interviews expressing a wide range of views on Middle Eastern issues, including both pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian positions.
We believe that informed citizenship benefits from the expression of the fullest range of responsible opinion on important issues, rather than artificially limiting the spectrum of debate to favour one particular perspective -- however apparently right and justified it may be. At the end of the day, we trust our listeners to draw their own conclusions.
The CBC does not need the Post to assure its journalistic accountability to Canadians. Unlike the Post, the CBC has a comprehensive and publicly available set of journalistic standards and practices which are unmatched in their rigour. Unlike the Post, the CBC has an Ombudsman's Office which is widely considered to be among the best in the world, and whose annual report is a matter of public record. Unlike the Post, we regularly hold public accountability sessions where our journalists hear and respond to comments from listeners, viewers and users, both on and off the air.
If anyone wants to comment on any aspect of CBC journalism, and receive a thoughtful reply, they need only phone, write or e-mail the program, our audience relations department, or the ombudsman. Contact information is readily available on our Web site at www.cbc.ca. Every complaint is fully investigated and responded to. If necessary, corrective action is taken.
Finally, it's worth noting that Canadians at large do not agree with the Post's editorial position on the CBC. Earlier this year, an Ekos poll found that our Middle East coverage is not perceived to have an anti-Israel bias. During the recent Iraq war, Canadians told us that they found CBC's coverage more balanced and objective than other Canadian networks or CNN and, far from tuning out, audiences increased by a third.
Rather than "CBC Watch," we suggest a more appropriate message to National Post readers interested in real journalistic integrity might be "Watch, Listen and Log-On to CBC."
© National Post