Source: Sun New Network
Last weekend, I read an article in the Economist on media suppression in Venezuela. Even though that country's quasi-dictator, Hugo Chavez, has been dead eight months, government intimidation and control of Venezuela's TV, radio and newspapers continues.
Of the four independent TV channels that existed in 2007, one has gone out of business because the government refused to renew its broadcast license. Two others avoided the same fate by agreeing not to air news reports critical of the government. Meanwhile, a fourth station was starved of income through government intimidation of its sponsors and was forced to sell to a businessman very friendly to President Nicolas Maduro.
Reports about the food shortages caused through central planning have been banned as "war propaganda." And radio and TV stations are forced to carry the president's 30-minute "truth bulletins" twice daily.
Newspapers and magazines are regularly fined or even censored by government-friendly judges. And the Maduro government keeps opposition publications small by denying them the foreign currency they need to buy printing paper.
That's real government intimidation of media.
Then I arrive home to find the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting has renewed its ad campaign claiming the Harper Tories are undermining the CBC's independence.
Their ads feature a journalist, supposedly from Mother Corporation, asking an actor who kind of looks like Prime Minister Harper a series of embarrassing questions only to find himself bound up by a couple of Mafia goons and tossed in a trunk.
The Friends accuse the Tories of "turning the CBC into a state broadcaster." As a result, "who's going to ask the tough questions now?" They call on viewers to "free the CBC from political interference."
The ads are clever enough, but the allegations they make border on the insane.
Turned into a state broadcaster? Whenever the Liberals are in power in Ottawa, the CBC has always been only too happy to be the mouthpiece of the state.
The Ceeb loves to claim it is a public broadcaster - serving the interests of the Canadian public rather than the goals of the government. But the only times it comes close to being independent is when Tories are in power. When the Libs are in office, CBC becomes the fourth branch of government - executive, legislative, judicial and CBC.
If Justin Trudeau becomes PM after the 2015 elections, the CBC will quickly return to being Ottawa's chief propagandist.
"Who's going to ask the tough questions?" What an insult.
Even if you believe Sun News Network is too chummy with the Tories, what about CTV, Global and a raft of newspapers? Once again Friends and the CBC betray their boundless arrogance. Only CBC is capable (in their minds) of practising professional journalism. Last spring when a Tory backbencher wanted Ottawa to reveal public-sector salaries, CBC journalists insisted their independence was under attack, and so was Canada's freedom - just because one MP wanted to disclose the salaries the public is paying.
The Friends, who are closely aligned with the CBC's unions, insist Mother Corp is under attack from the Tories because many Tory MPs are philosophically opposed to a state broadcaster, because the government has appointed Tory supporters to the corporation's board (as opposed to when the Liberals used to appoint Liberal supporters), because the government wants a say in salary negotiations since it ultimately has to pay for any raises given and because it wants to cut the CBC's $1.1-billion annual budget by 10% over three years.
The CBC's and Friends' belief in the CBC's moral and intellectual superiority is staggering, exceeded only by their belief in the CBC's central role in preserving Canadian democracy.
© Sun News Network