The sorry state of Harper’s broadcasters.

Where is a body to turn for decent news coverage? We used to get such excellent Canadian and world news from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation but generations of parsimonious politicians have cut the Corp to the bone. And Mr. Harper hates it anyway. There is nothing much to report from CBC headquarters these days other than some dying gasps of quality programming, the last fitful hours of our heritage Hockey Night in Canada and news anchor Peter Mansbridge fading to black.

What struck us the other day was that the CBC was not the only news organization being reduced to poverty. CTV is owned by Bell Canada, one of the cheapest corporations since Adam Smith invented capitalism. The cheapness regime now at CTV was expected and a deteriorating news service is going downhill fast with Bell holding the purse strings. Judging by the Toronto area news, you have an over-aged gang of newscasters, giggling over their inside jokes and doing little but promoting CTV’s commercial programs.

Mind you, Global Television appears to be no better. Self promotion is just one problem. Global gives you an hour and a half of evening news in Southern Ontario that is not only loaded with self promotion but every major news item gets repeated up to four times. Being somewhat fresher on the scene in Southern Ontario, the Global personnel are younger, more attractively coiffed and do not seem to waste time liking each other.

Viewing in Toronto has a little scope. For example, city-centric CITY TV is an alternative, of sorts. Having ignored it for some years now, we have not heard of any change. The news style was always breezy but it seemed that the reporter/camera people were afraid they would fall off the earth if they went north of Eglinton Avenue.

There are rumours that CTV2 has a television station here in Babel. It is so pathetic that when Babelites think of local television, they think of Rogers Cable’s community channel.

There is also Mr. Harper’s favourite, Sun Television. Never wanting to and with no such intention, we do not think we have ever watched it. Sun Media publishes the local newspaper in Babel. That is enough bias to stomach.

But the point is that Mr. Harper is to blame. He let Shaw and Bell Canada end up owning the major commercial English-language radio and television networks in Canada. He finally got rid of the Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commission chair who tried to do his job properly. He failed because Mr. Harper wanted friendly broadcasters. He got them.

But there is a pathetic addition to this disgraceful story. Watching Global Television news the other evening, we were treated to a news clip about the dear old Queen of Canada. She is having another birthday or something and the Royals were out trooping the colors with the guys in red coats and tall fur hats. At the end of the news clip on Global, we saw that it was provided to Her Majesty’s loyal Canadian subjects by the London Bureau of CBS News of the United States of America.

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Copyright 2012 © Peter Lowry

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