Globe and Mail TV critic John Doyle thinks he’s found a pattern at the CBC, with its tolerance of hockey commentator Don Cherry’s forays into politics and the right-wing tilt of business “dragon” Kevin O’Leary.
I spent part of the weekend reading up on Don Cherry’s views on how this country is run and by whom. A bracing experience, with dollops of black comedy. Rather like watching the Leafs.
And it eventually occurred to me – who needs Sun TV News when CBC is unsubtly furthering a right-wing agenda? Thanks to CBC’s hands-off, shrugging attitude to Don Cherry’s political activism, the broadcaster is authenticating that activism. …
… Certainly it takes the view that the political forays are Cherry’s own business. “Private citizens are allowed to act as private citizens,” the CBC’s Jeff Keay said in a statement recently. He pointed out that Cherry is on contract with Hockey Night in Canada, not a full-time employee of CBC. “His actions have nothing to do with either CBC or Hockey Night in Canada, nor will they be presented on the air.”
This is disingenuous nonsense. By associating himself with right-wing politicians to the extent that he endorses them and makes pronouncements about who should govern this country, Cherry has associated Hockey Night in Canada and the CBC with right-wing political views.
And when did all this begin?
Since the first election of this minority Conservative government, the CBC has been surrounded, intimidated and criticized by the right to the point where its only choice of response has become a sharp shift to the right.
In fairness, the CBC still broadcasts David Suzuki, who is seen as public enemy number one by those who think we can keep polluting and emitting like there’s no tomorrow.
The CBC, as a national public broadcaster*, should reflect the country’s diversity.
* I work for the online arm of CTV News, CBC’s private-sector competitor
But I take Doyle’s point to be that the CBC is shifting rightwards in response to political pressure. Clearly they have some loud right-wing voices these days.
They are drawing more commentary from private-sector outlets that lean conservative.
Their guest media commentators on Sunday night’s The National were Newstalk 1010 Radio host John Moore* (who also writes a column for the National Post) and Mercedes Stephenson of Sun News.
* You can’t say Moore shies away from controversy. Note his blog today on the remarkable performance by Cherry at the swearing-in of Mayor Rob Ford: Don Cherry’s ‘classic performance by a swaggering bully’. Doyle’s column was written before that happened.
Hopefully CBC develops a good roster of voices from across the country of differing backgrounds and ideologies.
I don’t mind hearing viewpoints different from my own. I trust everyone feels the same way, but perhaps not.