CBC programming to highlight “new” standards?

Harvey Oberfeld
By Harvey Oberfeld
February 1st, 2012

You heard it here first…and hopefully last!

I’ve been thinking–always a dangerous and sometimes a quite cheeky intellectual exercise–and I’ve come up with a few new program suggestions for CBC’s next television season … featuring a “Revised”  Program Standards Policy to fit with its new reality.

First, Hockey Night in Canada can now have a new Sports Reporter, Jennifer Mather, ”embedded” to  cover the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Mather, as former BCTV fans can testify, is a fine reporter. But more than that old-fashioned journalistic qualification, she’s also married to Brian Burke, Leafs’ General Manager, reflecting the new apparently acceptable standard at CBC for reporters.

Vancouver Canucks fans (not to mention Montreal Canadiens supporters) may have some doubts about the validity of her stories, especially if she just happens to honestly find something to  rave about–for example, if the Leafs string together two consecutive wins–but CBC management are confident that likely won’t happen, so it should not pose any problems.

And Jennifer could promise that, if after another losing game, hubby Brian puts his fist through a wall at home, she will not take advantage of her unusual access to scoop other media with the story.  But if he puts his fist through a wall at the office, where other reporters can also see the results, she will report it, complete with ALL his &%*$ quotes.

And in light of the CBC Pacific Region managers’ recent decision that legislative reporter Stephen Smart can continue to cover BC politics and the legislature, even though his wife is the premier’s deputy press secretary, there can now be other changes in CBC news as well.

Also, the National can now feature a new At Issue panel member: Laureen Harper.

Ms. Harper has extensive experience in both national and international travel and has skillfully written many memos to her kids’ school, meal menus and messages on Christmas cards, none of which have ever had a partisan bias.

Ms. Harper will bring a new perspective to the At Issue panel: being close enough to the corridors of power walked daily by her spouse Stephen, but she has assured CBC managers she will never take advantage of that unique situation by having the Prime Minister or any of his staff suggest stories, write scripts or insert OR delete quotes–ever.  Except, of course,  maybe in the 38 days immediately preceding an election–an occasional exception that should be no problem for CBC management, especially in the Alberta and the Pacific Regions.

And then, there’s the popular  CBC show Quirks and Quarks, currently looking for a new host.

Apparently, TWO well-known British Columbians have the inside edge as co-hosts: Adrian Dix and John Cummins.

With their extensive knowledge of politics, CBC management might find them perfect candidates to explore the quirks and quarks of BC and Canada’s political “sciences”  …exploring unproven and untested theories for Canada’s future,  in the light of current and historical failed experiments.

Apparently, the possibility of previous political connections are not a problem. Although neither currently have close family members working for the government (or National Research Council),  CBC management can assure them that will not be a problem if any or all of their relatives  win major lucrative jobs or contracts.

And should the political leaders actually gain power and become Premier or Opposition leader … again, no problem under CBC’s new journalistic standards.

Since it’s apparently hard to survive in Victoria on just one salary, their spouses could simply replace them as Quirks and Quarks hosts. Unless, of course, they are scooped up by CBC News division to cover their hubbies at the legislature.

In either case, it will no longer be a problem.

What an amazing season the CBC can now have, unencumbered by pesky rulings of its own ombudsman or any public concerns about perceived fairness and independent thinking.

Of course, I personally find this all particularly amusing: because when The Webster Awards dumped me as an unpaid, voluntary judge after I did it for two years following retirement (my own tribute to Jack, who helped me get my great job at BCTV), they told me the reason was this blog (on which there are NO ads, NO revenues). I was told it was as if I was still “working” in the media. Huh?

Apparently THAT was a conflict.  Certainly NOT because I had written articles critical of declining standards and the quality of journalism in BC media!

I guess journalistic standards in BC have indeed now changed!

And I wonder what Jack would say about the new realities.

P.S.  And a reminder, if you want First Alert notifications of every new blog on here, follow me on Twitter @harveyoberfeld.  Again, FREE, no ads, no costs …not even if I ever get a lucrative government contract! :)

Harv Oberfeld is a blogger and retired journalist. This column originally appeared in his blog, Keeping It Real.

Categories: Op/Ed

Other News Stories