I see in an article in the Globe and Mail that over hundreds of current CBC journalists and personalities, including, it says, “Anna Maria Tremonti, Michael Enright, Bob McKeown, Gillian Findlay, Mark Kelley, Carol Off, Katie Nicholson and Nahlah Ayed” … [and] … dozens of former staff, including Adrienne Clarkson, former Fifth Estate host Linden MacIntyre and the former editor-in-chief Tony Burman,” have protested the CBC‘s leap into the “advertorial” pool.
“Paid content, also known as sponsored content,” the article explains “is advertising that is designed to mimic regular editorial coverage. Its use stretches back decades – the portmanteau “advertorial” came into common use in the mid-1980s – but it has become more sophisticated in recent years, and it is now common and used by outlets including The Globe, The New York Times and the BBC. But its growth has prompted concerns that the public is being hoodwinked by sales pitches that appear to be objective journalism .. [and] … CBC/Radio-Canada had been selling paid content since 2017, but when it unveiled plans in September to increase such activities under a new initiative called Tandem, hundreds of former staff objected, saying it put the broadcaster’s reputation in danger. The CBC announced it would temporarily halt accepting new contracts while it studied the objections.“
The CBC, it seems to me, has enough problems convincing too many Canadians, me included, that it had no already crossed too many journalistic “red lines” in being openly anti-Conservative in Canada and anti-Republican when it came to reporting on the USA. The perception of paid political bias …
… is very real. That perception may be unfair, but it is real and widespread. The line between the CBC‘s newsrooms and the Prime Minister’s Office seems thin and blurry when it should be a high stone wall.
But why does the CBC need to jump into the deep end of the “advertorial” pool? After all, it gets $1.3 Billion each year, from the tax dollars you and I send to Ottawa every spring. Why does it need more? It says it wants to produce “better,” more popular content, but the fact is that the CBC does NOT produce much of anything that Canadians want to see and hear. Canadians have many, many choices, including conventional over-the-air and cable and Internet/online services and the CBC is not high on anyone’s list. There are, doubtless, many reasons for that. The CBC seems, to me, to want to be the voice of the Laurentian Elites, but no one is listening. For the über–progressives in downtown Montréal, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver the CBC is not sufficiently anti-capitalist, it’s not anti-semitic enough, and it’s not sufficiently anti-American, but for most mainstream, middle class Canadians in the suburbs and in smaller cities and in rural Canada it is too much of all those things and it doesn’t talk about much of anything that matters to them. The loony-left can get what it wants online, working and middle class Canadians have other, private networks from which to choose, networks that actually bother to broadcast local news, for example.
CBC/Radio-Canada president Catherine Tait and her senior management team have failed. They have totally lost the plot. If Minister of Canadian Heritage Steven Guilbeault and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have the brains that the gods gave to green peppers they will fire her, and the board and the entire senior management team, cut the annual grant by a substantial amount and tell a new, lean, mean management team to start again, from scratch.
Now, I suspect that Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Guilbeault a) don’t have the brains the gods gave to green peppers, and b) each have other and different ideological fish to fry so, I guess, that despite the protests of 500+ CBC insiders, the jump into the “advertorial” pool’s deep end will continue and that, I believe, will give a future Conservative government the ammunition it needs to, finally, put the CBC out of its misery.