The CBC’s Propaganda War - January 26, 2012 - Posted by Bruce Bawer
The only thing worse than having the biases of the mainstream media inflicted upon you on a daily basis is having to subsidize it. For Americans, to be sure, the rip-off isn’t so terrible: the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which funds PBS and NPR, gets $430 million a year from the federal government, which comes to only a couple of bucks per household. In Britain, by contrast, the BBC license fee is now £145.50 ($226) annually per TV-owning family. And in Canada, the CBC receives more than $1.5 billion a year from the Canadian government, which amounts to upwards of $100 per household.
And what, exactly, are Canadian taxpayers paying for? That’s the question asked – and very illuminatingly answered – by a new documentary,This Hour Could Have 10,000 Minutes: The Biases of the CBC, produced by James Cohen and Fred Litwin. (The title is a reference to “This Hour Has 22 Minutes,” a long-running CBC series specializing in political satire.) Focusing on two main topics – anti-Israel bias and anti-conservative bias – the documentary consists almost entirely of CBC clips (most but not all of them from news programs) in which we can see these biases in action. To judge by this compilation, the CBC is perhaps even more slanted than the infamously partial BBC – and, perhaps, even more brazen about it.
Take the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In the documentary we see excerpts from a CBC report on the second Gaza “Freedom Flotilla” that consists entirely of interviews with flotilla participants – all of whom represent it as a virtuous and innocuous aid mission and condemn Israel’s actions against the previous flotilla as absolutely unjustified. At no point does the CBC provide even a brief reminder that there is, in fact, another side to the story. (As the documentary asks: “Is this reporting? Or stenography?”)
In one report, the CBC describes the Jewish Defense League, untruthfully, as a terrorist group that’s banned in Canada. In another report, on Hamas’s struggle with Fatah and takeover of Gaza, the CBC includes file footage of Israeli soldiers firing at terrorists – images that have nothing to do with the story in question. In both cases, the CBC was compelled to issue on-air apologies. (This documentary, in fact, is packed with on-air apologies for this sort of thing.)
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