February 18, 2016

How the CBC's subsidy corrupts journalism just as much as Rachel Notley

Ezra LevantRebel Commander

Rachel Notley’s blacklist of journalists she doesn’t like has been suspended in the face of national condemnation.

But it may return: Notley has asked a retired newspaper editor to make recommendations about “the government’s media policies."

In Canada though, governments don’t have media policies. The only accreditation necessary is found in the Charter of Rights with its guarantee of a free press. Notley’s desire to regulate journalists – whether through armed sheriffs and Department of Justice letters, as she did last week, or through high-priced advisors, as she’s trying next week, smacks of banana republic socialism. Perhaps we all should have paid more attention to Notley when she was in opposition, and wore a Che Guevara wrist-watch to the Legislature.

But even if the Alberta government backs down from attacking journalists they don’t like, there’s a larger problem in Canadian media: governments sponsoring journalists they do like.

The CBC is the obvious example. In the recent federal election, the NDP and Liberals had a battle for the hearts and minds of the CBC’s journalists. Thomas Mulcair started the bidding with a promise of a $115 million annual bonus to the CBC budget if he were elected. Not to be outdone, Trudeau upped the ante to a whopping $150 million. Normally that sort of negotiation happens in cheap motel rooms in red light districts. But here, the politicians were brazen: they were offering the journalists who cover them a success fee if they were re-elected.

It’s only human nature that the hundreds of CBC journalists who were working on the election would think about what that cash would mean – not a week goes by without news of deep cuts in Canadian media. $150 million a year would save a lot of jobs. Forget about the natural ideological affinity between the left-leaning CBC and Trudeau. This was about bread and butter.

We don’t have to speculate as to whether journalists were influenced by this legal bribe. The Canadian Media Guild, the journalists’ union that dominates the CBC as well as the Canadian Press newswire, formally registered as a “third party” campaign group with Elections Canada, similar to U.S. SuperPACs. Every unionized journalist covering the election contributed part of their own salary to an anti-Harper election effort. Of course, not a single CBC election report disclosed this conflict of interest.

It’s not just CBC journalists who are corrupted by being politicians’ pets. Journalists at private media are, too. As they nervously polish up their LinkedIn resumes, they can’t help but notice that the one company that’s still hiring is the CBC – including, just this week, hiring a newspaper-style editor for “features and columns”. How many private sector journalists are tailoring their own work now to mirror the editorial line of the CBC where they hope to be in six months? And then there’s hundreds of private sector journalists who top up their income with appearances as freelance guests on CBC radio or TV.

It’s a soft form of corruption, when politicians pay the journalists who cover them. It’s the carrot, compared to Rachel Notley’s stick.

But the CBC hasn’t just editorially compromised itself. In the age of the Internet, its very existence undermines its private competitors. In the past, private TV and radio stations overcame the CBC’s government-funded advantage with government gifts of their own, from the CRTC. For example, in 1997, the government ordered every cable company in English Canada to carry CTV Newsnet, and every Canadian to pay for it, whether they wanted it or not. CTV is on the dole, too. All TV and radio companies are. In return for protection.

But newspapers were free – no government licenses needed, no government competitors to crowd them out. Until the Internet converged both worlds. How could newspapers and magazines, the hardest-hit media companies today, compete on the Internet against the CBC that dumps all of its subsidized TV and radio content online for free?

The CBC is conscious of its artificial advantage, and sometimes rubs it in. When the Calgary Herald first attempted a paywall, gleeful CBC journalists in the city took to Twitter boasting that unlike the Herald, their content was free. No it isn’t – they just take their fee from taxpayers by force. And there’s no CRTC for newspapers with the power to order every Canadian to buy newspapers whether they want them or not.

When new technologies disrupt the old, it’s called creative destruction – candles are replaced by light bulbs. There’s a lot of that going on with the Internet. But there’s also a lot of government favouritism going on too. That’s not just deciding which companies live and die. Just as much as Rachel Notley’s machinations, that sends a signal to journalists about what they have to say editorially, if they want to survive.


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commented 2016-02-21 22:25:54 -0500
Roger posted,“The difference between PBS and CBC is that PBS is in a much bigger country and their news bureau while respected, isn’t so relied on like the CBC.” “…..We have a small country with few media outlets” ditto that.

And if the CBC has its way, Canadians will be forced to rely on it even more, as it is putting other news sources out of business with their taxpayer funded monopoly. No one can compete with stolen money. I do not ‘freely’ give to the CBC.

Seriously Roger, you think you are being censured here? Give me a break.
commented 2016-02-21 20:33:53 -0500
The difference between PBS and CBC is that PBS is in a much bigger country and their news bureau while respected, isn’t so relied on like the CBC. We have a small country with few media outlets, and one that is the most available has an obvious bias. Even if you scrape away their coverage and angle on stories, when you see the commentary of their audience you realize how far left they are. These notions about how Harper put Cons on their board to steer their commentary are myths and yet to be proven. I find it telling that commenting on the website has become moderated shortly after the Trudeau honeymoon ended. Why have free flowing conversations where hundred of attacks are written per hour on the hand that feeds you? They had no problem when Harper was in office letting someone post the most trolling and cut and paste comments on the internet attacking Harper and conservatives, but now that the tables have turned they’ve realized that was an error. How special.
commented 2016-02-21 20:20:46 -0500
Ezra anyone who believes money does not buy political alignment is so morbidly retarded they shouldn’t be let out without a keeper.
commented 2016-02-21 12:01:50 -0500
Ezra wrote,“It’s a soft form of corruption, when politicians pay the journalists who cover them”

Nathan responded. “That’s bordering on a lie. CBC is arms length. I know you won’t believe it, but no politician would even THINK of doing what you say, because it would be a career ending more were truthful representations of such a story to come to light.”

What on earth do you call $115 million campaign promise, and a $150 million campaign promise from Mulcair and Trudeau. That offer as a campaign promise shows a complete lack of integrity. It was nothing but a carrot on the end of a stick, to vote for the guy with the biggest payout. I wouldn’t call it ‘soft’ corruption, I would just call it corruption. Buying votes and buying journalists.
commented 2016-02-21 11:49:52 -0500
The internet has meant that everyone has had to get creative, change with the times or die. To compete honestly is hard enough. The CBC is systematically carving out a monopoly for themselves by putting those trying to morph and compete, completely out of business. You can’t compete with stolen money.
commented 2016-02-19 12:20:30 -0500
Personally I have a lot of respect for Ezra Levant and the other news reporters, on The Rebel. it is very nice to get the truthful news instead of propaganda and only hearing what they want you to hear left -wing meaning thE news stations being funded by Canadian Tax PAYERS ! Keep up the good work Ezra and the other Rporters for The Rebel. (TRUTH HURTS BUT PREVAILS! )
commented 2016-02-19 11:44:38 -0500
The only reasonable way to NOT participate in the corruption that is now governance in Canada is WESTERN SEPARATION.

Bruce Kirk. I agree with your statement and have accepted that this is the most logical thing to do. The alternative is the intentional destruction of Alberta by politicians within our country like Notley, Trudeau, Wynne, Coderre and many more. Judging by internet article comments there are many citizens fed up with these bought and paid for politicians who destroy everything in their path.
commented 2016-02-19 10:37:25 -0500
bottom line, the leftist laurentian elite in Canada have to get rid of The Rebel, they simply cannot allow the real truth of their actions/goals broadcast to the general public. NEVER FORGET these leftist elitists always attempt to ‘regulate their competition out of existence’ or, manufacture some crisis to force their censorship. The ndp cadre of wannabe totalitarians is part of this group of ‘insiders’ and notley gambled she could simply cast The Rebel aside without any repercussions. As Ezra explained the leftist elite will now go the route of regulation, knowing full well they can stack the deck in their favour.
We now live in a country whose government’s (federal/ provincial/municipal) are corrupt to their very core.


The only reasonable way to proceed to protect and preserve individual freedom, democracy and truth is to simply refuse to participate in the corrupt system.
The only reasonable way to NOT participate in the corruption that is now governance in Canada is WESTERN SEPARATION.
commented 2016-02-19 10:35:07 -0500
Canadian communities are sorely in need of more variety in print news, given the prospect that many local papers will close down.

“How many private sector journalists are tailoring their own work now to mirror the editorial line of the CBC where they hope to be in six months?”

Probably none, because they have to be consistent with the editorial position of the for-profit company they work for. Moreover, the suggestion that CBC hires on the basis of ideological conformity simply doesn’t have much merit.

“It’s a soft form of corruption, when politicians pay the journalists who cover them”

That’s bordering on a lie. CBC is arms length. I know you won’t believe it, but no politician would even THINK of doing what you say, because it would be a career ending more were truthful representations of such a story to come to light.

" the CBC … undermines its private competitors"

This isn’t very consistent with the argument that it’s useless trash that no one reads. Also, the CBC has a mandate, one which was left unchanged by Harper, which ensures that the general content will differ markedly from private media.
commented 2016-02-19 09:58:06 -0500
The Financial Post published this article today. Does that mean if there is another black list for journalists imposed by the Non-Democratic Party, that the Financial Post will be on it, because they are obviously not journalists by having given credence to Levant.
commented 2016-02-19 09:48:57 -0500
An insightful analysis into the ubiquitous corruption in our mainstream Canadian media. Thank you for exposing the subtle (and blatant) conflicts of interest that mould and shape the media landscape in our world.
commented 2016-02-19 09:12:19 -0500
@ William McDonnell

Excellent suggestion, but unfortunately that type of crack-down would never happen. Sadly.
commented 2016-02-19 09:10:49 -0500
The Rebel does some great work – looking in from over here in the UK we sure could use people like you over here to challenge the BBC (our own CBC) and its relentless (and aggressive) liberal progressive agenda-pushing. Keep up the good work, Ezra and gang!
commented 2016-02-19 09:07:09 -0500
One again, Ezra, you hit the nail on the head. Which means you have annoyed the “Media Party” again. Well done! Way to go!

If only your poking and prodding (by exposing the truth) would actually cause some changes. But keep whittling away at them CBC/Media Party juggernaut because it is essential to a free and democratic society to have the media uninfluenced by the government regardless of what political affiliation the government is currently.
commented 2016-02-19 08:06:05 -0500
Peter Mansbridge, Rosie Barton, Don Martin, Lisa LaFlamme, Bob (my shit don’t stink) Fife, the whole of CBC, CTV, Global, Tor Star, Mop and Pail et al have their collective noses shoved so far up PM Buttercups ass it ain’t funny. Trudeau and Mulcair publicy offered them bribes on national tv for god’s sake. Canada you’re so studipd. By the way congrats to Brian Lilley on his new gig with CFRA Ottawa. A journalist with integrity of the highest class.
commented 2016-02-19 07:07:19 -0500
Disgusting!! Canadians not so ‘nice’ as they think they are. This type of nepotism should be squashed. It is hard to have any faith in newspapers or TV reporting any more knowing they are being bought by politicians like TruDOPE, a man of very low intelligence but holding the most powerful job in the country. Seems we are not too unlike our American neighbours…..money is God. Very disappointing.
commented 2016-02-19 00:43:38 -0500
It should be illegal for any news agency or journalist to get money either directly or indirectly from any leverl of government.
commented 2016-02-19 00:27:12 -0500
Hopefully Ezra, this will work to your advantage. I don’t know your plans going forward, but I’d like to see interviews with more guests. They don’t have to be long. They can be one-offs, and more reporters in the streets hammering at civil servants and politicians. Even if they’re part time to start. Anyways, keep up the great work!!
commented 2016-02-18 22:49:12 -0500
Local CBC stations in big cities are redundant and should be deleted. Any TV programme worth retaining can earn a place on the other channels that are full of dribble.

Have Mansbridge and the other sunshine gang cough up their salary amount and I don’t give a crap what their contract says. There should be no secrets regarding expenditures, especially compensation and benefits.

All CBC employees should attend and pass an extensive training programme to learn about ethics, morality, conflict of interest, and most important how to be objective and truthful when reporting stories regarding politics. Anyone who refuses should be fired.

End the coddling immediately. Establish an independent body to walk into any CBC outlet at anytime and question them on anything that is required by the Senate or House of Commons.

This could be a decent start to let these prima donnas know the Canadian public has had enough of their superiority complex and filthy corruption.
commented 2016-02-18 22:21:15 -0500
Wait until Postmedia is granted a considerable amount of leeway to expand their already bulging media monopoly. JT, I’m sure, has all kinds of inducements in the bin to pacify them. Postmedia, in turn, will become a major cheerleader and will adjust their editorial policy to serve the Progressive-Sodomite Agenda.

The CPC has already been brought to heel. Rona Ambrose is JT’s compliant CINO poodle and is willing to put on a show with no fire. Look for the next CPC leader to be equally pacified.

With so many players in partnership with JT, Canada will surely become a North American banana-republic.
commented 2016-02-18 21:37:54 -0500
I wonder if hedy fry has seen any more cross burning lately?
commented 2016-02-18 21:27:10 -0500
did ezra get special treatment from harper
commented 2016-02-18 21:26:29 -0500
ezra do you have card from post media?
commented 2016-02-18 21:04:09 -0500
February 18, 2016
Dear Diary;
Normally I like to give the impression that I enjoy fantasizing about a good cat-fight, but with that little dust-up going on in Alberta between Sheila and my left-winger what’s-her-name I could use a feel-good story going out there about this wonderful government and its natural benevolence towards the news media.
I don’t remember if I promised this or not, but in any event Hedy Fry (who’s in my cock-us) is going to chair some heritage committee thing for a study which will “stimulate definitive action” on the financial struggles of large national media outlets with regard to how lawmakers can help Canadian journalism survive.
Even her NDP critic, Pierre Nantel, said he welcomes the study and says, “it will be important in particular to see how the media is serving Canada’s linguistic minority communities” yes, we all know who he really means by that, (but shhh. mum’s the word).