It’s time to drain the reactionary swamp at CBC News.
It’s time to reclaim our public broadcaster’s national TV news from a gang of myopic journalists and apparatchiks who have transformed a stellar, enlightened institution into a forum for intellectually bankrupt charlatans who worship themselves, along with money and the political influence it buys above all else.
It’s time to resist the continued devolution of CBC News into a comfortable haven for agreeable centrists and libertarians at the expense of progressive Canadians who reject their insular, Lord-of-the-Flies-like views, and who have also been rendered extinct from the public broadcaster’s airwaves of which they are, lest we forget, the majority owners.
It’s time to resist the right-wing coup d’état that has occurred at CBC News since Peter Mansbridge assumed the role of chief correspondent, which has seen, bit by incremental bit, the purge from our publicly-financed national newscasts of anyone outside the sliver of mostly-white establishment men in suits who Mansbridge likely counts as his philosophical soulmates.
It’s time to remind CBC News to make room finally for millions of Canadians who believe that the way to confront the prevailing crescendo of racism, bigotry, misogyny and authoritarianism is not to treat it with deference and respect, but to speak out against it in blunt and uncompromising ways.
And it’s way past time to remind Mansbridge and company that the CBC is our public broadcaster and not their private playpen, where the price of admission clearly means subscribing to a palatable set of talking points that don’t stray anywhere near unwelcomed leftist terrain.
The left can no longer tolerate or accept to be excluded from CBC News. Nor can the left permit CBC News to be defaced by the elevation, in particular, of two made-for-TV court jesters who were, and are, the antithesis of the values and ideas that, in bygone times, represented a guiding mission statement for that once thriving but now decaying institution.
I don’t think it’s coincidental that the rise of Kevin O’Leary and Rex Murphy as the dominant, nationwide face and fury of CBC News parallels the demise of CBC News as a public enterprise devoted to the public interest.
For too long, these two insufferable characters turned cartoonish TV stars were permitted by their powerful enablers in CBC management to leverage their presence on the public broadcaster to migrate from anonymity to celebrity, and damn the damage they inflicted upon the other “little,” inconsequential people who inhabit CBC News and its vanishing stature.
Make absolutely no mistake, CBC News made Kevin O’Leary a household hawker and when its usefulness to him evaporated, he left to pursue much greener and larger pastures.
Still, for many years, he was permitted by his ratings-grubbing patrons to occupy a privileged position on CBC News where he could build his brand while he simultaneously desecrated the CBC’s with their tacit consent.
O’Leary and his now departed corporate-shill-in-arms, Amanda Lang, were given unfettered license to promote the dividends of unfettered capitalism day after day, like a pair of Ayn Rand groupies who treat her miserable tome, The Fountainhead, with evangelical reverence.
Befitting its hosts, The Exchange was a cheaply produced, insipid pantomime devoted almost exclusively to satiating O’Leary’s insatiable and craven narcissism.
Lang played the good-hearted capitalist foil to O’Leary’s dark-hearted one. Like a stern but sweet school matron, Lang would occasionally chastise her rambunctious pupil for his outrageous but oh-so-endearing hyperbole and invective.
After a bit of faux fencing, the duo would kiss and makeup, reassuring viewers that all was right on Bay Street and in some CBC studio on Front Street.
To afford this D-grade sitcom the patina of legitimacy, from time to time, genuine journalists with intellect, skill and talent like Chris Hedges would be invited on to be bullied and denigrated with sophomoric insults by a pampered ingrate.
The Punch and Judy show, O’Leary now claims, unconvincingly, was just that — a show. His boorish vaudevillian act was simply a way to insinuate his name and face into the consciousness of Canadians. Mission accomplished; with the aid of a host of easy marks (I’m sorry, I mean “news executives”) who got suckered by a career huckster.
That same huckster has, of course, vaulted himself into the race to become federal Conservative leader and potentially prime minister on the springboard gift-wrapped for him by CBC News.
As my Ricochet colleague Derrick O’Keefe recently tweeted: “Today's CBC wall-to-wall coverage of O'Leary's campaign launch should've started w/a heartfelt apology for enabling this asshat.”
The CBC’s belated act of contrition should also extend to apologizing for handing a pulpit on radio and TV to Rex Murphy, a wind-up polemicist who pens columns applauding a haltingly stupid and patently racist inaugural speech made by a fascist who just happens to be the President of the United States.
Murphy began his latest paean to Donald Trump by describing him as “dew-fresh.” This is fawning sophistry of a near incomprehensible order. Not done embarrassing himself with that gooey bauble, Murphy not only regurgitated Trump’s racist caricature of America’s “inner cities,” but sanctioned it as a “steel yardstick” — whatever that means.
Murphy blundered ahead like any other frothing mad, rampaging Trumpster, celebrating their idol’s 15 minutes of incoherence as a “pledge” of “magnitude and emotional depth,” and a “noble” rejection of “the claustrophobic thought-amputations of political correctness” practiced by the “enlightened swamis of Hollywood and academia,” and “all the stale, tired and wearisome activists and professional grievance farmers.”
When the necessary accounting will inevitably be done, this cacophony of clichéd-ridden idiocy will reveal, without question, that Peter Mansbridge’s favourite performing poodle stood emphatically by the side of an illiterate fabulist and dangerous degenerate.
It is a moral imperative to resist fascists and the accomplices who throw their lot in with them — rhetorically or otherwise. As a tangible start, it’s time to take out the trash so we can make CBC News ours again.