In news-media-speak, “going downmarket” means dumbing-down content to attract a broader and bigger audience. CBC TV’s local supperhour newscasts began going downmarket after hiring the U.S. news doctor Frank Magid and Associates in 2007. Magid prided himself on inventing the Action News format, a recipe based on snappy stories about crime, fires, accidents, oddities and weather.
As a public broadcaster, CBC has to add a dash of political coverage. Here in Nova Scotia, a favourite CBC political theme is “your tax dollars,” which those rascally politicians steal from “our” pockets and purses and then scandalously misspend.
On May 24th, CBC news anchor Tom Murphy led off the six o’clock news with a touch of tax hysteria: “Confirmation tonight of what many Nova Scotians have long suspected. We pay more in taxes than anywhere else in the country!”
Murphy’s claim was more rhetoric than reality as I reported in the Coast, our local Halifax weekly. The day after the CBC report, Nova Scotia’s finance minister Graham Steele disputed the CBC claim.
While other local media widely reported Steele’s response, CBC television’s six o’clock news steadfastly ignored it — a clear violation of CBC journalistic standards. The “we-pay-more-in-taxes-than-anywhere-else-in-the-country” story that was such a big deal on Tuesday’s news mysteriously sank out of sight.