CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi typically waited until the 29 minute mark of his 33 minute interview this week with Heritage Minister James Moore to ask about budget cuts to the CBC, Canada’s largest cultural institution. Moore quickly confirmed that the CBC was again on the chopping block. His excuse was that the “CBC certainly has to do its part” to help balance the federal budget by 2015. So, the Corpse can expect a cut of at least five per cent, even though as figures compiled by the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting plainly show, total parliamentary funding for CBC is already at its lowest in a decade because of repeated, ongoing cuts by the Harperites and their predecessors.
Moreover, since 1991 when a new Broadcasting Act imposed the requirement that the CBC be both a strong national and regional broadcaster, the Corporation has lost about $455 million out of its annual parliamentary grant, a figure which represents a whopping cut of some 39 per cent over the last two decades.
Ghomeshi listened meekly as Moore spouted total bullshit: “The idea that the CBC can’t find five per cent of efficiencies within the CBC to give back to the broader economic framework, I think, is silly.” He also failed to challenge Moore when the smooth-talking, Conservative claimed that the highly reliable Friends of Canadian Broadcasting lie to the public about the Harper government’s record and its many anti-CBC statements.
CBC journalists consistently pull their punches when politicians like James Moore mislead the public on CBC funding. They rarely, if ever, try to put things in context, leaving CBC audiences in the dark about the dismal state of affairs at the country’s largest journalistic institution.
The effects of the CBC cuts are there for all to see: The increasing commercialization of public broadcasting, the dumbing down of the news, the virtual disappearance of arts programming from CBC television and the sagging internal morale. All underline the fact that the CBC is dying the death of a thousand cuts.
Yet you’d never know that by listening to Jian Ghomeshi rapping timidly with the glib James Moore.