Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage
l 1st SESSION
l 39th PARLIAMENT
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]* * *(excerpt)Mr. Chris Warkentin:
Let’s talk about things that maybe aren’t so inadvertent.
I’m wondering if you could explain to me the process through which stories are covered in Canada. Obviously, in any given day you have hundreds of stories that you could run on The National or CBC radio, and obviously there’s a decision-making process as to what will be brought forward as a news story.
I find it interesting, actually—I’ll just use it as an example, and you can go into your explanation as to how news stories are chosen for the day—that recently there was a sanctity-of-life rally on the Hill. In fact, I had the opportunity to walk by it, and I understand the numbers were about 7,000 people, so there were thousands and thousands of people here on the Hill. I understand there was even a press conference–one of my colleagues across the table was there–and I understand that CBC not only did not cover the rally, but they didn’t cover the news conference of the different parliamentarians who were bringing this issue forward.
I’m wondering how the decision is made not to carry a feature involving 7,000 people on Parliament Hill, as opposed to, you know, we see sometimes 20 protesters somewhere and all of a sudden that’s the news story that leads out. I’m wondering how you make the decision to ignore 7,000 people on Parliament Hill one day, and then the next day, if there are 20 protesters, the determination is made to make that the lead-out story.
Mr. Tony Burman:
Your second reference is hypothetical. I think the decision by the CBC in choosing stories is the same as any other news organization, where we evaluate the news value of a particular story against the news value of other stories that are available. I don’t have the particular details of that one story, in terms of how we handled it or didn’t.
Mr. Chris Warkentin:
I’m just curious, hypothetically, as to how you would ignore 7,000 people rallying on Parliament Hill. I’m just wondering what kind of contemplation might be gone through in terms of determining–
Mr. Tony Burman:
With respect, I don’t think I accept your characterization. There is no one who woke up that morning and said, “Let’s wilfully ignore a rally of 7,000 people”. I could quite happily go back…. You know, I’ll go back after this meeting and retrace that, but there is no day when there aren’t a multitude of groups–interest groups, groups of people–that feel their particular event deserves coverage on our airwaves more than something else. That’s part of the territory.
In fairness, I think probably a more accurate way of assessing it is whether a lot of these issues, including the one you’re referring to, have received incredible attention on the CBC in a multitude of ways. I don’t know what the staffing or the resource issue was that day with that story. We’re limited in Ottawa; we can’t cover the number of stories we want to in Ottawa. These are the kinds of choices that are made, and we stand by them, but I’ll go into that in detail if you want.
Mr. Chris Warkentin:
No, I just was curious. I thought it might be a pertinent example. I was just trying to discover how determinations are made, but I see you’re not sure as to how that is, so I appreciate that. (Source)
The arrogance of the CBC is really disturbing. And it’s why a large minority want to see it dead. dead. dead. They won’t give conservatives one bloody hour on their station. That’s hardly “balanced” and that’s why it’s Canada’s version of Radio Marti. First order of business in a CPC majority will be to seriously gut the programming and cut back on the CBC’s finances.
I found this remark above particularly meaningful: “There is no one who woke up that morning and said, “Let’s wilfully ignore a rally of 7,000 people”.
Except of course to film Cheryl Gallant and play it as a virtual Liberal political ad against those extreme ‘pro-lifers’.
Give me a break.