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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Dust up at TVO: Kinsella’s bully-boy tactics fizzle out

One of my favourite television shows is The Agenda on The Ontario Educational Communications Authority’s, TVO channel. The show is expertly hosted by veteran broadcaster, Steve Paikin, and generally speaking has intelligent, well-informed panelists who discuss and debate a wide range of topics.

The Agenda is on opposite another good show with similar topics, the Michael Coren Show on CTS television. However, Paikin does a better job as host and guest panelists are generally of higher quality in the sense of being better informed and more articulate.

This is high praise for The Agenda and its host, as the Michael Coren Show is generally well regarded and I believe gets a pretty good audience share.

quote-left-red-grey-bgLater that same day, I received another email from Warren informing me that he was emailing the Minister of Education to ask her to pressure us to ‘unbook’ Kathy Shaidle, and that if we didn’t, there would be significant consequences for TVO and The Agenda. He did, indeed, email the Minister.quote-right-red-grey-bg

- Steve Paikin

Now I read that a Liberal Party operative and well-known blogger with a love for controversy, Warren Kinsella, has tried to further his animosity towards www.fivefeetoffury.com’s Kathy Shaidle by having her barred from appearing on a recent episode of The Agenda. I guess when Mr. Kinsella is not ticking off the Chinese community he has time to try to bully Steve Paikin into kicking panelists who Mr. Kinsella does not like off The Agenda.

I find some of Ms. Shaidle’s comments on the Web to be offensive—I am never quite sure whether they truly reflect her beliefs or are made as attention-getters. Regardless, she is as suitable to be a guest panelist on The Agenda as is Mr. Kinsella himself, who seems to me to be little more than a shill for the Liberal Party and who at times makes equally offensive comments.

What intellectual stimulation are we likely to experience if we make sure that only those of whom we approve will appear on the TV shows we watch?

The Agenda has a terrific track record, and I believe its producers should be left to chose its panelists without political interference. When a known senior Liberal Party political operative writes to a Liberal Party cabinet minister to “unbook” a TV guest—for any reason—it has a chilling effect on anyone who treasures freedom of expression. And claiming, as Mr. Kinsella does, that he was writing as a “citizen” does little to warm that chill.

For how much longer will Mr. Ignatieff put up with this nonsense, I wonder?smleaf

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  1. A well informed and balanced post. Steve should book you;)

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