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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Just how deep does CBC’s Don Newman’s anti-conservatism go?

The prospect of Canadian news watchers getting another choice in the form of Quebecor’s proposed all-news network is getting left-wing pundits’ knickers in a knot—folks like former CBC broadcaster Don Newman seem to believe Canadians should be protected against what Newman refers to as Kory Teneycke’s “new right-wing ‘news’ channel.” [See Newman’s view here]

I notice that when Newman refers to the Liberal-New Democrat merger talks, he calls them “a merger of the centre-left [emphasis mine].” But always he refers to Quebecor’s news network and Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives as “right-wing.” In other words, he seldom acknowledges the overlap at the political centre between the Conservative and the Liberal parties. I notice too that Newman places quotation marks around the word “news” when he used it in his reference to what he called the new right-wing “news” channel. I gather from that he only considers left-wing channels capable of being real news channels.

In Newman’s view:

“In the U.S., Fox News has been hugely polarizing. It specializes in drive-by attacks and misrepresentations, and is positively Orwellian at times, claiming to be ‘fair and balanced’ while implying that its competitors aren’t.

“The reality is that it mainly spews out propaganda that is dangerously misleading and often factually wrong.

“The parts that aren't wrong are, in some ways, just as dangerous, since they tend to make people comfortable in their prejudices.”

Not a single example is offered by Newman to support the veracity of his screed, however. Is this fair journalism by any reasonable standard? Or is Newman guilty of just plain yellow journalism, that is, biased opinion masquerading as objective fact.

Apparently, the mere fact Kory Teneycke is a conservative seems to have prompted Newman’s comment, “Obviously we [he and Teneycke] didn’t click.” I say this because Newman writes further on, “I have found him [Teneycke] professional and affable.” For what other reason was the fact “we didn’t click” so “obvious” to Newman?

But this sort of thing is typical of the culture at the CBC. To CBCers like Newman, left-wing “progressive” views are accepted as right-minded and reality, while conservative views are, of course, “propaganda,” “dangerously misleading” and “often factually wrong.”

Newman asks,

“Do they [Conservatives] really need a right-wing news channel urging them to be more rabid and stirring up the party’s hard-core base….”

Can you believe this man? Conservatives will be urged to be “more” rabid? How “rabid” are we normally?

This is a perfect example of why conservatives believe the CBC is biased against them.

Don Newman was with the CBC’s parliamentary bureau for nearly 20 years and was Senior Parliamentary Editor and the host of the Newsworld television show Politics. Did he suddenly acquire such vehement anti-conservatism after he retired in June 2009? I doubt it. He has probably held those extreme views for years. And anyone who sees ordinary conservatives as “rabid” could not possibly hide his bias—which, apparently, borders on bigotry—from his on-air interviews and commentaries.

To answer Newman’s rhetorical question, “Do they really need a right-wing news channel…?” I say possibly not, but Canadians really do need a news channel staffed by real professionals who do not allow their personal biases and bigotry to cloud their ability to deliver a fair and balanced view of the world. At this point, they don’t have one.

 

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© 2010 Russell G. Campbell
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6 comments — This is a moderated blog and comments will appear when approved. Please don’t resubmit if your comment doesn’t appear immediately, and please do not post material that is obscene, harassing, defamatory, or otherwise objectionable.

  1. I guess it's O.K. in Newman's view for the CBC to spew out misleading and often factually inaccurate "news". Typical lefty philosophy: do as I say, not as I do.

    As far as polarizing goes: if the comments on Blogging Tories is any indication, the CBC has done a pretty good job of polarizing the country. There are days when, after watching Soloman and O'Malley recite their anti-Conservative diatribes, that I could pull an Elvis and shot out the TV screen.

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  2. I don't see where Don Newman has written "Canadians should be protected against" a right-wing news channel.

    Let's be fair, in writing “Obviously we didn’t click.”, Mr. Newman is clear that this difference had naught to do with Mr. Teneycke’s being a conservative, but with the latter's opinion that "Canada needed a Fox News channel of its own".

    And where does Mr. Newman refer to "Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives as 'right-wing'"? The description is nowhere to be found in his column.

    Look, Mr. Newman's column is just that - it is not meant to be, not is it presented as a piece of journalism. In short, it is an opinion piece. To insinuate that Mr. Newman is "guilty of just plain yellow journalism, that is, biased opinion masquerading as objective fact" is disingenuous.

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  3. "Canadians really do need a news channel staffed by real professionals who do not allow their personal biases and bigotry to cloud their ability to deliver a fair and balanced view of the world. At this point, they don’t have one"

    A truer statement about Canadian values has not before been said. I do think I have heard Preston Manning say the same thing.

    In any event Don "Helen Thomas "Newman has written his own epitaph and will go down in journalism history as a Canada's Dan Rather.

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  4. Brian,

    You wrote: "Look, Mr. Newman's column is just that - it is not meant to be, not is it presented as a piece of journalism."

    Of course, Newman's piece is and is meant to be a piece of journalism. It is written by a former foreign correspondent and is published on a national news website.

    The University of Western Ontario defines journalism to include "opinion writing or commentary." If it quacks like a duck…, etc.

    Who is being disingenuous here?

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  5. Russ, I see that the line you quote contains a typo (mine), rendering it confusing and nonsensical. What I meant to write is "...Mr. Newman's column is just that - it is not meant to be, nor is it presented as a piece of journalism."

    Without knowing the source document, I can't really comment on the peculiar four-word definition you provide from the University of Western Ontario.

    That said, is it not clear that Mr. Newman's piece is not one of reportage but opinion? After all, it appears on the website's "Analyses & Viewpoints" page. How can the column be "biased opinion masquerading as objective fact" when the whole exercise is intended as an expression of opinion? To suggest otherwise is akin to arguing that Rex Murphy's "Point of View" should not be subject to Rex Murphy's point of view.

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  6. Brian,

    A definition of journalism which includes "opinion writing or commentary" appears on the website of the University of Western Ontario.

    But does it really matter? Don Newman's piece includes words like, "the reality is" and "factually wrong." And from the piece as a whole, it is clear to me that Mr. Newman intended his work to be opinion based on fact, when clearly it is biased opinion masquerading as objective fact and thus, yellow journalism.

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