Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Publicly funded racist programming?

Here is something interesting. An article in the Globe and Mail (can you tell who I get much of my news from?) reports that a Radio-Canada (Canadian French language public broadcaster in Quebec) show has sparked the ire of many people over what many consider to be satire "bordering on bad taste".

Topics of the popular and "iconic" Quebec comedy show Bye Bye included the "assassination of U.S. president-elect Barack Obama, prison rape, a battered wife, black criminality and anglo inbreeding" (source). According to the Globe, one actor on the show was so offended by this year's content that he's refusing to appear on the show again.

Quebec tends to be rather tolerant of those types of humour but Quebec has certainly spoken out hard on some of the content on the show.

Here is what was in the paper today:

“It will be practical. Black on white, it will make it easier to shoot him,” Mr. Mercier said.
The laughs didn't stop there. During the pretend interview, another actor playing TV host Denis Lévesque mistook Mr. Obama for Quebec singer Gregory Charles. He apologizes, saying “all blacks look alike.”
He then suggested the viewing audience might want to hide their purses.
“It's a joke, he can't rob you at home, he's in your television,” the host said. “Of course, he might walk away with it.”

Other choice comments were “Don't give up, my inbred gang from English Canada, continue to re-elect your lobotomy on two feet, Stephen Harper,” Mr. Mercier said. “In a couple years, when your frigid wife no longer has the right to vote and it's legal to beat your children for smoking pot, you'll be knocking on Quebec's door saying, ‘Harper has passed a law to cook all of our immigrants and now we have no convenience stores. Can we come to Quebec?'”

Okay, so yes it is all a bit funny but this is on Radio Canada, the French language version of the CBC. It's paid for by the tax payer and is a Crown Corporation (owned by the Dominion government). Is calling the 25% of Canadians who voted for Harper "inbred" really appropriate? Oh wait, maybe the number was closer to 30%, but that's not my point. Is it appropriate to be making racist jokes on the public broadcaster? Is it the point of the public broadcaster to be as close to the edge as possible?

You know, I used to always watch the CBC, always read for the news and always trusted their views but in the last few years I find CTV and the Globe and Mail to be far more balanced. Now, this is not about Heather Mallick...I really only check the CBC to read her comments, but it's an overall thing. They try to be edgy and cool but at the same time only represent the views of those of us on the left. I only like propaganda when I know that it is coming from someone who is supposed to be biased. The public broadcaster shouldn't be biased and they shouldn't be my opinion.

I'd personally like to see the CBC become more like the American PBS. Taxpayer funding is fine but there has to be some sort of purpose for it. The CBC right now just competes with the commercial networks and I have trouble seeing that it is worth as much as we pay for it. I like it, I don't wanted it privatized but I would like to see it commercial free and full of family friendly open-minded, positive values kinds of stuff rather than regionalism, racism and xenophobia.


Anonymous said...

Wow! Like I said Craig, of all my friends on the left, you think outside the box. I agree with you completely about the CBC. When I watch or listen I get angry knowing my tax dollars pay for such a slanted agenda. The Heather Mallick comments about Palin looking like a porn star were an outrage. She is getting her paycheck from my hard work to engage in hateful, mindless attacks against the right. I, like you, prefer the Globe and Mail and CTV to the CBC any day of the week. I have known a number of people employed by the CBC over the years and can honestly say they all have had a hard left point of view. My personal view on the CBC is sell it and let the market place support heather Mallick.


Craig Williamson said...

I really like Heather Mallick. I think she is just saying what she wants to say. She's not responsible for the slant of the CBC, it's their fault that they don't balance her with someone on the right. It's the failing of the CBC, not her. I read right wing weirdos all the time. I sometimes agree, usually I don't but they deserve to be represented. Her comments were a bit far perhaps, but I understand where she was coming from and she is not going to censor herself, nor should she. I don't mind (in fact I prefer) if the CBC were to run some right wing articles as well. I think we should keep the CBC but force them to change.

Anonymous said...

Well, like I said, let the marketplace support her. She has a right to opine all she wants but I am offended that her paycheck is taking food off my families table. The taxes I pay are insane, where does it stop, where does it begin..that is up for debate perhaps, but supporting Heather Mallick is not in the figures. I get all kinds of opinions all over the political spectrum for free(yours included :D). Why should I have to pay for hers or for some loopy right-winger for that matter(Ann Coulter).

I am sure there are enough left of center Canadians to support a private (non-government funded) CBC.

Regarding the Palin comments. I watch BBC, CBC, CNN, FOX, CTV,PBS, news networks. Heather Mallick was asked to discuss her viewpoint on one of American networks. She would not come on to defend herself and I have to say it reflected badly on Mallick, the CBC and even Canada.

Craig Williamson said...

The thing with Heather Mallick is that she's not really a political commentator. She writes more about general society, life and all that stuff. I'm not sure if you normally follow her. Though, I must say that I was a little surprised about her Palin comments, but I happened to find those comments amusing. But, yes I agree they are probably more suitable for some place other than the CBC. Actually, I was a bit surprised by how strong of a reaction people had towards her over this. One muck up and that is all people think of when they think of her and really she is very entertaining. Anne Coulter is also entertaining, though I do think she either has a problem or she is just a comedian playing the role.

Anonymous said...

Anne is indeed a performance artist. I am still not sure I made my point however. I really am not offended by Mallick's opionions. She and anyone else are feel to state their beliefs. If it is slander let the offended party take them to court.

This is what I am outraged about...Paying taxes to support an agenda driven broadcaster.

The Heather Mallick example displays the manifestation of the entitlement and arrogance that I believe saturates the CBC.

Like I said, I believe there is market in Canada that would allow for the support of a private version of the CBC. I don't want to take her job away, I just don't want to be the one paying her.

A question, is she related to Victor Mallick? If so, that creates a number of questions in my mind.

Put it this way,..Until the appointment I used to watch Mike Duffy and it didn't cost me a cent. Is Heather Mallick's opinion so superior to Duffy's that I have to pay for it with my hard earned wages? There is something immoral about taking my money to support a political driven gang.

Craig Williamson said...

Ahh yes, that has been your point but I keep skipping over it. I'm going to put what was going to be a comment into an entry. Read above.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, if the CBC were a private company I would happily watch it without getting upset.