07.09.2011 08:21 AM

Kai Nagata

I can’t remember the last time I read something like this by a Canadian journalist.

That’s because I haven’t.

(The truth, as they say, fears no questions.)


  1. Dave M says:

    Kai Nagata is my new hero.

    • Tired of it All says:

      …And mine. Behold the shrinking of Canada because of the overmatched Conservative mind.

      • Cath says:

        if the LPOC aren’t, as we speak looking seriously at this fellow as a pivotal to renewal and redefinition of, or I don’t know the “new” Liberals….you’re missing an opportunity.

  2. Iris Mclean says:

    He nails it regarding CBC’s race to the bottom in order to attract more viewers. The wagging heads, hand flourishing, and wall to wall coverage of fluff like the Olympic torch run, Will and Kate and such has made a joke out of what was once a great news source.

    • TDotRome says:

      Unfortunately, that race was started by the private networks. At least, at the CBC I can dig through the bushes and weeds and find some good stuff. If I dig at the privates, all I end up with is a pile of dirt.

      • Tired of it All says:

        I disagree. It started when the 60’s idea of a public broadcaster came under too intense fire from nervous private media types and conservative thinkers who don’t like a neutral check on bad thinking. Under that gaze, and as he says, we’ve no Stewart, Olbermann or Maddow, the CBC pandered to those commentators and started playing a game they can’t win. The BBC does not ask these questions of itself. It goes forward knowing that the public good is exactly that, and private broadcasters don’t sever public interests.

  3. Greg says:

    He hits on some of the very things Niel Postman mentioned in “Amusing Ourselves to Death.”

  4. scanner says:

    thanks for posting this link, Warren.

  5. JenS says:

    Really, much of what he says about TV news can be applied to all media, in the advent of 24-hour news and web-based news. What he described is also taking place at newspapers — I’ve watched it. There’s this sense that the only way to maintain audience is to be fast, with “right” taking a backseat to “first.” It’s becoming a system of quick hits and moving on, with no interest in telling the whole story or being at all critical. And it’s incredibly frustrating to people who WANT to tell the whole story. As one reporter I worked with said, it doesn’t really matter if people don’t WANT to read analysis about what’s going on at city hall, it’s still news providers’ responsibility to provide it. It’s a “you can lead a horse to water” thing — you still have to provide the water.

  6. Gord…..explain how a government is supposed to serve its citizens if it does not collect taxes?

    “Fiscally, I believe a government should be conservative. Caution seems like a good thing in stewarding the public purse. At the same time, I believe we should be taxed according to our capacity and that revenue invested, sometimes massively, in projects for the public good.”

    (Then you added) “He doesn’t even understand that the first sentence conflicts completely with the last. What a mess.”

    The dirty little secret here is that a close reading of Nagata’s two sentences reveals no conflict whatsoever between his first and second sentences. None, nada, rien, nyet. Gord, you are dissembling. This is not about Conservative vs. Leftist. This is not about ideology. This is about understanding the meaning of words in standard English, if that still matters.

    • Mandos says:

      The word “conservative” has largely lost its meaning, drowned in the rather novel and radical “libertarian” (propertarian) philosophy that now bears the name at least on matters economic. From Yves Smith on Sheila Bair’s exit and the (ongoing) US banking crisis:

      “The article also indirectly serves to illustrate how what used to be conservatism, which is also once upon a time was very much bound up in ideas like strict morality and respect for tradition and authority, has instead become a propaganda cover for plutocratic land grabs. Mark Ames, via e-mail, provides another example of how other conservative lines of thought that ran counter to the interests of large corporations and other powerful interests were pushed aside.”

    • Dear Gord: If you and I were a married couple, I would be yelling, on the verge of throwing dishes at you and threatening divorce. So let me take a deep breath and try again: I understand that balanced budgets do not equal fiscal conservative philosophy. Fine. I hear you. But you don’t appear to hear me. So let me yell: THIS IS NOT ABOUT IDEOLOGY. THIS IS ABOUT USING STANDARD ENGLISH AS A COMMON LANGUAGE. ON THAT BASIS THERE IS NO CONFLICT BETWEEN NAGATA’S FIRST AND SECOND SENTENCES THAT YOU QUOTED ABOVE.

      If we, you and me, cannot take off our political blinders for a moment and agree on things like basic grammar, connotation and the meaning of words in a language we share, we (our country) is doomed. Thanks for the blood pressure workout.

  7. W the K - No, not Warren says:

    “He doesn’t even see his far-left politics and much less did he ever admit them publically while working as a journo.”

    Yes Gord. Far better to spend your career as a journalist acting objective, take your seat in the senate, then quit your job as a journalist.

    • Dave Wells says:


      W the K for the win.

    • Philip says:

      Well played W the K. Well played indeed! Consider yourself slow clapped.

    • smelter rat says:

      Gord, you are so predictable. Another neocon hack who spews bullshit and calls it the truth.

    • Mandos says:

      It’s astonishing the extent to which the right has imbibed the radical perspectivism of the allegedly despised liberal intelligentsia. Apparently, there is no reality, only opinions about it. So be it.

      Jon Stewart, by the way, is very much a centrist—he goes to great pains sometimes to fish out some form of left-wing oddity, and gives friendly platforms to right-wing figures who want to promote their books.

    • Jan says:

      What is the enforcement mechanism to force the Harper appointed Senators to leave when their supposed term is up? They signed on for 8 years and now we’re being told it will be 9.

  8. Mandos says:

    Truth is neither left nor right. Replace “far-left” with “closer to reality”. What Kai Nagata is complaining about is ultimately having to lie about the world. That SunTV (or Fox or whatever) feels comfortable lying about the world and being open that it is lying shows how far we have fallen.

  9. TDotRome says:

    I don’t think I can remember a time when I agreed with every single word of an article. To the letter. I, too, have spent many years in television news (behind the scenes). Nagata nails in right on the head, and good for him on getting out. He’s come to a realization that few in the industry can conceive of. Truly great journalism can only come from people with perspective. His is good, and he knows it has to grow more. Thankfully, he’s come to know this at 24 years old.

    There are plenty of 24-year-old reporters out there (I saw one on the air today!). Yes, they work hard, they’re good people and are go-getters. But they’re entire lives have been in a journalism school or in a newsroom. What kind of perspective is that?

    I wish all the young journos were as gutsy as Nagata. The news landscape would be a massively better place.

  10. Anne Streeter says:

    What can I say. What a brave, caring and bright 24 year old! In a way this was a sad piece but so bang on. It is exciting to know that there are young people out there like this. Thank you Tai Nagata for making my day – absolutely wonderful piece!

  11. RN200 says:

    Oh come on, that piece is pretty self-indulgent from someone making a life change / life choice. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. As I posted on the blog directly, he should consider himself the next David Suzuki, pursue employment at the ceeb, and see if he can resurrect “The Nature of Things”.

    • Philip says:

      That is all you have isn’t it? Kind of sad that all you can do is criticize someone who has obviously done some real introspection just because he doesn’t see the world in the same way that you do.

      • RN200 says:

        I’m not criticizing Kai, I’m criticizing all the sappy responses to his soul-baring. I’m suggesting to Kai that over at the CBC there has been at least one job where he can continue his career and still feel great about himself. I don’t think anyone would accuse David Suzuki of lacking integrity and trading on his looks just to get his message out.

        • Philip says:


          Your first sentence in your original post really had no connection to the responses posted above you, what you did was call the man’s blog entry “pretty self indulgent”. Nowhere in your following sentences do you reference previous comments and label them “sappy”. I not exactly certain how even the most careful reader could see your original post as anything other than a criticism of Kai’s blog post. A little more clarity on your part would have done wonders here.

          As a general kindness, would you please let me know how David Suzuki gets dragged into this?

          • RN200 says:

            I don’t know…I thought my original post was pointing out to those posts above mine to consider the “why” of his blog, not the “what” that they were all so enamoured of. David Suzuki leapt to mind as a well-educated, well-respected, Canadian scientist-turned broadcaster who had a laser-like focus on pointing out what was wrong with our world systems and why/how we needed to change how things are done. Seemed like Kai was aiming himself down that road. I respect David Suzuki even though I thing he’s wrong about a lot of stuff….probably how I’m going to end up thinking of Kai when he matures to have some longer life experiences behind his words. BTW, on his second blog entry he didn’t seem too insulted by the DSz comparison, he said he thought it was funny.

  12. Iris Mclean says:

    Anybody here in Ontario outside of the GTA tune in to Ontario Morning on CBC Radio One? I swear that they are trying to drive away listeners. Endless sports babble and host who makes my ears hurt.
    I’m an old fart who loves CBC radio, but lately, silence is an improvement. Canada Lives Here, every hour on the hour….

  13. Tired of it All says:

    Gord. Uhmmm. I don’t mean to be rude, but, ahhh. Your, um, generation is showing… Fiscal conservativism and social liberalism are not/not mutually exclusive. So be a good troglodyte, do some reading about Gen X, Gen Y, Red Tories, Blue Liberals, and come on back. OK? As for media analysis, Fox does not admit it lies to its viewers or takes them for complete morons. Yet it does. So that’s awkward, eh?

    • jkg says:

      “Free trade, deregulation of the economy, lower taxes, and other conservative policies are also often but not necessarily affiliated with fiscal conservatism”

      Gord, that last past is textbook neoliberalism. Just because it is appended on wiki doesn’t mean it is true. They may reflect the modern reinterpretation, but that is woefully insufficient. What this amounts to is a No True Scotsman defense. Red Tories and the old Anlgo-Tory tradition were very much fiscal conservatives, yet they still created the CBC. This sort of reasoning is framing the debate to suit your argument, which is awfully convenient when it comes to dismissing the possibility that people have an amalgam of views that do not fit perfectly in a an either/or world that is clutched so tightly like the pearls around one’s neck.

    • john says:


  14. JH says:

    One really sharp guy who gets it, amongst a peer group who for the most part were responsible for the Vancouver Riot and other fiascos of a similar nature.
    Sorry he does not give me hope for the me, me, me generation. In fact it is even sadder that he has dropped out. My only hope is that he may return – sadder but wiser.
    But then again what do I know? I’m only another troglodyte like Tulk and of course not entitled to an opinion

  15. WildGuesser says:

    Ultimately, one must mature and recognize that not all of one’s desires will be reflected by a political party, even the one they vote for. The 6-7 year wait times on family class immigration repulse me, and I find the cost of the jet fighters to far exceed their benefits, especially when compared with the benefits replacement exenditures could bring. (Though, to be honest, I’d prefer no replacement expenditures, just saving the money.) At the end of the day, we only get to vote for one party and Bob Rae’s record as NDP premier pretty much rules the LPC out as long as he and his views are now considered ‘mainstream liberal’. I really look forward to Chretien/Martin politics returning to the fore in the LPC as I know the LPC will eventually return to power and another centrist party would do well in keeping the CPC on its toes.

    • The Doctor says:

      I wouldn’t hold your breath re Chretien/Martin politics. Remember that that regime was built largely on 2 pillars — vote-splitting on the right and the BQ taking out the Tory Quebec vote.

  16. Jan says:

    But you support Harper who claims to believe in free markets and is currently underwriting the donut business. The CBC was established to serve the common good. You can argue whether it’s fulfilling it’s mandate, but I don’t know you can assert that it was established to serve one particular view point.

  17. I look at the CBC’s Newsworld “Power and Politics.” It does not compare to Don Newman’s old “Politics” show.

    • JH says:

      But then again Newman now works for a LIberal lobbying firm and still writes commentary for the CBC. Is that an indication of bias past or present, anymore than Wallin or Duffy?
      Seems to me it’s the media by its actions, that opens itself up to charges or bias – right or left.

  18. MC says:

    Currently, major papers like the Ottawa Citizen spout views such as “equality is a dark and monstrous ambition”, all public education from (kindergarten to university) should be abolished, women shouldn’t vote and the Reformation and all that followed from it was a disaster and we should return to 14th century Catholic Church control. When major newspapers “balance” these extremes with someone claiming we should nationalize all industry and outlaw religion or something equally inane, then maybe we have a “balanced” media, but not yet a “liberal” one.

  19. Cath says:

    I’m a conservative – Gord doesn’t speak for me. It’s a very good piece.

  20. Refreshed says:

    Dude, the Liberal Party of Canada is looking for you!!!!!!! CALL THEM!!!! YOU are exactly what they and the country need. I CANNOT understand HOW this great country elected such a bunch of MORONS.

  21. MIT says:

    actually it’s quite nuanced…as opposed to say the straight up binary, debate (no tax increase vs. cutting spending) the rages south of the border. i don’t believe taxing those who have the capicity to pay (i.e. raising taxes) and massive spending for the public good are mutually exclusive objectives. it’s seem to me to be a little more complicated than that. morever you’re a douche and pathetic and that’s not surprising.

  22. Tim Knight says:

    You don’t have to agree with everything Nagata says to agree with his overall theme — that TV journalism is sick and happily, obscenely, pimps its journalistic soul for ratings. Also that Nagata is a man of integrity, guts and perspicacity.

    By coincidence, I’d been working on a piece criticizing CBC’s iconic flagship program The National before Nagata published his J’accuse. It appeared on the Canadian Journalism Foundation’s website, J-Source:


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