11.06.2011 07:50 AM

In today’s Sun after all: this column (updated)

What happened to it? Couldn’t find it, but Will at NNW did!


I like the CBC.

There, I said it. Right here in the Sun, I caused to be published the words that dare not be spoken. I said SOMETHING NICE ABOUT THE CBC. IN THE SUN.

If you are now experiencing chest pains, permit me to now cause you even further distress: happy 75th birthday, Mother Corp. May you have many more.

Now, the fact that (a) I was able to have the above words published and (b) that I am still, improbably, employed by Sun News should tell you a thing or two. One, it tells you that the Sun doesn’t censor opinions. When I wrote for the National Post, for example, editors would kill any column in which I expressed a kindly word about the CBC. They wouldn’t even let me quote other people saying nice things about the CBC.

Two, nobody in Sun management (including our baby-faced overlord, Kory Teneycke, who himself used to appear on CBC with some regularity) has issued a fatwa on the CBC. Like the newspaper that first bore the Sun name – which celebrated a 40th birthday this week, CBC, thanks for not bothering to send flowers – we don’t take ourselves too seriously. If you’re a man, and you want to dress as a woman and go on TV to mock the CBC, we will happily accommodate you. We’re not the Parliamentary channel. We enjoy a bit of fun, particularly when it involves on-air cross-dressing.

That all said, the CBC – like us – is not perfect. It makes mistakes. For instance, it made a mistake when it offered a job to the former leader of the separatist Bloc Québécois, right after the election campaign. That was dumb.

Also dumb was the decision of the CBC’s ‘This Hour Has 22 Minutes’ to ambush Toronto Mayor Rob Ford at his home. As the Sun’s Bolshevik-in-Chief, I heartily detest Rob Ford. I think he is a knuckle-dragging, red-necked mouth-breather. But it was dumb to go after him where he and his family live. Among other things, it achieved the impossible: it made Rob F***ing Ford look like a sympathetic figure.

In fairness, the CBC is an institution that employs thousands (and thousands, and thousands) of human beings. Human beings are flawed, ipso facto, CBC is flawed.

But there’s a reason why we at the Sun get miffed about the CBC. It’s the same reason the folks I know at CTV, Global and other private broadcasters get miffed: the so-called State Broadcaster© gets the support of The State, and we don’t.

With its legislated access to the federal treasury, the CBC is in a position to do things others can’t, as former Sun man Michael Harris recently pointed out in iPolitics. Like, undercut us with ad rates. Like, buy the latest in technology, while the rest of us wield cameras with the precision of a Fourteenth Century woodcut. Like, popping down to Hollywood to use their funding advantage to bid for episodes of, say, The One: Making of a Music Star.

When I used to work for no less than Jean Chretien, we would marvel as journalists trooped in for press conferences. CTV would show up with a cameraperson, a reporter and (maybe) a sound person. CBC, meanwhile, would descend with a small army: CBC radio (French and English), CBC TV (French, English, local and National), CBC Newsworld (and its French equivalent) and maybe even a producer or two. Without disclosing any confidences, I can tell you that my former boss – like the bosses at the Sun, CTV and Global – wasn’t impressed.

Times are tough, Mother Corp. The rest of the world currently has to make do with less, and it’s not fascism to suggest that you do so, too.

That said, let me repeat: I LIKE THE CBC. HAPPY BIRTHDAY. AND…

[Editor’s note: we at Sun media wish Mr. Kinsella the best in his future endeavours.]


  1. Finn says:

    If it’s not printed, will you quit?

    What you wrote is entirely reasonable and balanced.

  2. Dan F says:

    I guess they do censor your words.

    As many have been trying to tell you Warren, the Sun is just as bad as the Post

  3. Anne Peterson says:

    I love the CBC too. It gave my family the war news when my brothers served in WW11. It entertained and informed those of us who lived in that isolated little area of Alberta all through my childhood. And since my adult life has been spent in isolated areas also, it has been my constant companion. I have fallen asleep every night of my life listening to its programming and spent my days listening to its programming. My children were lucky enough to be able to watch CBC children’s programs when they were young and those programs far outclassed Sesame Street. And there is nowhere else you can find the quality of public affairs programs it has produced over the years. If it was gone we certainly would be dumbed down.

    I have also felt that it should be funded, like the BBC, completely with tax payer’s money and should not compete with the private corporations for advertising dollars (they are so poor after all) And when that happens perhaps the Canadian tax payer could be free of tax payer support of the other big networks. What do we dish out to them every year, again? Canadians pay about 33 dollars per capital for the operation of the CBC, some of the cheapest public programming in the western world. Germans pay, I believe, about 88 dollars per capita. It depends on how you want your tax dollars spent, doesn’t it. It costs a billion to run the CBC for a year, I hear. A billion dollars was spent to provide security for a three day summit. Would I like my money back from that. You betcha!

    • W.B. says:

      Would the private broadcasters be content if CBC TV got out of competing for advertising dollars and went to a BBC taxpayer funded model? Bell/CTV might but Sun’s Fox like hatred of CBC is ideological. And the Conservative party’s desire to dismantle the CBC is also ideology driven although they cover it with a ‘value for taxpayer dollar’ smoke screen.
      I think a lot of real solid CBC supporters would go for that, and be happy to see private networks handle the stupid sitcoms and Saturday hockey.
      Of course Harper is sharp enough to see that and maybe go for a two stage sell off: 1. Out of advertising, with less direct competition with CTV/Global/SUN TV; 2. CBC not longer performing important role in Canadian life, cut budgets and then sell of for economic reasons.

  4. smelter rat says:

    Great ending 🙂

  5. Chris says:

    It seems somebody at the Sun has discovered time travel:

    “First posted: Saturday, November 05, 2011 08:00 PM EDT | Updated: Friday, November 04, 2011 05:22 PM EDT”

  6. Tyler says:

    Just some constructive criticism: The whole “Stop having a heart attack” line in the second paragraph schtick is getting really old and annoying. While internet commentators are 1D, I’d say most readers think of you as a flexible person with different views than usual, and that’s the main reason they read your column.

    Give us readers some credit, damnit! 🙂

  7. W.B. says:

    I assume Harper sent Kory Teneycke to Sun Media too orchestrate an anti CBC campaign. Now the MP’s with their so called surveys are taking the next step. MP’s are speaking the House. The firm defence of the CBC offered by the Heritage Minister before the election are not being repeated now.

    I expect private members bills will be introduced next and we will follow a process similar to the gun registry.

    I would think the Conservatives plan to dismantle and sell off the CBC, with the most valuable resources, it’s basic cable channels being sold to Sun Media at bargain basement prices.

    Warren is right, some of the bonehead moves CBC has made, and stupid shows they run in order to pander to the masses and gain ratings are indefensible.

    So i doubt an organized campaign to save the CBC can be mobilized. How can we defend ‘Little Mosque’ ‘Erica’ Etc? I couldn’t defend the ‘At Issue’ smug elitist crap.
    What a day when the most in-depth, profound, thoughtful discussions on national affairs will be led by Charles Adler on radio and Ezra Levant on TV.

    The CBC forces CTV and Global to put more resources into news and public affairs than they will when the CBC TV and radio are sold off. So the whole level of discourse on the media in Canada will head down to more of a talk show radio, and CNN/ FOX TV level.

    All BBC radio stations are available on the internet.

    • TDotRome says:

      Actually, shows like Little Mosque and Erica generate a profit, get sold around the world, are produced by private companies and employ thousands of Canadians. They don’t really cost the public anything. And, are unabashadly Canadian in content. (The majority of private caster content is bought from Americans.)

      Also, CBC doesn’t force CTV, Global or any private caster into doing anything. If they choose to react to what CBC does, then that’s their own private decision. So, if they don’t have the balls to think and act for themselves, then it’s their own failing. The CRTC requires them to have a certain amount news hours in the day, but that has zero to do with CBC.

      Kinda easy to slam the CBC when you don’t know/ignore the truth, eh?

  8. CQ says:

    CTV-TOR (its core base) was as coddled as the CBC. A separately spaced VHF dial spot, refusal to Global to brand as Toronto (squished between CBC-5 and ABC-7 – then shifted about in UHF-22/41/55), sticking CityTV up into the higher section of UHF brand and moving back down to 57, forced dual Grey Cup presentations for decades – now rights-owned completely and banished to cable while NFL is on the broadcast network weekly, Disney allowed ESPN co-financing of TSN, TalkTV as a mandatory cable channel, the operation of both pop music channels, cherry picked assets from the CityTV group sale…

  9. Ted (not the other one) says:

    Nice! I liked the woodcut reference. Isn’t that what they used to called your blog?

  10. JStanton says:

    Regardless of my belief that $um Media editorial policy is an appalling journalistic travesty, you do good work there. I liken it to missionary work – going out amongst the less civilized, at tremendous personal jeopardy, to spread the light.

    That being said, $um Media has everything to gain by your presence. Without you, Lilley et al, would spend their time in an endless round of feigning ever increasing outrage, with no-one but each other to level it at. With you, they have their straw-man incarnate, and a device to help stir the blood of their zombie acolytes.

    Rest easy; the symbiosis between yourself and $um Media means never having to be out of work.

    Heh, heh… it’s as stable as working for the CBC!


    • JStanton says:

      Oh gord… you’re such a silly! Your insecurity is showing… and telling! In fact I was referring to the troglodytes at the Sun Screws Network; not the Right in general.

      No need to feel insecure gord. As a Progressive, I support your right to come here amongst my brethren of the left and behave like an insufferable prig. I try, unsuccessfully, to be patient, despite your completely missing the bulk of most arguments, which are implicit, rather than explicit. It’s like debating with teens – pointless, because so much is over their heads since their minds are not yet fully developed through experience.

      The Progressive movement has a bias for intelligence that leads to humanistic policy; the regressive movement has a bias for blindly following charismatic demagogues who are often psychotic. Progressives reason; Regressives follow. What you characterize as “snobbery”, is simply the patience of the left wearing thin. We are getting a bit tired of your lot screwing things up for everybody, sometimes blindly, but more often than not out of spite. Angry little abused boys pulling wings of flies, just because you can.

      But, unlike your lot, we are unwilling to throw democratic principles out the window, in order to avoid the inevitable disasters wreaked on us. Frankly, I’m no longer sure that that is the best policy. I’m becoming inclined to thinking that your lot needs a bit of stick to straighten them out.


  11. Terraderma says:

    Was the Editor’s Note a profoundly nice way of saying you’re fired?

  12. frmr disgruntled Con now happy Lib says:

    I like the CBC, but wish they could become more like PBS in the States…….stick to what they do best: news, documentaries, investigative journalism, science and nature programs(David Suzuki) sports……and ditch the anglo comedy……save for anything with Newfoundlanders…..Little Mosque on the Prairie, anyone?…ugh….

    Id love to see the CBC produce the equivalent of PBS American Experience…..we have just as many or more interesting stories to tell……

    What I dont want to see is the CBC muted by the Harper Conservatives…….anyone who has posted on the CTV website knows they are simply a mouthpiece for the Conservative Party of Canada…..former CTV political correspondent, now Con Senator Mike Duffy comes to mind.

    Id hate to see what TV would look like without the CBC……No political views aside from the Con Party line, lame American reality TV, lame American sitcoms, and sports…..the dumbing down of the Canadian populace’s viewing habits would continue unchecked….

    So Happy 75th Birthday CBC……lets hope the party that found(ed) you are given the heave before they can silence you completely…..

  13. TheSilentObserver says:

    I was a little confused by your assertion that Ford was made to look sympathetic by the 22 minutes incident. While I do not agree with you in that what Mary Walsh did was totally wrong, how much sympathy do you think he got following “Bitches” incident almost immediately afterwards? Even at his most vulnerable, Ford’s knuckle dragging, red necked character bleeds through.

    • Matt says:

      Has the record not been cleared on the whole “bitches” thing. Did he ever actually say that?

      • pomojen says:

        Rightly or wrongly, I don’t think it will be really and truly put to bed unless the tapes are released. Which will likely never happen. The stink of the “bitch” accusation will stay with him unless the tapes are released and he can prove he didn’t say it.

  14. bigcitylib says:

    *cough* Mark *cough cough* Bourrie *cough cough cough*

  15. Anne Peterson says:

    Strangely enough we get TVO up here in my isolated place and I love it. CBC should study Steve Paikin. I also like the British dramas a lot. Many BBC produced. Maybe Canada should just charge Canadians a licence fee for each TV like the Brits do and give the money to CBC to do their stuff. Endless begging like happens on PBS is horrible. They do produce some pretty good programming but a lot of it is repetetive and the chidren’s programs don’t measure up. And they do seem to be caught in some sort of time warp sometimes with Lawrence Welk and their endless old musicals.

  16. Mulletaur says:

    The CBC budget can be cut as soon as the oligopolist Péladeau pays back the half billion in taxpayers’ money Quebecor has received from Canadian taxpayers over the past 3 years. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

  17. CQ says:

    11) Merge Ontario’s educational TVO (and any others) into a national PBS styled CBC (TV) network.
    12) Keep the “Cdn. state broadcaster”. But open up Canada’s media market to [friendly nation] competing foreign ownership. Lord Black was able to freely buy U.S. and U.K. newspapers, the Aspers were able to buy Australian media assets. There’s no valid excuse left, and add to the evidence that foreign book publishers have operated directly in Canada for decades. Doesn’t seem to hurt our world-challenging writers.
    11b) back to the tiny PBS (still legalized with no sports – no local news) model. They have at approx. a dozen separate PBS channels /subchannels operating along the Southern Ontario border; Rochester, Buffalo, Erie, Detroit,… TVO has – one.
    13) Compare the numbers. Buffalo, alone, has how many channels and major /minor /independent network affiliates vs. Toronto? Open Competition is good.

    • Unofficial says:

      No PBS!! The 10 minutes of programming followed by 30 minutes of beg and whine, repeated ad nauseum, station. I stopped watchin PBS years ago for that very reason.

  18. W.B. says:

    A lot of CBC supporters live with CBC Radio 6AM to 10PM, and have for decades. How does radio fit in to your plan??

  19. TheSilentObserver says:

    I’m not very partial to point #4. I don’t wanna be halfway through The Mercer Report or The National only for the feed to cut to some studio and have the next 15 minutes devoted to Mercer, Mansbridge, Coyne, and Hebert begging for donations and speaking about the latest DVD sale on cbc.ca

  20. Anne Peterson says:

    Maybe those who want many billions spent on military equipment should go out and fund raise to pay for it themselves. Or those who really want the tougher on crime legislation enacted should raise money to pay for the new prisons themselves. Or those who want to give major corporations tax breaks could hold telethons to help those poor people out. Fund raise for Quebecor. Put little money boxes on every retail counter in the country. Or those who think it is nice for our politicians to fly around in government jets could pay out of their own pockets for that to happen. Or someone else could pay for that G20 security fiasco. But oh, dear. I seem to be stuck for all that stuff I don’t want while not getting enough money spent on health care in my town. Or the CBC.

    • Alex says:

      The arrogance of your comment Gord is galling. There are millions of Canadians (or, more precisely, the majority of the the country) who do not agree with the Harper agenda. Is wasting taxpayers money on a useless crime bill a pro-Canadian issue? Is spending taxpayers money in defense of the asbestos industry in the national good? Is handing out major corporate tax cuts, without any evidence that they are actually creating jobs, a Canadian value?

      I understand that you are a conservative and that you support Harper. That is your democratic right and I will always support your capacity to express right-wing views. But please do not tell me that Harper values are “national values”, while left-wing views that you disagree with are limited to a small audience.

    • smelter rat says:

      More nonsense from Canada’s uber-con. How is public broadcasting not in the public good?

    • The Doctor says:

      You really ought to think long and hard about us going back to a press-ganging, private militia and mercenary-based military, which is in fact what you’re advocating there. There are good reasons why we moved towards permanent standing armies.

  21. JenS says:

    That sometimes the Sun allows differing opinions on one page doesn’t make up for the crap – and often straight-up irresponsible journalism – on the rest of the pages.

  22. GPAlta says:

    Democracy can not exist without a population informed with the truth.

    No other broadcaster in Canada has any corporate interest in truth telling.

    Ask Harper what about the prohibition on broadcasting false or misleading news that he wanted to scrap? Do you think the CBC was behind that? or could it have been his friends at QMI?

    Undermining the CBC’s ability to tell the truth, and its ability to develop an audience for that truth, undermines Canadian democracy.

    Raising money, selling ads, seeking donors (and keeping them happy), and defending itself from corporate mischief by QMI are all things that the CBC should never have to do, because those things all make it harder if not impossible for it to keep telling the truth to Canadians, both about the news and about Canadian culture.

    • By losing the CBC, the journalistic quality of the other broadcasters may decline. Then again, I don’t know how Faux News North could go from a mark of zero into the negatives.

  23. bza says:

    Without the gun registry to bash anymore, I anticipate the Conservatives will next go after CBC in fundraising pitches and the continued dismantling of the role of the public sector and policies that serve the public interest. If the chopping block comes to CBC the outcomes will be as negative as the gun registry. Though, perhaps there is enough time and support to resist both of them becoming victims of a Conservative majority.

    Happy birthday CBC, live long and prosper, for real.

  24. TDotRome says:

    I like the CBC, too. And, agree with you, it has it’s flaws. LIke all broadcasters. (So, nit-picking on every mistake is ridiculous…….Ha-chooezralevantsniffle.)

    One flaw in your article is that CBC uses it’s funding to outbid other broadcasters. This is rarely the case. In fact, it is CTV that throws the money around La-la-land buying shows. (And, they don’t just outbid, they do it heftily.) Also, every broadcaster is down there every year, not just the CBC. If Quebecor (or any caster) is getting outbid, then too bad. They all generate billions, it’s their own fault for not winning bids.

    The new technology thing isn’t entirely accurate, either. Yes, in some markets (like St. John’s) CBC will have newer & shinier toys than their private cousins. But, that mostly happens because of when the technology gets turned over. In Toronto, it’s the private casters that have newer toys. And, it’s been years & years since CBC sent an “army” when everyone else didn’t.

    I’d also like to point out that the CBC continues to be Canada’s only true national network. I mean in reality, on paper, as a matter of fact. Everytime the private casters have their licences come up for renewal, they make sure to argue against being an official “national network”. Because then they would have to start covering Canada from coast-to-coast-to-coast. Which would lose them money, so they don’t actually want network status, and be forced to do things that the CBC is forced to do.

    (Yeah, I’ve my share of years working in tv……….can ya tell? 😉

  25. jon evan says:

    Who watches the CBC?
    I see that you don’t either!
    [“I don’t really have time to watch TV – CBC or otherwise – however.”]

    How then can you say: “I like the CBC.” ?
    I don’t follow your logic?

    • smelter rat says:

      The CBC is much much greater than TV. Wake up.

    • The Doctor says:

      It’s like all these people who now say they miss the federal Progressive Conservative Party. Then I ask them “did you actually vote for the federal PC Party in any election from 1993 forward?”

      “Umm, well, no.”

      Which helps explain why it died.

    • sassy says:

      There is CBC radio, I don’t have a TV but listen to CBC radio all the time. Some really good programming.

      • Iris Mclean says:

        Me too. Haven’t watched CBC, or any other TV in years, except when stuck in hotels or visiting family in BC once a year or so.
        Been a life long listener to CBC radio, but even they seem to be trying to rid themselves of audience with the “promo asshole” every hour telling us that “Canada lives here” and crap like that.
        Too bad that that even the radio network insists on insulting our intelligence hourly in a feeble attempt to be cool.

        • W.B. says:

          TV grabs most of the money I suspect. Radio underfunded. Fewer programs and endless repeats.
          Also some talk show style programs try to outdo private radio which they shouldn’t bother trying to do. CBC Ontario noon show out of Ottawa full of airhead, pseudo psych, relationship, shows done in a sensationalists manner. How do you get along with your ex style confessional “Springer” type topics, egging people on to tell what somebody thinks are “funny” confessional degrading stories.
          Really sad when you think what Radio Noon which specialized in ag and food issues, and rural Ontario life in years gone by was able to contribute to this province through radio.

  26. Warren says:

    He exists. Always same email account. He’s tenacious.

  27. Dr.Dawg says:

    I had the privilege of listening to him at the mic at a CPC Convention once. He has a deep, sonorous voice. Pity about the content.

  28. Rosemary French aka roseoclaire says:

    Find Kinsella’s comments often on target and done with quite a bit of satirical humour. However I found his comments about Rob Ford, however astute they may be, weren’t suitable for an editorial. This guy was elected as Toronto’s mayor and as such deserves some respect. Leave out the libelous adjectives in future. What did the Editor’s note at the end of his editorial mean?

  29. repost from Emily Dee: Public broadcasting, belongs to us, the public, and CBC is no doubt looking to the public to save them.

    But where were the CBC when we needed saving from the neocons?


    I will sign a petition to keep the CBC alive, but only on the condition that they start acting like a “public” institution, and not another Harper communication vehicle.

    We need a program warning Canadians of our Religious Right, especially since most of them are American based. We need a program promoting progressive ideas. We need a program raising awareness to the income disparity that is hurting the most vulnerable in our society.

    If the CBC can provide that kind of programming, I’m in. If not, count me out.



    Repost from XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX – Re CBC – I don’t agree with those who are blaming CBC for getting the Cons elected, etc. I know people who work at a couple of different CBC stations and the inside story – which they can’t reveal – is awful. Ever since Steve’ guy took over, the pressure on them has been enormous! You’ve noticed, for example Evan being not only front and centre, but now promoted! Evan?! That’s all coming down from HarpCons.

    Every person who works there is absolutely walking on eggs almost all the time – unless they’ve been Harper-apptd. There have been tons of “unexpected” lay-offs and “disappearances” of staff who tried to buck the system or to report differently. From all the CBC people I know, in fact – under the dreadful circumstances and incredible pressures in which they find themselves for the past few years, increasingly since pre-election – they have managed to keep doing a pretty good job, imo – all things considered. They still are mostly really trying and they still do better than anyone else we have. There are definitely two sides to this story – so I’m just mentioning the other side.


    Sign the I Love CBC Petition:

    We love the CBC Rally


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