Barton out at National, Hanomansing continues to be underused

Sounds like the CBC.


Hello all,

We are delighted to announce that a formidable editorial weapon is being added to CBC’s political reporting arsenal: Rosemary Barton moves into a new multiplatform role as the Ottawa Bureau’s chief political correspondent, the first female journalist in this role for CBC News. The title might sound familiar but this is a 2020 version of the role and in many ways will be an evolution that makes sense from her current role. Rosemary will lead special coverage, host political specials, conduct headline interviews and provide analysis, contextual reporting and documentaries for The National and our destination radio programs. The growing audience for Party Lines will welcome Rosemary back when the show is relaunched next week and her digital profile will expand to include regular analytical texts. She will do all this while continuing to shepherd the weekly televised and digital offering of At Issue on The National. Rosemary will be joined in the bureau by Phil Ling whose producing and reporting skills has served the bureau and the entire report in immeasurable ways. Phil will also be pivotal to the developing of a new top-flight political presence for Rosemary for CBC News. These additions represent a considerable muscling-up of our political reporting. The aim is to provide value-added news that complements the robust reporting coming from Ottawa ahead of a Conservative leadership race and a minority mandate that will see the Liberal government perched on a knife’s edge. Rosemary has already shown she is a wise mentor and editorial leader. I will be counting on her leadership to help make this bureau the best place to work in journalism. She will take on these new duties immediately while reporting jointly to leadership in Toronto and Ottawa. Let’s congratulate Rosemary and Phil.


All – Today we are announcing changes to The National which will further position and support the broadcast as Canada’s nightly destination newscast. Television news viewership is driven by consistency, both in format and in presentation. Our audience told us they want to know what they can expect night to night: who will bring them the news and how it will be delivered. We listened. This season we have slowly introduced measures that lead to a more consistent program – including tweaks to our format and sharpened hosting roles. The National will now be broadcast from the Toronto studio with co-hosts Adrienne Arsenault and Andrew Chang, Monday through Thursday. We quietly made this change weeks ago. Effective immediately, it is permanent. Adrienne will continue to bring viewers to the heart of major stories, with frequent hosting from the field – as we’ve seen this season with road shows in Hong Kong, Halifax, Washington, Montreal, London and – this week – St. John’s. When Adrienne isn’t hosting on location, she brings the world home with in-depth reports, hosting alongside Andrew in studio. Andrew Chang skillfully guides viewers through the news of the day, with a special focus on stories that play out in the daily lives of Canadians – from health news to tech trends – and a renewed focus on newsmaking interviews with notable Canadians. Ian Hanomansing will solo-host the Friday and Sunday editions of The National from Vancouver and contribute special reports across the week, with a spotlight on Alberta and British Columbia. Ian and the Vancouver team will also continue to ensure we can update the program with breaking news in later editions – as we saw recently with the downing of Flight 752. And, as announced by Rob Russo today, Rosemary Barton is taking on a cross-platform role as CBC News’ Chief Political Correspondent. In this new position, Rosemary will bring her unmatched political insight to all of CBC News – including digital, podcasts, radio, and television political specials. She will continue to bring analysis to The National, including contextual reporting, long-form stories and key political interviews. Rosemary will also continue to host At Issue. The success of The National will be measured by our journalism and its ability to connect with Canadians. In these early weeks of 2020, viewers have turned to us to make sense of significant news events. These changes – effective immediately – will support that crucial work.

Chad Paulin Executive Producer, The National


Of doughnuts and beards and the like

The Conservative Party – back when it knew how to win, and when it was preoccupied with winning more than whining – was pretty good at symbols.

Symbol-wise, ten years ago, the Conservatives’ communications strategy always came back a single theme: that Michael Ignatieff out-of-touch and from Mars – while their guy, Stephen Harper, was intimately familiar with the day-to-day reality of an average Canadian’s life, and was in fact just like the guy next door.  “Everything they do, every speech, every photo-op, every avail, everything they do every single day – it’s all aimed at making people feel Harper understands their life, and Iggy has never lived their life,” I said to some Iggy folks.

For example, I said, look at the Conservative regime’s laser-like focus on (the cherished Canadian sport) hockey – and (the cherished Canadian coffee and doughnut franchise) Tim Horton’s.  Harper seems to be obsessively preoccupied with both, even though he had been photographed furtively drinking Starbucks on the campaign trail, and no can recall ever seeing a photo of him in a pair of skates, ever.

“They’re political Everyman symbols,” I said, “and he’s brilliantly swiped both of them.  He’s an economist, for Chrissakes – he’s just as much of an intellectual as Ignatieff, but he’s terrified of people finding that out.  He wants our guy to be the brainy geek; he wants our guy to be the snob.  So he goes after Joe and Jane Frontporch with hockey and Tim’s, and it works.  Tim Horton’s hockey Dads, voters get.  Harvard human rights professors, who don’t do sports and who hangs out with other pinheads, they don’t get.”

None of this was new, or exceptionally insightful.  As early as 2007, smart folks were noticing how Harper was fixated on political symbols like hockey.  The progressive folks at Straight Goods, for instance, wrote back in 2007 that “hockey is an important part of the frame of Stephen Harper’s Conservatives.  Since [2004], Harper has strived to court for the vote of the urban working middle class – people earning under $50,000 in trades, service industries, small business or sales.  Establishing himself as a hockey-loving tough guy is intended to play to this demographic.”

To that end, Harper was frequently photographed cradling a cup of Tim Horton’s at hockey rinks, or chumming with National Hockey League all-stars.  He even let it be known that he was writing a book about hockey, even though I can’t remember if it ever came out.

None of this happens by accident.  Symbols aren’t part of politics – symbols are politics. Pierre Trudeau’s rose and pirouette; Jean Chretien’s Shawinigan handshake; Justin Trudeau’s baby-balancing and whatnot.

So, accordingly, I understand why many Conservatives dislike Justin Trudeau so much.  First, Trudeau is way better at symbols than them.  Way.  And, second, Trudeau swiped symbols from them.  It drives them crazy.

In their effort to get back at him, Cons overreact.  They see a beard, they start posting memes that his father was Fidel Castro.  They see him carrying doughnuts for his cabinet, and they actually go on websites to calculate (falsely) how much the doughnuts cost and (without proof) claim he expensed them.  They see him periodically without a wedding ring, and spin tales about the state of his marriage.  And so on.

I’m not saying political symbols don’t matter – they do, a lot.  It’s just that you shouldn’t be swinging at every damn symbol that comes along, like some latter-day Don Quixote.  You shouldn’t treat every photo op as a war crime.

Pick your targets.  Keep your powder dry.  Don’t overreact.

Symbols matter, a lot.  But not everything is a symbol.

Now go eat a doughnut.


Charest: no thanks

He would’ve been a great leader for them. But the Tories never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

I still adore Hillary Clinton

…and remain proud I worked for her in three different states. And I’d do it again. And I don’t give a shit who disapproves.

This amazing interview reminds me why. Snippets below.

In the doc, you’re brutally honest on Sanders: “He was in Congress for years. He had one senator support him. Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done. He was a career politician. It’s all just baloney and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it.” That assessment still hold?

Yes, it does.

Do you think the media’s coverage of the 2020 campaign has improved from its coverage four years ago?

I don’t. In the beginning I was hopeful that it had. I thought that with more than one woman running — at one point there were six, so a basketball team plus a spare — it’ll get more normal [because] you have women on the stage. It’s not just me standing alone up there. And in the very beginning there was reason for hope, but as the campaign has gone on, it does seem to me that people are reverting back to stereotypes, and many of those are highly genderized. And it’s a shame.

Trump has helped keep you in the news …

There are some people who just can’t give me up. I live rent-free in his head.

As president, is he better, worse or the same as you had anticipated?

He’s worse.

At one point Bill says to camera, “I was so grateful that she thought we still had enough to stick it out. God knows the burden she’s paid for that.” What goes through your head hearing that?

First, I’m grateful that he understood that this was a really terrible time. I said [recently] in connection with a book that Chelsea and I wrote, The Book of Gutsy Women, when asked what was my gutsiest decision, I said, “Well, personally, staying in my marriage.” And that kind of sums it up. But I also think in every marriage there’s not just one side. So, I could say the same for him, that I’m not always the easiest person to live with. (Laughs.) I’m glad he stuck it out, too.

My friend Mike

Someone asked me if I was okay. I said yes. Why, I asked?

They said Mike Sloan was gone.

Now I’m not okay anymore.

I was with him just a few days ago at his apartment in London. I brought him a bottle of Veuve Cliquot and we laughed and talked and posed with his cat Chub. We talked about getting together in Toronto.

And now he’s gone.

Why did he become famous, and so admired? Because he faced death with unrelenting courage and ferocity. He laughed at it. He never blinked.

I am so, so sad that my friend is gone. He was a huge source of strength for me during 2019, when it felt like nothing would ever get better.

I was so grateful to him, for that, and for his bravery.

Remember Mike. I will.