Wherefore The CBC


Lots of reaction to the news that Peter Mansbridge is stepping down as the figurehead on the bowsprit of the MothershipNews, most of it entreating said Mansbridge to spare himself from bodily harm from the swinging door as he leaves. My sense was that Peter had some credibility in his earlier days, but it became painfully clear once the CBC decided to refresh its programming and seek a younger demographic that he would have to tread carefully or risk being displaced by the news equivalent of Strombo and put out to the senior lecture circuit with a mandate to sell more dietary fiber.

I once thought it would be a good deal to replace Peter with Ian Hannomansing. I really liked his style of reporting when he was with CBC Vancouver, but, of late, he seems to have morphed into a creature of the Harper CBC and is harder to distinguish from the run of CBC faces and names. I’ve thought well of some of Mark Kelly’s investigative material, but what happens when you plunk him in the Big Chair? Rosie Barton looked fresh and stinging when she took over from Evan Solomon, but the gig seems to have rounded off the edges, and the discourse clearly misses the point of serious analysis and reportage.

So here’s a thought: CBC needs to pioneer a new and faceless news stream for serious journalism where the reader never gets seen on screen and where the news can reach into those areas where currently it isn’t considered worthy of television, or too scary because reporting on the item might get the whole crew fired. The names can appear in the cast and credits at the end of the show, or in a byline under the title of the presentation, but no faces.

In addition, with their unlimited resources, the CBC can have a People group on a different broadcast channel where people like Heather Hiscox, Wendy Mesley, Michael Serapio and the like could hold forth on the people and places, the car accidents, marital upsets and petty crimes that seem to be so much a part of what gets passed off as news. There would be a lot of human interest here, but with a real fluff factor.

A third stream would be where we could really connect with the fringe element of the news community, where Jian Ghomeshi could meet up with Ezra Levant, where Evan Solomon could resurrect himself and where Peter could reminisce by interviewing himself one-on-one, complete with Rodin Thinker-like pose. This stream could be sponsored by people who make medication for elevated levels of hypertension.

Given that the whole outfit is still run by Harper Holdovers (is it not? it sure looks as though that’s the case), i don’t see too much in the cards in terms of a constructive rebuild, and I’ll continue to spend more time complaining about the state of news than actually watching it or listening to it. I’m sure glad my parrot had found a worthy recycling use for the moribund newspapers I used to read.