Monday, June 17, 2013

Why the CBC has outlived its usefulness: Colby Cosh in Maclean's

Colby Cosh writes:

"The CBC was created, as both monopolistic broadcaster and regulator, because what preceded it was all so untidy, unhealthy, unpredictable . . . unpalatable. And politically threatening to the establishment, as the radio-driven rise of Social Credit in Alberta would soon prove.

"No one thinks we would be better off now with total state control of broadcasting; Canadians manage to survive exposure to religious cranks, phony health advice, and even NBC. So when the CBC’s regulatory function was taken away in the ’50s, the broadcasting part of the corporation became an oasis of noncommercial values. You were no longer to be forced to watch or listen, but CBC was still there to amuse kids without sneaking in some hidden sales pitch for cereal. It was there for remote communities in need of news and economic information; there to cultivate the artistic pastimes of the elite in a pan-Canadian accent.

"In 2013, it hardly needs saying that the CBC has abandoned or grown incompetent at some of these functions, and that there is not much point to the others in a world of infinite bandwidth. (Let’s be honest: It’s not even all that left-wing anymore!) The frozen North is on a near-enough-equal footing with downtown Toronto when it comes to digital access, and children are no longer plunked down thoughtlessly in front of a cathode-ray tube for hours at a stretch. In this environment, the CBC is not proving to be much good at specifying exactly why it is needed. . . "

The whole column

No comments:

Blog Archive