Much ado about nothing at the CBC

Opposition critics are working themselves into an apoplexy about the news that Tom Long's HR firm is looking for CBC's new News Director. Long, you'll remember, worked for Brian Mulroney, was a top advisor to Mike Harris, and ran for the leadership of the Canadian Alliance. Said NDP heritage critic Charlie Angus:

"Tom Long is one degree of separation from the PMO. I just think it's too close to have someone that close, politically, to the PMO basically looking at the resumés and vetting them."

*sigh* Yet another variation of ye olde media bias debate. I will admit this one's approach is fairly novel, since it's actually pre-emptive. But I am so very tired of moonbats on both sides of the aisle screaming at each other that the media is wildly biased in the other side's favour. Media outlets are businesses. They follow money. That's where the bias is- not towards some ideology, but the logic of the market and the financial interests of the folks writing the cheques.  Market motivations may cause ideological distortions (see also: Fox News), but we need to get the chain of causality straight. And since CBC is publicly-funded, it is slightly more insulated against market bias than other MSM outlets.

There's a few other things people might be overlooking:

  1. Presumably, the CBC gave Long's firm some selection criteria. They probably didn't say, "Tom Long, we trust you so implicitly, you are like Jesus to us. Go out and find someone for this job. Follow your heart. We won't interefere."
  2. Tom Long, for all his questionable politics, is likely pretty professional. So, when he was hired by the CBC he probably set out about serving his client, rather than instituting a vast right-wing conspiracy. In fact, as a senior exec, Long won't be that involved in the selection anyway.
  3. The CBC can vet Long's choice. So, for example, if he comes back with psycho hillbilly Rachael Marsden as his #1 choice, CBC will know the fix is in and politely demure.
  4. Even if someone vaguely rightist is put in, there political damage would be negligible. The only people who watch CBC news are small 'l' urban liberals anyway. A right-wing news director, who demonstrated his bias on air, would only alienate the CBC's core demographic- not cause some seismic political shift. I mean, if the only show on CBC with broad appeal- Hockey Night in Canada- suddenly skews conservative, then we have a problem. But in the meantime, c'mon now.

So in conclusion: everybody take a few deep breaths and relax. Stop gnashing your teeth and stomping around, cursing the fates and vowing revenge on the house of Harper. Everything is goint to be OK.

P.S. If you'd like some more information on why Rachael Marsden is a pyscho hillbilly, this Salon article is a good primer. Hurray for criminal harassment!