Tuesday, 22 August 2006

An apology of sorts from the CBC

Diana Swain of the CBCStephen Taylor is running a clip from last night's CBC news broadcast in which Diana Swain apologizes on behalf of the CBC for not making it clear that Harper was not responding to the protester preceding him on Christina Lawand's newsclip. You may recall that Stephen Taylor had done a devastating exposé of the report, putting Harper's comments back into context and showing how that put an entirely different spin on things.

Most commenters on Stephen's blog felt that this was the best we could expect from the CBC although some were of the opinion that the apology was totally inadequate.
Far from displaying the merest hint of contrition, the tone suggests that they are reluctantly obligated to apologize because of the poor comprehension skills of those who complained. "It appeared as if the Prime Minister was responding directly to that particular protester."

Well no, it didn't. How could the PM, at a later press conference, possibly have been aware of and responding to the CBC's selected soundbite from a protest? The issue is that Lawand and her producer tried to make it look that way.

The CBC manipulated the edit to serve an obvious editorial agenda. They apologize, in effect, for a supposed editing mistake that accidently gave a false impression, when it is baldly obvious that the edit served the purpose of the entire piece, and was completely congruent with the editorial tone.

What about the totally gratuitous Bush/Harper slur in the piece? What about Lawand's insinuating tone of voice in the opening line when she refers to Harper meeting "a safe distance away"?

[...]A credible apology involves acknowledging what the wrong behaviour is, and a promise to change. I don't see a hint of that. We shouldn't be so credulous.

While I agree that the apology was inadequate and failed to acknowledge that the "misunderstanding" had been deliberately engineered, I am heartened that the CBC felt obliged to address this issue publicly. This is a tacit admission that they were surprised by the volume of complaints and felt the need to do damage control. I hope it also means they are aware now that any future shenanigans run a real risk of being exposed. We owe Taylor a debt of gratitude.

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SippicanCottage said...

Ah, they have the contrition of the sullen teenager- not sorry they did it, but very, very sorry they got caught. Such as they always ratchet up the effort on part B, not part A, in such circumstances.

Janet said...

An excellent analogy, Greg. Still, it never hurts them to know somebody is paying attention to what they are up to.


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