The voice of members of The Canadian Media Guild, Fredericton.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

N.B. Liberal leader to feds: Push for a deal

New Brunswick Liberal leader Shawn Graham visited the Fredericton picket line today and told locked-out Guild members that he's written a letter to Prime Minister Paul Martin, urging the federal government to push for an end to the lockout.

Excerpts from the letter:

With the lock-out currently in its seventh week, these CBC employees and their families are facing difficult economic times.

Although the CBC is continuing to broadcast, it is not currently fulfilling its role as a public broadcaster. It is important that CMG members return to work as soon as possible to ensure that quality coverage of local, regional and national issues can resume.

I am glad to see that Joe Fontana, your Minister of Labour, has decided to play a positive role in bringing both sides together in this dispute. I would certainly urge you, and your Minister, to use your good offices in bringing the lock-out to an end and ensuring that a fair contract between the CBC and its CMG employees is put in place.

Graham told members today that he has contacts in Fontana's office, and he will use them to make sure the minister keeps the pressure on for a deal.

Graham is the second New Brunswick party leader to visit the picket line in Fredericton. Newly elected NDP leader Allison Brewer visited yesterday. So far, Premier Bernard Lord has not responded to invitations to drop by.


Blogger Spinks said...

Gang, you may find this article from the Toronto Sun today interesting. It goes hand in hand with my concerns about media bias several weeks ago on this site and on Mr. Charles Leblanc's blog -

The good news is CBC is not alone. The bad news is that it does exist here in Canada. Do with the analysis as you will. Cheers.

Liberal bias? It's not just the CBC.


Here's something you may find interesting regarding the ongoing controversy over liberal media bias in Canada.

According to a recent study by two Ryerson University journalism professors:

* Almost half of all Canadian television news directors, the individuals who have the most influence in determining what political news is covered on your favourite nightly newscast and how it is reported, vote Liberal.

* A TV news director working at the tax-funded CBC is almost three times more likely to vote for the NDP in federal elections, compared to his or her counterpart in the private sector.

* When this research was compiled in 2002, just over one in 10 (11.4%) of all private sector news directors said they would vote for the Canadian Alliance. However, not one news director at the CBC described himself (or herself) as an Alliance voter.

These findings are contained in "The Canadian News Directors Study", an informative survey of the political leanings and demographics of TV news directors, conducted by Marsha Barber and Ann Rauhala. The results were published in the May 2005 issue of the Canadian Journal of Communication.

Two-thirds of all potential respondents (67 of the 99 people who held this job in Canada in 2002) replied to their study, including 44 from the private sector and 23 from the CBC.

I was alerted to it by Global TV's Peter Kent, now the federal Conservative candidate in the Toronto riding of St Paul's.

Last month, Kent alleged most Canadian journalists are small "L" liberals and that as a result, Conservatives face the constant hurdle of "getting past the filter of liberal media apologists", particularly in the all-important Toronto market.

Kent has since written to Canada's journalism schools, which he also considers hotbeds of liberal bias, challenging them to study this issue in the next election.

Barber wrote to him informing him that she is planning a study along these lines and sent him a copy of her research.

It found that 45.8% of all Canadian television news directors surveyed in 2002 said they were Liberal voters. By contrast, only 14.6% said they were Progressive Conservative voters, 10.4% Canadian Alliance, 10.4% NDP. This put the news directors at the high end of overall public support for the Liberals during that period (40-46% according to the polls) and at the low end for the PCs (15-18%), Alliance (14-18%) and NDP (13-16%).

The professors said their study suggests Canadian journalists vote much like the public, contrary to other countries, such as the U.S., where they tend to be more liberal and left wing.

The notable exception, they concluded, is that "journalists at Canada's public broadcaster, the CBC, share a different profile and are more likely to hold left-of-centre political views." Uh ... duh.

I'd argue, however, that Barber and Rauhala's research gives Kent plenty of ammunition to make his case of a pro-liberal, or, more accurately, an anti-conservative bias in the media, well beyond the CBC, which is bad enough given the CBC's disproportionate influence in setting the national political agenda and how journalists and politicians react to it.

But beyond that, Barber and Rauhala also found that the most influential person in Canadian TV newsrooms -- both public and private sector -- in determining how political news is covered, is a Liberal voter almost half the time. By contrast, he or she is (was) a supporter of the former Alliance party, with which Conservative Leader Stephen Harper is most closely identified, only one time in 10. And at the CBC, zero times in 10.

Journalists are, of course, entitled to vote and other factors may affect political news coverage aside from the voting patterns of the news director.

But even the CBC believes media bias is a huge issue (except, apparently, for its own), given its recent exposes of what it calls the alarming right-wing bias of Fox News in the U.S.

Perhaps we just should declare the CBC an irony-free zone.

6:55 PM

Blogger Charles LeBlanc said...

By the way???? GARY MITTELHOLTZ wrote a good piece in the River Valley News about CBC. < not owned by the evil irving empire > I had a column with Gary in that paper for the last 5 to 6 yars now.....

7:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boy here we go again...another person who believes that because some journalists don't see the world through an Alliance/Conservative lens they're guilty of something called "Liberal Bias" as if someone who is a reporter can't do journalism properly if they don't worship at the altar of Bush, Ailes and Klein. So, Peter Kent, that paragon of journalism excellence says most journalists are small l liberals, and what are we to make of that observation...that small l liberals can't function as reporters. Is Spinks suggesting that the people who work at Fox News shouldn't be journalists because they are small r republicans? I mean the true test of bias, even if someone working at the CBC is a small l liberal, is if that person holds small l liberal beliefs and includes all points of view about a story or issue in his or her piece regardless of their political origin. Would the world or Canada that matter be a better place if all people who held a political point of view based on a sociological or economic belief not be allowed to practice journalism? Would Canada's democracy be in better shape if the Asper's had licence to dictate their editorial point of view, to more newspapers and broadcasting networks than they do? Look Spinks sure there's bias, there's bias at the CBC, there's bias at CTV, there's bias at Global, there's bias at the National Post, there's bias at Fox news and CNN. My guess is you wouldn't be complaining if the bias you say you see at CBC was a right wing bias sympathetic to the Conservative Party of Canada. I submit to you, your issue isn't that some CBC journalists might be small l liberals, you're pissed because they're not small c conservatives. I've worked in private radio, at CTV and at the CBC and I can tell you this, no media organization works harder at keeping any kind of personal bias out of it's journalism than the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation...that's the truth as I've seen it over 25 years, but hey, what do I know I might have a small l liberal bias.

8:40 AM

Blogger Spinks said...

I am not advocating right wing bias. Instead I submit there shouldn't be any bias in news reporting, right or left. However I am pleased that someone has recognized that it exists. Most blow it off as not even existing. Once we talk about it and at least admit it exists, the problem can be fixed. The CBC as the study points out above merely as the most serious problem. An easy way for those locked out to tell would be to ask each other on the picket line where they stand on such hot button issues like same-sex marriage or abortion. The results of where the highest proportion of people stand would be rather telling. Who knows, maybe CBC NB has a right wing bias? It's worth those on the picket line taking a couple of minutes and trying it. I don't expect them to share the results but if everyone or almost everyone thinks the same, there's a problem. It would indicate little or no diversity of thought in the newsroom.

4:36 PM

Blogger CMG Fredericton said...

I would think our commitment to diversity of thought is clear from our decision to permit criticism of our work on a website that is devoted to generating public support.
Jacques Poitras

8:10 PM

Blogger Charles LeBlanc said...

Holy Sh@t!!!! Spinks is here now???? Should I warn others in my blog??? Hey? He attracts people!!!!

11:10 PM

Blogger Hale-Cadenas said...

where is Bernard Lord???

3:45 AM

Blogger Spinks said...

Good point Jacques. Perhaps the on-air problem of diverse points of view is more indicative of management. Kudos for allowing the discussion.

10:07 AM

Blogger Draken said...

Geez Spinks...
I can't let you out of my sight for a minute can I??

Why are you still crying about the so called "Liberal Bias" at the CBC. I would have thought you would have realized by now bias is not something you will ever get rid of. Every single person that walks on this planet has bias'of one type or another. (you included spinks....obviously))I've said it before, and I'll say it again...maybe, there is a liberal bias at the CBC........ However, it is certainly no worse than the biased reporting of other news outlets in Canada. I'd go so far as to say they do a much better job keeping biased views out of their reports, than most other news outlets. I have found CBC's reporting to be well above everyone else's as far as being fair and accurate. I know you'll disagree of course, lord knows we've been over this subject umpteen times in the last few weeks. I was'nt going to even chime in, but figured i'd let Jacques and the others know not everyone see's things from the same warped perspective Spinks does...(Thank GOD!!)

By the way guys and gals, stay strong, you're doing a bang up job out there. I miss hearing you from the inside, but your victory will be sweet. :-)

Oh and Spinks....good to see you....even if you are still beating this tired old drum of yours.

8:24 PM

Blogger Spinks said...

Hi Draken. Well, you were looking for some Canadian statistics. Now you have them. Fortunately, there's been lots of discussion across the country about this since the lockout began so the issue is out there. I am pleases Mr. Poitras responded. This was the first time I had received a response from CBC types to this issue. Up until now, any e-mail I've sent in has been ignored. Now that a tentative agreement has been reached, I'm hopeful CBC Management and employees pay some type of attention to the voices which have raised those concerns. Clearly there's an issue, perceived or not (warped or not, D)and it should be addressed.

Always a pleasure, D, even if you're wrong - HA HA. Just kiddng Draken. We'll cross paths again, I'm sure.

10:20 AM


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