Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Rex Murphy and the Con Broadcasting Corporation

About a week ago I wrote a post demanding to know why the CBC hadn't fired Rex Murphy for being a shill for Big Oil.

And I assumed that because so many others had complained, and it was such an obvious conflict of interest, that the CBC would at least take those complaints seriously.

But I was wrong. It turns out CBC management doesn't think Murphy is guilty of ANYTHING. 

The most important thing to understand is that Rex is not a regular reporter. He appears on The National as a commentator precisely to do analysis and offer his point of view on issues of the day.

His work has to be approved by editors at The National and has to meet a clear and straightforward threshold: that it be rooted in fact and experience, not just opinion or kneejerk ideology. But taking a provocative stand is what we pay him to do.

And all I can say after reading that is, if the editors at the National think that Murphy's right-wing diatribes are "rooted in fact and experience, not just opinion or kneejerk ideology," then they should also be fired. Because they're clearly out of their depth or out of their minds.

For it doesn't take a trained eye to see that Murphy is nothing but a right-wing ideologue and third rate demagogue whose work cannot be rooted in fact. Not when he's a climate change denier of the lowest order. It's just not possible.

And not when those kooky views are both dangerous and profitable...

Because he is a millionaire, he lives in the most expensive condo on the waterfront,  the same building Mike Harris lived in when he was Premier of Ontario.

Secondly his position on the CBC's flagship news program gives his biased commentary a weight, and a patina of respectability, it does not deserve. So this is also bullshit:

Rex's point of view, of course, is not the only one you hear on The National. The program is required to offer diverse perspectives on controversial issues. In this case, Rex's views were a direct counterpoint to an interview that had aired with Neil Young. That range of voices is what allows viewers to form their own opinions and goes directly to our mandate of providing balanced coverage as a public broadcaster.

Because unless McGuire is suggesting that the person who interviewed Murphy was biased, if they wanted a counterpoint they should have interviewed somebody from Big Oil or a Con politician or whatever. 

Not have their regular commentator rule on the issue as if he was some kind of impartial analyst or judge. When in fact he is just a slightly more refined Ezra Levant, and a babbling bubbling fountain of recycled Con talking points.

Thirdly, the energy debate is one of the most critical and political debates in this country, and climate change is the greatest threat humanity faces at this time. So to allow a nutty climate change denier free rein on a program like the National is at best irresponsible, and at worst CRIMINAL.

We desperately need and deserve better.

And of course this is simply OUTRAGEOUS...

The bottom line is that we are comfortable with the rigour of our policies, our editorial procedures, and our editorial leaders. And while it's fine for people to challenge his views, I want to say explicitly that we're comfortable with the content Rex has done for The National and Cross-Country Checkup, and we're confident about his independence - his point of view is his own.

For how can anyone be independent when they're sucking up petro dollars like a hoover, and blowing Big Oil like a balloon, over and over again?

And what is the difference between what he says on the CBC and his  foamy demagogic speeches to the oil industry?

For if that isn't a demagogue, an oily prophet or a little Fuhrer, what is?

Are those CBC managers so dumb, or ideologically ignorant, that they can't recognize a shabby tea bagger, or a Big Oil pimp, or a Con man when they see one? Do they take us for FOOLS?

Or are they so afraid of the Harper regime they are prepared to live on bended knee, even if that means sacrificing the credibility of their own flagship news program?

And betraying their most faithful viewers, and most of the people in this country. 

Gawd. I don't know if I want to hear the answer, but I do know this:

The CBC is supposed to be the CANADIAN Broadcasting Corporation, not the CON Broadcasting Network.

Those pathetic CBC managers should be ashamed of themselves.

And Rex Murphy should be fired NOW...

Please click here to recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers.


  1. .. I guess some folks just have to decide if they have common sense, courage and glowing hearts, Simon ..
    all of which mr Harper, mr Murphy & Big Carbon .. and quite possibly CBC .. have none of

    1. hi salamander...you sound a little resigned, unlike your usual cheery self. But then who can blame you eh? I think this winter has about 98% of us feeling the same way. ;)
      But seriously, the challenge is to motivate Canadians opposed to Harper so they go out to vote in record numbers. We will need to appeal to their common sense, and since it is Harperland their courage. I am confident we can do that. But as for the glowing hearts, people will have to decide themselves how much they love their country....

  2. Anonymous2:04 AM

    I have discussions with an older person who for years has been slagging the likes of Rex or Duffy. I think to myself. That's kind of extreme. but in time they turn out to be absolutely correct.

    1. hi anon....call it the wisdom of the ages. ;) But yeah, some people are fooled by the sappier version of Murphy they see on TV. That's why that video was great, because it really shows him as the demagogue he is. At one point when he was clenching and unclenching his fists and wailing away he did look a lot like Charlie Chaplin in the Great Dictator, or as I wrote in that post, a tiny version of the Fuhrer himself. Murphy papers over his right-wing ideology with homespun truisms, and populist shite culled from the pages of the Sun. But beneath all of that he's actually further right than many of the Cons.And the fact that the CBC would showcase a person like that on their flagship news show is simply unbelievable....

  3. Hi Simon. Thanks for posting this craven response from the CBC. Two weeks ago I wrote a letter of complaint about Rex. All I received was an acknowledgement of the letter, which read as follows:

    I write to acknowledge receipt of your email. The first step in the process is to share your complaint with the relevant programmers, who have the right and responsibility to respond. I have therefore shared your email with Jennifer McGuire, General Manager and Editor in Chief of CBC News. If you are not satisfied with the response you receive you may ask me to review the matter.

    Programmers are asked to try to reply within twenty working days.


    Esther Enkin
    CBC Ombudsman

    I have not received a response from McGuire, but it looks like that blog post justification of their policy of right-wing appeasement will be what I receive, if she deigns to send it. As soon as I receive it, I shall write to Ombudsman Enkin to review it.

    1. hi Lorne...good for you for writing to the CBC. I once helped a friend file an ombudsman complaint so I know how the process works, and your action will have an impact. The producer of the National will have to write a letter, and hopefully that will cause him or her to reflect on the folly of showcasing Murphy on the National. As I pointed out in my post, they're only hurting themselves. If they do send you a rewritten version of the McGuire post, you can tell the ombudsman you are not satisfied, and then the ombudsman will be forced to decide the issue. So good for you. I looked for McGuire's e-mail address to include in my post, but navigating the CBC site was not easy, and since I was sleepy I gave up. However, I was so infuriated by that casual dismissal of Murphy's conflict of interest, I won't be giving up the struggle to get Murphy bounced off The National...

  4. Anonymous9:10 AM

    Simon: Not sure if you have seen Mitrovica's article on the cone of silence CBC had set up in regard to Rex Murphy. As I did not see a link to it, I am putting a link here: http://www.ipolitics.ca/2014/02/10/rex-murphy-the-oilsands-and-the-cone-of-silence/

    It was a very eye opening article about what has apparently happened to the CBC. For example, here is a quote from it: "My disturbing odyssey into the CBC’s byzantine world of subterfuge, duplicity and plain lunacy began several weeks ago. In early January, I started researching the number and content of speeches that Rex Murphy has made about the oilpatch and the petroleum industry generally". Here is another quote: "I was beginning to wonder if the CBC flaks think of Murphy as a deep-cover agent who has to be shielded at all costs. Black never answered my questions. Instead, he bounced me to another CBC media relations guy, Chuck Thompson".

    If you have not read it, I guarantee you that it would be worth your time to do so. Yup, CBC is now apparently "Cons Broadcasting Corp". The only thing that can be said perhaps is that it is still relatively better than the other State Broadcaster, Sun Media.

    But that would be like saying that we should not complain about what our own Dear Leader has done to our democracy because Conada is still more democratic than North Korea.

    1. hi anon....I didn't read it until I had finished this post, but it sure is disturbing. And it tells me that they're guilty, and would rather not talk about it. Either that, or they're as dumb as spoons, they can't tell a tea bagger from a Buddhist, and they think WE'RE crazy. I'm a big supporter of public broadcasting, but I have to admit it isn't easy to defend the CBC these days. I'm sure they'll say they're just doing it to protect the institution from the Cons. But debasing it to save it, is like burning a village to save it, and their craven behaviour during the great darkness of the harper years, will come back to haunt them...

  5. Anonymous9:33 AM

    I stopped watching Cross Country Checkup when he started moderating it. Couldn't stand the guy. Too much brain power spent on vocabulary, not much of thought.

    1. hi anon...I must say I've never listened to Cross Country Checkup, but I understand that Murphy is much more balanced on that show than he is on the National. But you're right, when you strip away the big words, or the occasional literary reference, most of Murphy's stuff is shallow, platitudinous, and never brilliant or insightful. Which makes it even more pathetic that the CBC managers can't see that Murphy isn't just annoying us, he's degrading their product....

  6. Anonymous9:40 AM

    For the first few years of the Harper government, CBC was a thorn on his side. So he did what he does best. He cut funding, "coincidentally" cbc lost its hockey rights, and then he stacked the cbc board with his appointments, including the new ambassador to Israel... CBC has become the Con Broadcasting Corporation.

    1. hi anon...you're right the Cons have been tightening their control over the CBC. The Board is stacked, the new Bill C-60 gives them control over management-union negotiations, salaries etc. And then of course after that brutal $60 million cut, they probably have management tip toeing around hoping not to offend the Cons further. And when you are too frightened to rock the boat, you are in effect a Con collaborator, and sadly it is the Con Broadcasting Corporation. Somebody should tell those dumb stooges, the Cons are going to lose the next election, and we have long memories... ;)

  7. Anonymous9:46 AM

    the cons as of late, have added their own propaganda muts to cbc's board and are slowly chocking off any anti-con news items on this, the last news media outlet left not controlled by corporate or con influence

    1. hi anon...yes they are going for Total Information Control, which is why we must complain loudly about people like Murphy. For it may embolden those hapless managers to stop pandering to the right. They really need to understand that there is nothing they can do to please the Cons that will stop them from wanting to kill the CBC. And that they shouldn't piss off their friends...