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Canadian Media Watch

A blogger in Canada has created a brouhaha over his complaints directed toward a Canadian Broadcast Corporation radio show “Metro Morning” for promoting a “Week Against War” event. The complaint resulted in an email from one of the radio hosts, Andy Barrie, inviting the offended party to “Leave Canada.” The complaints appeared on the Angry in the Great White North blog, run by an anonymous engineer who goes by the name “Daggett” after the angry beaver of cartoon fame.  The complaints also ran on the CBC Watch forum. The CBC Watch describes itself as an independent forum dedicated to exposing the Canadian Broadcast Corporation’s violation of the Broadcasting Act. Specifically, the Act requires that the CBC “provide a reasonable opportunity for the public to be exposed to the expression of differing views on matters of public concern” [3I(iv)]

Daggett complained that the “Metro Morning” crew, including host Andy Barrie, plugged at length the “Week Against War” event. Daggett explained that the sponsors “are not people dedicated to relieving the suffering of war by raising money for humanitarian aid, like antibiotics or clothes or food and other emergency supplies, to mitigate the suffering in conflict zones anywhere in the world. Instead, and this comes as no surprise, they are dedicated to the goal of ‘ousting’ (their word) George W. Bush, because, as we all know, if George W. Bush was out of the picture, there would be no wars and suffering.”

The beaver-blogger contended that the presentation fell short of the goal of “comprehensive” presentation of information: “The CBC Journalistic Standards and Practices is clear and uncompromising: The broadcast media in particular have an obligation to be fair, accurate, thorough, comprehensive and balanced in their presentation of information.”

Barrie responded to the angry beaver in part with this succinct suggestion: “I’ve got a way for you not to pay for the CBC. Leave Canada.” Barrie added: “You won’t have to be Angry in Toronto any more. You can be Happy in Toledo.”

Garvia Bailey of CBC was less controversial in her response, stating that the purpose of letting people know about the World Against War events was because “it is a huge event involving many Toronto artists, musicians and writers from a broad range of backgrounds. It was by no means an attempt to propagate mine or anyone elses ‘leftist agenda.'”

Daggett says a quick sentence could have been included in the broadcast, along the lines of “By the way, the group promoting these events will use moneys raised to organize more events in protest to America foreign policy under President Bush. So if that is ok with you, or you don’t care, come out and enjoy!”  That would have, in his opinion, met the standard of comprehensive information reporting as required by the CBC Journalistic Standards and Practices.

The concept of media including mobilizing information for events has often been controversial, since it can give the impression of support. For that reason caution is supposed to be exercised when considering sharing mobilizing information. Even as little as a phone number or a graphic can be considered mobilizing information.

For his part, Daggett does not think an apology from Barrie is necessary even though he noted there was rudeness in the response. The rest of Barrie’s reply seemed to inject some humor into the situation. Daggett did demand (and get) an apology, however, from Drew Garner, a producer at NewsTalk CFRB 1010. Daggett was called an idiot, twice in an email sent from Garner on his CFRB email address. The email addressed the Barrie matter. Garner also allegedly dismissed the notion that blogs could be a credible medium. “What medium does he work for?” Daggett sneered? “Talk radio.”

The mysterious beaver got his apology. Garner wrote in response: “I fully and entirely apologize for all statements I have made in all previous e-mails. Consider this a huge gap in judgement [sic]. Thanks [sic]you.”

Meanwhile the story of one vigilant beaver standing sentinel over Canadian media is one more example of the power of citizens wielded via blogs.