Thursday, July 28, 2005

Top 10 reasons to privatize the CBC

Found this article from the CATO institute rather interesting. It lists 10 reasons why PBS should be privatized and the positive aspects of it. There's an ongoing debate in the United States as to whether or not to privatized or scratch Public broadcasting altogether.

Let me go through each point and give a Canadian point of view vis-a-vis the CBC.

10. We live in a 500-channel world...Today we have six over-the-air networks and hundreds of cable channels offering everything from news to soap operas to classic movies to history and opera.

Right. So should the CBC disappear, you won't be missing anything that you won't be able to get at another channel.

9. Sesame Street isn't so special any more. When anyone suggests cutting the budget for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, its defenders immediately cry "they're trying to kill Sesame Street!"

In Canada defenders of the CBC usually fall back on the "Hockey Night in Canada" defense. But should the CBC be privatized, no new owner(s) would be stupid enough to scratch the most profitable entity in the corporation. And should they be stupid enough to do so, CTV or Global will be more than happy to pick it up themselves.
So relax...As long as there will be a Canada, there will always be hockey.

8. Republicans are trying to regulate the way public broadcasting works. A Republican chairman of the CPB, which funds both NPR and the PBS, has appointed a Republican activist as president and CEO. He also commissioned a conservative activist to report to him on PBS's programming.

Ditto for the Grits up here.
Now let's turn the tables on the lefties. Say a conservative government gets elected in the future. And say the Prime Minister appoints someone like Conrad Black to be the chairman of the Crown corporation. Would that be fair?

Crown corporations like the CBC are ripe for political patronage appointments. Its unethical and poisons the political debate in this country.

7. Public broadcasting has a liberal bias.

Understatement of the year!!!! When the CBC's idea of a "vigorous debate" includes an NDP MP arguing to increase public spending by 30 per cent and a Liberal MP arguing for an increase of spending by 15 per cent, its not just bias, its suffocation.

6. Bias is inevitable. Any reporter or editor has to choose what's important. It's impossible to make such decisions without a framework, a perspective, a view of how the world works. But taxpayers shouldn't have to subsidize any set of biases.

Nothing to add here. Applies to both countries.

5. You shouldn't use tax money for lobbying.

How many times have we heard CBC radio personalities urging their listeners to take action against the US or argue for more public funding for X social program? Which raises another point: Public broadcasting doesn't measure the pulse of a nation, its basically the government talking to itself.

4. Public broadcasting subsidizes the rich. A PBS survey shows that its viewers are 44 percent more likely than the average American to make more than $150,000 a year.

There's no major study as far as I know that measures the socio-economic characteristics of loyal CBC viewers. But it can be argued that Taxpayers are carrying a heavy load for CBC programs that are watched by a tiny fraction of the population and who receive funding that's over their market value.

3. This is not applicable to Canada as the CBC gets ALL its funding from the federal government. Which makes the matter worse. It gives no incentive for the CBC to improve its programming.

2. Surely 2 billion dollars a year can be better spent on other more pressing matters than radio and television, which are considered luxury items BTW. How about Health Care?

1. The separation of news and state. We wouldn't want the federal government to publish a national newspaper. Why should we have a government television network and a government radio network?


At Friday, 13 January, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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