CBC, Ethics, and Redeemer University
The CBC has done some good investigative reporting. They broke the story of the WE scandal, for instance. They cover many issues of national importance. Sometimes, they dig deep into big questions, like the Governor General’s expenses and demeanour. But sometimes, they are a national embarrassment.
A recent and egregious example of being a national embarrassment happened when it was discovered that one of their panelists was actually paid by the federal government, putting her in a conflict of interest — especially because this information was not disclosed to viewers. This is a violation of journalistic standards. How did this happen? Did the CBC forget its duty to ask prospective panelists if they had any financial interest in the topic of discussion, or did the panelist lie, or did CBC just hope that no one would notice?
The CBC has no legitimate claim to the moral high ground, but they act as though they do.
If you read this CBC article, which came out a few weeks ago about a Christian videographer who turned down business from a homosexual couple, you will see that the CBC is taking a side against the Christian business owners, and really anyone who disagrees with homosexual “marriage”.
Another example of cringeworthy CBC coverage was a recent smear-job on Redeemer University College; for no apparent reason, a CBC reporter took it upon himself to write an opinion piece on this private Christian institution having standards that he disagrees with. Bobby Hristova interviewed a few former students who did not like Redeemer’s policies — even though they had voluntarily signed onto them at some point before becoming students. Note: the article did not even link or cite Redeemer’s actual admissions document (PDF). That is rather sloppy journalism.
You can easily see a theme (or rather agenda) emerge if you read both of these CBC articles. They both show disdain for Christian standards and those seeking to uphold them. Rather than accepting that people have a right to believe and associate with those who believe similarly, the general direction of the articles is, “get with the times”.
Doing an exposé on an institution can be good journalism, especially if there is evidence of financial mismanagement or breaches of professional standards. But, it’s best to make sure that if you “live in a glass house you don’t throw stones”. Remember, CBC was “busted” for breaking professional standards of journalism themselves by not disclosing the interests of their panelist to their audience. But the narrative that CBC is pushing about Redeemer is different in that the standard has not been changed or broken, but the CBC reporter (and a few former students) do not like the standard and think it should be changed.
OK, but is that such a big deal? Shouldn’t reporters look for rules and standards in organizations that are not as they should be? Granted. That line of investigation is not wrong, but it’s important to define the standard by which organizations will be measured.
A recent article on these incidents by ARPA Canada gives this insight: “Framing this as a news story helps CBC advance its agenda while disguising the fact that it has one.”
CBC has standards and an agenda. Their standards are not being met by many Canadians and various institutions, especially Christians. But if everyone tried to live by CBC’s standards, they would have to change every few years. If they choose biblical standards instead, their guiding principles will not change.
The idea of unchanging standards in changing times is foreign to many in our culture. To Christians, it is a great comfort and source of strength, despite the criticism from skeptics. The CBC should at least acknowledge that Redeemer’s standards are based on ancient principles that many Canadians hold to, and were a major part of Canada’s history. As of the last few years, they are looked at with skepticism by many. Go back a few decades and they were the ideal in Canada, even if that ideal was not always practised.
Susan Ursel, a lawyer, was interviewed in the article on Redeemer; she asked these questions that the courts will have to decide: “Can religion do anything it wants? Or in a decent, multicultural, diverse society, are there even limits on what religion can do?”
Yes, there are limits. But no, it is not the CBC’s job to set or enforce these limits, much less try to tell religious organizations what their standards should be in the first place. Lawyers may ask these questions, and they might have a role in deciding an outcome, but they would do well to remember that Canada’s heritage of freedom for everyone came to us via Christian principles. The idea that there are laws higher than even the king (or any ruler) is an inheritance that we have in Canada via the Magna Carta (and biblically-based case law), and these are principles that continue to serve us well.
The CBC should enlighten Canadians on our history rather than to try to shape Canada’s future based on their own bias and philosophy.
The Canadian Government should begin a process of largely privatizing the CBC (this is CHP’s policy). This would begin to level the playing field for all of the other Canadian news outlets that are struggling to make ends meet in today’s economy. It would probably also cut down on the number of ideologically-driven smear articles that are an embarrassment to Canada.
Go to CHP.ca and “get involved” to show your support for CHP. Yes, we have a guiding philosophy, but no, we are not trying to hide it or disguise it.
Other Commentary by Peter Vogel:
- Borrowing Prosperity, Postponing Austerity
- CBC, Ethics, and Redeemer University
- So-Cons and Faux-Cons Part Two
- Defund the Police? Why Not?
- Time to Sell Your Stocks in Lego?
- Political Discussion or Racism?
- Cognitive Dissonance on Life-Saving Measures
- Temporary Crisis, Permanent Power-Grab
- So-Cons and Faux-Cons
- A Licence For Your Thoughts?
- Oops, a Senior’s Moment… for Canada
- Past Changes and Needed Changes