Canada’s CBC fails to do its homework … again

Notwithstanding its many claims that, as Canada’s “national broadcaster”, the CBC is an “authoritative” newscaster, in recent years this bureaucratic behemoth, funded at great taxpayer expense – which has rarely been known to fail to trumpet its self-proclaimed “authoritative” newscaster status – has once again demonstrated its true superficial colours.

On this blog, for almost five years, I have – from time to time – featured many instances during which the CBC has failed to do its homework, to measure up to such unwarranted self-glorification or to correct the record. Unless – as in the case of their unabashed adulation and promotion of British Columbia’s only Green Party Member of the Legislative Assembly, faux Nobel laureate Andrew Weaver – far too belatedly, after his election!

Has the CBC learned any lessons in the interim?! Perhaps; but if so, they have obviously failed to communicate such lessons to all their on-air personalities; not the least of whom is old-hand enthusiast Diana Swain, one of the CBC’s so-called:

leading investigative journalists and CBC News’ senior investigative journalist

The mileage of some may certainly vary; but I, for one, have considerable doubt as to the “homework” that might have been conducted by anyone at the CBC prior to this 2014 Remembrance Day broadcast, least of all Swain. During this broadcast, Swain was seen enthusiastically interviewing a bearded (which should have been Swain’s first clue of phoniness) and much-medalled “Sgt. Franck Gervais”:


As Canada’s National Post subsequently reported:

‘Soldier’ giving interviews at Ottawa Remembrance Day ceremony an imposter

Warrant Officer Michael Womack was watching the TV interview in Wainwright, Alta., as he prepared for his own unit’s Nov. 11 ceremony.

Something about it just didn’t seem right, he says.

“I saw the interview and I was like, ‘Wait a second, I should know him because that’s an RCR cap badge and a maroon beret.’ I didn’t know him, so I said to my wife, ‘Something’s not right here.’”

CBC reporter Diana Swain interviewed this man at Remembrance Day ceremonies in Ottawa on Tuesday. Sharp-eyed observers say details about his uniform don’t add up.

After the ceremony at Garrison Wainwright, Womack went home and re-watched his recording of the Ottawa ceremony.

“Everything about him was wrong,” Womack said.

In the same article, CBC did ‘fess up to the faux pas. However, there was no mention of the error (or the correction) during Swain’s reportage on the CBC’s nightly news broadcast. Quelle surprise, eh?!

Nonetheless, I suppose that – in light of the CBC’s scandalous Ghomeshi-goofs-extraordinaire – such lack-lustre “research” is quite possibly (if not probably) par for this particular grande dame‘s increasingly mediocre – and, some might say, biased, naïve and/or research-free – course.

As I had postulated almost five years ago:

With apologies to Marshall McLuhan, the CBC may well be striving to be “the medium that controls the message”.


4 thoughts on “Canada’s CBC fails to do its homework … again

  1. The saying “fool me once shame on you , fool me twice shame on me ” could be food for thought . No doubt CBC has had it moments and will continue to have .That may come from needing a story to go to air and possibly thinking that something like this would or could not happen . Without the detailed observations by a veteran we may never have noticed . I know I sure would not have .

    It may come down to a trust issue as well .Something the majority of the public are far too often accustomed to .We don’t expect that a political MP would actually tell a lie unless he/she may be a member of the opposition .In that case it’s usually assumed that they have no way of telling the truth . I didn’t know what to make of this incident at first but I now have empathy for the man . How out of sorts does this person function .I feel for his wife and other family members , sons daughters , grand kids ,and good friends .Some of the emotional gymnastics and mental anguish that has come to them for no understandable good reason . The reporter will, I am sure need to suffer her own shortcomings and may actually be a benefit to those of us who would like to think that the news can get it correct for the most .

    We are in a day and age where a simple correction and apology from the source may never undo the harms caused to reputations .When things go viral ,there is no way of putting the cat back in the bag . The Ghomeshi cat is one of those .I actually look forward to what good might come of that one .

    • Hi Terry … Well, I started to reply here, but my answer became somewhat longer than I had anticipated!

      So please see my next post.

      Although, now that I think about it, perhaps CBC’s continued focus on this matter serves to push the Ghomeshi mess (conveniently?!) into the background. At least for now!

      Thanks :-)

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