Death to the CBC!

Lorne Gunter recently vented his spleen about the CBC, and the National Post blowhard is clearly feeling a little threatened by the beleaguered national broadcaster.

"The CBC will never be able to exorcize its left-wing missionary zeal -- for global warming, for Islam, for big government, Barack Obama, multiculturalism, public health care, human rights commissions and so on. And it could never survive on private donations or ad revenues. So the only thing to do with Mother Corp is to pull down its office buildings and stations and pour salt in their foundations."

Besides the other perceived sins of zeal for Islam, Obama and public health care, Gunter has the gall to call for the abolition of our seventy-three year old national network due to their comparatively impeccable coverage of climate science.

I am flummoxed by my inability to describe just how dishonest and absurd Gunter’s argument is. Bear with me as I struggle to scale this seemingly insurmountable peak.

Desmog Blog readers know well how we feel about the monotonously inaccurate coverage by the National Post about the scientific understanding of climate change. I struggled to itemize all the factual errors in one single article by Gunter and could not do the subject justice in under 800 words.

On the suggestion of a Desmog Blog reader, I happily nominateChristopher Booker Prize d Mr. Gunter for the Christopher Booker Prize for Bullshit Reportage of Climate Science, sponsored by George Monbiot and the Guardian. Godspeed Mr. Gunter – I am rooting for you.

His employer, the National Post felt it important to send reporters to the climate deniers conference in New York, sponsored by the hilariously unethical Heartland Institute. In contrast, they neglected to send correspondents to either the UN Climate conference in Poznan Poland, or the recent gathering of 2.500 of world’s leading climate scientists in Denmark.

I could go on but you get the point. I make no claim of being a brilliant researcher, but I must say unearthing the abundant errors in the work of Mr. Gunter and other staffers at the Post has been like shooting fish in a barrel with a RPG.

Now why would that be? Professional journalists are typically superb at research, fact checking and correctly citing sources – assuming they want to. In deference to their obvious skills as media veterans, one can only ask the pregnant question: are they instead willfully misleading their readers?

Which brings us to the end game of Mr. Gunter’s latest offering to his readers. There is more at play than the obvious irony of Gunter calling for the biblical destruction of the CBC due to their accurate reportage of climate science.

Canwest graphHis employer Canwest Global Communications has raked up a crushing debt of $3.7 billion. Their share price languishes around $0.30 – after plummeting more than 97% in value in the last two years.

After two humiliating meetings with impatient creditors, their latest deadline to pony up interest payments of $30 million is April 7. What to do?

Rather than cutting costs, selling assets, or running a responsible and profitable business, CanWest has instead hired a close confident of Prime Minster Stephen Harper to negotiate some manner of structural bailout for the beleaguered media empire.

A deal straight out of the PMO would likely take the form of sweeping tax breaks or gutting regulations that would be music to the ears of Lorne Gunter and his ilk.

Meanwhile, the CBC, that has irritated and enraged the Harper government by responsibly representing climate science to the Canadian Public, has been allowed to hit the ground with a splat. Just today they announced the elimination of 800 staff positions and the sale of $125 million in assets just to keep the doors open.

No wonder.

Last year they revealed the Harper government was not being truthful when they shoveled $2.5 billion of taxpayers dollars towards the baseless band-aid of carbon capture to alleviate massive emissions from the Alberta tar sands.

Harper himself is a receptive audience for the type of climate tripe trotted out almost daily by the National Post. He referred to Kyoto a “socialist scheme designed to suck money out of wealthy nations”. This remarkable story was also broken by the CBC.

The CBC also did fine work revealing the inner workings of the Denial Machine – perhaps the most sinister public relations campaign in history, and very reason this blog was started.

And where does the rubber hit the road in such a PR campaign? Nothing as clumsy or obvious as a full page ad paid for by oil companies.

Instead it manifests in columns such as those obediently penned by the likes of Lorne Gunter, referencing the work of “a cadre of scientists who share the industry's views of climate science… trained in public relations so they can help convince journalists, politicians and the public that the risk of global warming is too uncertain to justify controls on greenhouse gases.

Back to Lorne Gunter’s rant against the CBC. He is not merely angling on behalf of his employer in the high-stakes backroom lobbying now going on in Ottawa.

He is also campaigning in his column that one the finest foils to the dangerous drivel produced by himself and others around climate science should be dispensed with by our oil-friendly Prime Minister.

I doubt Mr. Gunter cares that much about the CBC’s coverage of Obama, healthcare or Islam. Like a teenage boy hoping to nonchalantly buy condoms at the neighborhood drug store, he has arrived at the cashier with some pop, magazines and toothpaste.

What he and the rest of the denial machine are threatened by is responsible accurate reporting on climate science – something the CBC has proven dangerously accomplished at.

Keep an eye on April 7. With such an oily regime in Ottawa, Mr. Gunter may soon get his wish.

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