Wednesday, March 09, 2011

The True Face of NPR Executives

The True Face of NPR Executives

Time to eliminate undeserved taxpayer funding to a neo-Goebellian propaganda bullhorn.

We don't need such crap.

Funny how the Obamacrat Left says that the privately-funded FOX News is "lying" (without EVER proving their accusation), but they're happy to have the reich-positive NPR bash all dissidents in America...

Besides, in February, the US fiscal deficit (at the Washington level ALONE) was the highest EVER.  It cannot continue.  Such wasteful crap cannot be funded anymore if America is to avoid bankruptcy and the Great Unknown.


Balbulican said...

A few other details to clarify the story:

The fake "Muslim" group was offering NPR a five million dollar cheque, which NPR refused.

Rob Schiller is a fundraiser, not a programming executive.

NPR disavowed his statements, and he is leaving the organization.

And just FYI, NPR only gets about 15% of its funding from government. It raises the rest through sponsorships, advertising, sales and fundraising.

glacierman said...

So, just to clarify, you are OK with NPR getting that 15%? That 15% is $80 million!

Chump change to those who don't have to work for their money! Just write a cheque and all is well.

You support the CBC, right?

Balbulican said...

Am I "okay" with federal funding for public broadcasting? Yes, I am. I support the mixed public/private broadcast systems.

"Chump change to those who don't have to work for their money!"

I'm not sure what you mean by this.

"You support the CBC, right?"

Indeed I do.

glacierman said...

Thought so!

Wasted taxpayer dollars are the root of the CBC. Mothball the thing, except for Hockey Night in Canada -the only money making part of the Ceeb - and let the thing float on under its own steam.

As far as the not having to work for their money, the taxpayer pays the tab for this. Nothing but a black hole financially. That's what I mean. They just get cheques written to them every month, year-in, year-out. No accountability to the taxpayer.

Balbulican said...

I'm not sure how well informed you are about the nature of public broadcasting in Canada, glacierman, so allow me to provide a bit a background. I don't expect it to change your mind, but it may inform the curious.

(This is from a discussion paper I wrote a couple of years ago.)


Neither the CRTC nor the Broadcast Act actually define “public” or “private” broadcasting. “Public” broadcasting is a point in a continuum, not a distinct category defined in legislation and policy. CBC/Radio-Canada is at the “public” end, along with publicly funded Aboriginal broadcasters, and provincial and territorial television authorities, which provide a similar but more limited form of public service television. Commercial broadcasters are situated toward the “private” end of the continuum, depending on their ownership and level of independent revenue generation.

But for discussion, it’s safe to say that the broad characteristics that distinguish public broadcasting from private, commercial broadcasting are:
1. Public ownership of the assets of the corporation;
2. Not for Profit status;
3. Public accountability through a publicly elected official such as a Minister of the Crown, province or territory;
4. Significant reliance on public funding as a percentage of overall revenue; and,
5. A public service mandate to serve the audience, not the advertiser.

Balbulican said...

Now the arguments.

1) REAL Canadians don’t like the idea of public television.

Actually, Canadian do.

The very first Royal Commission on Broadcasting in Canada, chaired in 1929 by Sir John Aird, recommended public ownership of broadcasting in Canada. The findings of that Commission were echoed at intervals by the 1957 Fowler Commission on Broadcasting in Canada; by the Therrien Commission in the late 1970s: by the 1985 Task Force on Broadcasting Policy, chaired by Gerald L. Caplan and Florian Sauvageau: in Bud Bird’s 1992 report to the Commons Standing Committee on Communications and Culture: and in the 1996 Mandate Review Committee, chaired by Pierre Juneau. These studies all involved public consultations, hearings, or forums. In some cases (e.g. Caplan Sauvageau) the policy review was initiated by a government actively hostile to public broadcasting. And in every case the finding has been the same: although the specific mandate and goals of the CBC have been vigorously debated by parliamentarians, broadcasters and the general public, the consistent finding is that public broadcasting, identified with the CBC, has for almost seventy five years been consistently viewed as a pillar of Canadian culture and the linchpin of a national broadcasting system.

Balbulican said...

2) CBC lives off the Government tit, while the brave private broadcasters slug it out there in the market.

The folks who make this argument are usually pretty naive about how funding for production works. Every TV broadcaster in Canada benefits to some degree from public funding. CTV, Global, YTV, and every other “private” Canadian network rely heavily on Telefilm and the Canadian Television Fund to help underwrite the cost of their drama, children’s, entertainment and documentary programming, and take whatever advantage they can of national, provincial, regional and local tax incentives to underwrite production - just another subsidy.

3) The American system is REAL broadcasting: Canada’s system is a weird socialist anomaly.

Actually, the US is the anomaly. Virtually every other country on the planet operates state-funded media, or a hybrid private/public system.

4) CBC’s Problems Are CBC’s Fault.

Some are, for sure. Others are the result of trends bigger than CBC, or any broadcaster. Like all public broadcasters worldwide , the CBC is struggling with changes in the technological, political, and economic environments. These include:

• The proliferation of specialty services, and the consequent fragmentation of audiences. The widening range of viewer options presents a special challenge for public broadcasters (as well as conventional networks) , who are licensed to provide a full spectrum service. CBC is supposed to be all things to all people, competing with specialty services designed to attract viewers with specific interests.
• Technological changes in production and distribution technology, including the digital universe, new HD standards, online distribution - all of which have necessitated expensive re-engineering.
• A political and regulatory climate that favours private sector media services. Our system has always tried to balance private and public broadcasting within an integrated framework. In recent years, however, private broadcasters and a Conservative political perspective have tried to cut the CBC and other publicly funded broadcasters back to providing ONLY programming that doesn’t compete with private television offerings.
• Reduction in real levels of funding and increasing pressure to generate revenues.
• Uncertainty about mandate of a public broadcaster, partly because of audience fragmentation, changing audience demographics, changes in the way audiences like to get information information acquisition preferences, and because of a generally hostile political climate.

Balbulican said...

5) The CBC is OBVIOUSLY just a mouthpiece for…(Fill In The Blank)

This, I think, is my favourite. The CBC is obviously way too right wing (according to my lefty friends), way too liberal (according to my righty friends), a tool of the Liberal Party (according to my Conservative friends), an antisemitic conspiracy, a pro-Israel lobby - and so on. A late friend who used to TP the Journal told me that as long the accusations of “offensive, grossly obvious bias” kept coming in equal measure from both sides of the fence, they figured they were on track.

For every Rick Mercer, there’s a Rex Murphy - with the same initials, even!

6) We don’t need public funding to support our media.

American media dominate the global market in the same way, and for many of the same reasons, that Wal-Mart dominates retailing or Chapters dominates book sales. The US is bigger and richer than us. A higher population and population density means higher labour pools, bigger markets, production efficiencies, and vastly larger sums available to support investment in media production. That’s the simple reality of living in a smaller, poorer country.

If there was no subsidy for Canadian production, and if there were no Canadian content, private stations would drop their Canadian programming and fill their schedules with American product. Period. It’s cheaper, and it’s popular.

But (see above) most of us seem to WANT a broadcast system that shows us to ourselves, that gives our performers and journalists and pundits a national audience. And market forces alone won’t create a broadcast service that addresses the full range of viewer needs and preferences in a diverse, pluralistic society. So we as a country have to decided to invest public funding to supporting production and distribution of programming deemed to be of broad national and social value.

∞ ≠ ø said...

It's KAIROS all over. Bite the hand that feeds you and you don't get fed.

It's the news portion that is an issue here. PBS, and I'm sure the CBC, have extraordinary programs, many target liberal topics but that's not what's at issue.

Down here their first public reaction to defunding was that it's not that much anyway. This was followed by a massive and VERY expensive commercial campaign threatening foremost to cancel some of the children's programming if viewers did not complain to their representatives.

Nice! No cutting the crappy left news or "Point of View" or "In the life" (gay television).

"In 2009, NPR's ombudsman reported that 50 percent of the NPR audience sees the network's coverage as balanced, while roughly 40 percent sees the network as liberal and four percent see it as conservative. According to independent data, it was more likely to be seen as "fair" in its coverage than PBS..."

I say give them the funds, along with legislated standards of excellence in news broadcasting for both balanced and reliable news. Money comes with strings... well... not in Liberal America. But it will now, we're almost bankrupt.

glacierman said...

Blab, so by a pluralistic society, you are ok with liberal socialist propoganda news casts coming from the likes of Neil McDonald who doesn't give us any news from Washington, but op-ed pieces? His "I hate all conservative US politicians and they are all stupid"

Just curious if you have ever received funding/grants/bursaries from the government for any of your film productions? Have you traveled to exotic locations on the backs of Canadian taxpayers?

Balbulican said...

Glacierman, did you read and understand my notes on funding for public and private television production above? If not, see (2). If yes, what part of (2) was unclear to you?

Like pretty much anyone who has worked in Canadian media, I've worked on projects for the CBC, for CTV, and for independents, which ALL (public and private) receive direct or indirect government funding, often in the form of tax credits. That's one way that Canada and provincial film commissions attract offshore production projects, and why VAncouver, for example, does so well in attracting American production.

I co-produce a series of DVDs on various "exotic locations" for scuba divers. Those I make on my own dime, and cover the cost in sales.

Your first question is a rambling string of clichés that can't be answered in any meaningful way. Try to tighten up your questions a bit.

glacierman said...

Whatever Blab! Your condescension is elitist, typical leftist tripe.

Let's make this more simple, are you OK with the leftist opinions which they try and pass off as news? And we pay for this?

By the way, you didn't even say thank you for the money I so graciously worked so hard for so the government could hand it out to you to go play in the ocean in other parts of the world.


Balbulican said...

"Whatever Blab! Your condescension is elitist, typical leftist tripe."

Substance: zero.

'Let's make this more simple, are you OK with the leftist opinions which they try and pass off as news? And we pay for this?"

Substance: zero.

"By the way, you didn't even say thank you for the money I so graciously worked so hard for so the government could hand it out to you to go play in the ocean in other parts of the world."

Oh, dear, oh dear. Comprehension problems as well, I see? Let me repeat, in capital letters:


There`s only one word in there longer than two syllables, G. It's pretty basic. Where exactly are you getting stuck?

Naw, but seriously, little guy: if you're one of the folks who neither want nor understand public broadcasting, then petition against it. You'll lose - as noted above, Canadians like their mixed system - but in this wonderful country you can fuss and splutter to your heart's content. A suggestion, though - try to do it a little more thoughtfully and eloquently than you've managed so far, would you? ;)

Canadian Sentinel said...

"Little guy", Balbulican calls Glacierman.

Hmm. Perhaps an act of projection by the small-man syndrome guy?

Kelso sez: BURRRRN!

Balbulican said...

Naw. I don't get the sense that G-man's achievement in the field of broadcasting would cause me much envy.

glacierman said...

Blab, I find that those on the left love the teet system, because without it we wouldn't be able to navel gaze (your example of showing ourselves to the rest of the nation). I'm all for being proud of my country and very thankful for all the privileges we are have, but there are many which we believe we are entitled (you do know what that word means don't you?) to, and are willing to pay our taxes so we can have those entitlements. (read CBC;universal health care; public transit...etc)

It is impossible to measure value when the metric for measurement is how people "feel" about things. So long as the socialists keep telling us through the channels of media, how important things are for us to have, then we will keep demanding them, not because they are prudent or overpriced or bring value to those entitled, but because we believe them to be of value.

It is a shell game and we are too busy watching the hands to notice the pick-pocket of our wallets. The media is always shaping our society, the problem is that we don't have any say over what is produced. At least your example of the States being the anomaly within the world is a bright and shining example. The citizens there buy what they want, and those who are not able to produce what the people want are forced to change course and try the next thing. Necessity is the mother of invention, create it and they will come.

As a true free marketer, I would love to see the Canadian media swim all by themselves, but the CBC has had a life preserver the size of a tractor tire tube for years. Somebody get a pellet gun.

Balbulican said...

"I find that those on the left love the teet system, because without it we wouldn't be able to navel gaze (your example of showing ourselves to the rest of the nation)."

Thanks, that tells me all I need to know about the level of analysis you bring to the cultural industries.

glacierman said...

Please do tell me what I know. Why do you judge me by the same criteria with which you just whined about in the other thread.

What about judge not lest ye be judged?

Balbulican said...

Heh. You really do need to try to think about what people say, my dear boy. THINK. Don't just sit there looking for trigger words with your knees jerking. Look for ideas that are presented, and dispute them with facts and with reason. Don't just froth and sputter. It's boring.

Now, your entire assault on the concept of public broadcasting frankly amounts to nothing more than an assertion that it offends your ideology. You embellish it with the usual range of pointless insults and a snide (and, as it happens, mistaken) attack on the messenger. But that's the core of your "position".

And that's fair: the idea that government should extricate itself from the provision of any service that could be provided privately (or not at all) is a valid position, articulated in various ways by parties on the left and the right.

Now, against that "position", I advanced a few counter-points.

- That Canada, being a less populous country, had neither the market nor the cultural infrastructure (training, production facilities, distribution infrastructure, advertising market - both vendor and consumer-side) to enable significant production without federal support
- That Canadian have ALWAYS supported the concept of public broadcasting
- That arguments of public broadcasters' political bias are risible, in light of the fact that literally every government and Prime Minister (going all the way back to Trudeau) despised media and were convinced that they were being victimized by biased reporters.

To this, I fear, you responded by reiterating your beliefs about the natural supremacy of the free market.

That's fine: you're absolutely entitled to that view. But as I noted in our other thread, I don't argue with zealots whose only frame of reference appears to be their own belief system. There's no point.