Going all-digital and getting involved in partisan critiques are something the CBC should easily be able to manage without being flooded with our taxpayer dollars.
There are two main arguments that are made by those who want CBC to be defunded.
The first is that the state broadcaster often exhibits a left-wing/pro-government bias, and doesn’t represent the perspective of many conservative Canadians. As a private broadcaster, that wouldn’t be a problem, since private companies can have whatever perspective they want (assuming they are actually private and not totally dependent on government funding of course). But as a public broadcaster, that kind of bias is not acceptable given that we all pay for CBC with our tax dollars.
The second argument is that CBC once served an important purpose, but that the rise of the internet and the immense success of many Canadian content creators – without needing government funding – makes it clear that Canadian culture can perpetuate itself organically, without the need for state intervention.
There is much truth in both those arguments for defunding the CBC.
What’s odd however is to see the President of CBC – Catherine Tait – boosting both of those arguments herself.
In a recent Globe & Mail interview, Tait said CBC plans to go to an all-digital format.
Instead of “sitting here loyally broadcasting over the airwaves,” as Tait put it, CBC will become an online-only network.
Tait also criticized the Conservatives, saying “There’s a lot of CBC bashing going on – somewhat stoked by the Leader of the Opposition.”
Tait added that the calls to defund the CBC were just a slogan for Conservative fundraising campaigns.
It’s ironic, since Tait simultaneously lamented that Conservatives see CBC as a “mouthpiece for the Liberal government,” while demonstrating exactly why so many feel that way.
CPC Leader Pierre Poilievre responded:
“CBC’s overpaid President & CEO is not even pretending to be unbiased.
She launched a partisan attack against me, proving my claim that the $1.2 billion corporation is a mouthpiece for Justin Trudeau.”
CBC’s overpaid President & CEO is not even pretending to be unbiased.
She launched a partisan attack against me, proving my claim that the $1.2 billion corporation is a mouthpiece for Justin Trudeau.
— Pierre Poilievre (@PierrePoilievre) February 8, 2023
More broadly, Tait has made a great case for defunding the CBC.
An all-digital network without a radio or TV presence that’s also politically biased can easily be managed without taxpayer funding.
It would be one of many partisan outlets.
And – without government funding – there would be no problem with that.
It’s completely fair for an organization to compete in the capitalist free market and push a specific political perspective.
If that’s what people want, people will subscribe and support them.
There’s no reason why a future ‘CBC’ couldn’t be a fully private, left-wing, biased digital-only network.
But, it would be absurd to give over $1 billion a year to such an organization.
And there would be no need.
Going all-digital would entail significant cost reductions, thus eliminating CBC’s need to rely on taxpayer funding.
We could even look at it as a win-win:
CBC could feel free to pursue a biased perspective without feeling any need to act objectively, and the many Canadians who don’t support the CBC would be freed from having to fund it with our tax dollars.
So, perhaps we should thank the head of the CBC for making such an effective case for defunding it.
Photo – YouTube