Monday, September 12, 2016

How Times Have Changed

Peter Mansbridge will retire on July 1st of next year. Michael Harris will not mourn his passing. But what really gets Harris' goat is Mansbridge's salary. According to Jesse Brown at Canadaland, Peter pulls down a million dollars a year and then some:

If Brown has it right (Mansbridge declined to cite alleged inaccuracies in the story) Canada’s decaffeinated Ted Baxter makes that every year for reading the news — and occasionally ad libbing when there is nothing to report. That, in fact, may be the best job description of Mansbridge —Bloviator-in-Chief of the CBC. His idea of breaking a story is announcing that Santa’s sleigh is a tad late leaving the North Pole, or that he, Mansbridge, is sporting the same tie as Justin Trudeau.

Mansbridge apparently gets “prominence and excellence” pay, begging the question who decides those momentous issues? Could it be Petey himself? There is also a lump sum cheque in lieu of “overtime.” The public even pays for this shopworn meat puppet’s expensive suits — $20,000 a year, or about a new suit every month. Did the taxpayers have to rent him an extra walk-in closet too?

And, until recently, like other CBC "stars," Mansbridge was a hit on the speaking circuit. Canadaland claims that:

Peter Mansbridge was paid $28,000 for a single speech to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), while he was still actively reporting on their industry. Mansbridge tried to dismiss the whole story as the mischief of a gaggle of bloggers.

His pension won't be meager, either:

He did not correct Canadaland when it reported that he will pull down $500,000 a year when he is finally dragged out of the studio. If that indeed is the real figure, it is not a pension, it is looting the public purse, because all of this, the outrageous salary, the unnecessary perks, the pension that is really a cash-for-life lottery win ($10,000 a week) each and every year of his retirement, is paid for by the “cash-strapped” CBC, a.k.a. the government; a.k.a. the taxpayer; a.k.a you and me.

Mansbridge isn't the only CBC personality whose activities have caused an uproar lately. Think Rex Murphy, Amanda Lang and Evan Soloman.

The problem, Harris writes, goes back to CBC management:

While passionate champions of public broadcasting like Ian Morrison fought the Harper government to preserve the CBC’s budgets, these managers pissed away a king’s ransom on third-rate egomaniacs who thought they should have constellations named after them.

And at the same time as they were doing that, these same managers allowed their news and information shows to be overrun by lobbyists, stink tanks, and political hacks. Who in their right mind would put Stockwell Day on an expert panel?

No one ever claimed that CBC newsreaders were scintillating personalities. But, then, no one ever accused Earl Cameron or Stanley Burke of stealing the cookies from the cookie jar. And the Mother Corp used to produce some genuine journalists, like Morley Safer or gravel-voiced Norman DePoe.

How times have changed.



Toby said...


Owen Gray said...

I'd suggest that CBC executives thought they could avoid privatization if they acted more like a private broadcaster, Toby.

The Mound of Sound said...

As an alumni of Mother Corp, it has been painful to observe its decades of decline and Harris' take on Mansbridge is pretty accurate. I gave up on it entirely during the Paul Martin years and have never gone back save for the odd confirmatory look. I simply do without Canadian national TV news of any sort. It's all rubbish.

TV news, by its nature, is a seriously compromised product even at its best. When that "best" is no longer on offer it can be worse than no news at all. When times are tough it's hard to beat the written word.

Toby said...

Owen, I can't imagine paying anyone that kind of money for anything. If I was a manager and Petey came before me and made such demands I would simply tell him not to slam the door on his way out. The managerial class has gone berserk with its self gratification.

Owen Gray said...

I agree, Toby. Executive compensation has become divorced from reality.

Owen Gray said...

I agree, Mound. When I seek television news, I go to the BBC. However, we don't make it to their broadcasts very often.

Toby said...

This is one story that needs to be well publicized. The Conservatives have wanted to kill CBC for years. Harper found a way to do it. CBC simply cannot survive like this.

Owen Gray said...

Money should be pumped into programming, Toby, not inflated salaries.

Steve said...

I run my own news source for free

Owen Gray said...

Those of us who blog don't do it for the money, Steve.