Elon Musk and Pierre Poilievre have labelled the CBC the enemy. Bruce Arthur writes:
In a reasonable world, the CBC makes for an odd enemy. You can argue about how it is run, sure: ask the opinion of just about any employee of the CBC, then sit back and crack a beer. You can have an adult conversation about the CBC’s value and impact as a catch-all competitor to media across Canada, and the parameters of its mission, and all that. Debating the CBC is a shared Canadian pastime, and we don’t have enough of those left.
But labelling the CBC as an enemy is something else entirely, no matter how much you miss Don Cherry. Labelling Canada’s public broadcaster as an enemy of Canadians is a different kettle of fish, indeed.
Which brings us, regrettably, to the leader of Canada’s Official Opposition. Last week Twitter owner Elon Musk slapped new labels on the BBC and NPR accounts, calling them “government media”; it was Musk’s own version of the labels the previous Twitter regime had applied to places such as Tass, the Russian-controlled news service, or China’s People’s Daily, or Iran’s IRNA News Agency, which are called “state-affiliated media.”
The comparison between public broadcasters and Tass is ludicrous:
Tass, People’s Daily and IRNA are literal organs of the state, under full government control. The BBC and NPR — and the CBC — are independent entities that receive government funding, but have editorial independence. If you can’t see the difference, please consult an optometrist.
It’s predictable, though. Since buying Twitter, Musk has leaned heavily into easily disprovable right-wing conspiracy theories — for instance, he promulgated the repellent lie that the home invasion attack on Paul Pelosi, the husband of prominent Democratic Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, was a gay tryst gone wrong. Equating the BBC and NPR to state propaganda was in keeping with Musk’s fart-cushion childishness of late, and his habits.
Pierre Poilievre has habits of his own, and an audience to court. So he posted an open letter to Musk.
“We must protect Canadians against disinformation and manipulation by state media,” wrote Poilievre. “That is why I’m asking @Twitter @elonmusk to accurately label CBC as ‘government-funded media.’ It is a fact. And Canadians deserve the facts.”
It's pretty clear: There is an inverse relationship between the size of the megaphone and the intelligence of he or she who holds it. Empty barrels have always made the most noise.