My Poynter: Keeping the CBC Responsible For Itself (What?)

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by Kolby Solinsky

Editor, White Cover Magazine

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I often try to tow my own line. I try to stay within the lines, which is what they’d tell me in preschool when I’d huff ink and make sure the reds and the greens didn’t touch on the numbered picture in front of me. Now, when I consign myself to write about sports, I find I’m often drifting into another lane. This isn’t surprising. Sports isn’t really about the game, anyway. It’s about the lives around the game and — often — my reporting and the reporting of many others becomes social, not athletic. (Hell, it never was athletic.)

This is why we write about Manti Te’o, Tim Tebow, and Ray Lewis and — wouldn’t you know? — those three have something in common.

God.

You know, the white guy with a beard. And, his son, Jesus, who is somehow also white despite having been born in the Middle East. I have no time for them — or, is it Him, since they’re both the same person? — at least not for the God you all mean when you say ‘God’. I believe in discovery and technology and innovation and science. My profession — whether you would call me a journalist or just a human being in the 21st century who has thankfully never fallen off a roof or been born with any kind of mentally corrosive condition and therefore has all the use of my brain — is to question. It’s to be skeptical. It’s to not believe everything I’m told right away.

I believe this is healthy. I believe it’s healthy for all of us, not just myself.

So, if you can’t tell where this is going, I’ll just say it: I hate the Catholic church. I don’t hate Catholics, of course. (I don’t really hate anybody except for this one guy who insulted me when I was playing beach volleyball when I was 15. I don’t even know his name, but I know I don’t like him. Everybody else, though… I’ve got mad love for you.) But, I find it impossible to believe things that we thought of as certainties 2,000 years ago and have since been disproven, and I hate the Catholic church itself because their goal is to repress us and oppress and hold us all under their gigantic thumb.

Or, just take us from behind in the shower. Against our will. While we’re children.

I don’t think a talking snake told a naked chick to eat an apple which then corrupted society forever. I don’t think Joseph’s dad was somehow able to find the resources to knit him a technicolo(u)r dreamcoat in the middle of Ancient Egypt. I don’t think Jonah lived inside a whale.

But, most of all, I don’t want these stories told as fact. I don’t want them institutionalized. I don’t want them to be read once and accepted forever.

I don’t think Pinocchio lived inside a whale, either. I don’t think Hogwart’s is real, even though I’d like it to be. I don’t think Fiona ever existed, nevermind that she supposedly turns into an Ogre at midnight. I don’t think Darth Vader really existed in a galaxy a long time ago and far, far away.

To me, these stories are as bombastic and footloose and fancy-free as the Bible, itself. Yes, the book was written. And… that’s all we know about it.

I’ll admit that a man named Jesus lived 2,000 years ago, if that suits you. Fact is, there are lots of men named Jesus living in Mexico and Arizona right now. But, I don’t think he had magic powers. (And, really, if the height of his magic was that he turned water into wine, then isn’t it obvious just how out-dated these folk tales are? The average kid with a wand can pull a penny out of your ear. I really don’t think water into wine passes as a bonafide miracle anymore.)

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So, where am I going with this?

Well, I’m going straight to the front door of the CBC. They were once known as the Canadian Broadcast Corporation, but Canada has many broadcast corporations now, and they don’t even pull in the same number of viewers as Ray William Johnson or Philip DeFranco.

The CBC is supposed to stand for all Canadians and, if you disagree, read their damn mandate. With the resigning of Pope Benedict now in the past — and with the Catholics all searching for their next Palpatine — the CBC has sucked itself up in the anti-educational turbine that is the Roman Catholic Church.

As with all things religion, they don’t question it, because to question it would somehow infringe on our right to religion and (probably) our right to free speech. (I don’t believe this. I’m just trying to think like an evolution-denying man of the cloth.) They don’t dare shine a light on the hypocrisy and the blatant middle finger to common sense that is the Church and all its beliefs and — worse — its practices.

The Catholic church has not only committed crimes, but it’s also covered them up. I’m not talking about that fluffy “Tobacco companies know they’re killing you” filth. I mean, full-on child rape. I mean, like, going to Africa and telling the most AIDS-infected continent on the planet that they couldn’t use condoms because it wasn’t in the Heffe’s original plan some 2,000 years ago. (Or, was it a billion years ago? 365 million years ago? 5,000 years ago? I don’t know, I have a hard time keeping track of the lies the Catholic church sticks to week-in and week-out.)

And, by the way, what about Africa?

This wasn’t a continent that was born with the Catholic (or, Christian) God in their minds, hearts, and guilty penises. No, they were taught it. It was brought to them and forced upon them by missionaries. It was fed to them like the evil mom in The Sixth Sense fed Mischa Barton poison in her soup.

And, when it turns out to be a gigantic fustercluck — like everything involving every religion except, maybe, Buddhism does — they turn their hands up and say, “Oh, well, it’s God’s plan.”

The CBC — and every media corp. like it — then follows suit and says, “It’s not our place.”

Right. Lance Armstrong? That bastard was guilty. Let’s fry him. The Catholic Church? Can’t touch it. Religious freedom.

The CBC is supposed to stand for all of us as Canadians. It’s supposed to be a megaphone for the voices of the 35 million or so people in this country, and it’s supposed to be different than the United States. It’s supposed to reflect our sentiments. It’s supposed to have talent. (Normally, I’d say that talent begins and ends with Mansbridge, but after seeing him giggle and get all giddy with Cardinal Ouellet of Quebec in that video above, I’m not so sure. He looks like a kid meeting Gretzky.)

It’s a tough job, yeah, but it’s supposed to be.

The CBC is supposed to stand on its own. It should reflect us, but it shouldn’t pander to us. It also shouldn’t pander to the Catholic church, and it does. It panders because it’s lost. It’s not making money, so it’s treading water. But, eventually, it has to enter the deep end.

How ironic is it that one of the network’s flagship programs is called The Fifth Estate? And yet, they’re increasingly just another landmark building in whatever major Canadian city. They no longer seem dedicated to fight the good fight. They no longer represent the institution of journalism their funding says they should.

Canada isn’t as backwards as it used to be. We don’t believe the earth is flat, and we have no problem treating that issue like the case is finally closed. But, the Catholic Church? That archaic, rapidly crumbling tomb of dead ideas with a history of unmatched oppression and violence? Nope. It’s off limits. You can’t talk about it, because it’s a religion.

(If it was Scientology, then by all means go nuts. That one is crazy, right?)

Only, this upcoming quest to find a new Pontiff doesn’t sit right with me, or with many Canadians who belong to many communities. And, yes, I’d consider “Non-Religious” to be a community, too.

I got the idea to write this post from a friend — who I won’t name because I’m not sure whether he’d like his “letter” to be passed out openly. He wrote this on Facebook, on Monday night:

“Dear CBC National,

“I’m a 26 year old white male in Vancouver BC and a faithful viewer of The National. The large amount of time you have been consistently spending on the selection of the new Pope and the Catholic Church disturbs me and makes me want to tune out from your news cast – for good. This is a dark and criminal institution based on the oppression of those it deems unworthy. Its current establishment should be (and is) morally reprehensible to anyone with a critical eye and could be better examined by a reputable news agency such as the CBC.

“Political fluff stories such as the selection of a new benevolent pontiff are pathetically benign and leave the audience, many of whom are consistently abused and discredited by this mafia, undermined. As an openly gay man it greatly disturbs me to see over-coverage of this conclave of closeted old sexually repressed men who cover up pedophilia and engage in clandestine sex rings, all while promoting misogyny and repression. An excellent example of their disgusting hypocrisy is the recent photo-op of Pope Benedict XVI blessing Rebecca Kadaga, the politician behind the Ugandan “Kill the Gays” bill.

Your news cast is tax payer-funded and should speak to the majority of reasonable and progressive thinking Canadians. The CBC is founded on the principal of social equality of opportunity and should present to young people a reflection of Canadian values that uplift and inspire. We could care less whether or not the anti-women, anti-gay Hater Cardinal Ouellet of Quebec is in the running for Pope. Shame on him and shame on you for giving him a platform. I respectfully ask that you please reconsider the air time you spend pandering to no one.”

To me, the most shocking part of this is that somebody from Vancouver watches The National.

But, really, this should be the kind of message the CBC not only receives in the mail and then tosses away and replies with, “Thank you for your input”. No, this it the kind of thing the network needs to take seriously, because it shows that Canadians are serious about their news. They care about their news, and they are allowing their grandfather’s favourite channel to catch up to them.

Canadians like to say they care about gay rights, and I believe the majority really do. This is a first step, but it only matters to a point.

Canadians care about equality, whether it’s between races or men and women. They care about their neighbours and they’re always trying to be better.

We’ve grown out of this stage where we’re just satisfied every time Michael J. Fox is mentioned on the Today show and we no longer accept our Canadian Broadcast Corporation to stand idly by while its news reports itself. They don’t need stenographers. They need reporters. They need reporters with their own minds and their own voices.

They need to go at the Catholic Church like they went at Graham James. To many Canadians, hockey is a religion, and a hockey coach has as much power over his players as a priest does over his choir boys. Power of any kind corrupts most of the time. Religious power corrupts all of the time.

Canada is a 21st century nation, but the CBC needs to become a 21st century network.