“Why I Left The CBC And Its Toxic Atmosphere” – Linden MacIntyre, Oct. 22, 2014 Huffington Post

You can access an Oct. 22, 2014 Huffington Post article, entitled “Why I Left The CBC And Its Toxic Atmosphere,” by Linden MacIntyre here.

It’s a long article and warrants a close read.

“Normal” obnoxiousness that proceeds along the abuse continuum

An excerpt reads:

“The harder part is coming to terms with the individual and institutional blindness that let ‘normal’ obnoxiousness proceed along the abuse continuum to a place where it became a peril to both individuals and the institution itself. This is where the serious and potentially restorative accountability must begin. And it must include a serious attempt to understand what the Ghomeshi scandal has revealed about the toxicity of celebrity, egotism, narcissism and abuse and their effect on good people working in an institution that’s in the middle of a breakdown.”

[End of excerpt]

Cusp of a disaster

An additional excerpt reads:

“Later, in the ’70s and ’80s, Pierre Trudeau’s hostility toward the CBC took the form of direct interference with the budget and the television schedule with the upshot that the CBC’s top news anchor at the time, Peter Kent, publicly spoke out about it and swiftly lost his job. Mulroney, in the early ’90s, famously appointed a western hog farmer as minister of culture with responsibility for the CBC.

“In the mid-’90s, in a drastic exercise at deficit control, the Chretien government cut the CBC’s budget by 25 per cent. Everybody in the public sector took a hit but it was revealing that as economic circumstances turned around, most public services, especially in culture, got their funding back – but not the CBC.

“Chretien didn’t like the CBC, I’m told, because, like Trudeau, he saw it as a nest of English-speaking radicals and French-speaking separatists. And in the early days of his career, snobby CBC reporters seemed to think of him as kind of dim, compared to the other bright lights from Quebec – Marchand, Pelletier, Trudeau. It was payback time in 1995.

“And so we arrive at 2006 and Stephen Harper, ideologically hostile to the public sector in general and, in particular, the CBC. Backed up by a party which considers the CBC to be dominated by left-wingers and closet Liberals. Eight years later, oversight of the CBC is by a board of directors made up of people with partisan Conservative credentials and little or no understanding of the ethos or the mission of a public broadcaster like the CBC. So I don’t think it overstates the contemporary situation much to say that the CBC – once one of Canada’s most important and successful public institutions – is on the cusp of a disaster.”

[End of excerpt]


There is value, from whatever vantage point is available to a person, in exploring the topics Linden MacIntyre addresses in his Huffington Post article.

Many avenues are available to us, if we seek to understand the narrative as it relates to the CBC.

Agency: The capacity to get people to say yes

I am reminded, with regard to these topics, of research by Marjorie Harness Goodwin (2006) regarding the concept of agency:

Aside from bullying, Marjorie H. Goodwin (2006) focuses on collaboration and political agency

Role of producers in independent filmmaking

I am reminded of research by Sherry B. Ortner regarding the dynamics of independent (Non Hollywood) filmmaking in the United States:

Not Hollywood (2013) focuses upon the production of value in independent filmmaking

Sherry B. Ortner adopts a neoliberal framework to address the role of producers in independent filmmaking

Anthropology as journalism

Some of the best journalism in recent years – and possibly some of the best journalism that will emerge in future – is the work of writers we do not typically classify as journalists. In this category are found a number of anthropologists, who happen to be good writers, engaged in ethnographic research:

Ethnography offers the opportunity to practise journalism, filmmaking, and screenwriting


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