CBC's flagship news program sold favorable coverage to the Harper government, then lied about it

Jesse Brown from the Canadaland podcast (RSS) writes: "CBC News has made a bad error in judgment. They sold news coverage to the Harper government, who were seeking publicity for a shipwreck salvaging expedition which, in a federal Minister's words, is an effort to "enhance" Canada's sovereignty claims in the Arctic. The government is embroiled in a land claim dispute with Russia; both nations covet the massive oil and gas deposits that are thought to reside beneath the the Arctic Ocean. The CBC covered the government's (fruitless) salvage expedition with fawning stories across its platforms: there's a dedicated news website and a two-part documentary that aired on The National, CBC's flagship newscast. CBC Chief Correspondent Peter Mansbridge himself reported live from the Arctic on a Parks Canada boat, at no time informing viewers that the subjects of his story had paid for his presence."

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Catcopter artist explains all

In the event that you were wondering about the motives of the Dutch artist Bart Jansen, who attained notoriety by taxiderming his dead cat and retrofitting its corpse to serve as a quadcopter, wonder no more. The CBC's As It Happens recorded an interview with Mr Jansen, and it is one of the strangest, finest interviews in that show's august history. The producers were kind enough to provide us with an MP3 for your listening pleasure. Cory

Hunger-striking Bahraini dissident Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja near death; Formula One president still plans to run races in Bahrain


Tuesday night's As It Happens program on CBC radio featured a segment on the terrible human rights situation in Bahrain, opening with an archive interview with Zainab Al-Khawaja, daughter of the dissident Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, who was snatched, beaten and indefinitely detained by Bahraini police a year ago. Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja is now on a hunger-strike and may die soon. As It Happens then interviews his daughter again about her father's situation and the human rights situation in Bahrain. Zainab Al-Khawaja explains that her father is risking his life to draw international attention to Bahrain's awful human rights situation, the hundreds of dissidents rotting in jail, some as young as 12 years old, facing torture and inhumane conditions.

As It Happens then interviewed Bernie Ecclestone, president of Formula One, whose big annual race is to be held in Bahrain this year. Ecclestone is the perfect picture of denial and callousness, as he blithely asserts that Bahrain is a perfectly nice place where protest is tolerated. He's smug about his race for expensive cars in a totalitarian police-state, and blames the media for any negative impression the world may have gotten about Bahrain.

Here's a recent CNN article on the Al-Khawajas, here's Murtaza Hussain on Salon on the same subject, and here's Democracy Now!'s archive of pieces on the family. Zainab Al-Khawaja tweets as @angryarabiya.

As It Happens's producers were kind enough to supply an MP3 of the segment for us to host (linked below). As It Happens is my favorite news magazine program. I download the previous night's episode every day and listen to it on my waterproof MP3 player on my daily swim.

As It Happens Bahrain dissident segment (MP3, 11 mins, 11MB)

Petition to preserve the CBC's musical archive

Spider Robinson writes concerning a petition to rescue the 100,000 items from the musical archives of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that are in danger of being purged: "To waste the precious musical treasure the CBC has painfully accumulated and indexed for us would be a self-inflicted cultural lobotomy, akin to burning down the Alexandrian Library to make room for a trailer park. It’s our national iPod, and we spent a bundle of money and decades of hard work to load it. Don’t let some imbecile erase it. Keeping its battery charged is a trivial expense. I really think this is an important cause, and I'd like to encourage you to add your signature, too. It's free and takes just a few seconds of your time."

The stated plan is to digitalize some recordings, but the timeline for disposal in one fashion or another does not allow anywhere near an adequate appraisal of the provenance or cultural worth of each artifact. Many of these recordings were rare to begin with and are impossible to acquire in any format today. Thousands were donated by erudite collectors and hosts. Album covers and liner notes will disappear. (For more information, see: http://cbcradiotwoandme.blogspot.com/2012/01/coming-to-garage-sale-near-you-cbcs.html and http://www.montrealgazette.com/entertainment/planning+record/6135746/story.html.)

Save CBC Music Archives

Marg Princess Warrior's greatest hits

In case you found it hard to understand the whole business of "Marg Princess Warrior" (in which a comedian/news reporter from the CBC's This Hour Has 22 Minutes dresses up like a middle-aged housewife dressed up like a warrior princess who conducts comic political ambush interviews), here's a highlight reel of some of the greatest moments in Warrior Princess history, which is some pretty awesome stuff.

22 Minutes: Marg Delahunty Montage (via Accordion Guy)