Debate breaks out over the CBC and the proper naming thereof

Debate breaks out over the CBC and the proper naming thereof

What do Canadians call the CBC? “Aunt Ceeb”? “Liberal mouthpiece”? How about “Pravda by the Rogers Centre”? If this all sounds a bit silly, it’s nevertheless the kind of debate that is tailor-made to appeal to print journalists who combine a love for language and attention to the mediascape. A little debate broke out over the weekend when Glen McGregor of the Ottawa Citizen pointed out that Sun Media has taken to using a particular phrase when referring to the CBC—and everything went downhill from there.

I’ve noticed that Sun Media, in its ongoing jihad against the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, has started referring to CBC on second reference as “the state broadcaster.” This is comic on a number of levels I won’t get into here, and it always makes me think of North Korean television.

David Akin of Sun Media responded in comments, and then later on Twitter:

….just as you find our “jihad” comical that we refer to CBC as the ‘state broadcaster”, we find it just as comical the “jihad” waged against what you call “Fox News North”. I think your “jihad’ is more comical though…

We call CBC state broadcaster cuz its funded by the state. NPR is public broadcaster cuz funding mostly by donations solicited from public.

Also: CBC is a “state broadcaster” because the “state” gets to pick the board and its chairman. Luckily our “state” is a democracy.

Oh, the public/state distinction just got a bunch of communications scholars excited, no doubt. We do hope that the Sun is consistent with this new style guide, because as recently as last spring they were referring to state bureaucrats as “public servants,” implying (by Akin’s logic) that they got their salaries by donation rather than taxes. Similarly, we’ll keep an eye out for when the Sun stops comparing police to “other public employees” and starts calling them “armed representatives of the state.”

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