Top News

Shouldn’t the CBC National run ad-free?

Community Editorial Panel with Morris Haugg

There are many reasons for me to be in a bad mood. For one, that deadly frost Sunday night of last week killed off most of my flowers and half of my garden. I know, I know, I shouldn’t plant so early. 

In over 50 years of gardening along the Baie Verte shore, I have only ever lost a few tomato plants.

Yes, I am always too anxious to get things started every spring. Nonetheless, I am pretty unhappy at the losses. 

Also, as I am expected to write an article for the Amherst News, I am not the least bit happy about the changes made by SaltWire to our newspapers. Free distribution to every household!  OK, but what about the content?  Somebody has to pay for its production. I don’t know what the new product will look like and can only hope for the best.

I did not know that the subscriber base had shrunk. No wonder that the new owner had to make a change.  When something is not supported, you lose it. It’s our own fault. It is still too bad, in my opinion.

So, because I am in a lousy mood, I am going to rant. I’m no Rick Mercer and I can’t march along ranting and raving while a television captures my words and movements. However, I can let this pen (yes, I draft everything first by hand) ooze out some anger that has built up over a period of time.

My main target is the CBC, particularly the national news. I don’t watch a lot of television, but I have for many years taken the time to turn on the news at 10 p.m. on most days. 

Firstly, I have to say that I do not like the new format as much as the old. Unlike other news broadcasts, the CBC has always spent more time in editorializing and offering opinions instead of just reporting what happened.  The new format is even worse, with four so-called “anchors” chatting with each other too much, which I find annoying and not news worthy.

But that is not my main beef.  It is the frequency and duration of the commercials.  So many interruptions.  Having to endure two or three commercials followed by one of the four "stars" announcing the next item or feature and then having two or three more commercials is so annoying.

The CBC receives many millions of taxpayer’s dollars every year. The main Canadian competition, CTV and Global receive nothing. They need the income from commercials to exist, so why does the CBC have to present as many or more commercials per hour (or so it seems) than it’s free enterprise competitors? 

We need a lobby or petition in this country to receive our CBC news free of charge. Is there a member of parliament brave enough to introduce a private member’s bill in Parliament? Is there a political party that has the courage to make that part of its platform? I certainly would support it.

Getting the national news (the news of the nation) is a sort of national institution. It should be a service we receive, without a car company, toothpaste or diaper manufacturer having to subsidize its delivery.

The interruption part is not my only problem. I am just as bothered by the type or quality of the commercials the CBC airs during the National. On top of my hate list of commercials is "Cash Money.”  It is the most annoying of all ads in my opinion. Not only because of its presentation, three or four times in a one-hour broadcast, but because of its content.

At a time when successive federal finance ministers and economists have warned about the household debt ratio of most Canadians, we have a government agency or Crown Corporation (the CBC) offering or allowing such a business to promote itself. 

There is no doubt in my mind that a business such as Cash Money is being used by the poor and uneducated and by people who have hit rock bottom – people who have maxed out all other debt options and can get no other credit. 

It is bad enough that such businesses exist. It is a great deal worse that a Crown Corporation, subsidized with taxpayers’ money, allows them such exposure. You can easily imagine who pays for this expensive advertising; the people who can least afford it, paying exorbitant interest rates.

It is relevant that in Nova Scotia the Public Utilities Board will hold a hearing in September about the payday loan industry. I am not surprised that someone is looking Into this.

"Cash Money, eh! " is not the only TV ad that really annoys me.  What about “Bath fitter -the bathroom I love?  A simple product, yet so much money spent on prime-time promotion. And repeat, after repeat. Enough to drive one to turn off the screen and go to bed. Why advertisers and marketers don’t realize that too many repeats in a short time are annoying and angering viewers is a puzzle to me.

There are many others, but I have reached my word limit. Thank you for letting me rant.  Now I know why Rick Mercer smiles at the end of his rants.

Morris Haugg is a member of the Amherst News Community Editorial Panel.

Recent Stories