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CBC’s sad slide into populist journalism

April 16, 2013

Three times the CBC Radio interviewer on CBC’s flagship news show As It Happens tried to get the American terrorist “security” expert to speculate that the Boston Marathon bombing was the result of Islamic radicals.

Her sole theory being that there is speculation that the bomb was built in a pressure cooker (not yet confirmed) and pressure cookers had been used in North Africa to create bombs.

So, the link with Islamic terrorists was obvious. Isn’t it?

And three times the expert refused to bite (with increasing exasperation). And, in fact, repeatedly said it was most likely the result of home-grown terrorism.

Wouldn’t it be so much easier if we could blame Islamic radicals. It would be so much easier to comprehend – because, you know – all Islamic radicals are nuts. Or savages. Or both. Or so we like to believe.

It’s much more difficult to fathom that an American, or Americans, might do such a thing.

I’m not surprised that such base populism is increasingly infecting CBC journalism. It runs amok at FOX News, Sun News and others. The populist trend has been creeping into news reporting for years. It’s part cultural, part internet driven, part journalism budget cutbacks, part ratings.

“Survey says!” “Man on the street” “Phone in and vote.”

Plato, now so long ago, said that in the final stages of democracy – populism becomes the cloak from which behind authoritarian and totalitarian tendencies lurk and manuever.

Populism also leads to conspiracy theories, reactionary journalism, and Tea Party politics.

Come on CBC! You can do better!

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 16, 2013 7:45 pm

    That nail was hit squarely on the head. Glad I’m not the only one that is thinking the same.

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