Citizen Action Monitor

In matters of foreign affairs, CBC reporters have learned to do what government bosses expect of them

When Ottawa and Washington are promoting Ukrainian membership in NATO, the CBC does not push a contrarian narrative. —

No 2817 by fw, February 23, 2022 —

Yves Engler

In numerous recent articles about Ukraine and Russia, [senior CBC military writer Murray Brewster] has failed to report important background that would assist Canadians in making sense of Ottawa’s position today. *  But one doesn’t become “senior defence writer” at the CBC without understanding what is expected of you when the funders of your organization and their bosses in Washington are waging a massive information offensive. [*Ottawa and Washington are promoting Ukrainian membership in NATO against the wishes of the two main continental European powers, Germany, and France. The expansion of an alliance explicitly hostile towards Russia, which also undercuts German and French security initiatives, is another factor in today’s crisis.]Yves Engler

Yves Engler is a Canadian author, activist, and severe critic of myths Canadians hold about the role their government plays in international affairs.

Below is my abridged and edited repost of Yves’ latest article, the thesis of which is captured in the above excerpted passage.

To read his original and complete piece — which some may find challenging because it presumes background knowledge of the recent history of relations between Russia, Ukraine, the US, and Canada – click on the following linked title.

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Truth always the first casualty of war — CBC proves it, by Yves Engler, February 22, 2022

In numerous recent articles about Ukraine and Russia, [senior CBC military writer Murray Brewster] has failed to report important background that would assist Canadians in making sense of Ottawa’s position today. *  But one doesn’t become “senior defence writer” at the CBC without understanding what is expected of you when the funders of your organization and their bosses in Washington are waging a massive information offensive. [*Ottawa and Washington are promoting Ukrainian membership in NATO against the wishes of the two main continental European powers, Germany, and France. The expansion of an alliance explicitly hostile towards Russia, which also undercuts German and French security initiatives, is another factor in today’s crisis.]

Here are just a few examples: (See my book A Propaganda System for more details.)

+ Since launching in the late 1930s, the CBC has had close ties to the foreign policy establishment. The public broadcaster’s nine-person board included a general (Victor Odlum), colonel (Wilfred Bovey) and foreign policy advisor (Leonard Brockington). For the 13 years after World War II CBC was led by Arnold Davidson Dunton, general manager of the Wartime Information Board.

+ During the early 1960s UN mission in the Congo, three CBC reporters traveled to the newly independent central African nation aboard RCAF aircraft and produced laudatory reports on Canada’s dubious mission.

+ Leading CBC TV correspondent for decades, David Halton, reported close ties to the military. “I deployed to Vietnam with” the Canadian International Commission of Control and Supervision force, he wrote in a story in which he also noted: “I found it easier (and generally safer) covering a war with regular army units, as opposed to reporting independently.”

+ The public broadcaster’s close ties to the military made it highly deferential, according to Mallory Schwartz in War on the Air: CBC-TV and Canada’s Military, 1952-1992. “When CBC-TV produced programs that raised controversial questions about defence policy, the forces, or military history, it did so with considerable care. Caution was partly a result of the special relationship between the CBC and those bodies charged with the defence of Canada.”

While the public broadcaster’s independence from DND/External Affairs has increased over the years since its inception, the government still appoints CBC’s board and provides most of its funds.

More generally, Brewster has risen through the ranks of a media establishment that allows a narrow range of opinion regarding international affairs. He’s learned that when his bosses, their bosses, and the ultimate bosses are determined to push a particular, singular narrative — Russia horrible, our side perfect — it’s best not to mention anything that might undermine that story.

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