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G&M: CBC's military obsession just feels creepy

Teddy Ruxpin

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Another offensive, nasty commentary from the Globe and Mail.  My emphasis added:

http://www.rbcinvest.theglobeandmail.com//servlet/ArticleNews/PEstory/LAC/20061213/DOYLE13/Columnists/columnists/columnistsThearts/1/1/2/

CBC's military obsession just feels creepy

By JOHN DOYLE 

Wednesday, December 13, 2006 – Page R3

As you may have gathered from yesterday's epistle from the TV Cranny, the mood here is evasive.

It is mid-December and a certain matter, so obvious and in your face that it would poke you in the eye, has not been dealt with. Far from it. It's all digression and evasion.

The matter is Christmas, the holidays, whatever you're calling it yourself. Tinsel, mistletoe, Frosty the Snowman, Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer, eggnog, shopping and having a meltdown in the mall. You know what I'm talking about.

I'm not against it. It is what it is. But I come from a contrary people. And the time has come to speak plainly: There is no period in the calendar year that breeds more nonsense and specious, nitwit sentimentality in the popular culture than this, the holiday season.

The media in general and television in particular can often exceed sentimentality and get outright sanctimonious on various issues. Right now, the CBC appears to be using the holiday season to go overboard on the matter of our military.

The other night, I turned on The National on CBC, expecting the day's news coverage, as any person might. Up popped Pastor Mansbridge in a black turtleneck sweater and suede jacket, yakking at me from a military base near Edmonton. He informed viewers that this special edition of The National was about "the home front" or some equally inane phrase. It was about our military and the mission in Afghanistan, in other words. But it was couched in we're-all-in-this-together coverage of the military and their families in that Edmonton location.

There was an air of giddiness and excitement. It was easy to tell how important it was -- the actual news of the day was hurried along so that we could get back to talking about how great the military is.

Excuse me? I haven't counted the minutes and hours that CBC-TV News has devoted to chronicling the mission in Afghanistan and the military's role, but I know what it feels like. It feels creepy. There's something odious about our public broadcaster appearing so obsequious in its obvious celebration of what the military is doing in Afghanistan.

Of course, any thinking, feeling person can grasp the difficulties facing families with a member serving in Afghanistan. It's tough and emotionally wrenching. But we don't need to be hit over the head with the message.

Besides, the population is not united in support of our current role in Afghanistan.

The CBC's obsession with the military bespeaks a diminution of journalistic standards that is reprehensible at any time, but the clear and obvious linking of the military with the holiday season is simply appalling. It sentimentalizes the armed forces and their action in Afghanistan. War is not something to be sentimentalized at any time. To sentimentalize is to fetishize under the guise of good feeling. To fetishize the military is to appeal to the authorities for respect. And in this case, "authority" is the minority Conservative government.

The debate about Canada's role in Afghanistan is one of considerable scope and complexity. It is debated almost daily by politicians from all sides. The day after The National indulged in its boosterism, this paper had, on its front page, a report that Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe is ready to trigger the defeat of the Conservative government if Canada's role in Afghanistan does not change soon. Opposition Leader Stéphane Dion is also demanding a refocusing of the Afghan mission, and says the government was wrong to prolong its military commitment there until 2009.

In this circumstance, CBC's attitude and actions give the appearance of an obedient press corps, placating the government.

The other night, that National special included terrifying footage of our soldiers in action. There were profiles of soldiers who had been decorated for bravery, and interviews with some of them. A few were clearly giddy from the experience of combat. Their perspective on combat was raw and unfocused. Medals for valour they may have won, but logic and truth they have not. Instead of advertising, the National special might as well have carried the message "Brought to you by General Rick Hillier."

The military command our respect. But CBC-TV News doesn't need to drool over our soldiers. The country is not united behind the current Afghan mission and, at this time of year, self-doubt is still okay. Discomfort and disapproval too.

Airing tonight: Bones (Fox, Global, 8 p.m.) is a souped-up episode. For a start, it's directed by David Duchovny, who was Mulder on The X-Files. It also has two notable guest-star turns. Kathy Reichs, the writer and forensics expert whose work was the basis for the series, makes an appearance. And Ryan O'Neal turns up as a priest.

The plot has a man's body found gutted, burned and hung up like a scarecrow on the roof of a government building in Washington. While "Bones" Brennan (Emily Deschanel) investigates, she gets a message that the case has something to with her long-lost father.

Me, I'm away for a day. Back here on Friday.

Dates and times may vary across the country. Check local listings.

jdoyle@globeandmail.com

Do I have to say it?  :eek:
 

paracowboy

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to Mr Doyle, on behalf of Canadian Infantrymen everywhere:

You're welcome. Think nothing of it. It's a privilige.
 

Armymedic

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I thought covering all sides of a story was what professional journalists do. I would sumize then that this "commentator" from G&M is not a professional journalist, but just a writer with an axe to grind and a medium to be heard.
 

Wookilar

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Mr Doyle (and all that think like him),

Sorry for the "terrifying footage" of what soldiers do. We did not mean to wake you from your Liberal-era Peacekeeping dream.

Can someone take this guy and introduce him to some troops? "logic and truth they have not" ? What? Reality terrifies him, but he'll throw up an ad for reality-based forensic show? Mulder and a guy gutted and hung up like a scarecrow is ok for prime time, but talking to soldiers is not?

Is this guy ever getting an email from me. Not from my work account though, won't do that twice.  :-[ I'll wait till I get home.
 

North Star

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This guy's probably still traumatized by the lack of government interference in the Canadian industry. Easy on'em boys, he's already destroyed by the cancellation of some television projects for sub-standard actors while we're getting new protective equipment.
 

derael

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Yeah, shame on the CBC for doing some real journalism for once. They should have hidden the truth because the reality of what our troops do in combat should never be seen!  :tsktsk:  ::)

 

Kirkhill

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My e-mail to Mr. Doyle.

Given how much time the media, including the CBC, has given to sowing (and fertilizing) the seeds of that dissent, it seems only reasonable that at SOME point in time a positive message supporting The Government’s position (is broadcast).  Not to mention the position of the Afghan government, NATO and the United Nations (both Security Council and General Assembly).

You are free to disagree – and I know that you are aware of the joys of a bully pulpit – Is it asking too much of you to give the Government time to present its case with the same amount of vigour as the Press Corps and the opposition parties oppose.

Or perhaps you would be happier if the Government just spent billions of advertising dollars with your paper, and on your sister broadcasters, to get the message out and fatten your paycheck?

Cheers Sir.
 

observor 69

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John Doyle

John Doyle is The Globe and Mail's Television Critic. His column appear on the Review section on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. He also writes a column for Globe Television magazine which appears on Saturdays. Doyle has been writing about television for the Globe for 10 years.

Born in Ireland, Doyle holds a BA in English Literature and an MA in Anglo-Irish Studies from University College, Dublin. He came to Canada in 1980 to pursue a PhD in English Literature at York University in Toronto. Having done some student and freelance journalism in Ireland, Doyle continued to write in Canada and eventually abandoned writing for academic reward to concentrate on writing for a living. After working briefly in radio and in television, he began writing a column for Broadcast Week, then the Globe's TV magazine, in 1991. He was appointed the full-time Critic for the magazine in 1995. In October of 2000 he became the Television Critic for the paper.

Always argumentative, Doyle has the distinction of winning a gold medal, at the age of ten, for his debating skills in the Gaelic language. He has been widely published in Canada, the U.S., Britain and Ireland and lectured on Television and other aspects of popular culture. In a profile of Doyle published in Toronto Life magazine in July 2000, Robert Fulford wrote, "A critic as intelligent, industrious and ambitious as John Doyle should be cherished."


Quote from article  :

Of course, any thinking, feeling person can grasp the difficulties facing families with a member serving in Afghanistan. It's tough and emotionally wrenching. But we don't need to be hit over the head with the message.

  The debate about Canada's role in Afghanistan is one of considerable scope and complexity. It is debated almost daily by politicians from all sides. The day after The National indulged in its boosterism, this paper had, on its front page, a report that Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe is ready to trigger the defeat of the Conservative government if Canada's role in Afghanistan does not change soon. Opposition Leader Stéphane Dion is also demanding a refocusing of the Afghan mission, and says the government was wrong to prolong its military commitment there until 2009.

In this circumstance, CBC's attitude and actions give the appearance of an obedient press corps, placating the government



 

Journeyman

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By JOHN DOYLE 
The debate about Canada's role in Afghanistan is one of considerable scope and complexity. It is debated almost daily by politicians from all sides. The day after The National indulged in its boosterism, this paper had, on its front page, a report that Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe is ready to trigger the defeat of the Conservative government if Canada's role in Afghanistan does not change soon. Opposition Leader Stéphane Dion is also demanding a refocusing of the Afghan mission, and says the government was wrong to prolong its military commitment there until 2009.
In this circumstance, CBC's attitude and actions give the appearance of an obedient press corps, placating the government.
So, balanced reporting, rather than merely parrotting the voices of those whose mandate is solely being "anti-government," is deemed "boosterism" by an "obedient press corps."

When coupled with...
Baden  Guy said:
John Doyle...Always argumentative..
..and Doyle's own statement, "But I come from a contrary people"

So what you have here is a guy whose business and personality thrive on being argumentative. Facts aren't necessary - - merely to get a rise out of an audience is ALL he craves.

Responding, in any way, will produce nothing more than the story about wrestling with a pig.....you'll both get muddy, but the pig will enjoy it more.

He's a loser. <ignore>
 

Boxkicker

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 Well I already emailed the 2 D's and kindly asked them two cease and decist, and told them what I thought in a polite tone. But this guy has taken the cake, the CBC finally does a decent piece of journalism and this guy slams it left right and center, and makes it sound like the guys's who were awarded medals were school children just winning a soccer game. He will be getting a very nasty email from my home address. How do you spell the word PR**K.
 

George Wallace

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I think that G&M article deserves the boycotting of the G&M on all Bases, in all Canex outlets, and in all private and public deliveries to Headquarters and homes alike.  Perhaps with the loss of readership, revenues, and interest in their paper, the G&M can pension this twit off.  (We all know that he will scam a six or seven figure severance fee from them, which they will pay readily.)  ::)
 

andrewlegere

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I stopped at work to watch that episode the other night that took place in Edmonton.  I also watched the one last night that took place in Trenton, Ont.  I was shocked to see a televison station finaly showing somthing about the Canadian Military.  Ive been angry latly on the lack of support that Canadian television gives our Military.  I know its always been like that but it shouldnt be.  I can turn on the tv 24/hours a day and find out what is happening in Iraq with the Americans when ever I want... but canada... to be honest, I bet there are people that dont even know we are fighting a war right now.  All my support goes out to CBC and what they are doing right now, travelling to many bases and informing the public what is happening and what happens at those bases.  For someone to critisize CBC for reaching out and trying to tell the public what is happening should not be considered a Canadian.  That is not a true Canadian.  CBC is supporting our troops, telling the public where they can send letters of support to "any" member of the services, and informing the public, well i hope they keep doing so, cheers to CBC.
 
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A few were clearly giddy from the experience of combat. Their perspective on combat was raw and unfocused. Medals for valour they may have won, but logic and truth they have not.

First-hand experience with combat doesn't teach you anything about war? Being a TV critic does?

I have about 100 smart-ass comments I could dish out here. But why bother?

There are many in this country who will be ungrateful to those who serve, because it is in their natures to be ungrateful to those who serve.

I take solace in that there are many in this country who are grateful. They are quiet about it. They are classy about it.
I know a sweet lady who has given me a Christmas decoration and a hug for the last two years, and says it is, "For all of us, and especially for those in danger."

Bless her.

Screw him.
 

papatango

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ACTA NON VERBA.

Be proud of the goals all of you have accomplished; the CBC story hit home with many here in Toronto, and we truely see the effort all of you put forward. Articles such as this will not sway the hearts nor minds of the civies who stand behind the troops and the battles they face.

 

Kilo_302

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While I had to admit the CBC's coverage is too little, too late, its better late than never. On another note, I have never before heard the word "fetishize".
 

Danjanou

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All right we get it. This frolicker in the shallow end of the gene pools little whine pissed us off.

I’ll be honest when I read it my first instinct, well my second instinct after retching, was to warm up the ole throat punch mobile and go reward Mr Doyle with a a little ahem “Christmas present” to show my appreciation.  I am a grown up though despite my wife’s opinion, so I didn’t.

Lets put this in perspective though. We’re not being dissed by GwynneDyer or any other known foreign correspondents/defecne writers or even a network talking head here. This mouth breather is the frickin TV critic for his rag. In the journalist pecking order that must rank just ahead of the garden critic and the schmuck who checks the classifieds for typos.

I’m betting it was a slow news day and/or he fell asleep in front of the tube the night before and therefore couldn’t do his planned column on which Seinfeld rerun we should watch or his deep and profound insights into Dancing with the Stars.
 
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