CBC Pravda, our state broadcasting system, draws its funding from Canadian taxpayers but continues to betray its mandate of giving each strand of public opinion in Canadian society a voice. Instead we are subjected to a chorus of growthist ideology. Growth is good, growth is necessary, growth is inevitable—the same mantra that private broadcasters chant with the monotony of a dripping faucet or a Chinese water torture test that breaks down our will to resist falsehood. After all, we seldom hear contrarian views that corroborate our own perception so we must be alone and therefore, quite mad. Is the annual loss of 100,000 acres of prime farmland, the moonscapes on our once forested mountainsides, the brown smog that envelops our cities, the mounting numbers of species-at-risk, the mining of our soils, the gridlock on our streets, the water shortages that threaten our communities—-all an hallucination? Apparently, for without a national non-profit medium to pool our thoughts we exist only as millions of solitudes.
Like the late Jack Parsons who attempted tirelessly to hold the BBC to account for its willful neglect of the Elephant on the pool table—human overpopulation—-several Canadians have tried to take on the dragon in individual combat—and failed. Why would it be otherwise? Mother Corp is permitted to sequester our grievances and brush us off in almost complete privacy. The CBC “ombudsman” is in practical results essentially a sop thrown out to due process. I have never met anyone whose complaint has been addressed satisfactorily.
The CBC has several defensive positions. At first they dispute their partiality by demanding that you produce specific examples of bias—-a tactic that defies the normal bounds of cheek when their bias is manifest in almost every presentation. Then, if you do document those examples, a rare exception to the pattern is trotted out to refute your contention. Typically the shocking perspective of a dissident is safely buffered by the opposition of three appointed voices of orthodoxy who face him in debate. That is the common format of the CBC’s famous “public” forums—-where the audience is stocked with the rent-a-crowd that favoured identity groups can instantly marshal to the scene. If the challenger to Growthist Group Think is not defeated by the verbal swarming from his opponents on stage, he is beaten down by the parade of partisans who queue up at the microphones in the audience. In the interviews that producers have invited me to, all were structured for an ambush just like that—an experience shared by others of my ilk. This is the CBC formula for the fair ventilation of opinion. Offer the politically correct mob a clay pigeon to shoot down and call it democratic debate.
The most lethal weapon in the CBC arsenal, a weapon brandished by the commercial networks with devastating effect as well, is not the way they filter news or shun dissenters but the Newspeak they use to describe events. As I wrote some years ago,
“It is in Growthism where language makes it most incursive, dangerous and decisive intervention in the determination of what we perceive to be real today. The ideology that economic and population growth is beneficial, necessary and inevitable prevails, to a large extent, because the language which mediates that message has colonized academic forums, radio and television studios and print media. Consequently the reality of environmental Armageddon is seen by the audience through rose coloured glasses that are worn by the presenters, their guests and researchers and tinted by the vocabulary they use to interpret that reality. The audience therefore never sees or hears that every economic “boom” is an environmental “bust” and only comes to know “growth” via positive connotations.
For example, when Statistics Canada released its Census Report in mid March of 2007, those localities like British Columbia and Alberta which gained people from the previous census, were anointed census “winners” by the media as if a prize was going to be awarded for more pollution, GHG emissions, congestion, farmland and habitat loss. Prince Rupert, BC and Saskatchewan, on the other hand were designated as census “losers” for having fewer people than five years before. Newscasters consistently report that Canada “enjoyed” record growth or that the Maritimes “suffered” a “stagnant” economy with “sluggish” housing starts. The concept that Canadians might “enjoy” a steady state economy that didn’t cover arable land and habitat with subdivisions is foreign to news script writers.
The word “growth” itself has undergone many makeovers in recent years to make it palatable to those of us who wouldn’t swallow it otherwise. Growth has become “managed growth”, “deflected growth”, “smart growth”, and the ultimate oxymoron, “sustainable growth”. It seems that urban planners concoct a new label every year for the same snake oil . To preserve all those wonderful green spaces that we love, planners propose to cram more and more of us into smaller and smaller urban compartments. But if we don’t like sprawl, we like density even less. So Great Vancouver planners tried to package it under the name of “compaction”. When ratepayers wouldn’t buy into that garbage, planners re-marketed it under the label “Coreplan”. No dice. Now its back as “Eco-density”. Density with green paint over it. The one name you won’t ever hear from planners though is “growth-control”. That is outside their frame of reference.
Our culture abounds with so many sweet-sounding buzzwords like “sustainable”, “livable”. “affordable”, “diverse”, “vibrant”, “inclusive”, “pro-active”, “choice” —the vocabulary of deceit. Attach these adjectives to anything you want to sell or run past the planning objectors—any self-serving development scam for example—and you can jam it through as easily as candy down a baby’s hatch.
The filter of growthist language in Anglophone societies is combined with the filter of multiculturalism—a smokescreen of left-wing tolerance that cloaks the right wing development agenda. Cultural diversity is much like a leaky air mattress that can only be kept afloat by constant pumping, the air being people from abroad. The language of diversity and tolerance is thus recruited to rationalize the policy of mass immigration and economic growth, always couched in the most positive terms. Growthism and Multiculturalism are a lexical duopoly.
How then do we remove their lens? The first answer is to substitute it with our lens. Ecological economists are attempting to do just that by developing indices of real economic performance, as if the planet mattered. We have to continually challenge media terminology and offer our own. When the CBC boasts that the country is diverse we counter by saying that is culturally fragmented and has lost cohesion. When the CBC says that immigration is the solution we have to demand that they prove that there is a problem. When the CBC states that the population of Newfoundland has stagnated we must declare that it has stabilized.”
In the meantime we can only petition “our” broadcaster for fair treatment and alert it to its shortcomings. The following is a transcript between Brishen Hoff and the CBC, who now have the documentation they demanded from him. I am amazed that Mr. Hoff has gotten this far. But if his experience is like mine, ultimately it will come to naught. Nevertheless we must keep pushing. We must reform this expensive instrument of propaganda or scrap it. The cultural benefits it allegedly bestows upon the nation are vastly outweighed by the damage it does to our psyche and our expectations of fair play.
Tim Murray, B.C.
Quadra Island, B.C.