In management's view, Rex (one and two) is in such complete control of his perceptions and biases that he can switch from one personality to the other while walking from a radio studio on the third floor of the Broadcast Centre in Toronto to a TV studio on the fifth or to his kitchen to write a column for the National Post. That is obviously impossible, although convenient wishful thinking for CBC executives stuck in a pickle of their own making.
"I decided that you can't cover a controversy by being in one." That's Peter Mansbridge's revelatory explanation as to why his name no longer appears -- after many months -- as an Honourary Patron of the controversial Never Forgotten war memorial proposed for Cape Breton Island. Apart from the fact that this is one of the basic tenets of journalism -- along with get your facts right, and don't misspell someone's name -- it avoids answering the really important question in this whole fiasco.
We only learned post facto that CBC planned on achieving its objectives for TV by stripping more than a quarter of the funding from its radio services. How? Fortuitously, another law came into effect in 2008 that required CBC and other broadcasters to provide financial data to the CRTC on their major radio and TV operations.
This sort of bleating about how difficult the road is for the religious politician is stunning. We are witness to an era of dominance when North American politicians proudly and arrogantly proclaim their religious righteousness and Christian bravado. The worst of it is seen, almost daily, in the once proud Republican Party.
If the CBC should soon establish a new policy to clarify if and when its journalists can make speeches to -- and be paid by -- outside organizations, if it sticks to its word. Quite bluntly, taking money from any outside organization regardless of the content of any speech, demeans the idea of journalism at the CBC as an essential independent voice in a healthy democracy.
There is a brewing controversy swirling around longtime CBC commentator Rex Murphy and his relationship with Canada's oil industry. The CBC expects Murphy's commentary to be "rooted in fact" and in turn the public has the same expectation. If it is the case that Murphy is being paid money by the same industry he publicly comments on, then this must be disclosed to the public.
Rex Murphy recently wrote an article about atheists requesting non-religious chaplains, specifically in the armed forces. He asked "Why should those who don't believe at all clamour for the same structures, assists and services of those who in fact do believe?" I am confounded by the desire for people who are atheists to ask for a non-religious chaplain. I've never heard such an oxymoron. A chaplain is one of the strongest symbols of the representation of God. Why would atheists want to second religious language? When I responded to a request for the chaplain, I knew I was bringing into that room the idea of God to that person-their idea, their concept of God, not mine.
A few days ago, the well known and respected commentator Rex Murphy presented a blistering critique of atheists, which seems to have been triggered by the recent debate over whether atheists soldiers should have access to their own chaplain. I believe it is worthwhile to highlight another glaring weakness of Mr. Murphy's article -- his misuse of the term anger.
Rex Murphy helped shape the way I think. He was a shining example of the type of strong rhetorician that this country rarely produces. Now, he openly deals in hateful diatribes cast down from the pages of the National Post. This means he has become what his critics have incorrectly accused him of being all along: a shallow, reactionary demagogue. And his latest piece will only prove them right.