an open letter to CTV News

To whom it may concern:

I’d really like to know when you are going to stop broadcasting fearmongering, propaganda and other useless information on your newshour and when you are actually going to start telling us what is really going on out there.

I guess I was paying too much attention to the 11 o’clock news last night because I had wisely put away my SOTIii by that point, having had to frog the last row I was working on twice. Well, let me tell you, your news programme is excrutiating to watch when sober and not otherwise occupied.

(And now for a break from my sponsor, John Fluevog!!!)

First off, we get treated to yet another segment on “The Winter Olympics is coming to Vancouver only two years from now!” Your “countdown” included:

(a) a bunch of useless blather about how great it is that Canada has yet again gotten the Olympics;

(b) some propaganda to sign up for the “volunteer draft” (draft! Don’t we hear enough about the military now that we’re at war?) so that we can go to Vancouver at our own expense and work 13 10-hour shifts in a month, for free;

(c) the fact that the mayor of Vancouver is in a wheelchair;

(d) construction of the athlete’s village and how it is going to create all sorts of wonderful affordable housing that will last for 50 years (just like in Athens a few years back I guess… and those huts started to fall apart less than a year after moving the people in; and

(e) oh, and did we mention that the Mayor of Vancouver is in a wheelchair?

Twelve minutes of Olympics right at the outset of the news – WITHOUT ANY ADVERTISEMENTS. This must be the first time in 10 years that CTV went for more than 4 minutes without a “break”. Usually it doesn’t seem to matter: election, war, insurrection, terrorism… by 11:04 we’re treated to ads exhorting us to lose weight, get credit cards, buy insurance for our funerals, mortgage our houses we’ve spent the last 40 years paying for, etc. etc.

(and on that topic, why don’t you ever run ads with useful information?

I mean, if we’re all going to sign up for those pre-paid credit card swipe things, we might as well spend the money on something useful – that doesn’t require weight loss, by the way.)

Anyway, finally at 11:15 what I consider to be the “news” started.

This is when my diet coke can nearly got hurled at the screen. You told us this:

The Conservative government and opposition Liberals appear to be on their way to reaching a deal on the Afghan mission. Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he is open to introducing a new motion on the mission that would include concerns laid out by Liberal Leader Stephane Dion.

No big surprise that the Liberals are caving out of their “let’s pull out soon” stance. My huge beef is that the reporter characterised Mr. Dion as a “statesman” for this move. News to me that it is “statesmanlike” to pander to the other side!!!!! Where would we all be at if people like this guy:

had done the same thing? Shame on you, Stephane! Is it just that your party told you they’re not ready for a non-confidence motion and an election in the next three months?!?!

This item, by the way, lasted 90 minutes. If allocation of time is an indication of importance of the story, our ongoing presence in Afghanistan (despite growing public unease with it) is eight times less important than the fact that we are hosting the winter Olympics in two years.

Of course, there was a heavy dose of corporate news as well:

– GM is losing money (aka “possibly 75,000 less jobs in the next while”)
– Bell Canada has breached the security of over 3 million people by “losing” customer information (aka “your money might be stolen out of your bank account”).

I was almost relieved to see the next round of ads.

Surely you were actually going to tell us some useful and important news in the local segment?

Well, this is what you told us:

(a) it’s snowing.

(b) did we mention that it is snowing?


Oh! It had been snowing! I hadn’t realise that when I trudged climbed over big snowbanks went to and came home from work yesterday, so thanks for that!

(c) be careful when you’re driving because it’s snowing.

(d) there’s been a lot of snow in Toronto.

(e) Toronto is running out of money to clean all the snow (really?! I hadn’t noticed they’d actually been cleaning it, actually).

(f) however, consider yourselves lucky because in Kawartha Lakes the municipal snow removers are on strike and the stubborn mayor doesn’t care because someone is keeping his parking space cleared.

(g) the airport is in a mess because it’s snowing, but they’re working hard to shovel all the snow.

This was the first fifteen minutes of the newscast. You devoted six of your reporters’ time to standing outside all day and talking about the weather!!! Do we really need to hear 15 minutes about how bad the weather is when we are all already suffering from snow madness?!?

And then… you put on Dave Deval with the weather.

Now, I like Dave OK – but why not give him the night off when all the other reporters are covering the weather anyway?! Sheesh!

Then for the requisite “be afraid…be very very afraid!” component:

(a) big child porn bust. But there are another 4,000 child pornmongers out there in Toronto who tell their children “I love you” on the internet and win them over.

(b) violent fugitive on the loose in Hamilton

(c) woman dies in apartment fire

And then a plug for the new credit card swipe thing. On the news, mind you – not in an advertisement!

This is when I finally turned off the programme, realising that I was going to get no useful information and that ten minutes of hockey news was to follow.

So, this is why I will no longer be watching your newscast. Please advise me if and when you decide to actually start showing news again. Until then, I’ll be tuning into this station:

Yours very truly,

Kristina Brouhaha


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