There has been a lot of praise for the 28 years of work by Peter Mansbridge of the CBC.
There’s another view. This is one of the more interesting columns I’ve read in some time. John Doyle of The Globe and Mail has a completely different view of Mansbridge’s position at the CBC. Doyle’s column is interesting, thought-provoking and brash.
Mansbridge is a wonderful television performer. It is difficult to be on live TV as long as he has and it is a rare skill that he can cover live events with very few slip-ups.
In the video above, 22 Minutes comedian Mark Critch calls CBC’s Peter Mansbridge “Knowlton.”
That said, there are much better reporters in every major newspaper in Canada. I’d put even mediocre reporters against Mansbridge and they would eat him for dinner. That’s because for years people read newspapers because they broke news. Print reporters did the hard work of getting news. TV anchors re-packaged the newspaper’s work each evening or went to car crashes or meetings and put some film around it. There are exceptions to this but they are rare.
So he’s the star. That’s why he got the Order of Canada. But in terms of journalism, give me a hard-nosed reporter who will get news … not a smooth voice reading his or her work.
Those great print journalists don’t wear their Order of Canada pin at work. They just write most of the great stories of my lifetime while TV rips and reads them on air.
Those great journalists don’t get the Order of Canada. They get the satisfaction of a job well done.
It’s unfortunate that many TV talking heads garner awards for re-writing reporters work.
We have, in fact, shown too much deference to Mansbridge and his ilk for too long. There was a time when the national TV news anchor was a vital role in the culture. When TV was young, and there were fewer channels and the only competition was radio and print, coverage of major breaking-news events demanded an authority figure to calm the nation. Always male, always urbane, always a dad-like figure. That such anchor types are still presented to us is insulting.
The essence of the traditional anchor position now reeks of pomposity. And that pomposity was evident in Mansbridge’s announcement of his departure. The assumption that it’s a historic announcement. The long, long going-away period – almost a year – and Mansbridge attaching himself to CBC-TV’s coverage of Canada Day on the country’s 150th birthday. The latter is, obviously, an attempted act of attaching himself to the country’s history.
Pomposity is part of TV stardom. CBC, in particular, is its own bubble of self-regard and remoteness. Its stars often lose perspective, become immune from self-questioning inside that bubble. Only the CBC would give its main news anchor close to a year to say goodbye and the manner of Mansbridge’s leaving bespeaks an allegiance to him which, at this point, is puzzling.
To read the whole Doyle column, click here.
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