The Black Rod

The origin of the Usher of the Black Rod goes back to early fourteenth century England . Today, with no royal duties to perform, the Usher knocks on the doors of the House of Commons with the Black Rod at the start of Parliament to summon the members. The rod is a symbol for the authority of debate in the upper house. We of The Black Rod have since 2005, adopted the symbol to knock some sense and the right questions into the heads of Legislators, pundits, and other opinion makers.

Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

We are citizen journalists in Winnipeg. When not breaking exclusive stories, we analyze news coverage by the mainstream media and highlight bias, ignorance, incompetence, flawed logic, missed angles and, where warranted, good work. We serve as the only overall news monitors in the province of Manitoba. We do the same with politicians (who require even more monitoring.) EMAIL:

Saturday, September 10, 2005


The CBC lockout has lasted four weeks.

A month.

One down and no end in sight.

The Black Rod has been reading the lockout blogs written by CBC employees from coast to coast to sample the mood of the picket lines.

Some are defiant. Some defeated. And some have stopped talking altogether. And you married people out there know that that's never good.

But if there's one positive outcome of this experience, it's that it has dispelled any doubt about bias in CBC's coverage of national and international events.

The lockout blogs have let us hear how CBC employees talk when they're with other CBC employees. What they really think, and not what the CBC ombudsman or CBC president says they think.

The Globe and Mail had a lockout story Thursday linked to another of those instant polls. That garnered these posts: (highlighting is ours)

Thursday, September 8

Vote "YES" for CBC today
posted at 07:17AM Pacific time
Seems the Globe and Mail is having a poll today asking whether Canada needs the CBC. I'm certainly not suggesting how you should vote (which, incidentally, is "YES") but so far the (conservative party members---these words were crossed out and replaced with) general public are swinging it to No.

You can vote at -- the poll is in the upper-right side of the page.

Stratford, PEI, radio reporter Nancy Russell, who, coincidentally was born and raised in Winnipeg, responded with:

Vote yes for public broadcasting!!!!!!
by nrmac @ 2005-09-08 - 13:59:06
This is from I just voted and it's still neck and neck.
To quote Tod Maffin:

Seems the Globe and Mail is having a poll today asking whether Canada needs the CBC. I'm certainly not suggesting how you should vote (which, incidentally, is "YES") but so far the (conservative party members --crossed out and replaced with) general public are swinging it to No.
**the hilarious crossed out words are Tod's not mine. Though I agree.

Many lockout bloggers are lamenting that CBC isn't in New Orleans to cover the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. But what they really mean is that they're sorry they can't get in on the Bush-bashing.

About Me
Location:Toronto, Canada
Writer and producer living in Parkdale (Toronto)

Saturday, September 03, 2005
Kayne For President
First he stumbled into political activism by taking on the issue of blood diamonds with his song "Diamonds of Sierra Leone". Then, as I reported here a week ago, he came out against hip hop's homophobic history. Now the rapper Kayne West is taking on the President for his slow response to the crisis in New Orleans.

You've probably heard about his by now. If not, check out the footage the link may have been removed by now) of Kayne West and actor Mike Myers during a Red Cross telethon for Hurricane Katrina victims. Pay close attention to Myers as he tries to remain composed during Kayne's political freestyling.

While he struggles to make his point, you have to give Kayne credit for standing up and saying what the media and many politicans have been saying all this week: "George Bush does not care about black people."And you thought the video delay caused by Janet Jackson's boob malfunction was going to be bad.

posted by J.T. at 5:07 PM
The unedited video of West telling the truth that the workers at CBC have been gagged from telling.

CBC radio reporter Jennifer Quesnel from Regina added her two cents:

Jennifer Quesnel at 10:05PM (CST) on September 5, 2005 Permanent Link
I tend to be a bit of a news junkie when it comes to horrific disasters. I knew a lot of s**t was going down in Louisiana. And I wanted to know to what stage the anarchy, looting, rape, and murder had advanced in New Orleans.
All weekend, it made me feel uneasy not to be able to check my e-mail, and not to post my blog thoughts on here. But we were staying with friends, and I sure wasn't going to turn on CNN when so many people around me just wanted to relax and party.

Newspapers became my main source of information. I read the National Post and the Globe and Mail on the way up, horrified by the accounts of life in the Big Easy over the past week. Why was this happening?
And how could the U.S. government let it? I just couldn't get over the fact that no one (official) appeared to be helping these people.
Whether it's CNN, CBS, NPR, or the Times-Picayune, all the reporters in that part of the United States finally appear to have found something we've been missing for awhile: their backbone.

My gold star today goes to Bill Doskoch , for a wonderful round-up and news story excerpts . They detail the way Hurricane Katrina proved the U.S. federal government lies . And, the way reporters have finally found the guts to expose those lies. Read Doskoch's blog and bookmark it. It kicks butt.

Even hip-hop star Kanye West knew something went badly, badly wrong here. His unscripted comments on the lack of political will to save poor, black people were edited out by the time NBC's "A Concert for Hurricane Relief" was broadcast on the west coast. Still, the live version made it to viewers in the East.

Like you, we asked,"Who's Bill Doskoch?"

We went to the site and read the standard left-wing take on George Bush. We noted his "News sites i can't live without" which included the hard-left:
Global Beat
Democracy Now!
Common Dreams

And we knew everything anyone needs to know about Bill Doskoch and why Jennifer loves him so much.

And J.T. from Toronto, who we met earlier, had another thought today.

Sept. 9

It seemed only appropriate to end the week the same way we began it, with a song about Hurricane Katrina. I promise to return to lockout songs Monday but in the meantime you must hear this track by the Legendary K.O. also known as K-Otix.

The song takes a previous lockout song of the day - Kanye West's "Gold Digger" and turns it into a tirade against George Bush for his handling of the Katrina disaster. Thanks to CBC radio's Matt Galloway for sending this gem along. Holler! (Click the image above to download)

By now, we weren't surprised at what we were finding.

Tania in Toronto actually led off her blog with a link to propagandist and icon of the loony fringe of the left in the U.S., Michael Moore.

Vacation is Over... an open letter from Michael Moore to George W. Bush

* * *
Crafters United - raising funds for the Red Cross Hurricane Relief Fund.
I am leaving these links in lieu of any kind of commentary. Because I have not been in the library where I work, and because my main source of news, the CBC, is out, I have been oddly out of touch with the news. Only in the last few days have I become aware of the horrible, scary and now disturbingly sad outcome of this latest hurricane. prayers go out.

Mark, a researcher in Halifax, linked to columnist and cartoonist Ted Rall:

MarkBlack 09.08.05 - 5:52 pm # Halifax, researcher
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Ted Rall makes a good point in his September 6th column :

the citizens of cities under U.S. occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan have been suffering under similar conditions, exacerbated by an identical lack of planning by the same U.S. officials, for nearly 900 days. New Orleans is Baghdad plus water minus two and a half years.

Still wondering why they hate us?

Not familiar with Ted Rall? You must have missed his cartoon where Condoleezza Rice proclaims herself Bush's "HOUSE NIGGA." A black man demands that Rice "HAND OVER HER HAIR STRAIGHTENER." The man's t-shirt reads "YOU'RE NOT WHITE, STUPID." The caption reads "SENT TO INNER-CITY RACIAL RE-EDUCATION CAMP." It was a real knee-slapper among the Michael Moore crowd.

After Ronald Reagan's death, Rall wrote that Reagan was in hell ""turning crispy brown right about now." And, of course, he called the war in Afghanistan "genocide" perpetrated to build an imaginary oil pipeline. Music to a true CBC'ers ears.

The lockout blogs give a fascinating insight into what the CBC employees think about a lot of things.

John, a contract producer in Vancouver, had this to say about health care:

It pisses me off no end to hear people who would see us shift over to an American-style system. Pardon me for being blunt, but are they fucking nuts? I can only imagine what it would be like to be one of the millions of Americans without benefits.

If our healthcare system needs fixing, here is the solution: let's all pay a bit more in taxes. I know the usual assholes will whine about what a pain in the ass that is, but when they get sick, they can take comfort in the fact that it was money well spent.

The Fraser Institute only showed up when we copied his posting but we'll bet he doesn't disguise who he thinks the "usual assholes" are when he's at work.

And this Toronto blogger offered a way to reach Canadians with the right message about the lockout with just the right buzzwords.


To do that we need to tell the story in a way that engages Canadians and moves them to action. We could tell them it's about contracts, and job security, and nurturing public broadcasting values. All true but not exactly grabby. But if we tell them it's a story about how a group of fanatical managers hijacked a national institution, and wasted hundreds of millions of dollars trying to impose a bizarre neo-con cult of management on their employees, while treating themselves to all kinds of outrageous perks and privileges. And we give them some choice examples...Well, maybe just maybe this lockout would end sooner rather than later. And some big heads would roll.

Not to overlooked, was CBC superstar Rick Mercer. Although not a blogger, Mercer this week was free with his thoughts about society. In an interview with the National Post about Alberta's centennial, Mercer said,"Look, I have no problem with Alberta's fiscal conservatism. It's the social conservative stuff that worries me and on that score, I don't think Day or Harper are doing Alberta any favours." Oh. Yeah. Right. So that's where the "scary" comes from.

Now, let's see:

Anti-American? Check
Anti-business? Check
Anti-Conservative Party? Check

Remember, these are the folks who covered the last national election. They covered the Gomery Commission. They covered the Conservative Party convention and the House of Commons leading up to the non-confidence votes of the Spring. Would you expect fair and balanced reporting from this bunch? Will you expect it next time?

Because the next election is the slender reed on which the CBC lockout hangs. How can Paul Martin go to the polls without staunch allies such as these working for his re-election?

Blogger Workerbee in Toronto was optimistic about getting back to work early in the game.

If for some bizarre reason the lockout is not ended before October (which, incidentally, would indicate certain as opposed to merely apparent madness on the part of senior management) then a catastrophe will indeed have occurred.Sunday, September 04, 2005

Robin Rowland , a Toronto-based television producer, thought so too.

The Garret Tree
Friday, September 02, 2005
What happens this weekend will be crucial. The third-hand coverage of Katrina by CBC and the high quality of coverage by CTV has caused immense damage. Regional managers who have been in the cocoon of the Toronto Broadcast Centre go home this weekend. They will return to Toronto next week, perhaps with a different perspective.

If the managers go home, and see that they could be separated from their families for months to come, and that the Guild position is not unreasonable, then they may return less than thrilled at a continued (what Ouimet called) secondment at gunpoint .

But the managers went home and the lockout went on. And a week later...

From an employee blog at:

"Rumour has it that The Gang of Six (Rabinovitch, Stursberg, Smith, Chalmers, Burman & Dyer Inc.) who continue to stage the coup inside CBC headquarters, are pushing for a long, long lock-out. We're talking January, here, ladies and gentlemen. January."

January. When Paul Martin gets to step in and be the "saviour" of public broadcasting. After Gomery delivers his report (who needs more news coverage of that?) and just before an election is called (scarrrryyy).

And the CBC bloggers have signalled who they're voting for.

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