Archive for the ‘JIAN GHOMESHI’ Tag

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ON THE JIAN GHOMESHI SQUALOR AND CBC RADIO’S COWARDLY BEHAVIOR CONCERNING HIS ABUSE AS WELL AS ITS IGNORING ROB FORD’S PUBLIC ABUSE OF WOMEN AND ITS POOR HANDLING OF JUSTIN TRUDEAU’S TOTALLY CORRECT BEHAVIOR IN SUSPENDING TWO M.P.s OVER SEXUAL HARRASSMENT   Leave a comment

 

 

 

LETTER TO CBC RADIO 

John Chuckman

 

Many on CBC Radio have commented on the Ghomeshi squalor. Anna Maria Tremonti, your finest interviewer when she’s in top form, joined with three guests recently discussing whether these events represented a watershed for women.

The discussion proved pretty insipid, but there was truth in the notion of a watershed, not however the watershed discussed, that of a turn in male-female social relations, but one quite different.

CBC Radio, on all programs, has always paid lip service to female equality, just as it does so many progressive concepts. But the reality behind the words we now know is something quite different, and it wasn’t just Ghomeshi’s behavior which revealed it.

I cannot accept that other staff and CBC management were not aware of Ghomeshi’s reputation and office behavior for years. That kind of stink cannot be hidden. It reached even outsiders with one professor at Western reported as having advised students to avoid interning at Q. I certainly didn’t know the extent of things, but in Ghomeshi’s early broadcasting, I clearly heard stuff I would call “smarmy” in his references and emphases, something entirely alien to the sound of CBC, and I wrote CBC several times and ceased listening.

For his behavior to be tolerated so very long means only that CBC management deliberately chose ratings over ethics, making the network not a bit different to the ruthless enterprises most hosts on CBC would decry.

But there is a long thread to this theme. Toronto just had four years of a disgraceful man as Mayor. CBC typically, once the stories broke elsewhere, reported on his drunkenness and some other shameful behavior, but it always, always avoided the elephant in the room, his abuse of women. A while before he was elected, Ford had been arrested and taken away in handcuffs while his wife displayed a discolored face. She never pressed charges, as we can well imagine why. Other news sources reported that, not you.

The most shocking display of his abuse was his frenetic sudden “press conference” after making insane public comments earlier about “eating pussy” (his very words). He literally dragged his shy wife before the cameras after fetching her from home. She stood as she was directed, but took a couple of steps away and looked down, resembling a brow-beaten prisoner. Sometimes she looked up, and she fiddled with her ring finger, but did not perform the “dutiful wife smiles as her husband speaks“ routine. Her body language spoke volumes. No one on CBC Radio ever dealt with this public, virtually criminal behavior so far as I’m aware.

Ford also was reported by a woman Toronto politician as having touched her and spoken lewdly, and what did CBC Radio do with that? Or the several times he took prostitutes to his office, something we only learned from others.

Now, just a short time before writing this, CBC Radio news reported on controversy swirling around Justin Trudeau’s decisive act of suspending two MPs over sexual harassment of others. Controversy? Trudeau acted perfectly after one of the women involved herself came to him complaining. His was a high standard of behavior, the only one. Only the National Post and the NDP’s leader, both ever hopeful for a point to score against Trudeau, see controversy here.

I think it clear CBC has consistently failed for years to act – in its reporting, discussions, and in not conducting any investigative journalism around such matters – on the principles to which it gives endless lip service. That is the real watershed: the discovery that CBC’s conduct is hardly different from the gorillas it’s always decrying.

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: COLUMNIST WRITES SYCOPHANTIC RUBBISH ABOUT JIAN GHOMESHI BECOMING RADIO SUPERSTAR – MORE UNWARRANTED PROMOTION OF A TRUE MEDIOCRITY – GHOMESHI’S CROWD AND AND THE SLOW PAINFUL DEATH OF CBC   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN BY BRAD WHEELER IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

This is pure dreck.

What was the actual path of Ghomeshi at CBC?

They were looking for youngish folks who know about pop music, with the dubious idea that CBC should not reflect Canada’s best in brains and talent but what a young, not-very-serious crowd might like.

Ghomeshi, whose only talent is for record promotion, was one of several they started working with a few years ago.

First, they gave him a short show called The National Playlist, an absolutely pointless show which they dropped after not a long time, but it was long enough to know how uninteresting Ghomeshi was.

Then, they pushed him again, despite the failed show, by having him as summer host for Shelagh Rogers. That was likely the most pointless broadcast in CBC Radio history.

He demonstrated a lame sense of humor with a tiresome routine about his efforts to read James Joyce, over and over again. His other high point in humor included a conversation about shoplifting with another lame personality.

So what did the new management do after he twice proved himself a mediocrity?

Why they gave him a still another new show, after they got rid of the talented Shelagh Rogers.

Ghomeshi quite regularly managed to make a mess of things, demonstrating poor preparation for interviews and a clear lack of judgment over taste and ethics.

And on that new show, they spent what, for CBC, was a fortune on advertising and getting big-name interviews for him to fumble his way through, and fumble he did on many occasions.

I’ve never heard that kind of promotional effort for anyone else on CBC, including dozens of far more intelligent and interesting personalities.

Then they also dumped Bill Richardson, a class act entirely, from Canada Reads and gave that to, who else, Ghomeshi.

The question couldn’t help coming up: who was he in bed with at CBC management to get that kind of effort, especially after so many failings and lame efforts?

The one lesson from the whole thing reaffirmed the old cynical advertising and marketing principle: throw enough crap at the wall, and a lot will stick.
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Being an outlet for Canada’s best minds and talents, providing a place to go for young people curious about serious things, providing a showcase to the world, and giving guidance to Canada’s newcomers – those are goals worthy of a public broadcaster.

The CBC of Jian Ghomeshi, Evan Soloman, Laura DiBattista, Matt Galloway (the best of the lot, but still lacking in interview skills), Julie Nesrallah is not worth supporting anymore.

They are lackluster talents, and they are not interesting minds, the people they displaced being giants by comparison.

It has been a clear downward spiral, and it now provides remarkably little of which to be proud.

I was once a person to leave the station on a good part of the day, but now I rarely listen.

The whole spectrum of junk radio out there already supplies the kind of fluff stuff the Ghomeshi mob likes. What’s the point of paying taxes for more?

CBC management has managed to alienate its genuine audience, and it has in large part ceased to serve its legitimate purpose.

Why, even the language and grammar have been allowed to decay from the days when they tried setting standards.

But here’s another buddy of Ghomeshi’s praising the mediocrity to the skies, just as CBC management has spent so much on him for, oh, so little.

As I said, throw enough crap on the wall….
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“to watch as so many of these Harper-loving, CBC-hating minions tied themselves into contradictory knots to actually defend ol’ Billy Bob was really . . . well, was really a sad and yet a delightful sight.”

I think you are quite confused.

First, Ghomeshi is not a “liberal” in any meaningful sense of the word.

He loves right-wing hacks like Margaret Wente and the infamous woman lawyer from Montreal who called an author names on the air.

He also likes American low-life hucksters like Billy Bob and Gene Simmons.

Second, those who seriously dislike Ghomeshi are not CBC-haters.

Again, quite the opposite.

He and his nasty little crowd have reduced CBC in quality, intelligence, and just plain civility.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: CBC HITS BOTTOM: CANADA READS REDUCED TO A FARCE BY THE GHOMESHI CROWD INCLUDING ANNE-FRANCE GOLDWATER’S TASTELESS VIEWS   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Just one more proof of the trash CBC management is making of our once-proud radio network.

When Bill Richardson handled Canada Reads, listeners heard sly humor and the observations of an interesting, graceful mind.

Jian Ghomeshi and the people organizing his show have long ago demonstrated they have the Midas touch in reverse by turning gold into garbage.

Bringing on the guest who made these tasteless, and perhaps libelous, comments (Anne-France Goldwater, who called one author a terrorist and another a liar) shows the same lack of judgment shown when a certain unpleasant America hillbilly singer seriously embarrassed Ghomeshi on air.

And why was the unpleasant hillbilly or this “Judge Judy” type brought on air? To juice things up as only mediocrities like Ghomeshi and his producers would understand juicing things up. Once again, they were caught in a display of poor judgment and genuine incompetence.

The genuine humor is gone from Canada Reads because Ghomeshi, as proved through several past efforts of CBC executives pushing him on the radio-listening public, has no sense of humor worth listening to.

I recall, a few years back before he had his current show, when this boring man served as summer host on a show, dishing up day after day, as his idea of humor, a pathetic line about trying to read James Joyce’s Ulysses plus a few other inane attempts at humor.

I never wanted to hear his voice again, but he was given a big new show, all kinds of publicity, some big-name interviews, Canada Reads, and apparently a very large salary which CBC will not reveal.

As for the intellectual part of Canada Reads with Bill Richardson, well, Ghomeshi is nothing but a pop record promoter – not unlike a latter-day, Canadian version of Dick Clark. He has a totally uninteresting mind, and I never listened to Canada Reads again.

Well, they do say, ”time wounds all heels,” don’t they?

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: CBC’S DECLINING STANDARDS – FURTHER COMMENT – CBC’S FATE UNDER THE HARPERITES – CBC’S INTELLECTUAL SUICIDE   Leave a comment

 

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

In the past, CBC could have counted me as a voice against Conservative cuts.

While I was no great admirer of CBC’s television efforts – with a handful of exceptions – I considered the radio something special indeed.

But current management at CBC has chosen to dumb-down the radio network horribly, and I cannot defend what is no longer special.

Yes, there still are some very special people on the radio – Bill Richardson, Robert Harris, Eleanor Wachtel, Bob McDonald, Bernard St-Laurent, Rita Celli, Michael Enright, and a few others presenting the kind of material no commercial station would present – but there is now also a vast wasteland of insipid new programming.

And the roll call of the remaining genuinely talented people includes mainly people not far from retirement. We can only expect their shoes to be filled by more droning mediocrity under CBC’s existing management.

CBC Radio will never capture the “younger” audience with a dollop of pop music and younger faces, but it sure has alienated past CBC supporters with the loss of quality and authenticity.

If CBC doesn’t represent the nation’s best and most articulate and intelligent, what does it represent? Mush seems to be the answer, sadly.

Jian Ghomeshi is a pop record promoter pretending to be an intellectual, a person with a not-very-interesting mind, poor judgement in many areas, and, no matter how hard he tries, a mediocre interviewer with his lack of perceptive intelligence.

Evan Solomon’s very voice is droning and annoying – he has none of the talents or vast store of knowledge of the people he replaced. He’s a plodder with a raspy voice.

Matt Galloway is the best by far of a bad lot – a clearly sympathetic and decent man whose care about his city comes through, but he still cannot conduct an interesting interview, and his choice in music is bizarre to say the least.

Julie Nesrallah is a perky person who does know something about music, but she talks in teenage-silly-girl terms, almost sounding like a Valley Girl at times – not my idea of a great presenter of classical music.

The radio news anymore contains grammatical errors and often reflects poor judgment in the stories presented and how they are presented. Little real reporting is heard, just some young person on the scene making generalizations he or she might have made without the travel expenses. The questions in the listener’s mind are so obvious at times, you just wonder how they did not occur to an editor or reporter.

The quality CBC should represent increasingly just is not there.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: WILL KIRSTINE STEWART SAVE CBC? ASKS A PUFF PIECE – THE ANSWER IS PRETTY OBVIOUS FROM HER RESUME   Leave a comment

 

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY MICHAEL POSNER IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

‘Ms. Stewart’s conversation tends to sound like that. Outwardly cool, if not icy, she has clearly mastered the vocabulary of modern corporatese, all those “bottom lines” that, “at the end of the day,” will allow us to “move the yardsticks.” ‘

Ms Stewart sounds a rather tedious person, not the type needed to save the CBC from descending into meaninglessness.

“…she dated George Stroumboulopoulos…”   That, in and of itself, is proof of extremely poor taste. Stroumboulopoulos is a man of no outstanding quality save his sense of his own world-class coolness.

She has “a degree” in English Literature – the “a” undoubtedly means a BA – just as several hundred thousand others, including many marginally employed, have.

Without good quality serious talk, sound news shows, and genuine arts and culture programs, there is no point to CBC television’s existence. And right now, the only one of those that it has is the news, but even that has its weak sections.

CBC television misses many good opportunities, including not taking full advantage of documentary films and genuine cultural critics. People like the late Brian Linehan or today’s immensely talented Jesse Wente are the kind of people CBC should always use.

Now, CBC Radio has always been another matter. With people the caliber of Anna Maria Tremonti, Bill Richardson, Eleanor Wachtel, Robert Harris, Bob McDonald, Bernard St-Laurent, and a few others, we have some world-class excellence in radio – the kind of things not remotely available on commercial networks and not equaled by American NPR.

But CBC has been playing nasty games in recent years with radio too. Mediocrities like Jian Ghomeshi and his platitudes, cheap record promotions, and outbursts of poor taste are dumbing-down the radio too. And Radio Two has also substituted people who talk like teenagers sometimes rather than just entertaining authorities.

And when the excellent people I speak of retire – none of them are young – and if the trend towards intellectual mediocrity continues, CBC Radio too will largely not be worth keeping.

Who needs pop music and pop interviews with Americans on CBC when commercial radio and the Internet are replete with them?

If CBC can’t offer what commercial networks cannot – a showcase of Canada’s best and most thoughtful – it has no raison d’etre.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: CBC EXECUTIVE LEAVES UNDER DARK CLOUD – MORE ON CBC DESCENDING INTO DUMBNESS   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
 

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Hard to know from the information given here just what Stursberg’s departure means.

Executive rat leaving a ship he helped direct into sinking in a sea of dumbness?

I do think it is all rather hopeless. CBC is on a one way trip to nowhere.

New dumb shows and dumb hosts and dumb formats abound. Once the remaining quality people have reached retirement, the wreck deserves to be abandoned.

With people like George Stroumboulopoulos, Jian Ghomeshi, Evan Solomon, and now Jan Arden, CBC becomes less and less meaningful everyday, pop fluff with no core of genuine experience and broad knowledge.

God, recently, I gave a try to a CBC documentary series on World War II, hosted by Stroumbouloulos. George, dressed in his usual I’m-cooler-than-anyone outfit, appeared out of a cloud of special effects lighted mist like God descending from heaven and proceeded to make a completely inaccurate statement concerning the war. I didn’t watch another minute of this pop nonsense passing for documentary.

Good old Ghomeshi, Canada’s 2010 answer to Dick Clark’s Bandstand, has had endless promos for an interview with Paul McCartney. Oh, wow, one of the biggest egos on the planet, with almost nothing to say, whose genuine creative work was forty years ago, gives yet another interview. What’s the point and what’s Canadian about it?

Many of CBC Radios shows have become nothing more than amateur hour try-outs for pop singers – the stuff is larded into half the programs. Mary Ito’s show is simply a boring series of second-rate singers and wannabes interspersed with chat about her latest jaunt somewhere. Jann Arden sounds like the female version of Trailer Park Boys.

Who needs a public broadcaster for this kind of vacuous stuff?

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ON CBC’S LOWERING OF STANDARDS OF EXCELLENCE IN AN EFFORT TO GAIN MASS AUDIENCE: A REGRETTABLE TREND BEST SEEN IN THE EMBARRASSING JIAN GHOMESHI   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN
POSTED TO A COLUMN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL
Sorry, you have this matter entirely wrong. Jian Ghomeshi clearly did not do the required research for an effective interview. He broke the rule every good interviewer knows, that you must know your subject before you meet.

Professionals like Shelagh Rogers or Eleanor Wachtel or Don Newman would never be caught flat-footed as Ghomeshi, something one finds regularly with him. This was only the most embarrassing of many blunders and poor judgments.

He is simply the weakest host ever placed into this once venerable time-slot on CBC Radio.

And it is a very good question as to why he even interviews trashy characters like this guest. The answer is simple: he is the most visible evidence of CBC’s lowering its standards and pandering to a mass audience. Who even needs a CBC that tries to compete with trash radio?

Ghomeshi interviewed, some while back, a mother in B.C. whose young daughter was exposed to a raw pornographic magazine (“Butt”) in a store carrying young people’s clothes. It was stupidly used as part of a display.

Ghomeshi literally badgered the mother – mildly, but nevertheless definitely badgered – as though she were the villain in the piece with her complaint, going against free expression.

It wasn’t even a national story, just an embarrassing local business, so why did Ghomeshi feature it? Complete lack of judgment.

What part of children and pornography did Ghomeshi not get I asked? Well, he got his own back, in spades, from this trashy hillbilly, another interview that should never have taken place.

Ghomeshi regularly drags up trashy candidates for interview, as Gene Simmons, the former member of the rock group Kiss, known for his own crude talk.

In another interview, Ghomeshi talked to a pop singer about his girlfriend’s “hot body.” Great, morning public radio is to sound like a locker room?

I simply do not agree that Jian Ghomeshi is “a polite and gracious host.” He does not have the skills for his job, and he does not have the wide interests and sharp mind of so many CBC personalities.