#131 – Channel Surfing, Special Edition: Slippery Pete

Heather Conway may be a student of the worthless Canadian business class and may have more background in spin than data, but she’s got nothing on the King of Slime Himself – Peter Mansbridge.

Peter Mansbridge was hired because of his voice. No seriously – he worked at an airport in Churchill, Manitoba when some CBC putty-launcher heard him doing an announcement on the intercom. Don’t take my word for it – read this glowing nonsense for yourself! And then read the Star’s report on Slippery Pete’s paid speaking gigs for big oil (“the CBC said it was okay so you’re all meanie poopieheads” is basically his response) and his fluffy-ass interview with Rob Ford who proved that, if nothing else, English Canadian businesspeople can be trusted to spout off laughable tough-guy talk while being propped up by the government.

But that’s not why we’re here. Sneaks and snakes are a reality of Canada that nobody can take away from it. What’s really special to me is that Peter serves as a sort of political Snuggee, a soft and understanding Dad-voiced friend in a media scene filled with meanies and bad guys. Did you literally smoke crack as a mayor? Come be absolved by Pete! Gotta look remorseful after the latest unwanted facts about Canada’s wicked past and useless present come to bite the cakers in the ass? Send Slippery Fucking Pete and he’ll knowingly frown with downcast eyes so you don’t have to feel the consequences of your shitty country’s horrible actions. Need some out-of-a-can-reverence for your revisionist event? Father Pete will bring the magic to your Canadiana bullshit with his dulcet baritone voice. If you’ve got money, the CBC has its favorite celebrity ready to come to absolve you and yours.

He’s like Oprah Winfrey but specially tuned for Canada in that he’s an old white dude who can basically do anything and get away with it because of name recognition. The fact that you donated the proceeds from a paid speaking engagement with the tar sands or the Koch Brothers doesn’t absolve you of the fact that you took money for a speaking engagement from the tar sands and a company ultimately beholden to the Koch Brothers. I don’t care that you get your money from elsewhere, Pete – but for the love of God please disclose that information when you’re reporting on something related to it. That’s basic journalistic ethics. It’s what Jesse Brown of Canadaland does. And you know what? While I often violently disagree with Brown and his guests, I respect him as a journalist and I read his remarks with interest because he has the courage to wear his potential biases on his sleeve.

This is, of course, in contrast to Slippery Pete, whose grandpa-face and a healthy dose of Canadiana clearly qualifies him as Chief Absolver of Canadian Sins. Does anyone remember when Walter Cronkite said this:

We have been too often disappointed by the optimism of the American leaders, both in Vietnam and Washington, to have faith any longer in the silver linings they find in the darkest clouds. They may be right, that Hanoi’s winter-spring offensive has been forced by the Communist realization that they could not win the longer war of attrition, and that the Communists hope that any success in the offensive will improve their position for eventual negotiations. It would improve their position, and it would also require our realization, that we should have had all along, that any negotiations must be that – negotiations, not the dictation of peace terms. For it seems now more certain than ever that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate

This man, Old Ironpants (no, really), brought America’s defeat to the nightly news. He did it eloquently, prompting President Johnson himself to allegedly have said something like “if I lost Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America”. Somehow, given Slippery Pete’s “you’re poopieheads” response to being outed as a celebrity-for-hire-cum-journalist and this absolute joke of a speech, I doubt he brought ferric trousers to the CBC.

And that’s the way it is and has forever been in Canada.

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