#132 – Channel Surfing, Special Edition: Qui Custodiet CBC.ca?

The CBC’s website is one of the few things about the English Canadian CBC that doesn’t make my skin crawl. Sure, it’s filled with tripe and prepacked articles from real news agencies but that’s basically the CBC anyways. It looks okay, the integration with CBC-Radio makes the one remotely useful part of the CBC’s Armada of Bullshit accessible to my Internet-wielding ass, and its comment sections are a reliable car-wreck of English Canadian inanity (honestly, I could just redirect you there and close shop; sooner or later that infinite monkeys flinging poo at infinite typewriters will fumigate the well of Canada’s sins and thus exorcise its fell demons). It’s a website – good job. Here’s a cookie.

But who in the evershitting hell manages that website? I Googled around to look for information about who manages, runs, and maintains the CBC’s family of websites. Since I couldn’t find that there, let’s go look at the sitemap, shall we?

And you know what I did for you? I went to go look around by clicking on every one of those fucking links there that could have a chance of housing the very basic information that I’m looking for. I clicked on them all with one very simple question in mind: “who is the head of the website design team?” If anywhere, you’d sign your own work, no? After looking at the toll for the e-troll under this collection, labelled “Image Research Library & Still Photos”, of “thousands of subject and biography files and books selected for their visual content…also [featuring] an historic serials collection, including the Eaton’s catalogue back to 1910” and whatever the fuck redirect site this was hiding behind the “Ad & Sponsorship Sales”, I set to looking under Corporate Info. Start from the top of that, I suppose. Like fuck if I want to see another redsplosion like “Ad & Sponsorship Sales”.

Right. Here’s where you go when you click “About“: a page using the same cascading icon diarrhea that Windows 8 was so loved for blindsiding people with. Our people, maybe? Let’s try ther..holy fuck you dolts I don’t want to see your maplewashed selfies Jesus fucking Christ have some respect. Every day brings something new, indeed. If I wanted cutesy pictures of twentysomethings pretending that the world is a glorious place I’d people-watch in a mall. Next click!

CBC Media Center“? Holy shit, that’s my main well of material for making fun of Canada’s mediocre television offerings! This is one of my favorite barrels on the whole of the Internet! And there’s a contact page on there! Sweet giggity, we’re in busin-oh. By “contact us”, you meant contact your brand managers? I want to talk to a brand manager as much as I do a bran muffin. I do like how news and current affairs got relegated to someone pulling double duty though. Good to know where the branding priorities are.

The link “CBC Museum” rushes me to a page that implores me to take a #museumselfie with Mr. Dressup’s Tickle Truck. I cannot express my combination of granite-shattering disinterest in complying with this and the deep, core-raking disgust I feel at the fact that this request was even made of me in the first place. Just, fuck you CBC Museum. I’ll stick to Mr. Rogers, who was a fantastic human being and who didn’t instruct me to take #museumselfies with an old microphone. Next.

Glenn Gould Studio“, you say? Well, sure – I can do Gould…aaand you’re trying to sell me tickets to a concert in Toronto. Amazing. Obviously this is important corporate info.

This section of the links to nowhere is getting dull, so let me slide down to the Contact Us page. I had forgotten that I tried this because it worked exactly as I thought it would. Foolish me, assuming that “contact us” would contain contact information. Here is my query:

And here are the results of said:

Amazing! And yes, I know how a search engine works. I tried every combination of CBC.ca, website, webmaster, manages, runs, hosts – everything I could think of. And it was awesome because:

Jesus Fucking Christ. Okay – after that torture, let’s get this other fucking heading over with. I’m already way over my usual word count here. And I was trying to write about the CBC.ca webpage and how it was basically not the worst. Too bad I don’t know who to thank save for Canada and I suppose the Instagram-bunch over in the “About” section.

Jobs“: I’m surprised this doesn’t just redirect to the EI office for your province. Went to their “contact us” and found nothing. Not the first place I’d look either but I said I would look everywhere and by fuck I’m going to.

This, by the way, is the “Contact Us” page I’m getting most often. I like Ombudsmen as a rule – they’re pedantic and probably hate what they discover about the world they live in just like me – but I don’t want to talk to their offices.  Both the “Corporate Info” (which is a redirect to the main page of CBC Radio-Canada because reasons) and the “Transparency & Accountability” page dump me here. Though the latter did direct me to a whole pile of CBC-made reports that I’m sure I’ll glean plenty of ammo from. Look forward to the “Equity Reports” comments where I get to shred the nu-left again!

CBC: Get the Facts” – that’s what I’m trying to do you asscheese! This is a context-less drop-down list of events that apparently have one thing in common – they make the CBC sad. Thrilling. You can’t even plead for your fiscal lives properly. I mean, when you’ve got logic like “[every] Canadian has access to one, if not all, of the broadcast consortiums’ stations” as a justification for the current model of scheduling leadership debates, you’re kind of forgetting the people who don’t have any access to television broadcasting and instead rely on the Internet.

Oh, and before we go, don’t forget this doozy: “[our management team] is guided only by the desire to offer a wide variety of quality Canadian programs, and we’re doing a very successful job of that.” Ask Jian Ghomeshi’s victims about the pure and noble intent of CBC management; when even the CBC admits that his handsy, “really get to know you” style was basically condoned by management you may want to avoid referencing the pure and noble intent of a whack of political appointees and lifers at the CBC.

Right, back to it. “Public Appearances” is one of those too-much-to-know things. Without a search function, what’s the fucking point? I don’t care that Mark Connolly was the host of the Kids With Cancer Leg Shaker Fundraiser on 30 May – I want to know what the fuck these people do and who runs the bloody website! I also want to mention that one of the reasons I hate endless babble about transparency is that it creates Rube Goldbergs like this – unwieldy spreadsheets with at once too much and not enough data. We’ve got everyone’s trips to the Canadian Fart Museum logged but dear Lord help us if we want to find, you know, useful data.

“CBC Shop”? Fuck no. I don’t wanna shop, and if I did I wouldn’t be looking at the bottom of the page for the store. “Help”? God-fucking-dammit it’s the same shitty search engine from last time! That’s not help, you fucks – that’s abuse! “Doing Business With Us” apparently means cringeworthy pseudobusiness-diagram with pictures of office chairs on them. Contact us? Are you here, website design dudes? Oh, you motherfucker!!

Holy shit! All I wanted to do was say that whoever’s running that show is doing an okay job and I ended up hating the CBC’s website and the stupid loop-de-loop gobbledegook that it seems to entail. Fuck you, CBC website design people! But I have one more button. And that button has the most beautiful word of all on it:


Sweet lords above. Thank God it’s you, middle-aged lady with wavy hair and Quebecois mullet-suit dude! No Canadian flag surprises? No fucking useless search engines that work as well as a Ford Pinto? Your Contact Us form is for the right people and you taught me that you’ve contracted out raking through the gunk that is the CBC’s comments section. Marry me, red pant-suit lady! Hear my pleas and answer my simple question!

Will I ever find out who runs the place? Tune in next time! I’m off to go make fun of equality reports.

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