#137 – Channel Surfing, Special Edition: the Penultimate Post

I want to talk about whatever the flying fuck these are showing up in Inuit tap water. But shitty CBC crap is holding me down. I’ve made a promise to you people to talk about the nu-left at the CBC and believe me, there is a lot of it involved in the CBC’s narrative construction projects. But I want to highlight something very wrong with the nerve center of the CBC.

If you haven’t noticed, I’m both pedantic and a glutton for self-inflicted punishment. I also don’t mind getting my hands dirty and looking through the CVs of a whole whack of people. And that means that I dug through the entire senior staff at the CBC (well, those that I could find, at any rate) to see what their backgrounds are. The results…? Well, corporate shitheads. Yeah, because a media and news outlet is the same thing as a law firm or IBM or some impossibly shitty marketing firm. Only one person on this fucking list here even has journalism experience!

Instead, you have a mix of lifers on the business side of CBC (i.e.: not the content) and corporate executives, demonstrating that Canada has no fucking clue what a public broadcaster even is. Yeah, clearly business mergers are something that the CBC is going to have to perform regularly. I skipped Heather Conway because she got a whole post to how worthless she is.

Hubert T. Lacroix:

Just prior [to joining the CBC], Mr. Lacroix held the position of Senior Advisor with the Montréal office of Stikeman Elliott, a law firm recognized nationally and internationally for its business law practice. From 2000 to 2005, he acted as Executive Chairman of Telemedia Corporation and of the other boards of directors of the various companies in the Telemedia corporate structure.

Before joining Telemedia Corporation, Mr. Lacroix was a Senior Partner at McCarthy Tétrault, another major Canadian law firm, for 20 years. His practice was concentrated in business law, mostly in mergers and acquisitions of public companies, and securities.

Mr. Lacroix received his Bachelor of Civil Law (1976) and his Master’s degree in Business Administration (1981) from McGill University. He has been a member of the Quebec Bar since 1977. (source)

Translation: this guy is a business lawyer in a business that doesn’t work like any other business he has ever worked at. Good pick for CEO, chumps!

William B. Chambers:

William B. Chambers was appointed CBC/Radio-Canada’s Vice-President, Brand, Communications and Corporate Affairs, on September 15, 2008. Previous to that, he had been appointed Vice-President, Communications, on January 15, 2003…

Prior to joining CBC/Radio-Canada, Mr. Chambers was based in London, where he was Managing Director, Europe, for Goldfarb Consultants. Mr. Chambers held senior positions with Molson Companies Limited, first as Director, Public Affairs, then as Vice-President, Corporate Affairs. He also occupied several positions within the Office of the Secretary of State for External Affairs, including Chief of Staff, Press Secretary and Official Spokesperson. (source)

Translation: worked for a company reliant on marketing because the quality of the product is terrible, then worked for a marketing firm that worked with De Beers (i.e.: the people who created the “overpriced diamond rings for marriage” racket) and is headed by a Liberal pollster.

Sylvie Gadoury:

Before joining the Senior Executive Team, Ms. Gadoury held the position of Associate General Counsel, Media Law, and Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator, from 2009 to 2015. She had previously served as Senior Legal Counsel, Media Law, since 1998. Prior to working for CBC/Radio-Canada, Ms. Gadoury practised law for a few years in a private firm, and later went on to work for the Canadian Department of Justice’s general litigation team. (source)

Translation: government hack who couldn’t deal with the private sektor and hurried back to government work. Interestingly, her team has offices in Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal – but there’s no mention of her having been called to the Ontario Bar. In Canada, 1/3 is amazing!

Steven Guiton:

Before becoming Vice-President Technology and Chief Regulatory Officer, Mr. Guiton was Vice-President and Chief Regulatory Officer, Media Technology Services, responsible for moving content across the Corporation’s national, regional, and local networks. Prior to that, Mr. Guiton was CBC/Radio-Canada’s Executive Director, Strategy and Government Relations. In his other previous positions, he had been Vice-President, Regulatory Affairs, at the Canadian Cable Television Association, and Regulatory Vice-President at Unitel Communications Inc. (formerly AT&T Canada and now Allstream). (source)

Mr. Guiton holds an M.A. in Economics from Simon Fraser University and a B.A. in Economics and Commerce from the University of Toronto; he also attended the University of British Columbia for doctoral studies in Economics.

Translation: CBC lifer with connections to the telecom industry that has so effectively shafted Canada for decades. Also, I love the “doctoral studies” minus the doctorate at the end. Next.

Louis Lalande:

Mr. Lalande has been in the news business for 25 years, mainly at Radio-Canada. Before joining CBC/Radio-Canada’s Senior Executive Team, he was Executive Director of Regional Services, which comprise television, radio and web services. Prior to that, he helped establish the Centre de l’information de Radio-Canada in Montreal where he was the News and Current Affairs Director for ICI Radio-Canada Télé and ICI RDI for more than two years, after having been Executive Director of Technical Production. Mr. Lalande stopped working for the national public broadcaster for a few years during which he notably created LCN, TVA’s all-news television channel. (source)

Translation: is it…someone appropriate for the job? Holy shit, folks! It’s someone with relevant experience!! Maybe this is why the French-language CBC is so vastly superior to the English one.

Monique Marcotte:

As of May 2015, Monique Marcotte, Executive Director, Corporate Human Resources Services and Strategic Planning, is serving as Acting Vice-President, People and Culture. (source)

Uh…what? Bless you, I think? By the way, that’s it on her page. Who needs any more information than that? Her Linkedin page says she’s been there since 2009. Yeah, I’m going to go ahead and call suspicious on this one.

Judith Purves:

Before joining CBC/Radio-Canada, Ms. Purves was a Finance Executive with IBM, holding a number of progressively more senior positions, most recently based in New York as VP and CFO IBM Global Financing. Other significant positions held include CFO of IBM Canada Ltd, IBM Global Services Pricing Executive and Chief Accountant IBM Canada. She has led a number of significant organizational transformations. (source)

“Global Services Pricing Executive”. On something that’s free to the public. Someone remind me again – what does IBM have in common with a public broadcaster? Oh, right. Nothing.

So there you have it – the nerve center of the CBC. With a list of corporate hacks and unrelated experience dominating the entirity of the CBC’s English contingent and most of the French one, nothing can possibly go wrong!  With this lot at the helm, the probability that Canada will right anything with its public broadcaster is comfortably low. Who needs reform when ignorance is cheaper and easier to put together?

Except Louis Lalande – that guy, if the content on French-language CBC is any indicator, is a goddamn boss. The music is absolutely appropriate for Mr. Lalande. Skill! Talent! Proven ability to plan and create! An angelic choir sings to the glory of the CBC getting one hire right. Obviously, he is French and therefore unacceptable to caker-logic, but I know better than that. Manage on, you elderly, silver haired Quebecois man. Manage like the wind.

Advertisements

#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:

Ombudsman

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.