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Harper government game-playing and the media crisis

So let’s get this straight. Seems CanWest hired a former senior advisor to Stephen Harper to help with its lobbying efforts to stave off bankruptcy.

This is only reported after Heritage Minister James Moore says he’s considering ways to help private broadcasters weather the economic storm.

Meanwhile, CBC management dutifully meets with Moore to look for what little help a crown corporation can seek, since it can’t get loans or other financial breaks. Let’s remember the government and parliament are directly responsible for the CBC and as Heritage Minister, this job falls to Moore. But what happens?

Somebody leaks the fact and content of the CBC-Moore meetings to a SunMedia columnist, part of the Quebecor chain which takes every opportunity to slam what it considers to be a media rival, especially in Quebec. The Sun piece ridicules the idea that the CBC should be seeking help from the government.

Greg Weston’s most recent column uses indirect quotes to provide unsubstantiated information about the CBC, its budget crisis, the potential number of layoffs and the minister’s support for the Corporation.

Someone’s playing games here and they should stop.

Now the minister would be wise to move on to the real business of funding the CBC appropriately according to recommendations of the all-party Heritage committee of a year ago, before completely violating the arm’s length relationship between the government and the public broadcaster. See our open letter to the minister about this.

More on the government’s plans for looser regulations for the private broadcasters once we have the details. Should have lots to say.

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