Free To Be CBC
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Free To Be CBC

On Wednesday, Condoleezza Rice gave a press conference about the South Ossetia war, taking the opportunity to gently chastise Russia on behalf of the American government for not ending military operations in the region. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, like many other news organizations, had a live feed from the White House to televisions across Canada during the conference—that is, until the feed got knocked out mid-question, just as a reporter was comparing Russia’s moves in the past week to the United States’ just after September 11.
Canadians watching likely thought nothing of it, as the feed suddenly dropped, replaced briefly by colour bars and then a cut to a news anchor back in studio remarking that “we seem to have lost our line there to the press conference.” But our nonchalance is not shared everywhere. A clip of the feed cutting out was uploaded to YouTube initially titled “The Truth about Georgia gets censored again on TV,” and is now racking up views there, jettisoned in large part by the video’s enormous popularity on Digg and the complete obliviousness of many of the people watching it.
In the comments on both YouTube and Digg (don’t look, seriously), users unaware that the broadcaster is none other than Canada’s national public broadcaster insist that either FOX, CNN, NBC, or ABC is at it again; it’s a near-perfect video for the segment of the American public that trusts nothing its mainstream media does anymore and that can’t seem to correctly identify which channel is which anyway. (The video’s now titled “911 comparison with Georgian Crisis gets censored on TV,” and the description of it now eventually names the channel.) Too bad the accusation of censorship is a total dud: American channels had no such technical difficulties, as channels such as CNN aired the press conference in its entirety, including the reporter’s full question and Rice’s full answer. If any broadcaster was to censor a question critical of the United States’ foreign policy—or, as some have conspiracy-theorized, if someone at the White House had chosen to magically block any one broadcaster—it probably wouldn’t have been the CBC on either end of a pulled plug.
Besides, until last week, the worst we thought the CBC was capable of was censoring gruesome details about cannibalism until those details were presented in court. But if Canada’s biggest news organization is considering massive and pervasive censorship, we’d suggest forgetting about this whole Georgia thing and concentrating instead on somehow blocking footage of other countries winning Olympic medals. That Phelps dude is killing us.