April 13: Tyler Morgenstern: Reimagine CBC & Tewodros Asfaw on media theory and perception

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Listen to entire program here:

As the Harper regime ratchets up its attack on working people and civil society in general with cuts to the CBC, slashing jobs and services in the federal government, engaging in a criminal conspiracy with the F-35 fighter jets, and more – and ON TOP of all that happened while it was a minority government, we are faced with what can only be described as an existential crisis in this country.  The official opposition is powerless to stop anything this government does, and increasingly we are moving to what is often termed extra-parliamentary forms of action in order to do two things: build awareness and solidarity in the working class, and to plan what forms of civil disobedience may be required to counter the totalitarian nature of this government and the faulty electoral system that allowed it to come to power in the first place. How we communicate with each other is of course crucial and although social media is playing a huge role in communicating to organize, we are left with a huge gap in how we analyze what is going on and communicate that analysis across the country from a working class perspective.

The corporate media has of course long ago perched itself as chief propagandist for the ruling elites, but the CBC is still the only media outlet independent of the big telecom and cable companies that own so much of the media. It’s painfully evident that much of the CBC is run by the same type of for profit managers found in any corporation, and I suppose the downhill slide became unstoppable when commercials started to air on The National and that same program gets bumped for Don Cherry and hockey games. So in the furor building over the huge cuts to the CBC budget, the calls have grown louder to Save the CBC! Yet we have to be honest and admit that much of the CBC is probably not worth saving. News programs such as Dispatches on CBC Radio and Connect on TV are cut but the Lang and O’Leary Exchange will continue. Kevin O’Leary appears in multiple CBC programs and so his minority opinion on economic and political issues is outsized because of his exposure.

So, the question here on Friday’s program was what is there to save of the CBC, and are we thinking “outside the box” in terms of alternative models for a publicly funded, independent  media that we can rely on to represent our interests, rather than the interests of the ruling elites? We need a media that is not simply the propaganda arm of government or corporations.

In the studio was Marxist observer and University of Windsor student, Tewodros Asfaw who will guide us through some media and communication theory, and on the phone from BC, was Vancouverite Tyler Morgenstern, an activist, writer,  musician and a spokesperson for Reimagine CBC, a project of OpenMedia.ca and Leadnow seeking to renew the CBC as an enabler of “…collaboration, civic engagement, conversation, innovation and new forms of storytelling.”

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Tewodros Asfaw started off the discussion with an overview of media theory and practice in broad terms:

Morgenstern eloquently sums up why the CBC is so crucial and he points out that their are many CBCs:

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In this clip Morgenstern describes how the Reimagine CBC project came about and how it functions: 

Morgenstern agrees that  greater collaboration with community media outlets is crucial and coupled with greater access to the vast archives of the CBC by independent community media producers could create an authentic peoples’ media:

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