Saturday, May 12, 2012

Are the producers of Hockey Night in Canada trying to get shut down?

Recently, Hockey Night in Canada's Ron MacLean compared the heroics of hockey players to the heroics of the various first responders in 9/11. There's absolutely nothing right about this comparison, and a lot of people have critiqued MacLean as being smug, too smart, and trying to be clever. He was, in my opinion, being an idiot.

I don't feel the need to slam MacLean for his word choice. That's been done elsewhere, and better. But I am going to ask a question that the CBC should be considering: do you guys want to get Hockey Night in Canada shut down permanently? Seriously, do you want to all be out of a job?

Canada's public broadcaster is in the middle of a series of cuts from Canada's Conservative government. Whether true or not, the Conservatives have long considered the CBC to be a bastion of liberal (or perhaps Liberal) ideals, and have turned their axe towards the broadcasting agency. As a result, the ability of the CBC to compete for the lucrative NHL contract for Canadian television may very well be hampered, something that hasn't been in question in Canada since the NHL started putting games on television. Bell's CTV/TSN networks have already taken over broadcasting the Olympics from the CBC - could Saturday night hockey, a bastion of generations of Canadian identity, be next?

I have no doubt that Harper's people would love an excuse to reduce CBC to a shadow of itself. Harper is a huge hockey fan, but I don't think he cares which station he watches it on. MacLean and the producers need to be extremely careful to keep their nose clean, lest they offend a segment of Canadians who will otherwise rally to fight for the preserved existence of Hockey Night in Canada. Don Cherry has already offended a lot of Canadians, but his offensiveness is part of his charm; MacLean is supposed to be the even hand on the tiller that controls as best he can the loose cannon of Cherry. I hate to think that the great legacy of broadcasters like Foster Hewitt and Bob Cole could be lost because of a few stupid thoughts by the oversmug Ron MacLean.

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