Diplomatic Pots And Kettles

I wish I knew whothis guywas, because I’d love to ask him a question.

Here’s what he said about the CBC in one of the gagillion documents recently released by WikiLeaks.

In a document dated Jan. 1, 2008, a U.S. diplomat at the embassy in Ottawa writes to Washington that the CBC has “long gone to great pains to highlight the distinction between Canadians and Americans in its programming, generally at our expense.”

The cable then warns that an increasing number of CBC television programs such as The Border, Intelligence and even Little Mosque on the Prairie “offer Canadian viewers their fill of nefarious American officials carrying out equally nefarious deeds in Canada while Canadian officials either oppose them or fall trying.”

The diplomat goes on: “While this situation hardly constitutes a public diplomacy crisis per se, the degree of comfort with which Canadian broadcast entities, including those financed by Canadian tax dollars, twist current events to feed long-standing negative images of the U.S. — and the extent to which the Canadian public seems willing to indulge in the feast — is noteworthy as an indication of the kind of insidious negative popular stereotyping we are increasingly up against in Canada.”

First of all it’s worth noting that somebody’s tax dollars more than likely paid for this individual to write that, a fact that makes me want to hurt myself by running head first into things with very little give to them. But I said I’d ask a question of our overly defencive friend, so I guess I should do that first.

If what’s on offer from the CBC is so negatively slanted against your country that it’s worth noting as something that could possibly harm diplomatic relations, I’d love to hear your opinion on what must be literally hundreds of thousands of American produced movies and television shows that depict Chinese/Japanese/Arab/I could probably go on forever but you get the idea people in a similar, negative light. Could the fact that the groups I mentioned and surely countless others are almost never presented in the role of the good guy not be looked upon as just as damaging to relations? And could an argument not be made that the damage could be even greater considering that there’s a lot less violence and death in some of the problem shows you reference than there is in much of what your industry is putting out there? If you’re a crusader against this kind of bigotry no matter who it comes from that’s one thing, but otherwise I must ask why it’s ok for Hollywood to build an entire industry on this kind of stereotyping, but the moment it’s turned back on you in the form of programming with only a small fraction of the audience it’s somehow wrong and needs a federal case made out of it? You do know what they say about those living in glass houses or embassys in this case not throwing stones, don’t you?

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