Crime, Crime and More Crime

I don’t know why I ever listen to or watch the news. I find it extraordinarily frustrating. I turned on the CBC’s Early Edition this morning and the first three local news stories concerned crime (leading off with the eight-day-old Merritt shooting).

At the moment I’ve got CBC TV news on and they led with two crime stories, followed by a story about automated bathrooms, the weather and finishing up with a piece about a piano prodigy. Is this really what amounts to credible news in this country? Has the CBC lost this much perspective?

And this, keep in mind, is the CBC. They’re the best this nation has to offer in TV and news reporting.

Shame on them for fostering the “if it bleeds, it leads” mentality that’s so prevalent in our mainstream media. It’s exploitative and irresponsible. When our state-subsidized media is this lousy with FUD, who have we got left?

And just to clear something up: don’t believe the hype on crime. Canada is a very safe country. Crime rates have been more or less in decline since 1990, and are currently at a 1978 level. Unless you’re a criminal, your risk of experiencing violent crime is extremely small.

Any time you hear the media fostering fear about slavering rapists and murderers at your door, think critically about the news. Who does your fear serve, except advertisers?


  1. I noticed the same thing listening to CBC today, and was similarly annoyed. Is this a trend, or just something that’s more pronounced this day in April?

  2. The CBC maintained its integrity longer than CNN. I haven’t given up hope on them (CBC) yet, but I’m not very optimistic. I pretty much stick with the BBC now.

  3. I’ve noticed the same thing. And lately, on top of the crime hype, they’ve had some very shoddy reporting. It makes me sad to realise that it isn’t all in my mind and that other people have apparently noticed it too. You know we will have hit the bottom when they start sensationalising the weather reports. (I’m surprised that Seattle hasn’t been completely obliterated by all the ‘deadly’ rain and snow they seem to have down there).

  4. Kirsti: It’s funny you should mention the weather, because I caught a CBC promo singing the praises of Claire Martin as a “certified broadcast meteorologist” and how she’s been named “”Best Weather Presenter in the World” three times.

    I’m not impugning Ms. Martin here, but is this really a differentiator? “Our weather reader is slightly better than your weather reader”? I’m sure Ms. Martin’s very good at her job, but how does that matter? To paraphrase an under-rated movie, “she just reads the weather”.

    Given the rise of the web and weather-aware devices, it’s shocking to me that the news bothers to broadcast the weather in 2008.

  5. I stopped listening to CBC news a while back, as it became more and more sensational and fear-focussed. I don’t see much difference between them and most mainstream reporting, which is a loss, but the grand prize for fear mongering and crime-obsession still goes to CTV. Blech.

  6. Good point Darren, here is the CBC Ombudsman’s website so any of you who listen to the news on CBC can file a complaint about this issue — the CBC is a public entity and we need to speak up about it to make it better.

  7. Chris: Thanks for that. I’m pretty sure at least a few local CBC people read my blog, so hopefully the message will get through that way.

    I’ve actually been down the path of the Ombudsman before. I did eventually get a reasonably satisfactory reply, but it took about four months. I need an ombusperson for the CBC ombudsman. Gah, it’s turtles all the way down.

  8. Kirsti – it’s already happening, haven’t you noticed Rick Fluff… err… Cluff’s constant state of surprise at fairly routine Vancouver weather?

    This morning’s “political panel” was even more ridiculous than normal, with Rafe Mair & Mo Sihota attempting to pin the blame for the aforementioned Merritt shooting directly on Gordon Campbell. I am beginning to wonder if they only trot out these old hacks for the laughter value. I would love to hear some real debate on the morning news, but this is not it.

  9. Hello darren,
    I tried to contact with you directly but there was no way. So the only way to contact with you is through comments, I promise you, I will express my opinion later on the above presented issue, but now I need your help.
    I am doing my PHD, and for this I have to do several researches and one of them concerns search engines. At first everything went well, however, the more I probed deeper, the more I came across with a number of serious questions. How can you explain me the situation that very valuable and important information concerning this or that issue can be found on 10th page and not on the 1st , how good ranking is achieved and what one should do to get on that elusive first page. Does somebody control the flow of information and organize it the way he likes and do we choose the information we are looking for or there is no other choice left. More, if network providers are allowed to build next generation as pay-to-play system, who will pay the price? Again we…
    The picture became quite sad when I come across with the following situation. It appears that there is a kind of organization that offers us the following: as we, the people are supposed to be the owners of the Internet, they offer everybody a way due to which collective mind filtering and data indexing will be controlled by us. According to them, the idea of decentralization, (which seems quite impossible for me in the case of Internet) becomes quite implementable.
    I found myself in a complete mass and as you are a professional in this field I really need your help and advice. Check and tell me, please, whether what they offer is possible. I really need your advice, please, provide me with good tips, as you always do. If it is possible then the data of my research is nothing more than garbage in- garbage out. Thank you for your time and consideration. Hope to hear from you soon.

  10. John: I haven’t answered because I figured your message was thinly-veiled spam for Maybe it is.

    Plus, I’m no expert in search. Lastly, yours is not a simply-answered question, and it’s a very busy time for me.

    So, apologies, but I’d recommend you ask some other folks. In particular, you want to talk to SEO experts. Start with the likes of Alex at or Aaron at

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