Like most people in this province, I’m a bit of a political junkie. I enjoy news coverage of political issues, though it is invariably a “he said, she said” situation, with politicians jockeying constantly to get on the winning message track.
What I love more than anything is political commentary. I wolf down the editorials and columns in The Telegram, and the raucous political debates that occur on VOCM Open Line.
On CBC, the high point has to be “On Point” TV and radio, which airs Saturdays at 7:30 pm on television and Fridays at 3:30 pm on radio. It’s not commentary, but host David Cochrane asks some tough questions and is quick to catch interview subjects – usually politicians and public figures at the centre of a controversy – when they are slipping off message, contradicting themselves, or just saying something stupid. It’s great local television, and comes highly recommended. You can watch archived interviews at:
While there, check out the recent episode of “On Point Radio”, which airs Friday afternoons at 3:30 pm. It features probing back and forth discussion with a political panel, as well as calls from listeners, who go toe-to-toe with the panel, making for some of the rowdiest, rockingest radio in the country. And previous episodes are available as podcasts on iTunes. Kudos to the webmasters at CBC, who have done a great job of presenting “On Point” at the site, and, of course, to David Cochrane for making it all happen.
While “On Point” in particular is excellent, my only quibble with CBC’s coverage is the lack of editorial commentary. For once, I would like to see a senior journalist or editor look at the camera and say, “This is what the story means.” They come close to this, on occasion, when a reporter appears on radio to offer background on a story. There is some analysis and drawing together of various threads of a story, but generally no statement of opinion.
And that’s what I’d like to see – an editorial. After all the political accusations and counter-accusations of the day, it would be nice to see a daily or weekly “What Just Happened” item, to put it all into perspective.
I realize that journalists are generally not permitted to voice opinions on stories. I understand and accept that. However, there are enough senior people working behind the scenes, removed from gathering and presenting stories on-air, who can speak in a more opinionated way. (Imagine, for example, a local version of Rex Murphy, except one who is speaking on behalf of the newsroom, in the same way a Telegram editorial speaks on behalf of that paper.)
This may be thinking “outside the box” for CBC, but I guarantee that viewers will lap it up.
Because we are all political junkies.