Can government funded media be impartial?

I ask the question because when I debate funding with my Canadian family for the Canadian public broadcasting service (the CBC), it’s often asserted that the government should fund public broadcasting so that it can give the people impartial information.

Now, for the moment we’ll assume that it is possible to have impartial information. Even with that, however, I’m not sure how the government funded broadcaster can be impartial when dealing with the parties to political disputes in Canada, when at least one of the parties to political disputes has as its basis, a belief that public broadcasting should have lesser (or in the case of radical conservatives like myself, eliminated) public funding. Will the publicly funded media be able to treat impartially those who advocate against their existence as an entity? It seems that in such an instance, they become a party to the political disagreement.

Of course it is possible to be impartial in that instance, but not very likely. This is especially true when one realizes that the majority of those working in Public broadcasting believe strongly in public broadcasting… that’s one of the reasons they work there.

Public broadcasting, in the sense of a broadcaster funded by the government, it seems, cannot be impartial to political disputes because they are themselves a party. They may not be officially part of a given political party, but they are an entity with a large vested interest in whatever decisions are made by Canada’s general public, and a vested interest that lies directly with the fact that they are (about 75%) taxpayer funded.

To me, this means that public broadcasting cannot meet its stated goal of providing impartial information to inform an electorate, not because the public broadcaster is evil, but just because they are a public broadcaster.

At this point, my opponents usually switch gears and tell me that the corporate media are no better. To be honest, I agree. Corporations are also biased and will not usually provide impartial information. That said, there is one benefit that the private news media has over the public one from my perspective.

Canadians aren’t forced to pay for the private media.

Online Reading (March 27, 2008)

Islam: Geert Wilders finally releases his openly anti-Islamic film.

Oil: The price of oil goes up to $107 US. I’m glad I don’t own a car.

Catholicism:  Americans ask: Who’s this Pope Benedict guy anyway?

Culture: Does virtual worship actually draw people into the physical Church buildings?

Journalism: Apparently good news is no news on Iraq, a new pew analysis finds

Online Reading (March 13, 2008)

If you like me actually doing these things, thank Newfoundland weather. :-)

Homeschooling: An LA Times editorial sees Homeschooling as elitist and illiberal (avoid snickering here). Al Mohler responds.

Martyrdom: The Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Iraq is found dead.

Separated at Birth: Irish Calvinist finds out that Ray Comfort (Way of the Master) bears an uncanny resemblance to Pink Panther star Peter Sellers.

Humor:Beware Peer Pressure.

Online Reading (January 30, 2008)

Neighbour rage: In Italy a trial begins for those accused of killing their neighbours because of too much noise.

Shocker: After several deaths in Canada due to tasers, a study finds that they may not be safe.

Christianity: The Associated Press finally notices the Christian bestseller “Blue Like Jazz

Caveat: If you wrestle in Jello, you accept the risks!

Parenting and the Bible: If your kids memorize Bible, give them context.

Online Reading (January 29, 2008)

Religion and Science: Pope Benedict again wades into the debate.

Faith and Brains: (from 2 weeks ago) John Stackhouse publishes an impatient response to the questions about education and faith.

Newfoundland and…. Poland?: The local paper of record makes very superficial links between Poland and Newfoundland. Gee, maybe I should apply for a reporting job. I can ignore substantive cultural differences too!!!!

Christian Teaching: Tim Challies has a good piece on seeking good teachers as Christians.

Online Reading (January 28, 2008)

Mormonism: Gordon Hinkley dies, meaning the LDS has to find another president/prophet.

Greek Orthodox: The changing of the guard continues as Archbishop Christodoulos of the Greek orthodox Church dies.

Freedom of Expression: 90% of Americans think we should be able to express our religious faith (as long as it makes no one uncomfortable), what happened to the other 10%?

Legal weirdness: Apparently an Idaho court believes that you can copyright a cease and desist letter.

Homicidal Soldiers: Mark Steyn comments on the New York Times’ articles linking active service in the US military to murder stateside (the “Public Editor” attempts a defense here).