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Oct 24/19

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The date that appears above is the date of the most recent reviews. As new reviews are added, the date will change accordingly. The new reviews will appear towards the top of the page and the older ones will move further down. When the page is closed, the items will be archived according to the final date on the page.

Reviewed here: Election Coverage October 21, 2019 (Television)

CBC Election Coverage 2019

Here at Dilettante’s Diary, we review the arts, not politics. So my comments on the national event on Monday, October 21st, will be about the way the CBC TV handled the election coverage.

You might say that I’m not the ideal person to comment on any television broadcast, since I watch so little of that medium. Apart from an hour or so of the Academy Awards, election night is pretty much my only time for tv watching.

However, I do know a good show when I see one.

And this one certainly was. (Had a few quick glimpses at other election broadcasts but hurried back to CBC each time.) Maybe the best way to say what was good about it would be simply to list the many excellent points: the wit, charm, intelligence and poise of the host, Rosemary Barton; the erudition and wisdom of the many commentators (especially Chantal Hbert, Andrew Coyne, Bob Rae). The dazzling – and very effective – computer generated images. The rapidity of the updates. The clear, easily understandable graphs and numerical tables.

It was good to see Peter Mansbridge as a guest, given that he was for many years the indisputed star of the event. (But I think he should get rid of the whiskers.)

Any drawbacks, flaws? Just one, regarding the set. Those pictures of the party leaders in the background tended to conflict with the actual presence of the commentators in the foreground. At times, you tended to get confused between the real persons and the photos.

A few times during the broadcast, we moved to a panel of more person-in-the-street types of commentators, one of them being Calgary’s mayor, Naheed Nenshi. The idea was to get the reaction of people who might respond as ordinary Canadians, not political experts. I didn’t find the contributions of this panel particularly insightful but I suppose it was valid to give us some sense of how the diversity of the population might respond to the election results.

The fact that I only lasted till about 11:30 is no fault of the producers. It’s because I can’t stand the leaders’ speeches. The screaming and yelling from the adoring supporters show humanity at a somewhat less noble level of evolution than hyenas. I did catch Maxime Bernier’s speech but it was mercifully short. For obvious reasons, there wasn’t much cheering.

It amazes me that the CBC can stage such a complex, live event with such smoothness and polish. (Only once did I catch a glimpse of a cameraman over someone’s shoulder.) How on earth do the producers co-ordinate all the behind-the-scenes deliberations and decisions, not to mention the cues to the on-air personnel? Maybe sometime the CBC will favour us with a documentary about how its done.

This production convinced me that television – sans commercials – actually is a good invention.

You can respond to: patrick@dilettantesdiary.com