Saturday, June 20, 2009

(Video) Thanks for all the broooadcasts, Don

Even as a fairly nerdy politico, at times I just tune-out some of the political coverage we have on television in Canada. The MPs talking over each other with their talking-points, the screeching party strategists putting out spin that defies all logic, it could become like nails on a chalkboard. The reduction of what should be a serious and weighty thing, the debate over the best governance of our country, to something akin to professional wresting.

But the rare beacon of sanity, the rare bastion of journalism, in that sea of mediocrity was always CBC's Politics, and its venerable host Don Newman. While he'd still have the mandatory panels, he'd keep them in line and he'd make sure that, as the tag line went, the spin stops here.

But it went beyond that. While many hosts would just let the hacks or flacks spout their often ridiculous talking-points unchallenged, Newman always remembered it was the role of the journalist not to give a platform for propaganda, but to challenge, to question, so as to inform Canadians. And that he did, a velvet-glove concealing a steal fist as he challenged countless guests on their spin. Liberal, Conservative, NDP, it didn't matter, Don would call you on it if you tried to sneak one by him. That's all too rare in journalism these days.

And it wasn't just about the day-to-day melodrama of Parliament Hill on Politics. He'd tackle substantive issues, bringing-in experts to discuss an upcoming NATO conference, or trade policy, bringing substance to the often overlooked but very important stories that can impact our lives in a much greater way than who's hot and who's not this week, or what Laureen Harper's cat got up to last week.

Don Newman was a journalist, and I think that's the highest compliment that can be paid him. Thanks for all the broadcasts Don, and so long for now. You'll be missed.

(Here's some highlights from Don's last show:)

(And here's one of my favourite Newman clips, where he relentlessly grills a hapless John Baird during last winter's coalition/prorogation drama. The spin really did stop there that day:)

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sjw said...

I believe Don Newman's departure will be the catalyst that propels me to CPAC for my full time political wants and needs. Susan Bonner and CTV are not options I care to consider.

A Eliz. said...

If Politics is to stay on News world, it won't be the same without Don, but I think that Susan Bonner would be able to do it.

RuralSandi said...

Quite the contrast - Duffy leaves in the dark of night losing respect and credibility. Newman leave with dignity and respect.

Hmmm....why didn't Harper say a little something?

Jeff said...

I thought Danny Williams got in a nice little dig at Duffy during his tribute to Newman.