A national public broadcaster should inform us about the important things happening in Canada as well as the world.
Yet on September 26 the CBC devoted the lead 18 minutes of its flagship news program, “The National”, to the US Senate confirmation hearing of the US president’s nominee to that county’s Supreme Court. The program was repeated hourly. All the “experts” interviewed by the program host were American. This scenario was reprised later on the program “Power and Politics.” Meanwhile, much of the world including social media was discussing and condemning the bellicose speech at the United Nations General Assembly by Donald Trump and the major addresses by leaders of other important states deliberating on the issues facing their countries and humanity. The sole reference by the CBC to these interventions in the UN is the occasional trailer crossing the screen at the bottom of the broadcast.
Today, “The National” has been given over to a live non-stop broadcast of seven hours (and counting) of testimony to the hearing of the US Senate in Washington by Dr Christine Blasey Ford, who alleges she was a victim of sexual aggression by the nominated judge, Brett Kavanaugh, who also testified in the afternoon.
“The National” is seriously misnamed. “It is a crucial day, one which could determine the future direction of the US Supreme Court,” intoned anchor Andrew Nichols. That may well be but why the US Supreme Court is of such significance for Canadians is never mentioned. It is a US state senator who is asked, “what do you make of this day?” Another anchor termed it “historic,” without explaining why. Guest panelists dutifully opined this and that without once asking why does the CBC deem this of such national importance. The 30-minute break of the senators for lunch was filled with interviews with experts, as well as a second 45-minute break. The underlying premise is that the rule of law reigns supreme in the United States which is threatened by factional politics, where in fact the executive and the military and police power trump the rule of the law and due process, just as the US lectures the rest of the world on “human rights” while trampling international law in committing innumerable crimes against humanity with impunity.
For example, Dr Ford, the victim, tried very hard not to embroil herself in the fighting and to stick to her case, earning the sympathy of all the senators and media for her credibility. She seemed to answer questions as an honest person would, even conceding weak spots rather than issuing implausible denials. Portraying himself as an All-American, straight-A choirboy type from a private school, Judge Kavanaugh protested his innocence – he has not been charged with any crime. But his anger seemed to be that of the entitlement of the aristocrat: he is threatened with being denied a position that was rightly his by birth and privilege. He is demanding what is his.
But he tried to defend himself in the general context of the factional warfare by resorting to the American maxim: “The best defence is a good offence” is an adage that has been applied to many fields of endeavour, including games and military combat. It is also known as the strategic offensive principle of imperialist war. Kavanaugh virulently attacked a “million-dollar” “left wing conspiracy” in a manner reminiscent of Hillary Clinton and her “vast right wing conspiracy” in the 1990s, of which he claimed both he and Dr Ford were victims! The victimizer with the support of the Republican quarterback, Lindsey Graham, became the victim. Further, he used a tactic of interrupting and babbling on as well as bluster so as to use up the interrogator’s five minutes with pointless diversions. Not only did he show himself to be very belligerent, the media and other members of the elite began asking what got into him.
Nevertheless, though he refused to straightforwardly answer a question put by Democrat Senators – 9 times; “will you agree to a FBI investigation?” or not? – and clearly tried to evade and divert the issue, not one single Senator of these “democrats” nor any of the “experts” declared the politicized FBI should actually investigate him from the standpoint that sexual assault is a crime which should be prosecuted. Nor did any of these “democrats” ask this judge, “Why did you support torture and illegal detention as part of the Bush administration?” Or about his role in the Kenneth Starr investigation of President Bill Clinton’s involvement with White House intern Monica Lewinski. Further in this game, they wasted time by asking Kavanaugh hypothetical questions they knew he was not going to answer. For their part, the Republican Senators refused to call witnesses whom Dr Ford said were present at that night in 1982. There is also the small matter of 45,000 documents that have not been released, as exposed by Prof. Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law.
After the hearing, James Comey, the former FBI director, entered the fray and tweeted, “Small lies matter.” He seemed to be referring to the exchange between Kavanaugh and Senator Richard Blumenthal who began his questioning by stating [In law, there’s a Latin phrase that means] “false in one thing, false in everything” – that is, why it is important to look at little things, like lies about the famous high school yearbook. Nathan G. Robinson, editor of Current Affairs, analyzed the “small lies” in Kavanaugh’s testimony in great detail and convicts him of perjury (see here). The American Bar Association called for delaying a confirmation vote until an FBI investigation could be completed. The association previously rated Kavanaugh as “well qualified.” It now says that “the rule of law and due process” demand a delay.“Imagine what the American Bar Association would say if a confirmation to that court openly rejects the rule of law and due process,” said the New York Times. The Supreme Court, of course, is supposed to represent the pinnacle of due process. This is as fictional as is the fabled separation of powers in US governance. The US executive, police and military power trump the rule of law with impunity. Trump has already involved the intelligence services and the FBI to disrupt the Mueller judicial investigation.
The cold war brewing hot within the US ruling class does merit serious and enlightened analysis. It cannot be personalized as the behaviour of some bad individual. The movement of the opposition and anger of Americans to the direction of their country cannot be reduced to and equated to some “Resistance” inside that class or even within the executive power. This civil war has dangerous implications to the Canadian and world’s people, who are facing the heightening danger of war from the deepening of the inter-imperialist rivalries on the regional and the world scale and nation wrecking by the neoliberal, anti-social agenda.
Of this, the CBC seems incapable of a national, independent and coherent view. More and more, both the CBC and CTV give a pride of place to US happenings and a place of honour to the politicians and “experts” of the US, whose media and elite are being globalized as decisive voices. There are huge economic interests leading the campaign against Trump; the Washington Post is owned by billionaire Jeff Bezos (owner of Amazon). That there is a factional struggle in the American ruling elite, the quarrels amongst them as to who is a predator and who is not, who is suited for the judicial power or who is not, who is a globalist and who is not, who is for NAFTA and who is not, and who is left and who is right do not enlighten us about the problems and how to solve them. The truth – and the danger – is that this approach included the promotion of bin Laden and his associates in Afghanistan in the 1980s, the insistence on the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the portrayal of all forms of Israeli aggression and massacres as not up to war crimes. Perhaps the Trudeau Liberals are aligned with one of these imperialist factions and setting the agenda of the CBC, a state monopoly. Canadians know they have no solutions to bring. We are not spectators of the imperial court and its theatre. We have a sovereign nation to build.