A Small Room in Washington, Two Hacks and Two Flags

…that’s about all the CBC Newsworld could muster for the coverage of the mid-term elections in the USA last night. We were treated to Don Newman and Henry Champ, two “veteran journalists” with classic “like watching paint dry” style, sitting in a room somewhere in Washington on two desk chairs, with a Canadian and a US flag in the background.

The “trusted. connected. canadian” CBC is obviously of the opinion that the elections in the US don’t matter all that much to Canadians.

The irony is that the election the night before, in Yukon, received wall-to-wall Newsworld coverage. The fact that the elections in Yukon are completely irrelevant to the lives of most anyone outside Yukon doesn’t seem to have factored into the equation.

The results of the Republican sweep last night in the US will have tremendous effects on our day to day lives in Canada. No doubt more so than even the “controversy in Ottawa” that led the National last night.

The thing is I want to know about the mid-term elections from a “Canadian perspective.” I would watch for the entire evening if the CBC applied Yukon-style resources to the US coverage.

Alas, twas not in the cards.


Johnny's picture
Johnny on November 6, 2002 - 18:26 Permalink

I like Don Newman and Henry Champ. I’d rather watch two guys in a room who don’t have their heads up their ass than the 7500 or so completely interchangeable reporters that CNN had covering the whole thing.

Alan's picture
Alan on November 6, 2002 - 19:20 Permalink

Watching the US stations made clear to me that the mid-term US elections must be the most difficult of all elections to present on TV. So much happens on that day except a major focus as during presidential years. How to Americans have a clue about what exactly happened?

The best is watching UK elections on BBC world — no poll counts, only final counts per riding. Also, candidates are all on stage riding per riding. So Blair stands next to the beaming Monster Raving Loonie Party candidate to find out if he won. No shots of family crowded around the TV in hotel rooms.

steve rukavina's picture
steve rukavina on November 6, 2002 - 20:43 Permalink


The CBC has a “mobile election team” that covers provincial and territorial elecions across the country. While not infallible (they mistakenly called an NDP majority government in Saskatchewan a couple of years back and it turned out to be a slim minority with the help fo some stray liberals). I’m going to try and stick up for the corp here. We work on a limited budget, so we have to focus sometimes on the main tenets of our mandate…such as providing services and reaching places that private broadcasters would not dare to reach.

I think it’s safe to say that one one else would offer live television coverage of the election in the Yukon. I think it’s also fair to say that many television outlets provided live coverage of the American midterm elections. And I think it’s fair to say that intense CBC coverage of the US elections, despite a few “what does this mean froma canadian persepctive” tidbits, wouldn’t have differed significantly from available and easily accesible american coverage.

What I’m trying to say is that Canadians interested in live US election coverage had several options. People in the Yukon had none. Sometimes at CBC we have to look at not how many people might be interested in a certain subject…but the degree to which certain people might be extremely interested in a certain subject and what options they have. I think we should be proud of a network that does a hell of service for the people of the Yukon, and that tries it’s best to assess priorities in way that gives Canadians access to things they couldn’t get anywhere else.

stephengood's picture
stephengood on November 6, 2002 - 22:00 Permalink

as a canadian living in the u.s. the thing that surprises me about u.s. elections is that they have referenda about everything down here. they hold votes to build jails, abolish taxes and in Texas they put tons of stuff that we would think of as laws into their state constitution which means putting that to a vote. in canada it just seems that a referendum is a Big Thing but in the u.s. it’s all just part of going to the polls.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on November 7, 2002 - 01:09 Permalink

Was there a U.S.election? Who won?