“Taming the dragon: Should the CBC muzzle Kevin O’Leary?” was the title of an article by Marsha Lederman in Toronto’s Globe and Mail last Saturday. Kevin O’Leary is a television personality who regularly appears on the publicly-owned CBC and models himself on his colleagues on Fox News in the United States.
This is the first paragraph of the article:
“From the beach at a posh Bahamas hotel, Kevin O’Leary is assuring Amanda Lang, via Skype, that the Japanese earthquake and subsequent nuclear disaster – though horrific, he takes pains to point out – may be just what Japan needs for an economic turnaround. ‘I’m very bullish on nuclear right now,’ O’Leary pronounces in attire that is more beach than business. ‘It’s a buying opportunity.’”
To answer the question: No, there are no policy grounds on which the CBC should not muzzle Kevin O’Leary. Clearly, he represents a point of view held by many taxpayers.
It would be another matter if we lived in a world where aesthetic considerations determined such questions. There must be a considerable section of the CBC’s audience that considers Kevin O’Leary’s remarks on being “bullish on nuclear right now” profoundly offensive because the remarks are in atrocious taste, even if there are probably many on Bay Street and Wall Street who agree with him.
Aesthetic considerations have two elements:
(1) It is not easy to define good and bad taste;
(2) Bad taste is good box office.
As to (1), in the context under discussion one might take the view that any statement that does not take into account human suffering is in bad taste.
As to (2), this is one of the many characteristics of homo sapiens that makes the species more entertaining than most other creatures. However, the fact that the devil usually has the best lines – in Faust, for example – does not give him the right to demand prime time on public radio and television.