On TVO’s The Agenda

The Agenda with Steve Paikin is a taxpayer funded public affairs shown on TVO here in Ontario. It’s good… and it’s not.  The two opposites can be true at the same time.

On the one hand, Paikin is a very professional, calm and informed interviewer. The tenor of the show is generally such that, depending on the topic, putting it in on TV might be a good alternative to Ambien or Lunestra if you’re having trouble falling asleep.  No grenade launching, no shouting; generally a show with polite discourse with a measured likeable moderator.

That’s the good about the show. The bad about the show is its leftist slant.  Paikin is a Liberal, not the small “l” classical liberal we’d all be OK with, no… more the partisan big “L” party apparatchik Liberal.  (His son Zach Paikin actually tried to run for the position of National Policy Chair for the Liberal party and also tried to be nominated to represent the Liberals in the Hamilton West/Ancaster-Dundas riding for the past federal election).

If you were to review the show topics over a cycle of, say a month, you would get a rotation dominated by the following;

  • Climate change! and how it’s an unfathomable existential threat to humanity/the Great Lakes/northern communities;
  • A procession of Ontario Liberal cabinet ministers to brag about how wonderful a job they’re doing and, without any critical line of questioning, who are allowed to promote inane ideas like cap-and-trade, carbon taxes, subsidizing self-driving car studies, HOV lanes on 400 series highways, borrowing $25 billion from children to pay for a reduction of hydro rates…and on and on;
  • Authors of obscure, unread books on Canadian culture, media or social experiences, often decrying the horrors of our racist and sexist country
  • Indigenous leaders and academics… lots and lots of them.  Allowed to moan (again without criticism) about what a racist/colonialist country this is.  (Including a recent episode wherein the academic, a U of Toronto professor no less, was allowed to postulate a conspiracy theory about the Canadian government keeping Indigenous people sick in order to rape their resources that would have made Alex Jones proud)
  • LGBTQ leaders and academics… lots and lots of them.  Allowed to moan (again without criticism) about what a sexist/homophobic country this is.

Again, this is all hosted by a perfectly amiable and intelligent Steve Paikin.  Often he convenes panels to discuss topics on his show but inevitably the ratio of Progressives to Conservatives is usually 4:1, if a Conservative is invited on at all.

But overall a milquetoast, left-leaning news program on a public broadcaster that tries to be a calm forum for the type of babble that only public employed intellectuals would be interested in.  And us.  We listen to the Agenda podcast frankly, not to get any insights but to hear the crap the other side likes to spout.  But honestly 2/3 of the programs are deleted after listening to the first 5 minutes.

So, surely then, the Agenda people and Steve Paikin are horrified to be hearing that a clip of their show, where they had Jordan Peterson on to debate gender pronouns is at the centre of the Lindsay Shepherd controversy at Wilfred Laurier.  That show is central to the whole fiasco that has escalated to international attention.

You’d think then that any “normal” TV news program would then be following up with the main players in this little free speech drama and milk it for a few weeks, use it to become a focal theme for the program in the next month or two.  Maybe a few shows centered around the debate with some of the main players could garner the Agenda a few more than the regular (measly) couple of hundred views an Agenda program seems to get on YouTube currently.

But no, no.  Not this program.  Take for example just the other day… the show decides, let’s instead give an antifa punk time to broadcast his intellectually corrupt ideas of “preemptive defense” and mention white-supremacists fifty times and slur people as racists and fascists – because they might hold an opposing view to him on just about everything.  This, our tax money and our public broadcaster has time for.

The Agenda on TVO is not a very good program.  One has to wonder what the purpose of funding this type of program with public money is in this day and age when – if there truly was a legitimate audience for a program of this nature – it could be migrated to the internet and podcasts and off the backs of taxpayers.

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