Sun News Network loves to shit on the CBC, so it’s no surprise that when the latest round of budget cuts were announced at Mother Corp., they reached out to someone who would be willing to contribute to the hate-fest. The only problem is that they reached out to comedian Scott Vrooman, who not only supports the CBC but also has a pretty low opinion of Sun News, which he made abundantly clear during a live interview with host Adrienne Batra.
Vrooman had written an article about abolishing the CBC for iPolitics back in 2011, arguing that public broadcasting was obsolete in an age of YouTube videos about dogs pushing baby strollers, and that CBC really stood for Communist Brain Control. It was so over-the-top that anyone who read it would instantly recognize it as a Stephen Colbert-like satire of what opponents of the CBC normally argue about the corporation’s supposed left-wing agenda and the power of the free market to deliver quality programming — but apparently some people only skimmed the article.
Vrooman, who lives and works in Los Angeles, got an invitation from a Sun News producer last week to appear on-air and discuss the CBC budget cuts, and the whole thing became inadvertent proof of why responsible journalism matters and why the free market — least of all Sun News — can’t necessarily replicate what the CBC offers Canadians.
“We need to abolish the CBC,” Vrooman told Batra. “I don’t think systems can be changed incrementally, you either get rid of them or let them control you. It’s black or white, preferably white.”
Later he suggested that in a free market “the hard-working rich are rewarded with extra democracy” and praised Sun News for not trying to get special treatment from the government, a dig at the network’s quest to secure the CRTC’s approval for mandatory carriage across Canada.
“It’s not like you guys would demand any kind of mandatory anything. That’s beneath you,” Vrooman said, to which Batra could only giggle and respond, “Oh absolutely.”
The entire interview was utterly embarrassing, which might help explain why Sun News was so eager to chase down and remove all copies of the clip on the internet. The video is no longer available on the Sun News website and the network has taken down several versions on YouTube on grounds of copyright infringement, which is how they’ve successfully disappeared previous fuck-ups like Brian Lilley’s mockery of French names for sounding too French and Ezra Levant’s racist rant against Roma people.
The Albatross obtained a copy of the video, which we’re republishing as fair dealing. We also asked Vrooman to explain what was going through his head when he went on Sun News.
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It seems like you realized pretty quickly what a great trolling opportunity this would be, but would you have gone on Sun News to just do a straight interview?
I think that would be pointless. They preach to a very small, dedicated choir. They work better as a punchline than a platform.
As someone working in Hollywood, what stake do you have in Canadian public broadcasting? Why is this issue important to you personally?
Even though I’m doing some work in the U.S. right now, I’m still a Canadian citizen. All of my family and most of my friends live there, and I still expect to work and live there in the future. In any case public broadcasting, especially with respect to news, is an important part of a functioning democracy, in my (actual) opinion.
At what point during the interview did you expect to be cut off or confronted about the crazy shit you were saying?
At the words “preferably white.” But thankfully I was prepared to keep going. It was like running at a door to break it down and then have someone open it for you.
Did you think producers didn’t read your iPolitics post or just didn’t get that it was obvious satire?
I really don’t know. My guess is that they recognized that it was comedy but missed the tone.
What do you think of Sun News Network’s attempts to remove all incriminating evidence from the internet?
I think it’s futile and hilarious.