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August 18, 2017 6:20 pm  #1

Naked Men & Service Dogs: The Most Ridiculous Complaints To The CBSC

The following is very long, but it illustrates the difficult position broadcasters find themselves in, in a world where every word is vetted and examined by a minority of nitpicking viewers, often for no other reason than to create trouble.


Most of us are aware that the reason broadcasters agreed to create the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council was to keep the CRTC off their backs and make it look like they’re taking public complaints seriously. But some of the items that pass for gripes are so extreme as to be ludicrous. Yet they cost companies a lot of time, money and aggravation.
While some of those issuing an official complaint have an obvious point – like the one who pointed out a preacher on a religious channel was repeatedly and viciously attacking transgender people in a script that could be interpreted as hate speech – others are from what I like to call the “Outrage Brigade,” people who seem to get their jollies by getting angry over almost nothing. 
Consider just a few of those that the Council has had to deal with in 2016 and 2017.
July 7, 2016: TSN
The Blue Bombers were playing the Ti-Cats on a nationwide TSN broadcast last summer when a field mic accidentally caught some of the players using the “F” word. It happened three times and the on air host apologized to viewers, noting it was one of the hazards of live TV.
But that wasn’t enough for one viewer, whose delicate ears were apparently burned by the offending word, and wrote a letter of complaint to TSN that the producer was showing “blatant disregard for decency and respect of the TV audience." Imagine – athletes swear a blue streak. Who knew?
The producer explained that they can’t control everything a mic catches during an unpredictable live event and noted the host had done his best to beg the forgiveness of those watching. But that reasonable response didn’t placate the viewer, who went to the CBSC.
They found that the language did violate the rules, while noting it often can’t be helped during a live broadcast. And then they made the bizarre suggestions that TSN issue a warning – before a football game! – that bad language might be heard. They further suggested something equally laughable, that there should be “efforts on the part of the broadcaster to sensitize players, other on-field personnel, and the sports leagues to avoid using coarse language.”
Yep, they think they can ask players to stop swearing during a game. As if any of them give a shi---er, a darn. A complete waste of time that resulted in the network having to repeatedly air an apology for two weeks.
October 13, 2016: The Soldier & The Service Dog
This one involved a story aired on both CTV and Global Edmonton about a sergeant in the Canadian Armed Forces with PTSD who wanted to bring his service dog to a base, only to be told there were restrictions on where animals could be allowed on the property.
What’s the big deal with that? One viewer took great offence about the term “service dog,” arguing that the animal in the respective pieces didn’t fit the definition of the term in Alberta. He also took great offence to referring to the soldier in question as a “veteran” and contacted both stations. Despite the fact they explained they were using the terms in a generic way that would be a shortcut word for viewers, this guy was still outraged, claimed both stations used “misleading” terms and took his gripe to the Council.
The CBSC spent time and money investigating this specious complaint, finding nothing was wrong with either term and even quoting the Oxford Dictionary for the definition of the word “veteran,” before saying the stations didn’t do anything wrong.
Well, that apparently made this genius even more upset, so he took his complaint all the way to the CRTC. On Friday, the Commission agreed with the Council and said they weren’t taking any action.

Who knows where it will go next, but let’s just hope the bellyacher, who has now wasted the time of two TV stations and a federal taxpayer supported body, doesn’t wind up with PTSD himself from the experience.
But I’ve saved the best for last.
April 20, 2017: CFTO & CP24
Remember a series of ads that appeared last year for CHUM-FM? They showed a well built guy extolling the pleasures of listening to 104.5 The first one features an off camera woman saying, “Shawn, can you lose the shirt?” He returns with no top, gives a CHUM-FM promo and is then told that he has to lose the pants.
Part two starts with him apparently naked, holding a CHUM-FM sign over his nether regions, and delivers yet another shill for the station. This time, the woman demands he lose the card and a pixelated box appears over what Monty Python called the ‘naughty bits’ with a superimposed message reading, “CHUM-FM. It’s the whole package.”
That spot immediately sparked 11 complaints to the CBSC. And you may not believe the reason.
Were the viewers upset about a potentially naked man being seen on TV? Nope.
Did they think an implied joke about his privates not being big enough was offensive? Not that either.
No, the viewers were indignant because – and I’m not making this up – if it had been a woman on screen it would have been sexist and a double standard.
Yes, you read that right. People were complaining about something that didn’t even happen.
They claimed “the promos exploited and objectified the man. They suggested that, had the gender roles been reversed with a male telling a female to remove her clothing, the promos would never have aired.”
In the end, the fact the stations responded quickly to the viewers and the fact there really was no basis for any complaints meant nothing happened.
But what an enormous waste of time for all those involved, for something that didn’t even take place. 


August 18, 2017 8:50 pm  #2

Re: Naked Men & Service Dogs: The Most Ridiculous Complaints To The CBSC

People nitpicking minute details?  Are they all from this site? 


August 21, 2017 11:43 pm  #3

Re: Naked Men & Service Dogs: The Most Ridiculous Complaints To The CBSC

grilled.cheese wrote:

People nitpicking minute details?  Are they all from this site? 

Of course they weren't from this site.  None of the complaints had anything to do with CFRB or AM 640.