There’s a thing out there called “The Culture of Alarmism”, a kind of social fad in which we are systematically instructed to be afraid, be very afraid -- of EVERYTHING!
You can see it daily in any Facebook newsfeed listing all the foods, religions, internet trends and politicians who are out to screw you or otherwise ruin your life.
It’s regularly on display on CNN, Fox News and most other secular news outlets, urging you to be afraid of taking planes, getting on a ferry or sending your kids to school without either a bullet-proof vest or M-16, depending on your political persuasion.
It’s not what you expect from a National Public broadcaster like the CBC.
Indeed, most of those defending the MotherCorp in her recent budget cut panic spasm, mostly defend her ability to provide reasoned and responsible journalism.
Some (including me most days) may find a certain bias in the way stories are spun at CBC News. But even then, you generally accept that they share that bias with a lot of Canadians, so what-the-hell, it’s keeping the regular customers happy.
What you don’t expect are barely disguised scare tactics. Stories designed to imply that if you’re not watching CBC doing television the way television is supposed to be done, you’re not only risking your health but your finances.
Seriously. There was a feature item repeated endlessly yesterday solemnly predicting that you could end up dead and broke or even both if you don’t turn from the evil Netflix snake in the TV garden and eat not of its poisoned fruit of “Binge-watching”.
According to the CBC, providing both sleep deprivation and Internet experts to prove its thesis, Binge-watching endangers your health and your ability to pay your other bills.
Because –- as we all must understand –- watching several hours of “House of Cards” in a row will completely destroy your sleep cycle. Something which apparently watching several hours of different shows on a variety of networks back-to-back (as the CBC can only pray you will start doing again) will not.
And it would seem that an “Orange is the New Black” marathon is far more dangerous to your health than a triple overtime game in the Stanley Cup finals or one of the current 6 hour double headers offered nightly across the entire CBC network.
Could this be any clearer?
Stay up past Midnight to watch “Strombo”, “Coronation Street” and a “Being Erica” repeat may well require you to brew a second cup of coffee at breakfast. BUT -- stay up to catch an equal number of hours from the Netflix schedule and you’ll be a broken man likely to lose your job if you don’t first have a heart attack navigating the morning rush.
Somehow CBC neglected to explain that despite these dangers, most of their current titles can also be found on Netflix. So those shows are either okay to binge-watch or can pretty much be guaranteed to put you to sleep before matters get out of hand.
And if endangering your health doesn’t put the fear of God into you, have you considered how this Netflix habit might be stealing food from the mouths of your children?
CBC provides an “expert” on this impending danger too. Although he looks an awful lot like your average CBC IT Guy and appears to be about as bright.
This fella waxes on about how close a single HD version of any Harry Potter movie can put you to your data cap. Why, watch the entire series over the same month and you could be shelling out an big bucks (bucks you probably don’t have) to Rogers or Shaw.
What he was either too dumb to reveal or CBC would rather you didn’t know for their own selfish reasons, is that:
1. The bits and bytes your CableCo sends down that little wire so you can watch CBC are identical to the ones they shoot down the same wire to your computer, iPad, AppleTV or Roku box so you can watch Netflix.
Yeah, that’s right. Instead of doing the responsible “we’re from the Government and we really are your friend” “Marketplace”-type expose and reveal that Data Caps are a crock, merely another way for Big IP to vacuum your pockets, CBC used that CRTC endorsed corporate Junk Science to scare you.
And 2: Said expert didn’t admit that if you weren’t paying for the CBC you’d probably have enough money to breach that manufactured data cap pretty much any fucking time you wanted.
This was the kind of journalism that could make some assume the CBC is already in panic mode, grasping at anything to scare you back to the big, comfy couch where they could spoon feed you all those shows you didn’t know were so good for you.
You want a real “Culture of Alarmism” just wait and see how desperate they get when this little scare tactic doesn’t work.