Did TSN Cross The Line?

I usually try not to delve into politics on this blog, but since this relates to one of Canada’s major sports networks, I think it is necessary to point this out.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper appeared on TSN Radio’s Cybulski & Company with James Cybulski this afternoon. Now 364 days a year, 365 on most, I’d have absolutely no problem with this. Harper loves sports and when he’s talking about it, he is okay on sports radio. The problem is when he comes on national sports radio on election day and basically campaigns.

First I find this unethical on TSN’s part. They are a sports station. They should be completely avoiding political issues most of the time anyway (unless it is somehow sports related), let alone on election day. James Cybulski has reported that Michael Igantief and Jack Layton were invited, but declined. I’m not saying Cybulski and crew are biased against the left-wing parties. The fact that they invited three politicians on the air on election day shows that the station has no standards regarding this sort of issue.

I’ll admit that I didn’t hear the whole interview (if anyone has a copy, let me know I’d love to hear it), but from what I heard Harper said some things that he shouldn’t have. One that I caught is the following.

[When it] comes down to a low tax Conservatives economic plan or a high tax NDP economic plan

Now the problem is two-fold. The first mistake was by TSN for having a leader of a political party on a sports radio station on election night. Sports stations quite simply shouldn’t be doing that. This is the issue I want to point out on here. The second problem was that Harper clearly tried to sway voters his way. He may have even broke laws by doing this. It is worth noting that this isn’t the first time today this issue has came up regarding Harper. On that interview he said the following

It is certain that I will vote, and I encourage all other people to vote, and I encourage people to do the same as me and vote Conservative.

So, that is my sports related political rant for the night. Enjoy the election, or the NHL, tonight. I do hope that everyone goes out and votes this evening though. You have a right that those in Libya are giving their lives for. Remember that.

More to come on this if, and when, I get to hear the whole interview.


15 thoughts on “Did TSN Cross The Line?

  1. Being from the States, I’d be curious to know what laws that violated. Or is it because it’s Election Day itself.

    Seems like a leader of a party could spend his/her time better on Election Day than being on sports radio.

    BTW, it’s Ignatieff, with two f’s at the end.

  2. Thanks. Didn’t see the link at first.

    Canada has great laws that totally make sense, like not releasing results until all the polls are closed. But the laws only work if the people who break them get punished. Hopefully, Harper will get punished.

  3. I agree. Completely unethical by TSN and Harper.

    They should both be punished, but everyone knows they won’t be.

    I couldn’t believe it when I heard this today on the radio.

    Makes you lose a lot of respect for Cybulski and TSN Radio as a whole.

    • Yep. I don’t plan to listen to Cybulski again, ever.

      The worst thing is that they were on-air saying most listeners reacted favorably to having him on. If that is true, then I lot of people don’t seem to realize how unethical it is to have a campaigning politician on during election day.

      • I’m definitely with you. I have avoided TSN Radio since the interview and plan to do so at least until CFL season starts.

        Canadians just don’t seem to give a rats ass about ethics nowadays. Sad stuff.

  4. As an American, I admire Canada for its politics and government. Unfortunately, I’m afraid it’s becoming more like the US ever so slowly. First, it elected a conservative (Harper) as PM. Now Canadian sports stations are allowing politicians to come on shows and voice their biased viewpoints?

    I would expect this from an American station–not TSN!

    • Well I don’t really have a problem with a Conservative as PM. We went through a 10 year period where the Liberals dominated like this every election. Our politics do seem to be going the American way of left vs. right though, where each side hates each other. I do credit this to Harper to a degree because by removing the Progressive Conservative Party and forming the Conservative Party, he removed the centre-right from the Canadian spectrum. Now the to dominant parties are a left and a right party. The two central parties (Liberals and Greens) have been largely marginalized in popular vote (and seats in the Liberals case).

      I agree on your second point though. I was shocked that TSN had Harper on during election day. I’d be perfectly okay if they had him on today, for example.

      James Cybulski has never really had high standards if you ask me, but I thought he was above this. I’m shocked that the station manager even allowed it though.

      • Do you think it was Cybulski’s idea? I would think a big political move like this might come from higher up in the ranks. Cybulski was nothing more than a pathetic cheerleader for Harper during the interview and in the hours leading up to it.

  5. TSN totally violated Canadian election law when, at 6:50 pm Pacific time, the announcer doing the Philly/Boston game reported that he had just been tweeted that Global TV had declared a Conservative government. This was a full 10 minutes before the polls in BC were to close. TSN should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law…a $25,000 fine. TSN is a large and supposedly professional media outlet and should have ensured that this did not happen.

    • Yes they did. They actually said that CTV had declared a Conservative government. I will write about this (I just haven’t had a chance yet) and they probably should be punished, but I doubt they will be. I think the law is stupid and archaic though. CBC Newsworld apparently screwed up too by putting the wrong feed on in Ottawa 30 minutes before the polls closed. Let’s face it, it was 10 minutes, barely enough time for anyone to get to the polling station, let alone wait in line and get in. It may have discouraged some people from voting if they were planning to go last minute, but that is about it. My problem is that the stations reported a government to 3/4 of the country before BC even came on the air. Instead of racing, they should all wait until 10pm ET to make the announcement.

      If they are punished, then I hope it results in them just firing Gord Miller. I’m not a big fan of him. Maybe they could bring Dave Strader in to replace him if the Coyotes come to Winnipeg (I’m probably dreaming there).

      • Well said CSF. Miller can go.

        I do have to wonder with the partisan politics going on both on TSN Radio and TV, whether this might be part of a greater political agenda. (15% corporate tax vs. 21%)

      • Just a minor quibble here. As someone who worked the polls on election day, I can tell you that the rules are that everyone who is in line at the moment the polls are due to close, gets to vote. Even if there are 500 people in line and it means that the poll has to stay open for another hour to get through them all, everyone in line at closing time will get in eventually.

        So you really just needed those 10 minutes to get to the polling place, not to stand in line and also vote.

  6. Why should you all be amazed at this? This is Harper, the guy that has no regard for Parliament, for democracy, for that matter Cdn democracy. Harper is a big prick & bully that thinks all he has to do is dawn the Cdn hockey jersey or play the piano & people will vote for him or like him. ( which they did but not entirely, thank Dalton McGuinty for their majority)

    I never liked this guy from the start, nor would I ever vote Cons/Reform/Alliance.

    TSN crossed the line big time but I guess they needed the ratings, especially when they are just starting their radio broadcast.

    Radio hosts are always looking for the edge & they found it.

    • I wanted to avoid (what would come across) as partisan politics in this post, but for the most part I agree with you.

      However, I think people voted for him because of his economic policy, which admittedly is pretty good.

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