In light of recent revelations that Bell Media president Kevin Crull interfered with CTV's news coverage of a recent Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission decision that displeased him, I feel I need to make it clear that I am not now, nor have I ever been, subject to any editorial pressure from any person or persons at Bell Media.
I assure you I am free to editorialize as I please – despite the fact that Bell Canada Enterprises owns 15 per cent of The Globe and Mail and that Mr. Crull sits on The Globe's board of directors where, it is often remarked, he has excellent posture and the clear, attentive eyes of a husky.
On Wednesday, The Globe broke the news that last week Mr. Crull, who, as I said, works (very hard, I imagine) for BCE, which happens to own CTV, directed staff there not to air any footage of CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais (if that is his name) in their coverage of the CRTC story.
Senior staff at CTV would have none of it – even though Mr. Crull felt that the CRTC's decision requiring that consumers be offered a leaner, less expensive form of basic cable and be allowed to order channels individually was not in the best interest of Canadians, whom he worries about.
My understanding is that, concerned for Mr. Blais's health, intuiting that he was under terrible stress and suffering paralyzing anxiety after his own recent lapse in judgment, Mr. Crull even demanded that Mr. Blais be excused from appearing on CTV's Power Play at the very last minute – knowing he needed some time to rest and relax.
Shortly after The Globe and Mail's story broke, Mr. Crull apologized for his interference – characterizing the whole affair as an excellent learning opportunity for himself. (Next week, the news team at Canada's largest independent network is going to teach him to fly-fish; the week after that they'll make gnocchi).
I understand why Canadians may be alarmed by this story. After all, it is vitally important that independence of the press be upheld. That is I why I want to reassure my readers that there are absolutely no Bell Canada employees looking over my shoulder as I write this, watching every word I type or surreptitiously changing text. Amazing smartphones on sale now.
Because that would be so out of character for one of our beloved and not-at-all sinister telecommunications giants, wouldn't it? And, by the way, if there were such an employee looming – in a very professional manner – over me as I work, his choice to wear a black suit, black tie and sunglasses inside my house at 8 p.m. would be entirely the right one.
Yes, it makes him look like a (younger!) Tommy Lee Jones in Men in Black.
Also, I have no reason to believe at this time that any employees of Bell Canada are responsible for the disappearance of my little dog. She is probably hiding. She is good at that and I have not yet checked under all the carpets.
Just to set your mind at ease, readers, as to the objectivity of my column (the topic this week is, of course: You Should Call Your Mother. Every Day. Before 6 p.m.) I promise you that there is no posse of menacing telecommunications agents in my home, but if there were I would be very grateful for any work they might do around my house.
I would be happy even though they would keep bundling things, and every time I used my garage-door opener, the stove would turn on. Yes, this bit of engineering might make it difficult for me to leave the house but then, as no one named Mr. Blue has just reminded me, I really need to be here for my dog – who is not being held captive. (I must check in the dryer – which apparently I can no longer use unless I get The Movie Network.)
They have welded my Waring blender to a SharkVac pool cleaner. I do not have a pool. I will never use this pool shark, but then who am I, a person who never understood why I could not get CNN without paying for The Bush Baby Network (which has really gone downhill since they started broadcasting Eye On Aye-Ayes 24 hours a day) to question this move?
I can't use my hair dryer without my shower turning on and, for that, I need to get 14 sports networks (keep an eye on dazzling Jesper Jensen, whom I now recognize is just as elusive and tricky as the wild seal, and will lead Färjestad Bollklubb to the league championship!) and The American Heroes Channel.
They have bundled my scotch into their glasses. This, they insist, "is the best outcome for all consumers," and I believe them – and any connection between the editorial content of this column and the fact that my son is apparently having an unscheduled sleepover in an unmarked black van with a satellite dish on the roof is purely coincidental.
For the love of God, call your mother.
On an entirely unrelated note: Does anyone know how long a severed pinkie finger keeps on ice? It's for a science project.
I am finished now. I am about to hit send on this column but may I say, in conclusion, that only losers complain about roaming fees. Losers complaining about roaming fees is what brought down Rome. That is in fact where the term comes from.
Hey, my dog is back! She came bundled with a raccoon. I have never wanted to own a raccoon but, I am assured, this is a "premium raccoon" and having it in my home will enhance my pet owning experience.