Comments about Germans Did Not Violate Broadcast Codes, Says Canadian Broadcast Standards Council

Ottawa, August 15, 2012 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning comments made on Beyond the Mic with Mike Bullard broadcast on CFRB (NewsTalk 1010, Toronto).  The CBSC concluded that Bullard’s comments about Germans did not violate the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Code of Ethics, Equitable Portrayal Code or Violence Code.

Beyond the Mic is a talk show hosted by comedian Mike Bullard.  The CBSC received a complaint from a listener who alleged that the station broadcast anti-German comments.  She specifically mentioned two episodes of Beyond the Mic.  In the first episode, Bullard interviewed a researcher and made fun of the man’s German name and accent.  Bullard also said that Germans were not “easy laughers”, but were “anal compulsive”.  In the second episode, Bullard interviewed a skydiving instructor about his upcoming parachuting experience.  Bullard asked if he could become a “paratrooper” and then bury his chute and kill some Germans.  CFRB argued that Bullard’s comments were all intended to be comedic.

The CBSC’s Ontario Regional Panel examined the complaint under provisions of the CAB Code of Ethics and Equitable Portrayal Code relating to abusive and unduly discriminatory comment, and negative stereotyping.  It also examined the comments about “killing” Germans under provisions of the CAB Code of Ethics and Violence Code relating to sanctioning or promoting violence against specific groups.

The Panel concluded that the comments about Germans did not reach the level of “abusive” or “unduly” discriminatory, negative or stereotypical and that Bullard’s target audience would have understood the joke about killing Germans to be a reference to the political circumstances of World War II and not a serious incitement to kill any present-day Germans.

The CBSC was created in 1990 by Canada’s private broadcasters to administer the codes of standards that they established for their industry.  The CBSC currently administers 7 codes which deal with ethics, equitable portrayal, violence, news and journalistic independence.  Nearly 750 radio stations, satellite radio services, television stations and specialty and pay television services across Canada are members of the Council.

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All CBSC decisions, Codes, links to members' and other web sites, and related information are available on the CBSC's website at www.cbsc.ca. For more information, please contact the CBSC National Chair, Mme Andrée Noël CBSC Executive Director, John MacNab