War on the Air: CBC-TV and Canada’s Military, 1952-1992

Title: War on the Air: CBC-TV and Canada’s Military, 1952-1992
Authors: Schwartz, Mallory
Date: 2014
Abstract: From the earliest days of English-language Canadian Broadcasting Corporation television (CBC-TV), the military has been regularly featured on the news, public affairs, documentary, and drama programs. Little has been done to study these programs, despite calls for more research and many decades of work on the methods for the historical analysis of television. In addressing this gap, this thesis explores: how media representations of the military on CBC-TV (commemorative, history, public affairs and news programs) changed over time; what accounted for those changes; what they revealed about CBC-TV; and what they suggested about the way the military and its relationship with CBC-TV evolved. Through a material culture analysis of 245 programs/series about the Canadian military, veterans and defence issues that aired on CBC-TV over a 40-year period, beginning with its establishment in 1952, this thesis argues that the conditions surrounding each production were affected by a variety of factors, namely: (1) technology; (2) foreign broadcasters; (3) foreign sources of news; (4) the influence of the military and its veterans; (5) audience response; (6) the role played by personalities involved in the production of CBC-TV programs; (7) policies/objectives/regulations set by the CBC, the Board of Broadcast Governors and the Canadian Radio-Television Commission (later, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission); (8) ambitions for program development and the changing objectives of departments within the CBC; (9) economic constraints at the CBC; (10) CBC-TV’s relations with the other producers of Canadian television programming, like the NFB; and, (11) broader changes to the Canadian social, economic, political and cultural scenes, along with shifts in historiography. At different times, certain of these conditions were more important than others, the unique combination of which had unpredictable results for programming. The thesis traces these changes chronologically, explaining CBC-TV’s evolution from transmitting largely uncritical and often positive programming in the early 1950s, to obsession with the horrors of war and questioning of the military’s preparedness by decade’s end, to new debate about the future of the forces and the memory of war in the 1960s, to a complex mixture of activism, criticism and praise in the 1970s and 1980s, and, finally, to controversy and iconoclasm by the 1990s.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/30345
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -