The following letter was sent to the editors of Sun Media newspapers in response to an article entitled Surprise! CBC report lauds CBC, published on July 21, 2010.
Brian Lilley told readers yesterday about a survey that CBC/Radio-Canada conducts bi-annually to get a sense of what senior opinion leaders from across the country think about the job we’re doing. A few important facts about the survey need to be set straight.
Mr. Lilley writes that “CBC is doing a really good job of serving the public, according to the CBC." That’s wrong. It was a statistically valid, representative sample of opinion leaders from across the country that said that, not us.
He goes on to say that we surveyed “527 opinion leaders who overwhelmingly hold positive opinions of CBC." That’s also wrong (granted, it might be just a question of grammar). We surveyed almost 2000. Of that, 527 responded. Yes, the results do indicate that the majority hold a positive view about their public broadcaster. But we didn't know that beforehand.
Mr. Lilley claims that our participant lists were drawn up internally. They weren’t. We relied on the external firm conducting the research to come up with the list to ensure that we could rely on the results.
Participants certainly weren’t selected because we knew they liked us. In fact, several respondents work at other media organizations, including Mr. Lilley’s own Sun chain. We value everyone’s opinion, good or bad. That's why we conduct the survey.
CBC/Radio-Canada needs to know what Canadians think about what we’re doing if we’re going to improve the services we offer. This survey is one of the ways in which we figure that out, but by no means is it all we do. We interact with Canadians every day. There are things respondents have told us we need to work on. That’s what we’re focussed on now.