Did you know that CBC has a horoscope section? and it's not even in the entertainment section where it should be. It's in the "life and culture" section for some reason, lumped in with opinion articles and news.
Normally by the time I get through CBC News and take a boo at CBC Kids, I'm forced to slam down my computer screen in horror and go for a brisk walk.
Frankly, I can only imagine what the CBC culture section is like on a day to day basis. When I was thinking about how I would do this video, I was going to say something snarky about how CBC would likely have articles about how the mukluks and moccasins I buy to support an Aboriginal-owned Canadian business are some form of cultural appropriation but that's no joke- because I checked after I was going to make the comment and, yeah, they do have that article on their website.
Let's look at an example of the CBC horoscopes. From the week of April 22, 2019:
“The week gets off to brisk start with the Moon in vibrant Sagittarius. A union between the Sun and Uranus on Monday will help you think out of the box. Do you need fresh new ideas? Do you want to start a revolution? Uranus will light the fire.
This is one of those turning point kind of weeks. The big story is Pluto's change of direction on Wednesday. His power has been cresting for several weeks in preparation for his station retrograde. His apparent backward motion will last about five months until early October. Pluto, the Ruler of Scorpio, has a powerful volcanic kind of energy. It thrusts up from deep in the Earth like lava out of a volcano.”
Am I reading a softcore romance novel? The Jay Peterman catalog? Or a horoscope? Who writes this stuff?
Honestly, the third week of April? Well, that was a turning point week. It was the week after the NDP was trounced in Alberta. A turning point for me, a turning point for the NDP. But this is not information I couldn't get anywhere else if I wanted to, and I don't.
Anyway, joking aside, I wanted to know why the state broadcaster is paying someone to write horoscopes, who that person is, and how much it's all costing us to have CBC provide this vague astrological slice of Canadiana?
Here is the request we sent them.
"a) I'm requesting to know the cost of CBC Horoscopes (published weekly) I'd further like to know the date they started, length of contract, reason why it was determined that horoscopes should be in the life/culture section instead of the entertainment.
b) How much are the life/culture & Entertainment sections costing yearly (all authors, editors, managers, IT personnel) i.e. total cost
c) How sustainable are those sections, are they self-sufficient? Offset by advertising revenue?"
And we got literally none of this info back.
But what we did get a series of contracts dating back to 2017, twenty pages worth.
These are your standard boilerplate CBC contracts.
Now, despite not getting the specifics we asked for, we do find out the astrologer column pays like a senior news writer position - the CBC blackouts how much they were paid, but the author or authors of these fictions are getting a contract every couple of months - on average - to produce horoscopes.
I did a little poking around, and I found that senior CBC writers may make upwards of $62,000 per year or more than $30 an hour. Not that it matters because I don't think we should be paying for this to start with.
WATCH my video for a look at the contracts.
Let's just stop and appreciate that these are the people who say are going to protect us all from fake news in this election cycle! They've used the generous subsidy taxpayers are forced to give them to pay for nearly two hundred articles on astrology over the past two years and not a single one of them is in the entertainment section!
But maybe I am being too harsh here. Is this horoscope stuff any less accurate than the CBC climate change reporting?