EDITORIAL — Whether you think the Mother Corp is the very embodiment of all that is good about our country or is a pompous, bloated drain on the public wallet, you’ve got to admire the guts and self-sacrifice of Linden McIntyre.
You might be familiar with him from his years of story-telling on CBC’s documentary series The Fifth Estate. He’s a fine journalist.
He retired this week at the age of 71. Well, not quite retired. Quit.
The reasons for his decision to leave the CBC are quite unusual. He says he did it to save the jobs of younger journalists.
“If by stepping aside now I can create a little comfort zone for the survival for another year or two of younger people, then it’s worth whatever inconvenience this will cause to me and the show,” McIntyre told The Toronto Star.
McIntyre’s decision comes a couple of weeks after CBC announced 657 staff will have to go over the next two years in connection with budget cuts. He hopes his stand will make people pay attention to what’s going on at the CBC.
It’s admirable, yes, though not necessarily heroic.
Although a lot of journalists work into their 70s and beyond (the iconic 60 Minutes commentator Andy Rooney was still working when he died at 92), McIntyre is at an age when many seniors would be retiring anyway. Sure, he’s leaving a career he obviously loved and to which he contributed much.
Cynics probably ask if he would be making the same symbolic gesture if he was 55, or even 65. And, besides, an investigative reporter of his stature will have no trouble getting all the work he wants from other employers. And his resignation from The Fifth Estate doesn’t take effect until the end of summer.
Still, when somebody like McIntyre makes a statement about the news business, it deserves attention, and who are we to judge how much personal discomfort it’s causing him? For now, he’s accomplished his objective of making a point.
Unfortunately, whatever the nuances of McIntyre’s decision, it’s not going to change anything about the CBC or the decisions its management makes.
Tomorrow, Canadians will move on to the next story, but McIntyre leaves journalism — if he truly is leaving for good — on a proud note.