SBD/May 10, 2012/Media

CBC's MacLean Draws Heat For Comparing Rangers-Capitals To 9/11 First Responders

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MacLean failed to address his comment during the first intermission of the game
The CBC's Ron MacLean "stirred up controversy" during the net's coverage of the Rangers-Capitals Stanley Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals Game Six "by referencing the terrorist attacks" of Sept. 11, 2001, according to QMI AGENCY. MacLean at the beginning of the "HNIC" broadcast said, "It's New York and Washington, the economic and political engines of America. United in the birth of the country, they're also linked in tragedy. They were the twin targets of the coordinated attacks on 9-11. It's crazy to compare what the emergency respondents did at that time." However, MacLean "might have crossed that very line by drawing similarities between what emergency personnel went through on that day and what NHLers go through during the Stanley Cup playoffs" (QMI AGENCY, 5/9). YAHOO SPORTS' Greg Wyshynski noted despite "immediate backlash from viewers on Twitter and other social media, MacLean didn't address the speech between the first and second period." Wyshynski: "MacLean's heart was in the right place, as you can tell from that closing line. And he added 'this is crazy' caveat, but then went ahead with the comparison anyway." Wyshynski added, "But this was a tragedy on an epic scale, and an event that simply can't be minimized by comparison to entertainers having long nights. Apology forthcoming, we imagine" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 5/9). In Ottawa, Bruce Garrioch notes MacLean "was trending and taking it on the chin on twitter" for the comparison. Garrioch: "Let’s put it this way: It didn’t work" (OTTAWA SUN, 5/10). CJCL-AM’s Greg Brady wrote on his Twitter feed, “I like Ron MacLean but can't possibly understand how neither he, nor others, couldn't figure how inappropriate a 9/11 comparison was.”

CANADIAN RATINGS: The GLOBE & MAIL's Bruce Dowbiggin noted the Stanley Cup Playoffs have "racked up good ratings in local U.S. markets with a team in the hunt," but since the Canucks and Senators "lost in Round 1, Canadian hockey fans have found other things to do." For the Western Conference games, TSN "saw respectable audiences over a million for most games when not up against overtime in the Eastern games, which are CBC’s purview this Round." However, those Eastern Conference games "drove TSN’s average audience for Round 2 to 774,000 viewers over nine games." The CBC is "declining to release ratings numbers till the end of Round 2" (GLOBEANDMAIL.com, 5/9). NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman acknowledged the lack of a Canadian team still playing "has impact on our viewership in Canada." Bettman: "Last year when the Vancouver Canucks had a spectacular run to the Stanley Cup Final, the ratings were obviously higher than they are this year" ("Fox Business After The Bell," Fox Business, 5/9).
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