Nash slams CBC while accepting award

Former CBC News anchorman Knowlton Nash has criticized CBC's decision to air a U.S. reality show in the 10 p.m. slot usually reserved for The National.

Former CBC News anchorman Knowlton Nash hascriticized the public broadcaster's decision to bump its flagship television newscast in favour of a U.S. reality show.

Nashslammed the CBCwhileacceptinga lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Journalism Foundation in Toronto on Thursday night.

His wife, Lorraine Thomson, readthe speech, asNash has Parkinson's disease and sometimes finds it difficult to speak.

"News is a public trust," Thomson said, reading Nash'sspeech. "That's what Dan McArthur proclaimed when he founded the CBC News Service back in 1941 and that's always been the standard of the Canadian Journalism Foundation. News is a public trust and a critically important public service."

"If the CBC really wants reality TV, let people get the reality of what's happening in the world by turning on The National at 10 p.m. every night," Thomson read.

The statement was greeted with loud applause.

On Monday, CBC announced it would simulcast the ABC reality series The One: Making a Music Star on Tuesday nightsthis summer.The Americanbroadcasts will bump CBC's 10 p.m. newscast, The National, to 11 p.m. inOntario and Quebec.

CBC willalso airasecond, made-in-Canada version of the talent-search show in the 2006-07 season.

CBC'sdecision has been criticized bythe lobby group Friends of Canadian Broadcasting and the federal New Democrats.The Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA)issued a statement sayingit was "shocked" by the decision.

"We support the CBC's desire to air programming that appeals to Canadians, but to spend money simulcasting a U.S talent show in search of ratings and revenue is a sell-out of its mandate as Canada's national public broadcaster," ACTRA executive director Stephen Waddell said.

Nash, 78, was a newsman for 60 years, including 20 years as CBC-TV's foreign correspondent in Washington. He anchoredThe National for 10 years before stepping down in 1992.

"Journalism has been the love of my life," Nash said in an interview with Canadian Press earlier this week.

As CBC's Washington correspondent, he brought Canadians news of such momentous events as the Cuban missile crisis, the Vietnam War and the Kennedy assassinations.

"I had an awful lot of time for Robert Kennedy. He was the most charismatic politician I've ever known," Nash said.

"I did a lot of coverage of the Senate labour rackets committee, which was investigating the Teamsters union and ... at the end of the day we'd always go up to Bob's office and just sit around and chat about what went on during the day or go out to his house to grab a bite to eat or swim in his pool."

The CJF laudedNash as a national treasure, and said the lifetime achievement award was in recognition of a long and distinguished career.

"For several generations of Canadians, Knowlton Nash's face and voice on The National were the face and voice of Canada at its best: civilized, unpretentious, wise, committed and concerned," gala co-chair John Fraser said in a release.

On Thursday night, Nash saidhe was "honoured and daunted" by the award.

Previous winners include Peter Gzowski, June Callwood and Pierre Berton.