Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Miffed, Unapologetic and Hopefully Gone

A last word, hopefully, on the disappointing, if not scandalous, happenings inside the CBC's news operations.

Business reporter Amanda Lang is still there, miffed and unapologetic, even after the CBC finally has banned its reporters from taking money for speaking engagements. Lang and chief news reader Peter Mansbridge have been getting big outside bucks for speaking at events sponsored by associations and companies they report on.

CBC had refused to admit that reporters taking outside money is unethical. However, last week it finally folded that hand and ordered the ban. As columnist John Doyle wrote in the Globe and Mail: Barn door closed after the horse left.”

Lang wrote a supercilious and 
embarrassing 1,600-word defence of herself in the Globe. Interestingly, more than 300 Globe online readers so far have commented on her defensive piece, almost all of them deriding her and indicating that she should resign.

Her resignation might just be in the works. Her bosses did not approve the Globe piece. Also, her defence has not appeared on any CBC news site.

There are rumours that the CBC bosses are discussing how to cut her loose. If they are, there are others whose ties should be snipped. These should include Mansbridge and CBC President Hubert Lacroix who has had to pay back $30,000 in expense money he was not entitled to receive and who has dozed through all the CBC news crises.

The shame of the Lang and other CBC scandals is the hurt laid on its many other dedicated reporters, editors and other news workers. They don't deserve any of this and CBC needs to clean house to restore their pride and the confidence of Canadians, most of whom do not want to see the CBC rot and die.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Personality Journalism Fails Again

   Canadian journalism received another body blow to its credibility this week. Leslie Roberts, anchor and executive editor of Global News Hour in Toronto, was suspended indefinitely for trying to be a journalist and a public relations flack at the same time.
   The Toronto Star revealed that Roberts, who presents the day's news to 118,000 Toronto-area television viewers each evening, is a part owner of a public relations firm whose clients often appear on Global. Some have been interviewed by Roberts.
   The Roberts affair is yet another example of journalistic integrity being run over by personality journalism promoted in the desperate efforts to garner more viewers, listeners, or readers. The personalities become bigger than the news operation itself. Bigger than the decades-old rules designed to protect integrity, accuracy, and fairness in the news.
   Last year the CBC was forced to change policies that allowed on-air personalities to make paid speeches to groups that they report on. For example, millionaire news reader Peter Mansbridge took big bucks for speaking to lobby groups that often are in the news.
   Too often journalists these days forget their purpose: to watch, listen and to report as fairly as possible what they see and hear. Those who want more than that - power, prestige, adulation, and an expensive suit with an Order of Canada pin in the lapel should be pursuing other lines of work.