The superb LifeSite.net does an excellent job of catching us up with the latest scandal at the liberal-left’s state-run, state-owned CBC.
For those who need the background, this all started shaking down moments after I (now famously) live-blogged some comments I heard on CTV Newsnet made by a former Liberal Party MP and commentator. I transcribed the words from my recording, typed them out and posted them, and within hours or even minutes, as other saw it and blogged about it, it exploded.
By John Connolly
OTTAWA, January 21, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Following accusations of collusion and bias from Canada’s Conservative Party, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) transferred a reporter in the center of the accusations from Ottawa to Toronto on January 21 in an effort to ‘fix’ the problem.
Krista Erickson, a reporter for CBC, was transferred following an investigation by CBC officials at the behest of a formal complaint made by the reigning Conservative Party. The move was intended to end debate after a leak to the media over CBC feeding questions to a Parliamentary committee in an effort to embarrass the Conservative government.
According to a December 13, 2007 press release, the Conservative Party demanded the investigation following the disclosure of evidence indicating collusion by the CBC with the Liberal Party. According to former Liberal Cabinet Minister and current TVA journalist Jean Lapierre, questions posed by Liberal Members of Parliament to former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney were written by CBC journalists. The questions were about Mulroney’s involvement in a spectrum auction for cellular devices, and were intended to embarrass the Conservative party by casting Mulroney as an unregistered lobbyist.
“I knew all about those questions,” said Lapierre. “They were written by the CBC and provided to the Liberal Members of Parliament and the questions that Pablo Rodriguez asked were written by the CBC and I can’t believe that but last night, influential Member of Parliament came to me and told me those are the questions that the CBC wants us to ask tomorrow.”
The finger-pointing that followed this revelation muddied the waters enough to allow a CBC journalist transfer to pass as a solution to the uncomfortable questions posed to the CBC. Rodriguez claims that he wrote the questions himself, totally denying CBC involvement.
“As you know in Ottawa everybody gets lots of information from a lot of people,” he told Reuters. “But at the end of the day we decide what to ask and we write our own questions and I wrote my own questions.”
Mike Duffy, a prominent TV journalist, quoted yet another source with another story in a December 13 televeision [sic] show.
“Liberal researcher Jay Ephard approached him and said, no, Jean, it’s not true,” reported Duffy. “The CBC didn’t write those questions that were asked by the Liberals. We wrote them. Yes, the CBC phoned us up and suggested questions we should ask but we actually typed them out ourselves.”
The Conservative Party felt it necessary to express concern that the CBC was working so closely in politics and with the Liberal Party, no matter who wrote the questions.
“Regardless of who wrote the questions, the fact that our national public broadcaster was actively co-operating with a political party in an attempt to embarrass the government raises serious questions about the impartiality of Canada’s publicly funded national broadcaster,” said the letter of complaint to the CBC.
On January 21, CBC publisher John Cruickshank landed the blame on Krista Erickson, citing a violation Section 3 of CBC’s principles in a public letter to Conservative Party leadership.
Cruickshank was careful to portray the offense as “journalistic zeal” instead of the collusion and liberal bias the CBC is known for.
“Our investigation determined there was no bias in related news coverage,” read the letter. “However, our reporter, acting on her own, used inappropriate tactics as a result of journalistic zeal, rather than partisan interest. CBC News management has made the decision to reassign its reporter from the story and to Toronto, effective Jan. 21.”
The CBC has a long-standing reputation for liberal bias in Canadian media. They have come under attack for airing offensive material, targeting Catholics and religious groups for mockery, and refusing to allow Conservative pundits and commentators a voice in their media.
The most recent attack against traditional religion came last May, where the CBC independently approved an anti-Catholic comedy that offended Catholics by depicting the Communion host as snack food.
Rodriguez refused to comment on the CBC’s move to cover its tracks by transferring Erickson.
“I really don’t know the details,” he said. “That’s really within CBC.”
Others who cared more about question of journalistic integrity were not so noncommittal. The move appears designed to preempt any measure to induce deeper digging on the matter. That’s the way it seems to Karen Wirsig, communications co-ordinator for The Canadian Media Guild, an organization that represents journalists at the CBC and other major news organizations.
“It smacks of political pandering,” she said. “Particularly in pre-empting whatever the ombudsman may decide and, as far as we’re concerned, is totally unprecedented in the way it names a person who’s the subject of a disciplinary process and names the result of that process for the world to see.
“It’s frankly quite shocking.”
Cruickshank included at the end of his letter that the Conservative Party may still make a complaint to the CBC ombudsman Vince Carlin, who reports directly to the CBC president.