Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The CBC: The Ethical Slide Continues

H/t Canadaland

The once-prized principle of journalistic ethics continues its precipitous decline at the CBC. Following last years's timid management response to conflict of interest allegations against chief correspondent and resident sycophant Peter Mansbridge and its sophistic treatment of oil shill/resident crank/climate-change denier Rex Murphy, the Corporation's management is at it again in defending its senior business correspondent, Amanda Lang.

Two days ago, Canadaland reported the following:
Multiple sources within CBC News have revealed to CANADALAND, under condition of anonymity, a shocking campaign Amanda Lang undertook in 2013 to sabotage a major story reported by her colleague, investigative reporter Kathy Tomlinson.
The story that Lang tried to block was uncovered by reporter Kathy Tomlinson and her Go Public team. It revealed that the Royal Bank of Canada was
using an outsourcing firm to bring in temporary workers for its Canadian employees to train... in order to sack those Canadian employees and ship their jobs overseas.
Canadaland reports that as CBC journalists across the country were gathering more information to follow up on the story, they were summoned to a conference call with Tomlinson and Amanda Lang:
Lang, they recall, relentlessly pushed to undermine the RBC story. She argued that RBC was in the right, that their outsourcing practices were “business as usual,” and that the story didn’t merit significant coverage. She and a defiant Tomlinson faced off in a tense, extended argument. Two of the CBC employees we spoke to recall a wave of frustrated hang-ups by participants.

“I cannot emphasize enough how wrong it was,” said one CBC employee we spoke to. “That another journalist, not involved in a story, would intervene in the reporting of others and question the integrity of her colleagues like that. I haven’t seen anything like it before or since.”
Lang's efforts did not end there, and extended to on-air efforts to undermine the story, as you will see if you read Canadaland's full report.

Canadaland has since learned the apparent reason for Lang's efforts to subvert the story:
CANADALAND can now confirm that CBC Senior Business Correspondent Amanda Lang’s ties to RBC go beyond sponsored speaking events.

Sources close to Amanda Lang, who spoke to CANADALAND on the condition of anonymity, confirm that she has been in a romantic relationship with RBC Board Member W. Geoffrey Beattie since January 2013 at the latest. This relationship is ongoing, and the two were involved in April 2013, when Lang acted within the CBC to scuttle a colleague’s reporting on abuses of Canadian labour law by RBC.
Predictably, CBC management is circling the wagons.
CBC News Editor-in-Chief Jennifer McGuire said in a memo to staff Monday that the allegations about business reporter Amanda Lang’s involvement in the story on RBC’s use of temporary foreign workers were “categorically untrue.”
End of story. Or so the CBC might wish. But with the kind of fine investigative work being done at Canadaland (they were, in fact, the first to uncover the Jian Ghomeshi accusations), I suspect that this story is far from dead.


  1. Guess this can be aptly summarized as "Haters hate, Lovers love and Lang's credibility languishes", eh?

    Question is whether CBC, which apparently is now not only "Cons" BC but "Compromised" BC, as someone aptly put it, is salvageable?

    I am beginning to think it is not. Just like the Senate, Dear Closet Leader has managed to destroy a Canadian institution. Fish rots from the head and it all started with the Harper appointees to the CBC board, I would think. Just as his Senate appointees (Duffy et al.) were the final straw that broke the camel's back.

    1. There is little doubt in my mind, Anon, that the current crop of CBC managers knows very well who they are beholden to. Trading Integrity for expediency is truly a devil's bargain.

  2. The only real justification for CBC is its integrity. Even BBC has had its troubles lately but nothing on the scale of CBC. Once people like Mansbridge, Lang and, to a lesser extent, Murphy ignore the special responsibility that accompanies their privileged and well-paid positions and management fails to act it becomes hard to imagine why we're still funding the Corp.

    1. Agreed, Mound. The way the CBC is currently being run makes it increasingly difficult to defend and advocate for.

  3. I have to agree, too. As a listener of very long standing of CBC radio, I weep when I listen to what it has become. It now truly is the Ministry of Truth with little if any principles or integrity left. Truly a great loss to Canada.

    1. I grieve with you. The diminishment of the CBC is the diminishment of all Canadians. I too remember when the Corporation was synonymous with impartiality, integrity, and honest reporting.