I’ve been catching up on all the coverage of CBC’s latest scandal. That’s the one where their senior business correspondent and The Exchange host, Amanda Lang, has been revealed as having way too friendly a relationship with some of those corporations she’s supposed to be covering.
First, we found out that she’d done paid speaking gigs for Manulife that she then followed up with softball interviews with Manulife’s CEO.
And now we’re learning that in 2013 Lang tried to interfere with an investigative piece by her CBC colleague, Kathy Tomlinson, about RBC’s misuse of the temporary foreign worker program. Lang even went to so far as to pen an editorial in the Globe and Mail trivializing what Tomlison had uncovered.
Going behind your colleagues’ backs to trash their work in another media outlet? Not cool.
And Lang did all this after doing paid speaking gigs at RBC-sponsored events and while she was in a serious relationship with a member of RBC’s board.
It’s all very sordid.
And, big surprise, CBC management has leapt to Lang’s defence. In other words, it’s backing its celebrity anchor despite being handed evidence of journalistic impropriety — same as it did for Peter Mansbridge and Rex Murphy when it was revealed they were taking money to speak at oil industry events.
It’s another ball dropped by CBC management. Seems they’ve learned nothing from their mishandling of the Q affair.
All these seedy revelations are coming out of Jesse Brown’s Canadaland, a website and podcast dedicated to Canadian media criticism. I recently signed on as a supporter through their Patreon page because I think it’s the most interesting thing happening nationally in media. And because I think people should sometimes maybe kick in some financial support for alternative news sources that give their product away for free… hint hint. (You’ve maybe noticed that Support Prairie Dog link to the right, right?).
Anyway, the reason I bring this up today is because Canadaland recently published an interview with Kathy Tomlinson, the CBC investigative journalist behind the RBC foreign workers story. And while the CBC is claiming the stuff about Amanda Lang coming out of Canadaland misrepresents what really went on behind the scenes, Tomlinson confirms an awful lot of what Canadaland reported.
It’s looking more and more like CBC has backed the wrong talking horse. Once again.
But what in all this coverage disturbs me the most personally is this line from Tomlinson’s interview with Canadaland’s Sean Craig.
It is about the long standing belief most journalists have – that conflicts should be avoided at all costs or explicitly declared up front. I come from the ranks of reporters who would go to a news conference and not even take a muffin or a cup of coffee.
Shit! She doesn’t even take free coffee and muffins at press conferences? Kathy Tomlinson is SO hardcore.
For the record… ummmmm… I have to confess that I ALWAYS take the free coffee and muffins when they’re available. If there are cookies, I take two. And I actually get mildly peeved if I show up for an early morning presser and city hall hasn’t provided coffee. I mean, jeeeeesus, have you ever been to one of their technical briefings?
If you think I’m kidding, here’s an incriminating photo of me at city hall enjoying a free coffee and cookie at the very first municipal election I covered. Who knew this would come back to bite me in the ass?
Well… I guess now that I’m tainted by city hall’s delicious refreshments, there’s nothing stopping me from getting in on those sweet corporate speaking gig dollars.
So, if you’re a large bank, insurance company, gin distiller or miscellaneous captain of industry looking for an eager media beaver to sing your praises at your wine-and-cheese gala, you can contact me care of Prairie Dog magazine.
I’ll be your huckleberry.