Manfred Joehnck Apologizes On Air

After some comments from the news anchors on CTV’s News At Six last Thursday concerning k.d. lang’s looks, I wrote a piece on the incident here on the dog blog.

On Friday’s broadcast, Joehnck delivered a brief apology on-air. You can see it for yourself on the CTV Regina web site. The apology happens in the last thirty seconds of the clip.

For the record, I was very happy to see Manfred deliver an apology on-air. He wasn’t the only person participating in making remarks about lang, so I give him extra kudos for holding himself accountable and accepting responsibility on behalf of everyone. I hope that prairie dog readers will extend him the same courtesy that he extended to k.d. lang and his viewers with his apology.

Author: Aidan Morgan

Aidan is a very serious man who’s saving up for a nice dignified pipe. Then we’ll see who’s laughing.

36 thoughts on “Manfred Joehnck Apologizes On Air”

  1. Watched the news and heard the apology; good. A lapse in professionalism acknowledged and dealt with.

  2. hahaha I would be mad to. “Prairie Dog” you only wish u were as credible as ctv or anything close to a real news source at all.Maybe get your facts strait first.and to all you other winners with real lives. I would be mad to if i had nothing else to do with my life than sit here on broke down blogs hahaha. dont be mad that u have a poo low paying job with nothing better to do than blow things out of proportion. talk bad about people you envy. but just rot away like the rest of nobodys in this broke down town.

  3. I hope your little story gets you a raise from your 20gs a year. hahaha Manny is good stuff and he ment it as a physical comparison. I know its hard when your un educated bottom feeding journalist. It hurts sometime when you know your stuck in this rotting ghetto lol what ever can get you that extra meal right . hahaha omg Im an engineer and i cant even believe this broke down site was brought to my attention

  4. I can’t believe you have a job or an education with that broken down capitalization, grammar and punctuation you’ve got going on justtin.

  5. Haters gonna hate. The point is, Manfred and Hodges made a mistake, got called out, and apologized right away (at least Manfred did). CTV recognized the problem and dealt with it. Like Emmet said, the system works if you engage with it. A million trolls can talk trash but it doesn’t change the situation.

  6. You don’t type 200 words a minutes if every second word is a typo, and calling someone “un educated” is reserved for those who know the difference between ‘ment’ and ‘meant’ (the difference is that one’s a word and the other’s not).

    Another reason that engineers are hated delivered to us with a bright, shiny, illiterate bow on it.

  7. KD Lang is a successful singer and an accomplished woman!..Maybe he let off cause He can’t be what she is..Freedom of expression and being who she is!Manny sounds like he’s bored of his J.O.B. But I imagine retirement must be around the corner for him!Kudos for him!

  8. What I want to know is, what the hell were you doing watching CTV News? Or any news for that matter? Hodges is a paranoid dork.

  9. I tried my best to ignore what was happening as a result of this issue, but the falsehoods associated with the statements being made and the outright slander, libel and just plain ignorance being spread on this blog are, to say the least, infuriating.

    By way of full disclosure, it’s likely I’m the only one to comment that has a personal association with Manfred. We are former co-workers and I am a former broadcast journalist. I can guarantee you that Manfred is not homophobic, and is in fact, a fan of k.d. lang as an artist. I don’t know Mr. Hodges, but he too has been victimized by this stupidty.

    While I don’t want to make assumptions, I would say it’s a pretty good guess that the original story that began this mess was written without actually having heard the comments that were made. I did. Manfred’s original comment was simply an observation that k.d lang and Charlie Sheen bare a passing physical resemblence. You’ll note that he immediately realized that this statement may have offended Ms. lang and added a Seinfeldesque “not in a bad way”. Later in an exchange that lasted all of 15 seconds he added that he meant Charlie Sheen on a good day. NOBODY made any statement that Ms. lang looked like Sheen on meth. This was the typical banter that occurs on newscasts everyday. Perhaps not always humourous, but certainly not intended to be hurtful or push a particular point of view.

    If Mr. Morgan did actually hear the comments, it was one bad piece of journalism. It was so full of inaccuracies as to be downright laughable. The dimwits in the comment section were even more ill-informed.

    Now, I don’t wish to be too harsh on Mr. Morgan. I would hope that the mistakes were inadvertent or could be marked down to inexperience, or perhaps too much zeal to please the overly politically correct crowd that makes up the majority of PD readers. His concession after Manfred made an on-air apology was, I’m sure, appreciated and showed civility.

    However, instructing readers to complain to the CRTC/Broadcast Standards Council was beyond the pale. Did you not stop to think of the consequences or grief you might cause of Manfred? (and,no Ms. lang was not harmed in any shape or form by what was said). You are messing with a persons reputation and livlihood.

    Fair enough to complain when the issue is real, but not over an issue created out of your own too well developed sensibilities or inability to get the facts straight. And, yes the CRTC exists for a reason. But who polices so-called citizen or blog journalists? Not to mention the unwashed idiots who are given a forum to spread and add their hateful comments to their writings. Frankly, you’re lucky this slagging was of someone with a temperment as easy going as Manfred’s. If it was me, right about now Mr. Morgan AND the PD would be reading a notice from my lawyer and asking themselves WTF just happened.

    I have a thousand things I could say (many far stronger than the ones I’ve written) but I’ll leave you with these thoughts to ponder. Did you ever think that ridiculously politically correct nonsense like this is playing a role in the obvious decline of the left in this country? If you don’t think that statement is true, look at the falling popularity of the NDP across Canada and the complete inability of the Greens and other left leaning groups to gain any meaningful traction. It’s not a reality that I relish. As someone who supports progressive issues (including sexual orientation) I think the weakening of the left and its positions can only hurt our society. Please quit adding to the problem and start presenting only real issues to your readers in a reasonable and well researched manner. The PD has a niche role to play in promoting local arts and culture, and yes, in presenting an alternative point of view. Try doing it a little better.

  10. I’ll let Aidan defend himself against charges that 1.) he didn’t see the broadcast 2.) he’s being over-sensitive and ridiculously PC and 3.) advocating for the CRTC complaint Emmet suggested was waaay overboard.

    I agree 100 per cent that the comments are getting mean and (to be politically correct) ageist. I’m going to start deleting comments that contain personal attacks.

  11. Mr. Newton, you said: “You are messing with a persons reputation and livlihood.”
    Indeed, people in the public sphere need to be very mindful of what they say and how they say it. Ms. Lang may not have been directly harmed by the jokes, but every single day non-gender-conforming children and teens are mocked, harassed and bullied by their peers as well as people in positions of authority. When community leaders such as news anchors ridicule someone’s identity that sends a message that this person and others like him or her do not have as much worth as “normal” people. LGBT youth are as much as four times as likely to attempt suicide as non-queer youth. When one of Canada’s most famous and internationally respected queer icons is still subject to what amounted to a public shaming for her appearance, how much tolerance and acceptance can a non-gender-conforming youth expect to get? These jokes can kill.
    http://www.itgetsbetter.org/
    Mr. Joehnck may not be a homophobe and may be a kd lang fan. However, the complaints were not about who he is, but about what he did. The complaints were about the comments he made, which he admits to having made, which were of a hurtful nature and were inappropriate and unacceptable from someone who expects the community’s trust. The community responded, and he very quickly and respectfully did the right thing with his acknowledgment and apology. This is how we make a better world.
    I don’t see anything ridiculous or frivolous in standing up for principles, in demanding that our community leaders conduct themselves with dignity, and treat others with dignity.

    I must say that I find it curious that you finish your accusations of how much damage addressing this issue through appropriate channels has caused by attempting to belittle progressives and the prairie dog itself. Good day, sir.

  12. Mr. Newton:

    Having worked in the broadcast industry and in a newsroom environment, I can tell you there are people in the industry who are indeed concerned with adherence to CRTC and CBSC regulations and standards. I am one of those people.

    If a police officer issues a ticket as a result of a driver exceeding a posted speed limit, is that an example of so-called political correctness? No. If there is a possible violation of broadcast standards as set forth by government and industry regulations, then I would hope to maintain the integrity of the industry, those concerned would use appropriate channels afforded to them. And no, I don’t believe the comments in question were deliberately intended to be hurtful, either. It however does not mean they are in compliance with either the letter or spirit of regulations, or even common courtesy.

    Upon rereading Mr. Morgan’s articles on this subject, I find nothing slanderous, libelous, or ignorant contained within. Mr. Morgan does not attack Mr. Joehnck personality, but calls out one particular lapse of professional judgment. Nor does Mr. Morgan seemingly desire Mr. Joehnck’s reputation to be sullied. Against, he is very specific in his allegations.

    If you wish to make this a matter of personality, I happen to know that both Mr. Joehnck and Mr. Morgan are two of the most level-headed people working in journalism in this city (and for full disclosure, Aidan is a personal friend). I trust each person’s professional integrity, and I believe that the clarity and forthrightness in the handling of this matter evidences this. (However, your leveling a blanket charge against “dimwits” and “idiots” commenting on these posts, and general tone, leads me to believe that your journalistic credo is not guided by a similar keel. Surely you can do better in constructing a counter-argument than by resorting to such vitriol.)

    As to the actions of the Prairie Dog’s writers, to my knowledge, I do not believe they have previously condoned such action regarding a local television news broadcast. (I may be wrong, but my point is that it is something that is not taken lightly, by evidence of infrequency.)

    In the past, Saskatchewan Archives recorded and stored each local news broadcast. I do not know if it continues to do so, but if so a review of the news broadcast is possible there (although I suspect what we have here is a “Rashomon” impasse of two divergent interpretations of the same event.)

    However, I am sorry you feel your friend and former colleague was personally attacked. In my opinion, some of the allegations in the comment sections are indeed out-of-line, and wholly irrelevant to the clearly defined issue at hand.

  13. Hello Art. Thanks for commenting. It’s nice to get a contrary opinion from someone who lays out their reasons and has a command of basic spelling. I feel I should address a couple of points you raised.

    1. This is slander and libel? It is neither. It’s definitely not slander, which as you probably know relates to oral discourse. But it’s not libel either.

    2. You say that Manfred is not homophobic. I never said he was. I didn’t even imply it. What I said was that people like lang – people whose sexuality and appearance don’t fit the norm – could still be mocked for their appearance. And mocked she was. Whether it was part of ‘newsroom banter’ is irrelevant. In truth, I’m more interested in the way that CTV news made Regina look like a backwater town, undeserving of artists of lang’s stature. People want culture to come to the city and stadiums to house all that culture, but they seem to think that making fun of people’s looks on air is acceptable behaviour. It sends a lousy message to the world. And Manfred knows it. That’s why he did the right thing and apologized.

    3. You say that Manfred is a fan of k.d. lang. That was clear; he knew that she hailed from Consort, Alberta. In my book, that’s some insider knowledge. But so what? What does that have to do with mocking her looks on air? Seinfeldesque comments belong on Seinfeld.

    4. I did indeed see the news broadcast in question, and I’m a little surprised that you would assume otherwise. I found their remarks objectionable and said so, and I outlined my reasons. Obviously you weren’t bothered by their words. As Brett Bell commented, we may be in a “Rashomon” style impasse. But enough people were offended that Manfred offered a brief apology.

    5. I did not call for letters to be written to or complaints to be filed with the CRTC/Broadcast Standards Council, even though Joehnck’s and Hodges’ remarks may well have run afoul of clauses 2 and 3 of the ethics code. Somebody complained, though, and that person let us know in the comments on the original post.

    6. I will make a note in the original post on your recollection of the wording of the Charlie Sheen comment, since that’s the only thing you single out specifically.

    7. You say my piece “was so full of inaccuracies as to be downright laughable”. I’d take this to heart if you were able to deliver an accurate recounting of my piece. At any rate, the meat of your argument is that I’m too sensitive and people like Manfred Joehnck should get a free pass. This is nonsense.

    8. You mention that “the dimwits in the comment section… were ill-informed” (just as a side note, are you referring to comments like “I hear Aiden morgana a fagget lol”? That seemed pretty dimwitted to me). Some of the comments made about Joehnck were indeed personal in nature and inappropriate, and our editor has stated that personal attacks in the comments section will be deleted from here on out. I’m sure he’ll agree that we should have been on top of that right away.

    9. The decline of the left is a long topic that warrants discussion over many many evening beers, but I hesitate to ascribe that kind of power to my blog post. Or to ‘political correctness,’ which existed for a brief period on university campuses in the 1990s before draining away into the fever dreams of the right. In fact, the right’s manipulation of the term ‘political correctness’ has as much to do with the left’s fortunes as anything else. But like I said: many nights, many beers.

    10. “Try doing a little better”. Art, in all seriousness, that is an excellent piece of advice for all of us.

  14. I don’t intend to belabour the various points being made here and I promise this will be my last words on the subject.

    First, thanks to Stephen for removing some of the sillier and more off-base comments. Exactly the kind of responsible action I would expect from a reputable organization.

    To Emmett, yes, the social problems for young people you mentioned are of a concern in society and deserve attention. My whole point was that far too much was being read into what was said. It was clear to me at least that it was an off-the-cuff remark about a physical similarity (think of the myriad of M. Jackson looks like Diana Ross jokes) that may have been a bit ill-advised, but not directed at her sexuality. At a guess, if it hadn’t been raised as an issue on this blog not two people in the entire world would have noticed. I’m sorry if you read into my comments that I was belittling progressives or the PD. My intent was to express an opinion that overt PC is damaging to the real issues supported by progressives and the PD.

    Brett, I simply disagree that what happened meets the standard of a professional complaint. I’ll concede that I was too harsh in some my language and could have made the points in a less inflammatory manner. As a first-time ever blog contributor I can see that it is too easy to get caught up in the garbage as it were.

    Aidan, I do apologize if I insulted your professional integrity and was snarky in the heat of the defence of my friend. I still insist that the original story was inaccurate, but my remarks about libel and slander were essentially prompted by a handful of the comments. By providing the forum the PD has a role in that part (again, thanks Stephen) but clearly you are not responsible for the comments of others.

    Now, having exhausted my verbosity, can we all get back to our everyday lives and complete non-issues like federal politics.

  15. Fair enough, Mr. Newton. And I will own up to the rashness of my call to file complaints with CRTC/CBSC without first contacting the station directly, which, of course, is the proper way to address an issue like this. That knee jerk was all mine.
    I really do appreciate that Mr. Joehnck spoke without malicious intent, and probably without much thought at all. However, at least two people in the entire world did notice and that’s how the original blog post came to be. The strong reaction the post got indicates, to me at least, that yes, this does matter and is worth taking a stand over. And yes, I sort of agree with you in that I wish people would get as worked up about other issues that do directly affect people as they do about issues involving local celebrities and pop stars.
    For the record, I remain impressed by the promptness and directness with which Mr. Joehnck responded to the matter. If only more of our public figures held themselves as accountable.

  16. Art – “Now, having exhausted my verbosity, can we all get back to our everyday lives and complete non-issues like federal politics”.

    Words to live by. My verbosity feels pretty exhausted as well.

  17. Art, thank you for your considered response, and it’s certainly fair that we have a difference of opinion as to what merits a complaint. Fortunately for all concerned, this seems to be a resolved issue, so I too will leave it here.

  18. Manfred Joehnck likes to make goofy quips so it’s not surprising that he would make a gaffe and step in it now and then. I am glad that he apologized, it shows class.

  19. re: Editor’s note: The following comment appears to be from a sock puppet–a single person posting under multiple identities. A different comment from the same IP address encouraged us to investigate Manfred Joehnck because “there are other issues you may find ineresting [sic].” Someone who needs a better hobby is stirring up shit. We’ve blocked commentary from this IP address.

    The comment in “question” was written by me and then sent to the email of the poster as I was not able to post from the computer I was using in South Korea at the time. I ask that you please remove your editors note immediately.
    For all of the negative comments on here it is shameful that you are going to accuse this comment of not coming from the source.

  20. Thank you for the comment Melissa.

    I will attempt to better explain my concern.

    We’ve received two utterly contradictory comments from the same IP address. There was your comment, defending Mr. Joehnck (which I’ve left up with an Editor’s note) and there was also a spiteful comment attacking him, which has been removed.

    How is it that such contradictory comments were sent from the same IP address?

    Can you explain this? Do you know who posted the hostile comment?

    If you are who you say you are, I understand why you’d be frustrated by being called a “possible sock puppet”. I would be too. Someone, however, posted a message attacking Mr. Joehnck from the same IP address you originally posted under.

    This could well have nothing to do with you. But it does undermine the credibility of your original comment.

    Do you see the problem?

    In any case: a news anchor made a gaffe. Our writer criticized it. The news anchor graciously apologized, showing class, and was thoroughly and correctly praised for the apology. It’s time to move on.

  21. Dear Mr. Whitworth,

    I am the daughter of Manfred and am writing only to clarify some concerns you have raised.

    You suggest the original posting may not have been from me. That is absolutely false. You then asked how could it have been sent from an ip address where another contradictory comment was posted.

    Here is how that happened.

    My father has discouraged any of us, (me, my brother, or his friends from posting to this blog). He says any response gives it more credibility. Despite his wishes my brother made four postings, all of them an attack on prairie dog.

    I too wanted to post, but my father insisted the only way he would allow it is I first sent it to him and he was o.k. with it, he would then post it. That is what happened.

    Now my brother was at his house at the time, and he is a bit of a hot head. There was discussion that it appears the Prairie Dog Blog is completely unmoderated. In other words you can write anything you want and it automatically gets posted without first being reviewed.

    My brother, on his own decided to test this theory, he wrote something about there are other issues you might want to do a criminal record check. My understanding is he wanted to write something that should be flagged and removed. To your credit it was. The statement he wrote had no mention of any name in it, and also if you did a criminal record check on my dad, you would find he has one. May 2002, pleaded guilty to impaired driving.
    That story was widely publicized.

    I don’t think Mathew should have posted it, but frankly I didn’t thing it would just automatically appear.

    You can rest assurred I am who I say I am. I encourage you to exercise all the necessary due diligence to confirm.

    For the record I would also like to say you had every right to do a story on what my Dad said on the other, but I would highly suggest an actual account of what was said, instead of what you thought he said be printed.

    In closing I think prairie dog has a place in the community. You do some good work, but not always.

    Sincerely yours,

    Melissa
    (sent from South Korea)

  22. Thanks for the clarification, Melissa–although I’d like you to FedEx me your birth certificate. Kidding. Your explanation (from a Korean IP address) makes sense to me. I appreciate you taking the time to explain what happened. As for your brother, I chalk that up to someone sticking up for his dad. Far from a mortal sin. In any case, I am obliged to have sympathy for hotheads as I can be one myself. It is an obnoxious side-effect of caring about things.

    All my best to you and your classy (and occasionally gaffe-y) family.

  23. My negative comments were directed to those who were cutting my dad down on a personal level which disregarded the matter at hand. They were actually more so directed at the first article but I copied and pasted to this one as well. I could really careless about anyone or what anyone thinks in this city. you know my thoughts and feelings haha. And match box i typed that in twenty seconds while multitasking and getting ready to go out because I actually have a life and put about as much effort into it as it deserved. I will have anyone of you “grammar kings” a math challenge anyday.
    chow ;)

  24. Why is this an automatic insult to K.D. Lang? Is it KD with masculine qualities or Charlie with feminine qualities? Should we really care? Society has an idea of what is feminine and what is masculine, if KD wanted to be femme or wanted to be perceived as femme, I am sure she would have long curly hair and wear make-up, jewelry, dresses, etc. all the time…you know, the stereotypical girl. She is a smart successful lady, give her some credit. Both have similar facial features – just compare their profiles! And both are attractive, so get over it! I think they look similar too. A lot of brother/sister siblings share similar qualities, and they don’t lose sleep over it.

  25. Dear Mr. Whitworth,

    I like your style. You are a gifted writer and I do thank you and appreciate the final piece you posted on the “THIS JUST IN” article. It gave balance and perspective, it was a good read. However, I believe there was one error in it that you might want to correct, unless of course you meant exactly what your wrote.

    Here is the line in question, “n the end, Manfred Joehnck didn’t create this still-homophobic culture. He arguably, unintentionally perpetrated it.”

    I think you meant, perpetuate. There is a tremendous difference and I think, although I could be wrong, homophobia has been around a lot longer than my Dad. Your words, maybe you did mean exactly what you wrote, only you would know that.

    I also think that such a well crafted response on what was a story that generated a tremendous response from your readers should not have been buried in the bowels of your publication only to be found by the most industrious user or simply by accident. Why was it not given the same prominence as the original story posted on March 24th?

    I do have one bone to pick with you and I do this with caution, for fear of how you may interpret this. I feel your publication took an unprofessional and condescending attack on me after my first posting.

    Good on you for determining two (or as you stated several) postings came from the same IP address and that someone was trying to stir up shit, or something to that effect.

    Rather than investigate further you simply added an editors note to my posting and left it at that. Even after I wrote back and assured you the posting came from me your refused to remove the editors note.

    Instead you publically laid out what looked like a police interrogation question sheet and challenged me to answer it.

    I gathered all the information I could, keeping in mind, I did not initially know about the other posting. Then, under the bright lights and the harsh glare of my inquisitor I broke. I came clean, I laid it all out for all to see. It must have been a real gotcha moment for you. I understand you also fired off a scathing e-mail to the second suspect in this conspiracy, who as it turns out, is also innocent of all charges.

    Firstly, why would you use your blog to do this. I know my initial posting was sent with my email address. Why not just email me and ask for clarification if you doubted the authenticity of my posting. Also there is this new thing out there called facebook. It has 600 million members. I am one of them. You could have contacted me that way, or thirdly if you really had doubts there is a device called a telephone. It allows people to communicate one on one in real time. Were any of these simple and readily available options employed?
    I don’t think so. Instead you used the power of your publication to impugn my name.

    This should have been handled privately. I would have preferred it that way, but because you chose to do it publically I had no choice but to respond the same way.

    If I was the editor of Prairie Dog I would convene a staff meeting to go over everything that has been written and how it was handled.

    Did you have the right to do the story in the first place? Certainly. Was it a matter of compelling public interest? I think so.

    Your motivation seemed to be commendable and honourable. I do not profess to know your intent but from my reading it was to stand up for and defend gay rights. I am all for it, but in the end what I read into it was an overzealous attack on my father based on what you believe he meant when he said, “the older she gets, the more she looks like Charlie Sheen’” I believe your handling of this has set back, not helped the gay rights movement.

    In the end the three stories and pages and pages of comments are a good read and a real eye opener. It is interesting to see how people think. I am very curious to see how the broadcast standards council views this. Maybe they will ban my father from the airwaves just like they banned the 26 year old Dire Starights song, “Money for Nothing”

    You know, I said before and it bears repeating, the Prairie Doig is a good publication, it serves a valuable purpose in the community and it is interesting to read. It would be a shame for it to be lost because of reckless and careless journalism.

    A few suggestions:

    FACTS: Use them, frequently and repeatedly.

    RESEARCH; Before you print something make sure it is fair, balanced and represents both sides. If you have doubts or concerns about sources take extreme measures like picking up the phone.

    READERS: Treat them with respect. Everyone’s opinion has value even if it differs from yours.

    MODERATOR: Get one. Screen your comments before they are printed. If they are off topic don’t use them. If they are sent anonymously don’t use them. If someone does not have the guts to put a name to their comments, those views are not worth sharing.

    RESPONSIBILITY: Take some. You are journalists as defined by a supreme court of Canada decision issued in January of 2010, You are afforded the same rights as any other journalists which include print, radio and television. You are also subject to the same standards when it comes to libel and slander. In one of Adriens many responses on this thread he indicates there was no libel. He may very well be right, but I do know you have only four defences for such action. They are privilege, nope that one won’t work. How about truth, not if a story is filled with inaccuracies. Fair comment, that could be debatable, I don’t see it, but hey I am not a lawyer, and lastly the newest defense just added last year actually gives you the right to publish untruths, but only if the story is of compelling public interest and only if a genuine attempt was made to get the other side of the story. Oops on that one.

    One other note, I noticed you used a letter my father had written to a viewer complaint on the whole KD Lang escapade in your initial story.

    As I inderstand it, this was done without his knowledge or concent. I did a little research on my own and found a similar thing happened to you Mr. Whitworth back in 2006, when you were defending the right of Prairie Dog to run beer ads featuring a three breasted women.

    I can imagine the tornado of wrath you incurred from all the three breasted women you might have offended.

    In closing, good luck to you in your future endeavours, continue to be the voice of the down trodden and suppressed and open the eyes of Reginan’s to all the good the city has to offer. You wield mighty power behind the pen, use it carefully.

    Sincerely yours,

    Melissa

    p.s. If you don’t think I wrote this don’t share your doubts with the world do some checking. I have two degrees, I have been teaching for four years, and some people think I’m smart. ;)

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