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Friday, September 26, 2008

CBC Ombudsman: Yup, we're really biased

CBC Ombudsman, Vince Carlin, responded to the over 300 complaints that they received after Heather Mallick published her column wherein she called Republican men "sexually inadequate," and vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin "white trash."

His response?

"On CBCNews.ca, there does not appear to be a wide range of “pointy” views. For instance, many of those who complained claimed that there is no one of an opposite ideological viewpoint readily apparent on the service. Unfortunately, this appears to be true."

Carlin also appeared to defend freedom of speech & expression. I'm curious if he believes in section 13.1 of the Canadian Human Rights Act...

"Most crucially, the CBC should be seeking out the widest range of opinions and defending the right of those individuals to transmit those opinions. Ms. Mallick has a perfect right to hold and transmit her opinions, and the CBC to carry them, as long as they meet the tests of CBC’s Journalistic Standards and Practices."

And then he assessed Mallick's column more particularly as not being based on "facts":

"Policy calls for opinions to be based on fact. Ms. Mallick’s item generally stays in the opinion column but she does offer some flat statements that appear to offer “facts” without any backup. For instance, there is no factual basis for a broad scale conclusion about the sexual adequacy of Republican men. In fact, that type of comment, applied to any other group, would easily be seen as, at best, puerile. Similarly, the characterization of Palin supporters as white trash lacks a factual basis. I asked Ms. Mallick to explain the basis for these characterizations. In a note she explained her opinions of Ms. Palin, but did not provide a factual justification for the statements."

Read the whole response from Carlin. It's worth it.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on September 26, 2008 in International Affairs | Permalink


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"Ms. Mallick has a perfect right to hold and transmit her opinions," Yep

"and the CBC to carry them," Nope. Not for trash written on my dime. She can have a self paid gigantic billboard but I want refund.

Posted by: Sounder | 2008-09-26 5:39:03 PM

The CBC is a cesspool of people like mallick, and CBC mouthpieces in the executive can, and will, continue to make feable excuses for the likes of this type of deranged mind. It seems CBC execs will now admit bias, but add the disclaimer of "so what"... and that makes it all okay. Spewing this kind of hate propaganda at the CBC is the norm...they, like their Liberal comrades, are entitled to their entitlements no matter how specious.

Posted by: Sean | 2008-09-26 6:31:02 PM

Disband the CBC now. Don't wait, just do it. There's a billion dollars a year that can be used more productively than to subsidize bigoted hate.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-09-26 6:33:39 PM

Vince Carlin, CBC Ombudsman: "On CBCNews.ca, there does not appear to be a wide range of “pointy” views. For instance, many of those who complained claimed that there is no one of an opposite ideological viewpoint readily apparent on the service. Unfortunately, this appears to be true."

So, I wonder if the CBC is going to allow for "a wide range of 'pointy' views" in this instance, seeing as it hasn't in the case of the Mallick piece? Who's going to be invited to write "the opposite ideological viewpoint"?

I would also like to point out that Mr. Carlin was dancing as fast as he could and wrote a very wordy review, which actually brought in a great many issues that were peripheral to Canadians' complaints to the CBC--such as mention of Fox News and other MSM outlets that commented on this piece.

Also, Mr. Carlin--is anyone actually surprised?--is a former employee of the CBC and is a former professor of journalism at Ryerson. I'm not clear that these credentials make him the most suitable person for this position. It must be very tempting to be partisan when you're commenting on former colleagues.

Posted by: batb | 2008-09-26 6:49:47 PM

Vince Carlin is not an ombudsman he is a rationalizer and excuse maker. Carlin states that the CBC's mandate is to seek out the widest of points of opinion. Nice talk but more a lie and obfuscation. CBC seeks out only the most pointed Left views or those that attack anything and everything that Traditional Canadians endorse. CBC is anti Christian, anti Jewish, anti Conservative,anti American and is pro world view, pro terrorism via support of Hamas and the PLO, pro Liberal, pro NDP,in other words Socialist.

Posted by: Rick | 2008-09-26 6:54:28 PM

Burn the Communist Broadcasing Corp.

Posted by: JC | 2008-09-26 7:03:03 PM

Since when does name-calling and vile characterization fall under the definition of ‘opinion.'

Carlin kinda weasels out of the worst invective by saying ‘it's not based on fact.'

Opinion is one thing. Character assassination is quite another.

Posted by: set you free | 2008-09-26 7:03:52 PM

One other thing about Mr. Carlin's review: I was apppalled that he brought up the negative comments that Heather Mallick has received in response to her piece savaging VP candidate Sarah Palin.

These are gratuitous comments by the Ombudsman, placed to appeal to the underdog, poor-Heather, aren't-people-mean-to-me sentiments.

They had no place in this review. Canadians were asking the CBC Ombudsman to review Heather Mallick's opinions and whether or not they met the CBC's journalistic standards; they were not asking the Ombudsman's opinion on how Mallick's views had been responded to by others.

Posted by: batb | 2008-09-26 7:05:09 PM


Heather Mallick is from Kapuskasing, a town smaller than Wasilla, Alaska.

Yet, she's pretending to be a big-city sophisticate.

All the name-calling and characterizations and Mallick goes into ‘poor me' mode when Greta van Susteren calls her a pig.

I agree with Greta. Mallick is a pig ... small-minded and dirty.

Posted by: set you free | 2008-09-26 7:31:25 PM


Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-09-26 7:38:58 PM

Let me clarify what I said. I have no trouble whatsoever with negative comments being made about Mallick, anywhere. I've made a number of negative comments about her myself, including in my own letter to the CBC Ombudsman.

What pi**es me off is that Vince Carlin even mentioned in his review the negative comments made on Fox News and various blogs about Heather Mallick after her savaging of Sarah Palin.

He was trying to play the poor-Heather card, which had no place WHATSOEVER in his review of Canadians' complaints about the CBC's publishing of Mallick's "opinion" piece. He was trying to muster up some sympathy for "poor Heather," which is absolutely NOT what this review was about. He stepped outside the bounds of his mandate to try to garner the public's sympathy for Heather Mallick.

Not on.

How does one make a complaint about the Ombudsman? To whom does one complain?

Posted by: batb | 2008-09-26 8:03:38 PM

I have my own CBC story to tell.

Not so long ago, a CBC employee set a rather snotty email to Michael Coren. The fact that the CBC fella sent the letter to Mr. Coren, and that is was effete and snotty is not the issue here. The issue is this; the email was sent during business hours from a CBC email address, and it was not in any way connected with official CBC business. Plus the fella in question is a news producer, not very unbiased, eh?

I contacted Mr. Carlin through the CBC website and was pleasantly surprised to actually receive a response. Mr. Carlin was civilized, but he did try to explain the email away by stating that it was sent from the employees home on his own time. Conceding the point I pressed him on the use of taxpayer funded resources in an unethical manner. Anyway, long story short, The Bud mentioned that acceptable use guidelines had been reviewed with the employee in question.

I dunno, the experience left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I am unimpressed. I wouldn't have anywhere near the animus toward the CBC as a tax funded entity if, at the very least, they could report on the news. Instead we get left wing activism, we get the official mouthpiece of the LPC.

Posted by: Dave Tracey | 2008-09-26 8:32:45 PM

For your edification..........the complete email communication with Mr. Carlin. Judge for yourselves.



Mr Carlin:
This morning, reading through the Saturday papers
online, I came across an article by Michael Coren. In
this article Mr. Coren reports that a CBC staffer, one
Richard Goddard (whom is copied on this email) used
CBC resources, CBC time and CBC money to send an email
disagreeing with Mr. Coren's recent (last Saturday I
believe) opinion column about the repatriation of Omar
Khadr. Now, I understand that Mr. Goddards job may
have some aspect of internet surfing to it, but this
is clearly against the mandate of the publicly-funded
CBC to follow the following statement;

"The broadcast media in particular have an obligation
to be fair, accurate, thorough, comprehensive and
balanced in their presentation of information. This is
unmistakably true of a public broadcasting agency,
which is accountable through its Board of Directors to
the Parliament and people of Canada."

Mr. Goddard does not appear to support this statement
in any meaningful way. Using publicly funded resources
he attacks an opinion piece in other news media,
effectively making his personal views appear to be the
approved views of the CBC.

So Mr. Carlin, what happens from here? Will Mr.
Goddard be reprimanded? Will Mr. Goddard send a letter
of apology to Parliament for illegally misusing CBC
time and resources? Will Mr. Goddard apologize to Mr.
Coren? I believe that the only suitable outcome from
this is for Mr. Goddard to be reprimanded in a
meaningful way, and for written letters of apology to
the Canadian people and Mr. Coren in particular.

I shall follow up with you on this item periodically.

Best regards,
David Tracey



Hello Mr. Carlin:
Any news on this? Any at all? I continue to be
concerned; as a private sector employee I could
(would?) be fired on the spot for engaging in personal
email activity while "on the clock". Are there special
considerations for CBC employees? Do they not "have to
work" when they are being paid to do so?

Best regards,
Dave Tracey



Dear David Tracey:

I am sorry for the brief delay, but I was trying to insure I had the
facts of the matter.

The Ombudsman generally deals with matters which have appeared on the
air, or on the websites run by CBC. However, as you point out, I also
have more generalized concerns about CBC's Journalistic Standards and
Practices which occasionally involves how journalistic employees conduct

It should be clear, though, that I have no say in CBC personnel matters
since I am an independent authority reporting to the President.

That being said, as far as I am aware, the CBC does not approve of its
employees using Corporate resources (including e-mail) for purely
private matters. I am reasonably certain that this has been made clear
to the person in question. I should also point out that I have
discovered that Mr. Goddard was not, as you put it, "on the clock". His
message was sent while he was at home, off-duty.

You imply in your message that Mr. Goddard was disputing Michael Coren's
views on the Khadr matter. Since this might involve another section of
policy (taking stands on matters of public controversy) I looked at Mr.
Coren's column and at Mr. Goddard's somewhat cryptic note. It strikes
me as taking issue with the journalistic style of Mr. Coren's writing on
this serious matter rather than with his views of Mr. Khadr. Mr. Coren
used the device of critiquing the Khadr video as one might critique an
action movie.

As you may or may not be aware, Mr. Goddard works in the Arts and
Entertainment Department of CBC Radio, although on a program, "Q",
which, broadly speaking, can be classified as journalistic in some of
its elements. I have taken the opportunity of reminding the program's
producers of the relevant policies. I will be up to them to take
action, although I found them to be appropriately concerned about the
issues involved.


My opinion? Not quite the response I would've liked, but better than I could've hoped for.

Posted by: Dave Tracey | 2008-09-26 8:41:58 PM

Calling anybody, "white trash" is uncivil and an insult not tolerated any longer. It is ridiculous to those of us in the lower 48, especially from below the Mason-Dixon line, as to how it was used in ignorance as well. The person so labelled is from Alaska, "by gum" and "don't you know" as I would say before I became a professor at LSU and then the University of Baltimore.

"White snow" maybe is ok depending on how you feel about Mrs. Palin

Posted by: Lee | 2008-09-27 8:44:34 AM

Mallick is a piece of deranged ugly leftist trash. Other than that she has no qualifications to work at the CBC.

She is a quintessential representative of this godforsaken organization which, without qualms or any sense of professional responsibility or decency, takes the money of conservative taxpayers and shoves their leftist garbage down our throats.

If you can rationalize the state paying to terminate the lives of the most innocent and vulnerable of all human beings then you can rationalize anything. And these CBC idiots can and do.

Posted by: Beartrack Orama | 2008-09-27 9:32:27 AM

Living in a remote rural area, we only get two radio channels, CBC and a rock station. We choose not to have satellite TV.

So, we listen to the CBC quite a bit. I don't know about CBC television, but I know I'd hate to see CBC Radio disappear. It does link the country together, particularly the rural areas.

But oh man, I do tire of the constant left wing bias and infinite bleeding heart stories offered up every day.

I'd say, keep CBC Radio, but clean house big time from top to bottom and install personnel and policies that are committed to providing a full spectrum of views and topics.


Posted by: Keith | 2008-09-27 10:08:58 AM

Please, no more public funding for the CBC.

Posted by: Walter Funk | 2008-09-27 10:55:12 AM

Oh how I wish we had a real conservative / libertarian option that we could count on to slap a big "For Sale" sign on the CBC. Where is talk radio in the country? Where would it be if any such private stations didn't have to compete with the tax-funded CBC? We don't need the CBC - the leftist CBC pseudo-journalists need us.

Posted by: Howard MacKinnon | 2008-09-27 12:20:00 PM

only truth was spoken. My dearest wish is the election of John McCain and Sarah Palin to the highest office in the U.S.A. Only then will that country sink to irrelevance.

Posted by: scanner | 2008-09-27 3:35:26 PM

It is amazing that these idiots, such as Mallick, think anyone is actually interested in their personal opinion. I certainly am not. If I decide to watch the news, then I have the right to expect the news being factually reported since my tax dollars fund the CBC. She is entitled to her own opinion on her own dime.

Long long ago the CBC was actually something of which we could be proud. Now it is an embarrassment.

Scanner sounds like another American draft dodger who was wrongly accepted by Canada. I used to encounter a fair number of them when I was working and down to the last they were anti-American and as socialist/communist as you could find.

Posted by: Alain | 2008-09-27 8:50:42 PM

The CBC was a good outfit in the days of Peter Z.It has since become a left wing organization of propaganda for the Liberal and NDP parties.They advocate firearm confiscation,murder of babies in the womb called abortion to make it less horrifying,same sex marriage and the ORHC which is overdue to be abolished.Take away their funding!

Posted by: Hank Giroux | 2008-09-29 7:13:53 AM

I have been completely shocked by the left-wing bias exposed by the CBC during this election. This is completely unfair especially when considering that all taxpayers fund this organization. The 10:00 news with Peter Mansbridge has very little news but a lot of editorializing by Peter Mansbridge all benefitting left-wing parties. News anchors at one time just reported the news and kept any opinions to themselves. This is what Peter Mansbridge should do and all the other CBC anchors who exude such left-wing bias. If they can't do this, they should all be fired. Maybe its time the CBC was disbanded and replaced with an organization that represents all Canadians.

Posted by: Sylvia Marshall | 2008-09-29 9:12:38 AM

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