Thursday, June 20, 2024
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Opinion/ColumnTrucking

Journalists & Government in lockstep

The CBC union knew the public was being fed highly biased news every single day; it didn’t warn us

by Donna Laframboise

During her recent testimony to the National Citizen’s Inquiry, Marianne Klowak told us other CBC journalists knew our national broadcaster had forsaken everything it was supposed to stand for: accuracy, fairness, balance, impartiality, and integrity. We know they knew because they raised these concerns with their union. Here’s a quote from her testimony:

“I decided I had to start reaching out to other journalists, because I felt like I was just losing my mind…Through internal email at CBC I sent out notes saying, ‘This is what I’m seeing. What are you seeing?’ And I didn’t hear back from anybody. So I thought, you know, I’m gonna call the CBC union.

“I called the CBC union and they said, ‘Oh yeah, we’re getting all kinds of calls about people concerned about our biased reporting.’

“And I said, ‘Well, where are they? Put me in touch with them.’

And she said, ‘Oh no, they’re not – it’s staying with the union…they’re not prepared to do what you’re doing. They’re not prepared to go all up the ladder and call, you know, power to account.’”

Matters did, indeed, stop with the union. A union that appears to have had no moral compass of its own. Numerous CBC employees raised profound concerns. A fundamental concerns. They said the public broadcaster was behaving exactly opposite to how it’s supposed to behave. These concerns were raised at a time in which the well-being of millions of Canadians hung in the balance. At a time in which parents were being pressured to vaccinate their children with a vaccine for which no long term safety data existed.

And nothing of consequence happened. Do you recall any press conference? Any public statement from the CBC union? Warning the public we were being fed highly biased news on a daily basis?

So little happened that Brodie Fenlon, the CBC’s editor-in-chief, was apparently unperturbed. As I mentioned yesterday, Marianne had a meeting with him before she left. During that meeting she said one-sided, propaganda-like reporting was the reason she was prematurely exiting a 34-year career she loved. She couldn’t be part of an organization where this had become the norm.

What was Mr Fenlon’s response? He didn’t think things were that bad.

There’s a straight line from the problems Marianne describes and the subsequent demonization of the Freedom Convoy protest. These were the same journalists. This was the same mindset. Government rules, restrictions, lockdowns, persecutions, arrests. Vaccine mandates for work, school, team sports, and dance class. The padlocking of churches and restaurants. All of that was A-OK, as far as journalists were concerned.

Government critics, on the other hand, were illegitimate. They were to be ignored. Or crucified.

Practically instantaneously, freedom stopped being a long-standing universal human right, something to which everyone is entitled, something worth fighting and dying for. If the truckers were demanding freedom it must now be dangerous, malleable, far-right, violent, anti-social, and foolish. Which is precisely what the CBC told us the day before the Emergencies Act was declared.

Marianne’s testimony also makes it clear these problems weren’t confined to the CBC. In her words:

“I contacted a senior reporter from a competing network and I said to her, ‘”‘What are you seeing?’ She says, ‘Oh, I’m seeing the same thing.’”

“Then I managed to contact a reporter who worked for the New York Times, who told me what was happening to me was exactly what was happening to him. His stories were being shut down, he was being blocked. As he saw it, we had two options. One of them was quit and be a whistleblower. Or just stay, and fight it out, and keep trying to push those stories through.

…I was just reeling from all this because I thought, you know, we have betrayed our audience on a massive scale. Massive.

*****


Donna Laframboise writes a daily blog at  ThankYouTruckers.substack.comIt is a first draft of her upcoming book that focuses on interviews with Freedom Convoy truckers. She is a former National Post and Toronto Star columnist, and a former Vice President of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.