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Calling BS on the Media: Follow Up

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.

In a classic-case of just desserts, Kevin O'Leary has been chastized by the CBC's Ombudsman for his comments towards Chris Hedges in a recent interview on CBC's Lang-O'Leary Exchange.

Rabble has the story including a quote from the Ombudsman's report:

There is room at the inn for a range of views, but there is no room for name-calling a guest. At the very least, suggesting Hedges was a "nutbar" undermined what was likely a more interesting discussion. At worst, it permitted The Lang & O'Leary Exchange to be criticized as no different than the all-heat, no-light discussion shows that diminish discourse, far from the ambitions of a flagship business program on a public broadcaster. O'Leary might have been genuinely curious about Hedges' views, but his opening salvo only fed contempt, which breached policy. When O'Leary asked Hedges "don't take this the wrong way," it came across as disingenuous and begged the question: Is there a "right way" to take being called a nutbar?

Correctly and quickly, CBC News concluded it was unacceptable for O'Leary to do what he did. Its private apology to Hedges was a responsible gesture, as was its discussion with O'Leary about the inappropriateness of the name-calling. What was unclear was why the program would stop there and not acknowledge this also to the audience. Only the guest received the benefit of the private apology, from the programmer and not the principal himself. When CBC News acknowledges error, I believe that closure is better achieved and accountability better demonstrated by communicating that to the audience and not simply to the correspondents. In this instance it would help fulfill the spirit of CBC Journalistic Standards and Practices, a substantial policy which in principle embraces the public element of its implementation.

This is the second time this year O'Leary has been criticized by the CBC's Ombudsman.  In March, he was found to have made racist remarks during an October, 2010 interview.


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