Tag Archives: complaint

CBC Ombudsman to review conduct of Kevin O’Leary in Chris Hedges interview

[Edit: Shortly after putting this post up, I received a response from the show’s Executive Producer, it can be read HERE]

It has been great to read everyone’s comments on the blog and on twitter and to see that there are a number of people who want to turn their disappointment with the actions Kevin O’Leary into a formal complaint with the CBC.

Two days ago, on October 11th, I received a reply from Kirk LaPointe. the CBC’s Ombudsman saying that, “It is the customary practice of CBC’s Office of the Ombudsman to share complaints with the relevant programmers, who have the right to respond first to criticism of their work” and stating that my complaint was shared with Jennifer McGuire, the General Manager and Editor in Chief of CBC News.

However, in a reply to a complaint sent in by Christine Estima, it appears that Mr. LaPointe will indeed conduct a review. Christine posted the reply she received to her Twitter account which read:

I write to acknowledge receipt of your e-mail, which I have shared with senior information programmers so that they may be aware of your concerns.

As a result of a similar complaint, I am going to conduct a review of this matter. Once I have completed it, you will be able to find it in the Findings section of my website: http://www.cbc.ca/ombudsman I expect it will be completed within the next few days.

Sincerely,

Kirk LaPointe
CBC Ombudsman

I see this as a very positive step and look forward to reading Mr. LaPointe’s reply and will be sure to write a blog post about it once it is in.

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How Kevin O’Leary’s exchange with Chris Hedges over Occupy Wall Street violates CBC Journalistic Standards (Part 2)

The following post is a slightly reworked version of the complaint I submitted to CBC concerning the behaviour of Kevin O’Leary during an interview with Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges on October 6, 2011 on the Lang & O’Leary Exchange. [You can see the original interview here]

The complaint is premised on the assumption that as the Lang & O’Leary Exchange runs on CBC News, it is subject to the CBC’s Journalistic Standards. If this assumption is incorrect, I would still argue that Mr O’Leary fails to treat his interviewee with a sufficient degree of respect.

For those who do not know the show, The Lang & O’Leary Exchange presents itself as business television show which aims to bring the ‘biggest names’ of the financial world to debate topical issues and generate ‘thought-provoking coverage. In the show’s description it alludes to the fact that the show’s hosts (Amanda Lang & Kevin O’Leary) both have their own opinions and may indeed clash over topics. This format is obviously intended to adds the drama of reporting news and some producers may also justify this ‘colourful’ approach show as a means to generate controversy, discussion and, most importantly, an audience!

Despite the format, the manner in which Kevin O’Leary treated his guest Chris Hedges was not becoming of the high standards set by the CBC, is a direct violation of the CBC’s Journalistic Codes and ultimately damaged the CBC’s reputation.

Early in the exchange between O’Leary and Hedges, Hedges was allowed to make his point unimpeded (for a full transcript of see the Creekside blog). However, half way into the interview O’Leary initiates name calling and replies to Hedges’ arguments by saying, “You sound like a left wing ‘nut bar’…”. Understandably, Hedges takes offence to O’Leary’s bullying tactics and rightfully calls him out on it. The interview concludes on
a low point with Mr Hedges asserting that he will no longer be willing to do interviews with the CBC.

The use of name calling is a rhetorical act of desperation deployed in an attempt to discredit one’s character as opposed to the validity of one’s arguments. I fail to see how the use of such bullying tactics deployed by O’Leary either draw on his ‘expertise’, or provide the audience with a greater understanding of the issues. Moreover, I fail to see how it could be retorted that the name calling was simply the expression of a ‘provocative opinion’ in a moment of ‘passion’. It was an act of bullying and do not understand how it can be justified.

It is appreciated that a retort to this complaint could be that Mr O’Leary is a ‘big personality’ and the comments are part of his ‘nature”. However such a reply would not negate the need to maintain a respectful tone particularly during issues of disagreement. This is made all the more important given the CBC’s role and mandate as a public broadcaster.

Mr O’Leary’s actions are a direct violation of the CBC’s commitment to ‘fairness’ and treating individuals with respect. The remarks of O’Leary also violate the CBC’s commitment to balance. On the issue of balance, the CBC undertakes to “contribute to informed debate on issues that matter to Canadians by reflecting a diversity of opinion” and… “On issues of controversy, we ensure that divergent views are reflected respectfully, taking into account their relevance to the debate and how widely held theses views are”. The issues around the Occupy Wall Street protests both matter to Canadians and are an issue of controversy. While it could be restored that the very act of having Chris Hedges on the show was a means to ‘inform’ Canadians about one perspective on Occupy Wall Street, there was a clear failure to handle the opinions expressed by Chris Hedges respectfully.

By having a show aired on CBC, Mr O’Leary has the duty to act responsibly and respectfully. In this instance, he has not only failed to live up to the standards set by the CBC but has clearly violated them to the detriment of the organization.

Given that the above text captures the thrust of my argument to the CBC, which has now been received by Jennifer McGuire, General Manager and Editor in Chief of CBC News, I look forward to (and will share here) the reply.

[Edit: A response from the show’s Executive Producer, to my complaint can be read HERE]

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How to Complain to CBC about O’Leary’s exchange with Chris Hedges about Occupy Wall Street (Part 1)

[Edit: A response from the show’s Executive Producer, to my complaint can be read HERE]

I recently posted this on my Media Memes tubmlr but given its length and focus thought it would be good to post here.  It has been a while since a blog post and having just finished relocating from Europe back to Canada, hope to offer comments more regularly. Recently, Rabble.ca drew a blog post from Creekside to my attention. The post offers a considered reflection on an exchange which took place on the CBC show between Lang and O’Leary ExchangeThe exchange was between one of the show’s hosts Kevin O’Leary, and Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges focusing on the Occupy Wall Street (#occupywallstreet, #ows) protests.

While I will write about the show in more detail in another post, the point of this post is to encourage people, if you deem fit, to file a complaint with the CBC for Kevin O’Leary’s manner in the interview as a clear violation of CBC Journalistic standards.

Complaints should be sent to the CBC Ombudsman and should be in writing with your name, address and telephone number. Note that the Ombudsman does not respond to anonymous complaints.

You must including the following information: Program Name: Lang and O’Leary Exchange on CBC Television, CBC News Network or CBCNews.ca. Air Date: October 6, 2011.

Be specific. When you feel a program or report was inaccurate, unfair or biased, please indicate how it was inaccurate, unfair or biased.

Complaints can be sent via email to the CBC Ombudsman.

Alternatively, complaints can be sent via snail mail to:

Kirk LaPointe
Ombudsman
CBC
P.O. Box 500, Station A
Toronto, Ontario M5W 1E6

Via fax to: Fax: (416) 205-2825

Via telephone: (416) 205-2978

Wondering what the CBC Journalistic Standards are? Read them here:

Accuracy
We seek out the truth in all matters of public interest. We invest our time and our skills to learn, understand and clearly explain the facts to our audience. The production techniques we use serve to present the content in a clear and accessible manner.

Fairness
In our information gathering and reporting, we treat individuals and organizations with openness and respect. We are mindful of their rights. We treat them even-handedly.

Balance
We contribute to informed debate on issues that matter to Canadians by reflecting a diversity of opinion. Our content on all platforms presents a wide range of subject matter and views.

On issues of controversy, we ensure that divergent views are reflected respectfully, taking into account their relevance to the debate and how widely held theses views are. We also ensure that they are represented over a reasonable period of time.

Impartiality
We provide professional judgment based on facts and expertise. We do not promote any particular point of view on matters of public debate.

Integrity
The trust of the public is our most valued asset. We avoid putting ourselves in real or potential conflict of interest. This is essential to our credibility.

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