Saturday, September 27, 2008

Vince Carlin On Heather Mallick

Big words, Vince, but can Canadians expect change?

Vince Carlin seems to be leading something of a charmed life.

In his time as the CBC ombudsman, Carlin has had to preside over a number of controversies at the CBC. There were the collusion allegations between Krista and Pablo Rodriguez. Then, there was the matter of a piece appearing on The National suggesting that Bristol Palin was actually the mother of young Trig Palin.

Now, there's the Mighty Wind of wingnuttery emmenanting from Heather Mallick.

While Carlin still has yet to address the humiliating dressing-down of Neil MacDonald, he has chosen to address the controversy surrounding Mallick's extreme and bizarre comments.

In a review released two days ago, Carlin address the controversy, and makes some intriguing conclusions.

First off, many of the self-indulgent statements made by Mallick in the column were contrary to the CBC's code of journalistic practices in that they were insufficiently based on fact (descriptions of Republican men as "sexually inadequate" and Sarah Palin's supporters as "white trash").

Secondly, the CBC's code of journalistic practices is applicable to, but improperly tailored to, the CBC's new role as a web-based news outlet.

Thirdly, that the CBC does not live up to its mandate in terms of providing a broad range of views.

Which is frankly, little surprise to anyone. Least of all to Canadian conservative thinker Michael Coren, who once had a secheduled appearance on the CBC cancelled due to objection to his views.

Carlin's candid analysis of the Mighty Wind affair and its implications for the CBC should be welcomed, even and especially by those who object to Mallick's comments. But a bigger question remains unanswered -- just as questions remain unanswered in the wake of the Erickson/Rodriguez affair:

What, precisely, is going to change at the CBC?

Canadians have the right to now how, having suffered yet another definitive journalistic black eye, how Carlin and CBC editor John Cruickshank will restore journalistic credibility and balance to the CBC.

Clearly, fundamental changes need to be made at the CBC. Someone, after all, is making the decision to publish absolute garbage such as Mallick's loonish commentary on Sarah Palin, and making the decision not to give voice to other views.

Concerned Canadians will be able to feel a good deal more comfortable that there will be some real reform in the CBC when someone -- and not simply Mallick herself -- is called upon to answer for the CBC's flagrant sharfing on its own journalistic integrity.

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