Craig McInnes is a member of the Editorial Board of The Vancouver Sun so I assume his column speaks with authority of the newspaper’s editors. Tuesday, he applauded the CBC’s refusal to correct the conflict of interest involved in Legislative Bureau Chief Stephen Smart reporting on the Premier while his wife is the Premier’s Deputy Press Secretary.
McInnes should be embarrassed by the weakness of his defence but I’ll leave detailed criticism to another blogger at Exiled.
I noticed an interesting element of the Sun’s online presentation of McInnes’ opinions. When the paper first posted the article, comments were allowed and very quickly, two readers effectively refuted the arguments.
The Sun’s response? They republished the article without reader comments and de-linked the original page. A reader starting at the Sun homepage and clicking through the OPINION header accesses this:
If one knows where to look, the original page can be found with its two apparently unwelcome comments:
In case the page with comments disappears from the Sun’s website entirely, here is the content of the reader comments that the newspaper is hiding:
3:15 PM on 1/24/2012
Mr. McInnes handily omits this important paragraph from Mr. LaPointe’s report:
“But just because there is no impropriety does not mean there is no conflict. Whether a
real or perceived conflict of interest, no amount of managing it can do more than
mitigate the impact on an impartial fulfillment of duties.”
and a bit further down…
“Smart can report with integrity, and CBC’s protocol can combine disclosure and recusal,
but the pervasive appearance of a conflict of interest will continually challenge their 5
reputations. It is hard to see how an arrangement with the potential to diminish the
effectiveness of CBC’s journalism and public standing serves an interest worthy of a
Certainly adds context to McInnes’ above piece.
12:24 PM on 1/24/2012
MicInnes offers on behalf of Postmedia self-serving twaddle that redefines the accepted definition of “conflict of interest.”
This is not the attitude of real newspapers such as the New York Times The Guardian or FAZ, etc.
Then again, if the Vancouver Sun had a strong policy on conflict of interest, its editors would not have a cozy relationship with the Fraser Institute. Nor would its star political pundit charge speaker’s fees for appearing before industry groups about whose interests he writes. (eg: BC Chambers of Commerce and HST).
Nor would another columnist have been hired to guide Independent Power Producers Association of BC to gain better media access.
The Sun allows egregious conduct, without disclosure. How many of its journalists or their immediate families rely on business groups for regular earnings. Or is this an old fashioned questioned to pose?