So yesterday I mentioned that I was planning on writing to CBC's ombudsman regarding biased language and sourcing in their coverage of the controversy over that gourmet meat distributor in Alberta, and the executive's remarks to a Pride organization that have since caused a backlash.
The original article was here:
I took issue with a number of problematic constructions in this piece. This was the email I sent, and to my surprise I actually got a not-half-bad response:
I am writing in regards to the CBC News article dated July 27, 2022, regarding a business executive in Canmore, Alberta who received backlash over comments made in response to the Canmore Pride organization. I would like to take issue with the sourcing of persons interviewed for this piece, as well as wording in the article that made an editorialized and falsifiable claim about the man's statements.
The writer, Rob Easton, clearly did not take the time to seek out perspectives that were critical of the concept of "gender ideology" per se, which is not a settled matter and in fact has many critical voices taking issue with it, representing all sides of the political spectrum. These critical voices have appeared in numerous mainstream, respected publications such as The Atlantic, The New York Times, Newsweek, and The Spectator (U.K.). The British and Swedish governments have embarked upon a review of the protocols for addressing youth "gender dysphoria" in a clinical setting. Feminists have taken issue with the erasure of womanhood in the public square, in the name of ostensible "inclusivity." Yet no such critical perspectives were platformed, or, it appears, even sought out, when this piece went to print. Instead, there is only a comment from an individual "trans activist" in this piece, with no opposing viewpoint. Instead of relying solely upon the views of one "K Kealey," Mr. Easton could have sought input from gender-critical organizations and activists in Canada such as LGB Alliance, CAWSBAR (Canadian Women's Sex-Based Rights), and Gender Dissent, who would have provided a balanced, and thus more informative, perspective to his article. In its current state, the piece clearly presents as one of ideological advocacy rather than unbiased journalism.
Furthermore, the "trigger warning" at the beginning of the article is worded with loaded language indicating a particular opinion about the nature of Mr. von Rotz's comments. It could, and indeed should, have been worded more fairly, such as to indicate simply that the language quoted in the article "may be offensive to some readers." But it should not be up to Mr. Easton or the editorial staff to prejudge, project, or otherwise influence how the audience should view Mr. von Rotz's statements or their tone. To do so is editorial advocacy, even political "spin," rather than neutral reportage.
Last but not least, Mr. Easton makes an extremely loaded claim in his article which prejudices the subject matter and deserves scrutiny of verification: that Mr. von Rotz's email "repeated untruths about trans people as dangerous to children and perpetrators of violence" (emphasis added). Again, this appears to be Mr. Easton's opinion, and an assertion that could easily be debunked with a brief Internet search (or simply by seeking out the aforementioned gender-critical sources he apparently chose not to consult). For instance: Robert (aka "Michelle") Kosilek was a cross-dresser from the state of Massachusetts who brutally murdered his wife in 1990, when she discovered him wearing her clothing. A lawsuit is currently underway against the state of California, by several female prisoners reporting sexually violating behaviour from "self-identifying" men allowed access to their spaces. This case has been all but ignored by mainstream media sources, yet covered extensively by columnist Matt Taibbi, who is not a "fringe" voice but a credible journalist who is reporting independently verifiable work (TK News, "The World's Most Taboo Legal Case," 17 June 2022). Another well-respected journalist, NBC's Katy Tur, has written a memoir about the violent behaviour and alcoholic rage of her father, the journalist and helicopter pilot Bob (aka "Zoe") Tur. A disturbed man who considered himself "part of the LGBTQ community" threatened actor/comedian Dave Chappelle by brandishing a weapon at his stage show, claiming that he was "triggered" by Mr. Chappelle's criticism of gender ideology in his stand-up comedy routine. These are just some of the most high-profile cases. There are countless other stories repeatedly verifying patterns of abusive, predatory, and indeed violent behaviour among so-called "gender-diverse" individuals, yet Mr. Easton chose to report as fact that no such accounts, indeed no such victims, exist. It is more than fair to allow audiences to make up their own minds about Mr. von Rotz's statements or even their tone, without presenting a one-sided perspective through omission. Framing and sourcing matters.
I sincerely hope that the CBC will take its stated commitment to journalistic fairness seriously, and not dismiss alternate perspectives entirely because of a (potentially conflicting) commitment to vague ideals of "social justice." News must be impartial and presented with a full slate of facts, even if those facts may be uncomfortable to some segments of the population. Canadians deserve to be represented by a public broadcaster that is committed to the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Jack Nagler is the ombudsman and this was his reply.
I write to acknowledge receipt of your email.
The question of - as you described it - "gender ideology" was not the focus of the article in question. There was no journalistic requirement to seek out the voices you have called for in the opening paragraphs of your complaint.
There are other issues you have raised which merit a response from CBC. I have shared your email directly with Brodie Fenlon, Editor in Chief of CBC News, along with a request that he address those concerns.
Programmers are asked to try to reply within twenty working days.
So, OK, they get a whiff on the sourcing issue, and he doesn't seem too thrilled with the term "gender ideology" either. But, he says the rest of the complaint has merit, and I'm thinking it's the arguably more important issue where the journalist editorialized the notion of TRA violence being an "untruth".
This is... kinda big, if that is indeed the case? It means they can no longer deny that TRA violence is a thing (or at least that their journalists can't claim the supposed lack thereof to be an empirical fact).
Story developing... film at 11...