TORONTO — A raft of ethical lapses by journalists has the editor-in-chief of CBC News calling on members of the profession to clean up their act.
Jennifer McGuire bemoaned the state of the industry in a message to staff Wednesday, a day after the public broadcaster fired CBC News Network personality Evan Solomon over conflict-of-interest allegations.
While detailing the circumstances of Solomon’s ouster, McGuire cited a recent LinkedIn article by Al Jazeera America journalist Ali Velshi which chastised TV news for “shooting itself in the foot.”
“It’s time for every single professional journalist and media organization to stop providing ammunition,” McGuire said in the memo.
Some people have questioned the integrity of CBC’s news, McGuire continued, “and that of CTV, Global, NBC and ABC.”
Nearly all of the major networks have weathered a media scandal of some sort in recent months.
Bell Media parted ways with its president Kevin Crull after he admitted to trying to influence how subsidiary CTV covered a news story.
Global News anchor Leslie Roberts resigned after reports he co-owned a public relations company, and that some of the firm’s clients appeared on his morning show.
Over on the U.S. networks, NBC news anchor Brian Williams was suspended after exaggerating about his experiences as a reporter, and ABC’s George Stephanopoulos admitted to donating substantial sums to the Clinton Foundation, casting doubt on his ability to offer impartial coverage of Hillary Clinton’s presidential race.
In firing Solomon, McGuire said the “Power & Politics” host failed to meet the “very highest standard of journalistic conduct and ethics.”
“A decision like this is never pleasant,” she said of parting ways with the prominent personality, previously considered a possible successor to Peter Mansbridge on “The National.”
“Yesterday, we took the steps necessary to protect the integrity of our colleagues and the service we provide to Canadians. Going forward, we will continue to convey that message, clearly and proudly.”
The firing came in the wake of a Toronto Star report that alleged the 47-year-old broadcaster secretly brokered lucrative art sales to wealthy contacts he also approached for interviews.
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