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Amanda Lang schilling for Manulife?

alexd

Administrator
Staff member
Busted! but

CBC "stands by" her journalism

Sean Craig • December 22, 2014

.....

To recap: Lang (a contender for Peter Mansbridge's chair as anchor of The National) is CBC News' Senior Business Correspondent, the top business reporter in the organization. She hosts the CBC's flagship business affairs show, which regularly covers the insurance industry. And Manulife is a giant insurance company.

Yet Lang took their money twice, moonlighting at their corporate events. Then she had their CEO on her show. And then she praised, to him, the specific department of his company that had hired her.

A source known to be familiar with Lang's speaking career tells CANADALAND that she typically charges between $10,000-$15,000 per event, and tells CANADALAND that in recent years income from her speaking gigs has exceeded $300,000 per year, possibly surpassing her salary from the CBC, which is not disclosed. Many of her clients have been large Canadian corporations in the financial sector.

Last April, after the Mansbridge/Rex Murphy scandal, CBC News Editor-in-Chief Jennifer McGuire announced that from that point on when journalists asked her permission to speak for cash, she would "reject requests from companies, political parties or other groups which make a significant effort to lobby or otherwise influence public policy."

Well, here is Manulife's active listing in the lobbyist registry of the federal Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying.


In November 2014 alone, Manulife held official meetings with two government cabinet ministers and Members of Parliament from each major opposition party.

So, how could the CBC possibly explain this as anything but a blatant violation of their own policy?

Chuck Thompson, CBC's Head of Public Affairs tells CANADALAND that Lang's work for Manulife was "grandfathered" in because it was booked before the new policy was set.

So CBC News let Lang have one last kick at the conflict of interest can.

This itself is an extraordinary admission, as it means CBC News let its Senior Business Correspondent interview Manulife's CEO knowing she had worked for his company shortly beforehand. They didn't ask her to recuse herself from the interview. They didn't ask her to disclose her conflict on the air. Viewers of the segment's original broadcast would only know of Lang's relationship with Manulife if, three weeks after it aired, they happened to check CBC's online disclosure page.

CANADALAND asked Lang for comment. She did not respond, instead forwarding our questions to Chuck Thompson.

As gross as this all is, perhaps there's hope that the Manulife "obligation" was the last of its kind and that following it CBC News would never allow anything like it to happen again.

Oh, wait.

1. Here is a paid gig Lang had with Sun Life (another massive insurance company) on November 24, 2014.

2. And here is Lang welcoming Sun Life CEO Dean Connor on The Exchange just six weeks earlier, on October 9.

3. In the interview, Lang discusses with Connor his views on Canadians and their retirement assets. Connor thinks Canadians are too reliant on home values and should instead look to other stuff like I don't know the financial products that major insurance corporations specialize in or something. The coverage is, for Sun Life, ridiculously positive.

4. Chuck Thompson Jennifer McGuire has confirmed to former CBC reporter Frank Koller, who first flagged the Sun Life conflict, that this too was a "grandfathered-in" event. That means that even though her laudatory coverage of Sun Life preceded her paid keynote for them, the contract had already been signed, and she welcomed their CEO onto her show knowing, and not disclosing, that she was his contract employee. It also means that the CBC knew this, and let the interview on to the air anyhow.

Sun Life also lobbies the federal government.

Taken as a whole, Lang's entanglements with corporate Canada make Peter Mansbridge's ethical transgressions look minor. He merely took money from an industry he covers as a journalist. Lang took money directly from specific companies in an industry she covers and then gave those corporations favourable coverage on the airwaves of the public broadcaster.

As for the CBC, Chuck Thompson assures CANADALAND that it "“stand behind the journalism with respect to the interview she did.”

Follow the author on Twitter @sdbcraig.



from Canadaland. More here:
Amanda Lang took money from Manulife & Sun Life, gave them favourable CBC coverage | CANADALAND
 
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mute79

TRIBE Member
The Lang & O'Leary Exchange was a pretty good show to watch, and she made it what it is as much as he had.

Good for her if she's making money on insurance companies. Seriously, why is that bad?
 

DJ Vuvu Zela

TRIBE Member
there might be a story here worth looking into but it's hard to take any "journalism" canadaland puts out seriously. it's very clear they have an axe to grind with the cbc, and as far as professional standards the site has slim to none.
 

loopdokter

TRIBE Promoter
The insurance industry is scummy as a whole. I've worked for one of them and I felt dirty every day working for them. It didn't last long.
 

ndrwrld

TRIBE Member
GPM_2829-Jian-Ghomeshi-Amanda-Lang-204x300.jpg
 
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praktik

TRIBE Member
Ok I was wondering why this story didn't have legs yet - is it cause Leslie Roberts is so much worse?

Maybe this latest will push it into higher gear, but fundamentally, wonder if people just trust her more - i mean, from my perspective - I still think she could spin out a worthwhile analysis in the future, its not like she's been out there saying stupid things for the last years.

Perhaps her track record/audience loyalty is inuring her to much blowback??
 

praktik

TRIBE Member
I think i figured out my issue - I watch Amanda Lang not for investment advice, but for her broader commentary on the economy and policy.

Maybe if I was picking stocks based on her show I'd care more....
 
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praktik

TRIBE Member
and reading this story I think its making me care more - the RBC thing hits at credible commentary on broader policy for sure...

I was going to resurrect this thread to see what was percolating after hearing NOTHING for so long
 

octo

TRIBE Member
are the inmates running the asylum at cbc?

i'm pretty disappointed in Lang and as far as i'm concerned she along with CBC have lost credibility. there should be some sort of transparent disclosure policy for every reporter.

is there any business reporter that's not on the take somehow?

ps i've always thought Leslie Roberts was a douche
 

DJ Vuvu Zela

TRIBE Member
are the inmates running the asylum at cbc?

i'm pretty disappointed in Lang and as far as i'm concerned she along with CBC have lost credibility. there should be some sort of transparent disclosure policy for every reporter.

How has the CBC lost credibility? They reported the story, and the alleged interference from Lang didn't affect that.

You really have to take any article from Canadaland with a grain of salt. The first about her dealings with Manulife has to be put in perspective. The allegations that she asked the Manulife CEO softball questions is pretty moot. She only asks any CEO that's on the show softball questions. That's how her show is able to land those type of guests. she never really asks hard-hitting or hardball questions. If she did CEOs and the like would simply never come on the show as there would be no benefit to them. You may not like that aspect of the show, (and you may have a point) but she and the format are consistent on that across the board with pretty much every guest.

This latest article is a bit more concerning, but we know we also know very little about what actually happened. The truth is the CBC did a good job covering the story and was objective, and using this sideshow to attack the credibility of the CBC is pretty silly.

There is a story somewhere in these Canadaland articles, , ultimately it's about the question of if news people can take speak Public speaking gigs. I suppose the CBC could forbid it (and maybe they should) but then they would also probably be on the hook to pay them more to make up for the lost revenue. That's where the discussion should really be.
 

Zorro

TRIBE Member
Did Leslie Roberts get a thread too? Or does this just show how little people really care about Global? They are comparable to the Toronto Rock I suppose.
 

kerouacdude

TRIBE Member
I could see how Leslie gives off a douche vibe. But, hate to break it to you - in an industry of chest puffers, he doesn't even register on the DB charts. Heck, probably not in most industries. He's a terrifically nice guy who treats people well regardless of their station.
 
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Zorro

TRIBE Member
I was only asking a question and an observation of where Global might stand in people's interest.
 

Spinsah

TRIBE Member
ultimately it's about the question of if news people can take speak Public speaking gigs. I suppose the CBC could forbid it (and maybe they should) but then they would also probably be on the hook to pay them more to make up for the lost revenue. That's where the discussion should really be.
No, the issue is a serious breach of journalistic integrity. There's nothing wrong with Amanda Lang giving speeches and receiving a fee, there's a big problem with her being in an undisclosed relationship with an RBC board member and attempting to sideline a story about a major corporation she has a vested financial interest in. When a conflict of interest goes undeclared and impacts a story, it's a major violation of journalistic integrity. Journalists are fired for less all the time. That this occurred at our public broadcaster and almost derailed a story about Canada's largest corporation abusing a high profile federal program is serious shit.
 

DJ Vuvu Zela

TRIBE Member
how do you know the relationship was undisclosed? are you a CBC exec? how do you know she was trying to sideline the story and wasn't just voicing concerns about it? were you privy to the conference call she had with the other CBC journalists?

neither you or I were. You're relying on undisclosed sources from an online outlet that doesn't have much of any journalistic tradition, and frankly who's standards most people should at the very least question.

my point was (and still is) the CBC didn't censor the story and still went ahead with it and did a very professional job.
 

octo

TRIBE Member
I could see how Leslie gives off a douche vibe. But, hate to break it to you - in an industry of chest puffers, he doesn't even register on the DB charts. Heck, probably not in most industries. He's a terrifically nice guy who treats people well regardless of their station.

don't hate breaking this. i actually like knowing that there's nice people out there.

and cbc is losing credibility. how is it possible that they would let one of their on air personalities interview someone so they can defend themselves, when the interviewer is on their payroll! it's repulsive.

all their journalists should be required to list every person or organization that has paid them for speaking engagements. it's basically like having undisclosed lobbyists.

if they're going to interview the CEO of RBC on The Exchange then the interview should be conducted by someone who hasn't received payments from RBC.
 

kerouacdude

TRIBE Member
don't hate breaking this. i actually like knowing that there's nice people out there.

and cbc is losing credibility. how is it possible that they would let one of their on air personalities interview someone so they can defend themselves, when the interviewer is on their payroll! it's repulsive.

all their journalists should be required to list every person or organization that has paid them for speaking engagements. it's basically like having undisclosed lobbyists.

if they're going to interview the CEO of RBC on The Exchange then the interview should be conducted by someone who hasn't received payments from RBC.

yeah I phrased that stupidly for some reason. Obviously he's not the most sensational journalist and this was wrong but seems more like a 'cake and eat it' more than anything nefarious or misinforming the public kind of deal.

as far as your 3rd paragraph, I guess I have to start then: Nobody ever asked nor paid me for a speaking gig. How much of a journalist I am is subject to debate on any given day. :-D
 
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