Sunday, February 27, 2011

CBC got it wrong on cigarette labels story: Ombudsman

CBC’s ombudsman says a TV broadcast last December on CBC’s flagship newscast The National, that accused the Harper government of bending to pressure by the tobacco lobby, missed its mark. The item, reported by Diana Swain (pictured), concluded that the government had “shelved” plans for tough new labels on cigarette packages because tobacco company lobbyists pressured the government.
The National’s conclusion of a causal relationship, in which the lobbying seemed to be the reason for the shelving, was insufficiently supported to meet CBC’s Journalistic Standards and Practices that call for facts and evidence to arrive at conclusions,” CBC ombudsman Kirk LaPointe wrote in a nine-page report released late Friday. In fact, the new anti-smoking labels weren’t shelved at all but were unveiled by the government a few weeks after the broadcast was aired. LaPointe delivered his ruling in response to a complaint about Swain’s item by Dimitri Soudas, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s director of communications.

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