News anchor defends himself after report of paid speech

CBC News anchor Peter Mansbridge defended himself after a report that he made a paid speech to petroleum producers, saying he has never publicly promoted or opposed oilsands development.

CBC News anchor Peter Mansbridge defended himself after a report that he made a paid speech to petroleum producers, saying he has never publicly promoted or opposed oilsands development.

“If I leave a speech and those in attendance think they know where I stand on any controversial issue, then they’re guessing. Because they won’t find it in the words I’ve spoken,” he wrote in a blog post on the CBC website.

“I would not, do not, and have not, given a speech either promoting oilsands development or opposing it.”

The anchor of The National said he gives about 20 speeches each year, about half of them unpaid. When he receives a fee, he often donates part or all of the money to charity, he said.

Mansbridge said the network’s senior management has always approved his speaking engagements and known when he is paid for them.

Some media watchers have suggested it’s not appropriate for journalists to accept money from groups or industries that are the subject of their reports.

On Wednesday, a CBC report on its president Hubert Lacroix’s appearance before a Senate committee said the anchor’s speaking engagements are vetted in advance.

“And each one is looked at to make sure there is no conflict of interest with respect … to editorial coverage and to make sure that our rules are respected,” Lacroix told the committee.

“He knows that he never offers up his opinion or takes a position on anything that is in the news when he makes those speeches.”

This comes after a published report said Mansbridge was paid to speak to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers in 2012.

He is the second CBC personality recently to face questions for reportedly receiving payment in exchange for speaking at events organized by members of the oil industry.

The network has acknowledged that Rex Murphy, who hosts the show Cross-Country Checkup, has given speeches supporting oilsands development.

Murphy stood by his comments in a column published last week in the National Post, saying he always speaks his mind and his opinions can’t be bought. To suggest otherwise is “an empty, insulting slur against my reputation as a journalist,” he wrote.

A former executive director of the Organization of News Ombudsmen told CBC Radio that neither journalist should have accepted money — and that in doing so, they’ve undermined the broadcaster’s credibility.

“The problem is in the money received,” Jeffrey Dvorkin, a former managing editor for CBC Radio, told As It Happens. “In the end, there is a suspicion laid on all of the CBC,” he said.

“It’s about reputation here and what Rex has done, he has, frankly, I think, sullied the reputation of all CBC journalists by doing that and Peter Mansbridge hasn’t helped particularly in taking money from that source either.”

The CBC has defended Murphy’s actions, saying he is a freelance commentator paid to take a “provocative stand” on issues.

In a blog post published earlier this month and updated Thursday, CBC News editor-in-chief Jennifer McGuire said freelancers are given more leeway to express their views.

Full-time staff, however, must abide by an internal policy that states “CBC journalists do not express their own personal opinion because it affects the perception of impartiality and could affect an open and honest exploration of an issue,” she said.

Just Posted

UPDATED: STARS Lottery is back

Lacombe STARS patient tells his story

Former Red Deer man named Mr. Gay Canada

To compete in Mr. Gay World

Sylvan Lake council adopts waterfront plan

Sustainable Waterfront Area Redevelopment Plan to guide development for next 20 years

Two people die in Rocky-area collision

Rocky Mountain House RCMP investigate

RDC launches week of activities focusing on student mental health

Learners invited to join the discussion at #MakeSomeTimeRDC

Trudeau says politicians shouldn’t prey on Canadians’ fears

The Prime Minister was speaking at a townhall in Ontario

In limbo: Leftover embryos challenge clinics, couples

Some are outright abandoned by people who quit paying storage fees and other couples struggle with tough decisions

Netflix rejects request to remove Lac-Megantic images from ‘Bird Box’

At least two shows on Netflix’s Canadian platform briefly use actual footage of the 2013 tragedy

Teen vaping is an epidemic: US government

E-cigarettes are now the top high-risk substance used by teenagers, outpacing cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana

‘I never said there was no collusion,’ Trump lawyer says

President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani says he has ‘never said there was no collusion’

Body of Canadian miner found after African kidnapping

Kirk Woodman’s body was discovered 100 kilometres from the site where he worked for Progress Mineral Mining Company in Burkina Faso

Canada’s Conners on his way to full PGA Tour card with fast start to 2019 season

Corey Conners was working on his putting last Friday when fellow Canadian… Continue reading

Canada’s Milos Raonic, Denis Shapovalov advance at Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia — Canada’s Milos Raonic and Denis Shapovalov have advanced to… Continue reading

Study finds more than half of food produced in Canada wasted

The study released Thursday is the world’s first to measure food waste using data from industry and other sources instead of estimates

Most Read