Duly Quoted: CBC Ombudsman Kirk LaPointe




Duly Quoted: CBC Ombudsman Kirk LaPointe

“CBC News correctly felt it had no option to stand by the story in the absence of evidence first-hand in the form of a tape or authenticated transcript… In view of the fact the Toronto Police Service depends on budget deliberations headed by the mayor, and in view of the fact this year’s police budget that averted layoffs was reached only in the week before this incident, I concluded CBC could not rest on [Chief Bill] Blair’s account.”

—The CBC ombudsman, exculpating the news organization of wrongdoing in their coverage of Rob Ford’s calls to 911. The mayor placed those calls after being approached in his driveway for a This Hour Has 22 Minutes skit in October. At that time the CBC reported that the mayor called the 911 dispatchers “bitches,” a report the mayor and Police Chief Bill Blair denied. The police are prohibited by law from releasing the tape on their own; only the mayor, as the person who placed the call, is authorized to request its release, which he has not done. The ombudsman’s full report is available online [PDF]. In it, LaPointe also looked at the CBC’s coverage of Rob Ford overall to ascertain whether there was evidence of “systematic antipathy” in their treatment of the mayor; he found “no general sentiment that might give rise to concerns of bias.”