Investigative journalism is not dead in Canada. It may be comatose in the mainstream press which is hamstrung by its own political correctness, groupthink and inability to self-critically look at itself in the mirror. But it is alive and well and firing on all cylinders, driven by the very tenacious, smart, aggressive and determined independent blogger, Jesse Brown.
This time Jesse Brown has turned his laser-like focus on Amanda Lang, CBC’s senior business correspondent and “odds on favorite” to be heiress apparent to the anchor desk of Peter Manbridge, senior news anchor of The National and CBC’s chief correspondent.
But I am afraid that now, for Amanda Lang, all bets are off for her easy ascension to the throne.
Because Amanda has been caught in serious conflicts of interests, which have undermined her journalistic credibility and called into question her integrity and her future at the CBC.
Here are the facts as reported by Jesse Brown.
Amanda Lang , as CBC’s News senior business correspondent, hosts CBC’s flagship business news program, The Lang Exchange, which frequently covers the Canadian insurance company.
In the same blog, Brown provided written evidence that Lang had received payments from Manulife Insurance Company, one of Canada’s largest insurance companies, to moderate two public discussions sponsored by Manulife in July and August, 2014.
Subsequent to these paying gigs, Lang, then had on her show, the CEO of Manulife in September, 2014 who talked very favorably about the acquisition of one of Manulife’s competitors. Which Lang supported very positively and uncritically.
Brown believes that both CBC and Lang were at fault, because neither CBC nor Lang disclosed during the show that she had been previously paid by Manulife and neither suggested that Lang alternatively should have recused herself from this show. Brown clearly suggests that there is an appearance of bias, and that Lang’s favorable treatment of the Manulife CEO on her CBC show, may be related to Lang having been previously financially compensated by the company.
Similarly, in the same year, Lang entered into a contract with Sun Life, to be paid for a speaking gig at one of Sun Life customer appreciation evenings. And subsequent to entering into such financial contract, Lang had the Sun Life’s CEO on her business show to promote Sun Life’s products for retirement. Again with the knowledge and consent of CBC. As above, Brown suggests that Lang and CBC should have disclosed Lang’s prior financial arrangement with Sun Life, or alternatively, recused herself from this show.
Brown’s suggests unfavorably, that Lang’s uncritical and cheerleader-like interview with Sun Life appears to have been related to her financial arrangement with Sun Life.
According to Brown, these two incidents with major Canadian life companies, appear to taint Lang’s reputation and integrity and call into question CBC’s own judgment and integrity for permitting Lang’s shows with Manulife and Sun Life to proceed.
Brown suggests that Lang earns about $20,000-30,000 per speaking gig and therefore she earns about $300,000 annually with these speaking engagements, which ain’t chump change. Together with her non-publicly reported, taxpayer-supported CBC salary of about 300,000, Amanda Lang, public servant, is not suffering financially.
But that’s not all, folks.
Brown reports, that according to multiple anonymous sources in the CBC, in 2013 Lang tried to sabotage the brilliant expose by fellow CBC colleague, Kathy Tomlinson, of Royal Bank’s abuse of Canada’s temporary foreign workers program.
The objectives of this federal program are to permit Canadian companies to import foreign workers temporarily to fill seasonal positions that cannot be effectively filled by existing Canadian workers ( i.e. itinerant farm workers) or to fill highly specialized jobs, where there are not sufficient Canadian workers who possess the required skills or knowledge ( computer engineering, information technology).
In a series of CBC reports, Tomlinson reported that the Royal Bank, Canada’s largest bank had abused the system, by using an outsourcing firm to bring in temporary workers for its Canadian IT employees to train… in order to sack those Canadian employees and ship their jobs overseas.
Amanda Lang, to her discredit, according to Jesse Brown,” lobbied aggressively within the CBC to undermine Tomlinson’s reporting on the foreign worker scandal at CBC…..When that failed, Lang tried to deflate the story by having RBC CEO Gord Nixon on to the National for a softball interview in which he criticized the CBC’s reporting and dismissed the scandal as trivial. During the interview Lang did not challenge Nixon.”
Amanda Lang then took her campaign to the Globe and Mail, where she penned a dismissive opinion piece defending outsourcing and making light of the abuses at the heart of the RBC scandal. In effect, she called RBC hiring temporary workers “ a sideshow”. And then Lang has apparently lied about her unusual Globe involvement, when she stated that the Globe had approached her to write such an article. When in fact, the Globe now admits that Lang approached the Globe.
But the story gets worse.
When Lang initially tried to derail this story on a CBC conference call with Tomlinson, in which she questioned Tomlinson’s facts and integrity, Lang failed to disclose that she had put herself in a very serious conflicts of interest.
According to Brown, Lang, prior to her unusual meddling in the Royal Bank scandal, had been paid by Royal Bank on 6 separate occasions for speaking engagements ( estimated $15,000 a crack). Prior to having RBC CEO Gord Nixon on her show, to defend RBC’s foreign workers program, Nixon has publicly written a laudatory blurb on Lang’s most recent book. Lastly, also unbeknownst to CBC staffers at the time, since 2013, Lang had been in a serious relationship with Geoff Beattie, a RBC board member.
In sum, Lang was conflicted every which way to Sunday.
To date, as the chop suey continues to hit the fan, and CBC’s Kathy Tomlinson, has come forward publicly to support Jesse Brown’s version of the events, the CBC executives continue to stand by, protect and coddle its high profile, celebrity star.
Just as the CBC brass continued to stand by Jian Ghomeshi, when he too had come under constant and persistent criticism by fellow CBC colleagues for his “conduct”.
Amanda Lang is further evidence of the cancerous celebrity culture that has infected the CBC. Where such celebrities appear to operate within CBC’s halls, in disregard of journalistic standards and normal, ethical moral behavior. But yet are protected and promoted by the CBC.
According to CBC lifer, Linden MacIntyre- this culture of celebrity is endemic to CBC.
Jian Ghomeshi and now Amanda Lang. Will CBC ever get its act together, or is it finally the time for the Canadian taxpayers to pull the plug on the CBC?