Sunday, January 22, 2012

Did Keith Baldrey Fire The Smoking Gun That Demonstrates...


...That CBC British Columbia And Its Legislative Bureau Chief Are In A Conflict Of Interest?

Why, yes, I believe he did.

And Norman Farrell has the audio up to prove it.


Now, first, before I unveil the weapon for all to see, I must say that the 5 minutes of 'Cutting Edge Of The Ledge' that Mr. Farrell has excerpted from Friday's show on CKNW is the best example so far that best illustrates what is truly wrong with political reportage in this province.

Essentially, it is an extended kabuki dance performance piece by Mr. Bill Good of CKNW, Mr. Vaughn Palmer of the Vancouver Sun, and Mr. Keith Baldrey of Global Television, in which they collectively belittle the ruling by the CBC's ombudsman, Mr. Kirk Lapointe, regarding the potential for conflict of interest that exists for the CBC's Legislative Bureau chief, Mr. Stephen Smart, because he is married to the BC Premier's Deputy Press Secretary, Ms. Rebecca Scott. And most importantly, this belittling is carried out in its entirety without ever once actually directly addressing the substance of the ombudsman's actual ruling (or so they thought - see below).

So, if you have taken your blood pressure medication today, please go and listen to all five minutes at Mr. Farrell's place.



As to the proverbial smoking gun, it first makes its appearance when a suddenly pivoting Mr. Good unwittingly puts the bullet in the chamber.

Bill Good (speaking to Baldrey): And we should point out that you are a direct competitor of Mr. Smart.

At which point Mr. Baldrey pulls the hammer back as he pirouettes....

Keith Baldrey: Ya. I mean he's my competitor. And I think it's outrageous to suggest that his job performance has been anything less than exemplary. I mean, we compete for stories.

Mr. Baldrey then, whether he knows it or not, takes aim while simultaneouly attempting to pull off a plie....

Keith Baldrey: Here's a great example. Christy Clark revealed that she wasn't callin' a fall election on my television station and a couple of other news outlets, and not the CBC.

And then, finally, presumably inadvertently, Mr. Baldrey pulls the trigger as he spins into his denouement and completes the description of his 'great example'....

Keith Baldrey: It was, you know, he (Smart) doesn't gain necessarily from the relationship his wife has with the Premier. In fact, I think, if anything he's probably hurt by that.


And so, there you have it.

Mr. Keith Baldrey stated, on the air on CKNW, on Friday morning Jan 20, 2012, that Mr. Smart's reporting has probably, at least once in the past already, been hampered because his wife works for the Premier, whom he covers.

Which is precisely why CBC's ombudsman was correct with his ruling and why CBC British Columbia's news division is wrong for ignoring it.


Put another way.....

There is now evidence, evidence given by one of BC's most prominent members of the media, that Mr. Smart's relationship with the Premier's Deputy Press Secretary may have already prevented CBC British Columbia's news division from competing for a story of import on a level playing field.

And that, in my opinion, goes way past the 'potential' for a conflict of interest.


Want more information on the 'great example' that Mr. Baldrey used to pull the trigger...Well, turns out that it is all available in the transcript of the tweet fight that subsequently ensued...



Norm Farrell said...

RossK, let us go beyond the particular issue of Stephen Smart and address the larger one of how corporate media members such as Good, Palmer, and Baldrey are themselves conflicted.

(Charlie Smith at the Georgia Straight has a good piece currently.)

The NW trio has appeared before business groups (BC Chamber of Commerce, for example) and then reported on issues that matter hugely to those interests that paid for those appearances. (HST, for example.)

Was there a connection between softball treatment given the CofC interests and the payments made loyal media members? I doubt there is an independent media expert anywhere that would find that example not to be an illustration of conflict.

We regularly see paid representatives of business interests at the forefront of news coverage. How - other than bias - could a news agency choose to feature silly persons such as Kathryn Marshall as newsworthy commentators.

Charlie Smith suggests the Victoria press gallery establish a registry through which members could routinely disclose the financial interests that might affect their reporting. Of course, he's raised the issue before and the group that brings us political news from the capital have no interest in addressing the matter.

Rev.Paperboy said...

simply put, the CBC needs to reassign Steve Smart, starting yesterday. Let hm cover Vancouver city politics, the cops and courts beat, hell let him cover the Canucks, but for christsakes get him the hell away from the provincial legislature.
I'm not saying that both he and his wife couldn't still do their jobs very professionally - maybe they can, but it is not only conflicts of interest that must be avoided, but the appearance of conflicts of interests. This is every bit as problematic as a judge and prosecutor or defense lawyer being married and working on the same case.

RossK said...


I would agree that any and all measures that decrease the ability of the cloistered to act with impunity would be helpful.

But on this specific issue, it goes deeper. These three essentially invoked matter of the 'The Club' as being all-seeing and self-correcting. Then, within 30 seconds, Mr. Baldrey demonstrated, with his own words, that it is both blind and very, very wrong.


RossK said...

Completely agree Rev.

But, the thing is, as Mr. Baldrey himself pointed out, there is, in point of fact, evidence that an actual real conflict may have already occurred.

(And Rev, with all due respect for you far away Ontarians, you've gotta realize that we've already had a go or seven at Mr. Baldrey himself due to his own cozy 'relationships' with those that he must cover that he, himself, likes to trumpet unashamedly. A good example can be found here.)


Anonymous said...

Essentially, it is an extended kabuki dance performance piece by Mr. Bill Good of CKNW, Mr. Vaughn Palmer of the Vancouver Sun, and Mr. Keith Baldrey of Global Television...

Given the nature of the mutual stroking going on, it was more likely a Kabuki Party over the ill-fated Mr. LaPoint.

RossK said...


Good point.

For the record, I initially had it as a yanking of a certain geometric shape with no corners, but thinking of the children and any and all CBC brass that might show up here tomorrow morning, I decided to go with the dance metaphor instead.

Anonymous said...

I get your point about what Baldrey said, RossK, and I get that it seems to indicate that the CBC is being affected by its decision to leave Smart in place.

I just think everyone is wrong in their assumption. Because Baldrey says Smart got scooped don't necessarily make it true. You might want to consider that Smart did know. He just didn't, or couldn't, report that there would be no fall election.

Which is bad on a whole other level.

Because what else isn't he reporting?

ps the Liberals have sprinkled their scoops around to reporters of their choice for a long time. It's an appalling way to deal with information that belongs to all of the people, no matter which news outlet they follow. That end of the behaviour is just as appalling as the fact the CBC didn't get the "scoop" too. (I also like the way Baldrey thinks this reflects well on him, that's he in favour, as opposed to marking him as bought.)

RossK said...


Couldn't agree more.

And what someone knows he knows but can't report just may start something like, say, this.

(and regarding the 'sprinkling' is it not fair to say that it only goes to the 'friendlies'?)

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of the time when Robin Mathews could not get reporter status in Basi, Virk, Basi trial because he wasn't one of them, he wasn't a MSM reporter. And he nails another one today over at "The Legislature Raids."
I remember reading about the journalist, I.F. Stone and his publication, "The I. F. Stone Weekly." In the article about Mr. Stone, he stated that he never interviewed politicians because they always try to manipulate the truth to suit their purposes. Instead he wrote about them by examining what they said and what they did.
Whenever I see a reporter saying he /she spoke to a politician, I always take it with a grain of salt. Baldrey (and other reporters called for a story) should realize that they are being used to spin a story. They are not necessarily getting the truth from the horse's mouth. Many news outlets would not publish his work so he started his own publication, the I F Stone Weekly. It was fairly popular and he was sort of a pre-internet blogger.

RossK said...


And, somewhat ironically, if I am not mistaken one of the four horsemen of the 'accreditation committee' that denied Mr. Mathews the use of a tape recorder in the courtroom was....

...Mr. Stephen Smart.


Anonymous said...

Yes RossK, Stephen Smart is one of two CBC reporters on the "accreditation committee".

CBC is the only media outlet that has two members on that dubious committee established by the BC Supreme Court. Why that is, I don't know.

What I do know is that Stephen Smart's father is a BC Supreme Court judge. I think that's another conflict of interest. Stephen Smart should not have a seat on that "accreditation committee", any more than he should be CBC's political bureau chief in BC.

Stephen Smart, as a member of this accreditation committee, gets to determine who can and cannot be considered an "accredited journalist" and, by extension (in BC's kangaroo court system) who can and cannot have access to "publicly available" files (BC Rail), and who can and cannot record the proceedings which are "open to the public". Did "daddy" get Stephen that appointment?

Is this Alice in Wonderland? Or is it just that the evidence and extent of corruption and collusion is being aggressively and deliberately hidden from the public by the media? I believe the latter.

Anonymous said...

It's not Alice in Wonderland.

It's just business as usual in BC.

The Most Corrupt Place on Earth.

RossK said...

Thanks for the additional info Anon-2-Above.

To be fair at the time of the ruling against Mr. Mathews Mr. Smart was still at CTV...I remember this because Neal Hall of the VSun made a massive fuss about how bloggers are irresponsible know nothings when someone at BC Mary's suggested that three of the four were from (then CanWest).

But as to your overall conclusion, based on the evidence, it is hard to disagree.



I agree, this is 'business-as-usual' which is the part of the Ledgie Boys argument that I actually agree with. I just do not agree that it should continue because it has always been thus.


Anonymous said...

The Campbell/Clark BC Liberals, have been a litany of, lies, deceit, thefts, corruption, broken promises, dirty tactics, cheat to win, evil and every cuss word in the book. It isn't right but, it really has been thus so for over ten years now.

The media is beyond disgusting, a total disgrace to their professions.

Never have I seen, a more childish government and media. They are far beyond pathetic. There are even times, I am embarrassed for them.

We have kept up a friendship with a family, my brother met overseas during WW11. They just can't wrap their minds around, what Canada has become. They are really very sad about it. Canada was a beloved country back then. Now our country, reeks of putrid corruption. Canada's good name is, now in tatters. BC is the most disgusting province, in the entire country.