“Listen, don’t take this the wrong way, but you sound like a leftwing nutbar.” Kevin O’Leary to Chris Hedges on The Lang & O’Leary Exchange October 6, 2011
I’ve not watched this show, the day this interview took place, Diane Buckner was sitting in for Amanda Lang.
The CBC received hundreds of complaints. CBC Ombudsman Kirk LaPointe has weighed in.
There is room at the inn for a range of views, but there is no room for name-calling a guest.
At the very least, suggesting Hedges was a “nutbar” undermined what was likely a more interesting discussion. At worst, it permitted The Lang & O’Leary Exchange to be criticized as no different than the all-heat, no-light discussion shows that diminish discourse, far from the ambitions of a flagship business program on a public broadcaster.
O’Leary might have been genuinely curious about Hedges’ views, but his opening salvo only fed contempt, which breached policy. When O’Leary asked Hedges “don’t take this the wrong way,” it came across as disingenuous and begged the question: Is there a “right way” to take being called a nutbar?
The Lang & O’Leary Exchange Executive Producer Robert Lack issued a private apology to Chris Hedges. I think the CBC apology should be as public as possible, and I sincerely hope Chris Hedges re-considers his decision not to appear on the CBC again. Kevin O’Leary’s incivility was unacceptable (if I want to see supercilious interviewers, I’ll watch Sun News). The CBC Ombudsman notes O’Leary’s breech of policy and also thinks a public apology would be in the best interests of all parties and the viewing public.
Correctly and quickly, CBC News concluded it was unacceptable for O’Leary to do what he did. Its private apology to Hedges was a responsible gesture, as was its discussion with O’Leary about the inappropriateness of the name-calling.
What was unclear was why the program would stop there and not acknowledge this also to the audience. Only the guest received the benefit of the private apology, from the programmer and not the principal himself.
When CBC News acknowledges error, I believe that closure is better achieved and accountability better demonstrated by communicating that to the audience and not simply to the correspondents. In this instance it would help fulfill the spirit of CBC Journalistic Standards and Practices, a substantial policy which in principle embraces the public element of its implementation.
It bears noting that O’Leary recovered somewhat from the name-calling back-and-forth to permit Hedges to explain his perspective and engage in a healthier exchange. Both parties proceeded professionally and all was not lost in the segment.
I’ve followed Chris Hedges for years, his book American Fascists The Christian Right and the War on America is a valuable read for anyone following the religious right. He went up against Charles McVety in 2007 at a U of T Innis Town Hall debate when he was promoting American Fascists. That non-debate was not put online.
via: Let Freedom Rain