CBC apologizes to Chris Hedges (The Lang & O’Leary Exchange)

“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


About Bene Diction

Have courage for the great sorrows, And patience for the small ones. And when you have laboriously accomplished your tasks, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.
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11 Responses to CBC apologizes to Chris Hedges (The Lang & O’Leary Exchange)

  1. cricket says:

    Kevin’s behaviour was abysmal, his attack on Mr. Hedges was almost personal. It was venomous and not very appropriate. Has he been hanging out with Rob Ford? The ombudsman was quite right in his assessment.

    Interesting to see that the protests have drawn individuals from all walks of life, not just young people or old people, but a good overall blend.

  2. Bene D says:

    Was O’Leary hired by the CBC as an entertainer, or to be the Don Cherry of the Financial News division?

    This is from his book Cold Hard Truth:

    “At the end of the day, the ugly truth is this: everyone is replaceable—including me, by the way. ”

    Given the public backlash, perhaps the CBC can consider putting someone in the financial news division who is a journalist, and not an abrasive entertainer.
    According to the CBC Ombudsman O’Leary:

    He is employed not to be a journalist but to bring his professional experiences to bear on a range of topics in the world of business. By all appearances, he has not been hired to be a shrinking

    The CBC could treat O’Leary like a grown up and ask him to apologize publicly, and he could behave like a grown up and learn from his mistakes. The Ombudsman notes in that complaint O’Leary’s conduct is not without boundaries.
    I counted four complaints in 2011 regarding Mr. O’Leary’s language and behavior. Last time he crossed the line of Standards and Practices he got a rebuke and didn’t have to apologize.

    The executive producer has a financial news show to run, he doesn’t need to be mopping up O’Leary’s messes.

    Another complaint has gone into the Ombudsman for remarks Mr. O’Leary made on a September Lang & O’Leary Exchange. http://tinyurl.com/3ha7747

  3. phillip says:

    The privilege of hearing Mr. Hedges’ clear understanding of the actual issue was marred by the ignorance and appalling lack of civility of CBC interviewer Mr. O’Leary. How embarrassing to all Canadians for our national broadcaster to be employing someone who resorts to personal attacks and name calling.

  4. supa says:

    O’Leary is a soundbyte machine. That is why he succeeds on television in a world of 2 second soundbytes. CBC is desperate for ratings just like the rest of them

  5. Micky Ryan says:

    O’Leary is pathetic. It proves that he is out of touch and has limited knowledge. How did this guy ever get on TV? Especially CBC? He is embarasing to Canada.

  6. Trip says:

    Mr. O’Leary’s approach to this interview was embarasing to Canada and O’Leary continues to make statements that show he does not understand the comments made by Mr. Hedges. Specifically, Mr. O’Leary has made a number of public comments that over generalize Mr. Hedges’ comments in an attempt to discredit Mr. Hedges. These comments continue to be embarasing to Canada.

    Mr. O’Leary, although successful in business at the operational level, does not have the skills or experience to provide any meaningful insight into high level organizational issues within the financial industry. I would like to see him replaced with someone that has the necessary skills and experience to add to the debate in a more positive and meaningful way.

    At the very least, he should apologize publicly to Mr. Hedge’s, who I believe, has added very positively to the debate.

  7. Alex says:

    Ironic that people on the comment boards are calling O’Leary ignorant given how rich he is. You don’t become rich by being ignorant. And replacing O’Leary with a journalist is about the worst idea I’ve ever heard. What is a person with an english degree (at most) going to know about markets? Nobody can give better business commentary than an extremely successful entrepreneur.

  8. Bene Diction says:

    Ignorant: Lacking knowledge, information, or awareness about something in particular:
    lacking knowledge of a specific field

    Rich is just rich, did the shows researchers get pertinent information to O’Leary? Did he use it wisely?
    His rudeness to Hedges was uncalled for.

    Being a successful entrepreneur is one thing, being a success at hosting a show is another.

  9. Rob Legate says:

    O’Leary did it again last night with his moronic questions to a Bio Math Prof. What good will Kevin’s money be when we can’t breathe the air anymore. Go look at the Chinese walking along the streets with their masks on. I have been told they constantly spit in the streets because their lungs are clogging with pollution from the air. I can’t trust his money comments anymore. If he’s that narrow focused that he can’t see the forest for the trees, than kick him off the show and get someone in who can help us with both the macro and micro issues of investment.

  10. Fernand Sylvain says:

    Who needs fox north with O’leary and Cherry on CBC!

  11. Jaymangdu says:

    O’Leary is clearly not of CBC journalistic calibre.

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