Bell Media President Brings Shame to CTV

This cannot be left to pass as just another news story …moving along the conveyor belt of public information, falling off at the end … and forgotten.

Bell Media President Kevin Crull has thrown the very integrity and credibility of CTV News into doubt.

When the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission made its long-awaited decision on unbundling cable t.v. packages, Crull … President of Bell Media, which OWNS CTV … INTERFERED in the way CTV reported the story.

CRTC Chair Jean-Pierre Blais gave a CTV reporter a six-minute interview on the decision, but sources revealed Crull called CTV News President Wendy Freeman and reportedly told her not to air anything more from Blais on the air for the rest of the day.

CENSORSHIP!   INTERFERENCE in the “News”!  From the President of the company that runs Canada’s largest private broadcaster. In my view, that’s what Crull did.

And how did Freeman respond?

Did the CTV News President refuse?  No.  Did she resign in protest?  No.

Freeman is said, instead, to have gone along.

She reportedly informed CTV staff of Crull’s directive and told them not to use clips of Blais. She also apparently even expressed concern she and other CTV employees would be fired if they violated the ordered ban.

Some journalists!!!!   Some News President!!!

So MOST stories on the HUGE CRTC decision that day carried NO coverage of comments/explanation from the CRTC Chair.  The exception …to THEIR credit … CTV’s Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife and Chief Anchor Lisa LaFlamme …and finally Freeman … decided they could NOT run their 11 p.m. national newscast without Blais … so they used a clip from him.

That’s NOT good enough.

Because ALL this may not have ever even become known had it not been for … NOT CTV’s reporting …but reporting by the Globe and Mail newspaper, which broke the story.  And Crull, not surprisingly, would not grant the Globe an interview to explain or defend his won actions , in my view, increasing the network’s shame.

However, all the REAL story hit the fan, the Bell Media President apologized … in a written statement, not even on his own TV network … like so many other miscreant politicians, polluters and scandalized business officials have been seen to do before CTV cameras AFTER their behind-the-scenes evil deeds have been brought to light.

Crull insisted the intention of his “reaching out” (LOL!!!) was not to interfere editorially but just to urge them to focus on the “broad and necessary discussion of the impacts of the CRTC’s decisions on consumers, our team members and our business.”

I feel like throwing up.

Crull’s actions place in jeopardy CTV News’ very credibility: how can we trust that there are not other Bell corporate influences affecting their news decisions; why did ALMOST ALL of its SENIOR news staff just go along with the directive; with such weak News leadership, do major advertisers have similar influences on what is covered and what is not; do senior politicians and high-ranking government/party officials have any bosses’ ears?

But is CTV alone?

Frankly I can’t help but wonder …in light of today’s control of so many “news” radio, t.v., print operations/networks by huge multi-media conglomerate corporations … if there is similar interferences or influences at play from the brass at other news deliverers as well.

Whenever it occurs, we can only hope that the REAL journalists who are still out there will leak the information to a “competitor” … so that the culprits will be exposed, unmasked and shamed … and the public’s right to the truth will be protected.

Harv Oberfeld

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26 Responses to Bell Media President Brings Shame to CTV

  1. larry Bennett says:

    Harve, your perceptions of these goings-on are so much more obvious to yourself than to most of us, you having been in the industry. My concern was more to do with the stifling of the Canadian content rules by the CRTC, something I was never too concerned about, not being paranoid about American or other influence on our programming. My beef has always been more to do with the CRTC rules not being applied equally, and my (perhaps mistaken) concerns about the stifling of news outlets like SunMedia, being as they projected from, what some would say is the hard right. Certainly whatever was seen as a broadening of the information scope was to the detriment of CTV, CBC, and Global (Bell/Rogers) whatever. Please clarify – am I out of the loop, or just loopy?

    (Response: You do make valid points, at least somewhat. For example, I know the placement of Sun TV at a very high channel may have made it more difficult for them … BUT we must not forget, they were latecomers in a VERY expanded world of cable stations, when virtually all of the lower level channels were already assigned. True, the CRTC could have ordered cable nets to move US stations to higher channels and make way for Sun TV …but let’s keep it real: MOST Canadians…by far ..want those US channels more than Sun TV…so the CRTC was probably reluctant to force it more prominently on them. Another example of stifling is how Telus refuses to carry/offer competitor Shaw’s Global BC-1 News channel as part of Telus cable packages. Why? h.o)

  2. islandpapa says:

    More like confirmation

  3. r says:

    A recent news anchor moment?
    what other shenagigans do public not hear about?

    (Response: Yes…that’s what worries me too. But I hope REAL journalists who see such things will tip friends working for other media know so that the truth will come out and the integrity of our media can be protected …from those who OWN them! h.o)

  4. SunWuKong says:

    There’s also the infamous overruling of the G&M Editorial Board by the Editor-in-Chief Walmsley at the alleged behest of publisher Philip Crawley (supposedly by the command of owners, the Thomsons).
    http://canadalandshow.com/article/source-globe-editorial-board-endorsed-wynne-liberals-was-overruled

    The G&M’s “reply”:
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/books-and-media/journalist-jesse-brown-is-quick-to-expose-the-failures-of-canadian-media-but-what-about-his-own/article22488107/

    (Response: Fascinating stuff! And a bit sad too. h.o)

  5. Flatlander says:

    To me, Comer v. The Bank of Canada is an example of industry wide “self” sensorship…. or political interference.
    If not, then why have we not seen a single article about this very important case in the MSM?

  6. Barry says:

    This is getting to be old news. Several examples of “legit” journalists packing their pockets with money from the people they’re supposed to be covering. To whit:

    ONE: Amanda Lang making sure the stories about RBC’s use of TFW’s to displace Canadians was spun on her show as a good thing. If it wasn’t for Jessie Brown over at Canadalandshow, we wouldn’t have known Lang tried to spike stories from running on the national news.

    TWO: Closely related, albeit not the same, the CBC’s resident blowhard Rex Murphy taking money from the oil industry for speeches while using his platform on the nati0nal news to say fossil fuel driven climate change is a hoax.

    THREE: Over at Norm’s site, he’s shown several times how the “wise men of the media” who cover the powers that be in this province accept money from the likes of the Chamber of Commerce and the Business Council. Later, they merrily report the findings from these groups as inspired words brought down from the mount.

    I could go on but I think I’ve made my point. It’s time for MSM to undergo a giant Draino enema to cleans itself out. Until then, I’ll get more and more of my information from blogs like yours, Norm’s, Laila’s and more independent voices like the Tyee and iPolitics.ca.

    (Response: You really have to wonder HOW people who have risen to the highest positions in their companies could prove themselves so dumb that they believe they can interfere in major news coverage and no one will find out. In fact, I believe it is the DUTY of those who consider themselves serious, competent, honest journalists/reporters/producers etc. to get that info out, so the practice will be severely limited, if not outright eliminated. To stay silent and to go along is a disservice to the public and to open/honest journalism itself. h.o)

  7. e.a.f. says:

    none of this is surprising to me. what you wrote about confirmed what I already thought we are feed what the execs. want us to know and not much more. it is why reading blogs, small independent newspapers, and foreign journalists offer us a better chance of knowing what is going on in our country.

    news anchors these days read the news, thats it. when you wrote the article about anchor “gravitis” it was interesting, because at the time I thought and this is how they control and distribute the news, by people we think we can trust, but really we can’t.

    what passes for news is not news. what this ceo did is just business as usual. its about getting his “story” out, not the truth. Truth in news is sort of like leaving it up to drug companies to educate doctors on drugs they prescribe.

    (Response: I still believe that most stories out there ARE done honestly …because they are too small to be of interest to the top media/corporate managers. It’s when you get to the big stories …about politics and business …that the danger lies, in many ways: direct intervention is rare; but I suspect indirect pressure, self-censorship by middle management is now fairly widespread….manifesting itself in not only how stories are covered but even WHETHER they get covered in the first place. h.o)

  8. morry says:

    While Crull is a scoundrel of the worst kind, Wendy Freeman is a complete failure. She folded like a bad tent tent. Shame.

    Spines are in short supply in Canada these days.

  9. morry says:

    Memo to Crull: You can’t stop the news. Everyone even grandmothers are stalking about unbundling and how “it’s about time”. It’s all over the internets and twitter and facebook and…. you get the picture don’t you Crull. (edited..h.o)

  10. R says:

    Wouldn’t a milder version be like a paper or other media endorsing a political party or candidate?How could you trust that media outlet for unbiased reporting after that?

    (Response: I know it’s hard to imagine these days, but I can honestly tell you that when I was at the Vancouver Sun and BCTV … I NEVER had interference in ANY story I did. The paper endorsed certain candidates or parties …but I never had/knew anyone from “upstairs” have us back off in the newsroom from covering stories…maybe because GOOD reporting and GOOD stories made them lots of money! And I remember the Dirty Tricks scandal when BCTV spent MONTHS going after the Socreds for electioneering fouls…leading to all kinds of resignations; or when I went after Woodwards (a BIG advertiser) for the way they fired/treated long time employees or when I went after Waste Management’s questionable operating techniques (cost them a $28 million GVRD contract) etc. etc…. NEVER had any TOP management interference…only the admonition that we’d better be right! And we were. However, I’m not sure these kinds of stories would even be done anymore..esp going after big advertisers etc. h.o)

  11. 13 says:

    Harvey, your response to r at #11 pretty much sums up many peoples dilemas. If youve been in the workforce prior to the mid eighties you can remember what it was like before the internet, before deregulation. Those two events spelled the end of good honest working conditions. As corporations streamlined and became very large entities bottom lines became more important than content.
    BCTV then, Global now. Not even worth comparing.
    Canadian Pacific Transport then, Gulzar Trucking now. Not even woth comparing.

  12. 13 says:

    Crull axed and Jill kroft promoted

  13. Paolo says:

    Glad to see you back!
    Interestingly, Kevin Crull is now OUT as Bell Media President. However, as you stated, it is concerning how our news is sometimes stifled by the large corporations that run them.

    On a different note, I’m curious to know your opinion on Jill Krop being named News Director and Station manager at Global BC. Do you think that a journalist who has been there since the BCTV days could help improve the quality of news coming from the station, possibly to levels at or near BCTV’s? Is there any hope?

    (Response: Watch for my next blog Monday. h.o)

  14. CGHZD says:

    Kevin Crull out as Bell Media president, replaced by Mary Ann Turcke

    CRTC Slams Bell 20150325

    Bell Media has announced that president Kevin Crull is leaving the company, effective today.

    (Response: the power of the blogosphere? 🙂 h.o)

  15. larry Bennett says:

    Funny isn’t it, that when the powers that be, attempt to reward certain types for their reportage of national events, they become as quickly corrupted as any other individual. Sometimes the “holier than thou” media types are as frail as any other, morally. There is much ado lately about the judgement (or lack thereof) of a looter during the hockey riots, getting off w/o doing time. We might ask why Svend Robinson got off without time for his thievery too. The reason is obvious, he was seen as a paladin for the working poor, and a man tormented by his priapic demons. Aren’t we all? Wanna bet Duffy and blondie won’t get off so easily?

  16. BMCQ says:

    H.O.

    Take a Bow!!

    Great Analysis on the despicable behavior by Bell’s Krull!

    I am sure Krull was “Pushed” but I am also sure that the fact you spoke out on his unacceptable behavior immediately and forcefully was the impetus that caused many others in the Media to show concern and take notice of his interference at cTV!!

    Nice to see that PSR and other outlets reprint your pieces, I am sure many at CRTC and others take notice as well!

    “A timely return for you”, one might say!

    (Response: Thanks. I’m going to more Monday on all that’s happening lately …quite interesting what’s going on. They do seem to not only be reading, but paying attention at last …. or at least watching all their falling numbers now with concern. h.o)

  17. BMCQ says:

    Lew

    On a rainy evening one night last week when H.O. was away I sat down and went over MANY of the contributions from the scores of Posters that contribute here.

    It was actually enjoyable and quite entertaining.

    Good thing I can take the Punishment and criticism handed out by many including yourself!

    You and I disagree on many things and there are a few times you have taken me to task and forced me to defend my position.

    As a matter of fact I must admit that on most occasions when you challenged my claim it was difficult to justify my position and on one instance I ended up changing my mind.

    I am quite sure it is not my place to say this, as after all it is Harvey’s Blog, but please do all of us that Post and read here a favour and Post more!!

    IMHO I feel that your input is very important!

  18. Hawgwash says:

    Ho hum, another day in the seriously manipulated and diluted “news” business.

    Thanks to you Harvey and the Globe for exposing this cancer.

    I think that “Crulled” should become the new term for any future jiggery pokery with news. Let his name be a constant reminder of how deep we are buried in BS.

    Now, I wonder was Crull actually shown the door or just shuffled to another office with a different sign on it?

  19. Bell Media ‘Elite’ hierarchy explained: Past, Present, and Future Art Work by J.J. McCullough posted at Norm Farrell’s:

    http://northerninsights.blogspot.ca/2015/04/canadian-elites.html

  20. Lew says:

    BCMQ,

    Thanks for your comments.

    Blogs like Harvey’s provide a very valuable service; increasingly so given the failure of the traditional sources to fulfill their responsibilities as part of a functioning democracy. I don’t know exactly what the root of the problem is, but there is something very wrong with the way journalists ply their noble profession these days. We have to change that.

    Usually the blogger introduces a controversial subject to the forum, and readers defend or attack the individual or institution involved depending on their point of view. So far so good. But all too often they then start taking bites out of each other or the blogger, attempt to settle old scores, and introduce unrelated arguments to the fray. And the subject of the article walks away unscathed, even forgotten, while the side battles rage on. This topic seems (so far) to be an exception, and may be an example of just how much disdain is growing toward the media.

    I have a self-imposed rule that says whenever I post something, I follow up with a communication to the subject of the blogger’s article. We all have much to learn from each other in these discussions, but unless we take it a step further and challenge those who can make the changes we’re demanding, we’re engaging in unproductive diversion, as entertaining as it might be. Shouting into the wind might relieve some frustration, but shouting right into the ear of the cause of that frustration can be more effective. Even those who stop by to read and never post should consider following up with a letter or phone call. The more of us that do so, the more effective the message.

    But that does take time and resources. When up against government lawyers with nothing but time and our money at their disposal, such as in a written inquiry by the Information Commissioner for example, I’ve learned it can take a lot of time. I’m presently in a back and forth with the Globe and Mail about their incomplete and misleading coverage of a story that will probably result in a complaint to the press council, but I’m not built to just go away, so there goes more of my time and resources.

    So be it; I’m tired of having my nose shortened because of doors being slammed on it by those with long noses.

  21. nonconfidencevote says:

    This entire “Bell media interference” is another nail in the coffin of the Lame Stream Media.
    Declining ratings, falling advertising revenue,…….
    The “news” media have earned their death by a thousand cuts.
    I cant wait for my 3 year Telus extortion(tv,internet,moblie) contract to be renewed this Fall. Im nuking and paving it.
    And from listening to similar complaints from friends and coworkers. Bell and Rogers have nothing to feel smug about.
    CRTC finally grew a spine and kicked these greedy swine in the goolies where they deserved it. Gee and in an election year no less. Coincidence?

    (Response:”The”news” media have earned their death” … a bit of over-reaction seems to me. The media have their faults, as I’ve pointed out on here many times, but where would be without it? Would you like to have all your information delivered by government press releases? Or Opposition statements? Or corporate press releases? The blogosphere serves a great purpose in commenting or delving through THE MEDIA to reproduce, promote and question …but very few bloggers etc. actually go to all the civic, regional, provincial and federal venues/meetings etc to get their info: it comes from THE MEDIA …or at least the better parts of it. h.o)

  22. nonconfidencevote says:

    “The news media have earned their death….”

    Im sorry if you disagree Harvey but it seems like Im not the only one that feels that way. Judging by their woeful ratings and the other comments on this blog.
    As for press releases.
    It seems the problem is exactly what you have envisioned.
    The “News” in todays media appears to be nothing more than “Govt press releases and or corperate press releases”.
    THATS why the MSM are dying.
    The public has nothing but disdain and disgust for them. Bootlickers to the almighty dollar.
    As an example……
    Which CHEK news anchor just quit his job to join a public relations firm?
    I’m sure we’ll see him hovering in the background of some future Christy Clark presser waiting to shut down all relevent questions before she sufffers another “foot in mouth” episode.
    Life after News reporting.
    Saving politicians from their own stupidity.
    All on the taxpayers dime.

  23. 13 says:

    Looking forward to your take on Shaws attempts to do more with less. That seems to be a common thread in every aspect of buisness and government. School boards, hospitals, coast guard etc. Seems the only place we dont want to trim dollars and do more with less is the public sector payrolls and benefits. Translink has achieved the status of being able to do less with more.

    (Response: Monday. Watching hockey tonight. 🙂 h.o)

  24. nonconfidencevote says:

    @#24 “13”
    “Translink has achieved the status of being able to do less with more….”

    Classic!

  25. BMCQ says:

    13 – 24

    I must echo the comment of Non Con. “Classic”!!

    I could not help but “LOL” when I read your “Less with More” comment!

    I ask myself, “How can a comment such as yours be so absolutely hilarious and so pathetically sad all at the same time”?

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