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GOLDSTEIN: Former CBC journalist lowers boom on its ‘radical agenda’

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A veteran CBC journalist who worked as a TV and radio producer and occasional on-air commentator said Monday she quit the state-funded broadcaster last month because its “radical political agenda” made it impossible to do good journalism.

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In a column posted to social media, Speaking Freely: Why I resigned from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation , Tara Henley, who joined the public broadcaster in 2013, said working there today, “is to embrace cognitive dissonance and to abandon journalistic integrity … it is to consent to the idea that a growing list of subjects are off the table, that dialogue itself can be harmful. That the big issues of our time are already settled.

“It is to capitulate to certainty, to shut down critical thinking, to stamp out curiosity. To keep one’s mouth shut, to not ask questions, to not rock the boat … How could good journalism possibly be done under such conditions? How could any of this possibly be healthy for society?

“It is to allow sweeping societal changes like lockdowns, vaccine mandates, and school closures to roll out — with little debate. To see billionaires amass extraordinary wealth and bureaucrats amass enormous power — with little scrutiny. And to watch the most vulnerable among us die of drug overdoses — with little comment.

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“It is to pretend that the ‘woke’ worldview is near universal — even if it is far from popular with those you know, speak to, and interview and read.”

Henley said the national public broadcaster is besieged by a journalistic culture obsessed with race and identity politics.

In her newsroom, she said, CBC employees had to racially profile who they booked for on-air appearances and, “actively book more people of some races and less of others,” while in job interviews the CBC’s concerns were not about qualifications and experience but adherence to progressive orthodoxy.

Responding to the column, Chuck Thompson, head of public affairs for CBC services, said: “We respectfully disagree with Ms. Henley’s perspective on what happens in our newsrooms. Right across the service, we welcome and encourage all points of view to ensure the public broadcaster is relevant to an ever-changing Canada. And that’s not just a priority, it’s our responsibility.”

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Hedley’s complaints about the CBC have been made by conservative critics for decades. What’s different is a former CBC employee who says she’s on the political left is saying it.

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Asking, for example, “why, exactly taxpayers should be funding articles that scold Canadians for using words such as ‘brainstorm’ and ‘lame’,” or criticizing comedian Dave Chapelle’s Netflix special which has been attacked by critics as transphobic, while failing, “to include any of the legion of (his) fans, or comics, that did not find it offensive”?

Many CBC critics will not agree with Henley’s argument that when she joined it in 2013, “the network produced some of the best journalism in the country” and only recently has gone from being, “a trusted source of news, to churning out clickbait that reads like a parody for the student press.”

Many would argue the CBC has been biased in favour of the federal Liberals for decades.

Henley’s column can be found at Substack, at tarahenley.substack.com/p/speaking-freely

Having left the CBC, she will be posting essays and podcasts on books and authors Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays “entirely free of editorial control” on her site, known as Lean Out, solely funded by paid subscriptions.

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