Ruining the Good Doctor's Name - from CBC Exposed


SLM
+3
#1  Top Rated Post
Here's a good piece for all the CBC haters to chew on. As for me, I'm just damned tired of seeing my money wasted by any level of government or crown corp.

Ruining the Good Doctor's Name - from CBC Exposed
How a respected cardiologist saw his life changed forever by a single episode of The Fifth Estate

By Brian Lilley, Parliamentary Bureau

In his new book CBC Exposed, Brian Lilley casts a critical eye on the sacred cow of Canadian broadcasting, the CBC.
From the network's ability to ruin lives through aggressive, and at times reckless, reporting to its many built-in biases, CBC Exposed uncovers stories many Canadians have never heard about the state broadcaster.
In this excerpt, exclusive to QMI Agency, Lilley tells the story of Dr. Fran Leenen, a respected cardiologist who saw his life changed forever by a single episode of CBC's flagship news program, The Fifth Estate.
In trying to make the claim that Health Canada's drug approval branch was approving medicines that never should have been used on patients, CBC twisted Dr. Leenen's words to make him out to be an uncaring, bumbling fool of a doctor. He lost patients, friends and his reputation.
He asked for an apology and was denied, so took CBC to court.
Here is the rest of Dr. Leenen's story.



In short, CBC destroyed the life the Leenens had known.
When the case went to trial the evidence overwhelmingly showed that CBC left out key information, distorted the views offered up by Dr. Frans Leenen and had generally worked at making the interviews fit the story they had decided on before the project even began.
The court also had access to outtakes from the filming process.
"We have set up the idea that this committee is tainted with these kind of company-bought people." host Trish Wood is heard saying to producer Nicholas Regush.
At another point Regush encourages Wood to use her famous sneer.
The evidence taken together resulted in condemnation from the bench through a strongly worded judgment from Justice Cunningham.
"This program failed to present a fair portrayal of Dr. Leenen and, in fact, characterized his views dishonestly and misrepresented his long held views on many important subjects. In order to portray him in the role of 'bad guy' and in order to disparage his views, the CBC took an eminent research scientist, whom they knew to be a person of high integrity and reputation, and presented him as a devious, dishonest, bumbling fool in order to advance a story line. The defendants' suggestion that the public interest was somehow being served is nonsensical," said Justice Cunningham.
Much was made during the broadcast of Dr. Leenen's relationship with Pfizer - the significant innuendo being that he was more beholden to the company than to patient safety. As noted above, they even used against him the out-of-country conference he was attending at the time the show aired.
What the viewer was never told, of course, was that Dr. Leenen was not simply going on a "cruise down the Nile", but rather was attending a working conference in Egypt as a member of Pfizer's advisory board. Broadcasting this information, however, would have weakened the defendants' portrayal of the plaintiff as one of the "bad guys".
That judgment against CBC, handed down on April 20, 2000, also came with the largest penalty ever imposed on any Canadian media company - $950,000 plus costs.
CBC could have settled for 1% of that penalty and paid substantially lower legal costs if they had only been willing to say they were sorry back in 1996.
They weren't ready to say sorry in 1996, and they still weren't ready in 2000.
Rather than accept the judgment, the state broadcaster sought leave to appeal to the Supreme Court.
The move would mean CBC would incur more legal costs but so would Leenen.
Just shy of two years later, the Supreme Court announced that it would not hear CBC's appeal.
Even the silent approval of the Supreme Court though was not enough to humble CBC; the state broadcaster was unrepentant and unapologetic.
"We are disappointed with this news because we felt that these cases raised crucial questions about freedom of expression, the law of defamation, and the media's ability to report on issues of public interest," CBC said in a statement in February of 2002.
An internal note to CBC journalists by Harold Redekopp, the then head of CBC's English services, pretty much told reporters to keep to that message.
"In our view, the program raised legitimate questions based on facts," he said. "It did not conclude there was wrongdoing by Drs. Leenen and Myers."
Guy Fournier, a one-time chairman of CBC's board of directors, isn't surprised that there are so many cases where the state broadcaster fought on only to lose, rather than offering a simple apology.
"It's not the tradition of the CBC," Fournier said. "The CBC never excuses itself and never apologizes."
He also revealed that management, and not the board, decides when to fight to the bitter end and when to settle.
Leenen remarked on CBC's decision to fight this battle to the bitter end and the fact that average citizens face an uphill battle when they fight the state broadcaster with its never ending access to taxpayer's dollars to fight legal challenges.
"Launching a libel action of this sort against the CBC involves enormous financial risk requiring monetary resources beyond the reach of most Canadians," Leenen said after the Supreme Court denied CBC's attempt to overturn Justice Cunningham's ruling.
"Even as an established professional, I could not have done it without the financial and moral support of my wife Mindy and her family. I risked personal bankruptcy to clear my name. By defending the indefensible all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, the CBC creates libel chill for most Canadians, and not the media."
- Published with the permission of Freedom Press Canada


CANOE -- CNEWS - Daily Feature: Ruining the Good Doctor's Name - from CBC Exposed (external - login to view)
 
L Gilbert
+1
#2
wow "Pride goes before destruction and haughtiness before a fall" - Proverbs somethingorother.
 
darkbeaver
#3
The CBC is a fine Canadian institution.
 
Tonington
+2
#4
Quote: Originally Posted by SLMView Post

As for me, I'm just damned tired of seeing my money wasted by any level of government or crown corp.

It's about damned time. The waste of money is ridiculous, but for my money it's even more ridiculous that those with the pen get away with such frequent attacks on the credibility and reputations of scientists. And to be clear, not all scientists would have the personal finances of a top tier cardiologist who spent time in industry, to fight back in the courts.

Kudos to Dr. Fran Leenen for having the fortitude to fight back!
 

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