Was the CBC Paid for News Coverage?


Former CBC host Jesse Brown is among those claiming that the CBC was paid, through parks Canada, for news coverage of the search for the Franklin Expedition.

This would not be the first time this has happened in journalism, notably the Bush administration was found, several times, to have paid for favorable news coverage. CBC News is also not what it used to be. Government cutbacks have limited coverage and an editorial decision to be more like CNN, which is primarily an entertainment and gossip channel, have hurt what used to be one of the best news organizations in the world.

However, being directly paid for coverage would be a serious breach of ethics for a public broadcaster.

The CBC for it’s part vehemently denies that they were paid for coverage.
”…we find ourselves being asked if we were being paid to do news stories that flattered Parks Canada. The answer to that is an emphatic NO. We do not get paid to provide coverage. Ever. We paid for all CBC costs to cover this story, including the travel.”

However, in that same blog post CBC News Editor in Chief and General Manager Jennifer McGuire also says:
”So for those wondering, here's what Parks Canada paid out when it reimbursed the CBC for its costs:

  • • $65,000 for its share of the website development costs. Add in federal and provincial taxes, and the total was $74,733.75
    • $20,000 for its share of the charter plane and communications technology costs. Add in federal and provincial taxes, and the total was $22,995”

If the CBC was, in fact, paid for coverage in any way or reimbursed for the cost of coverage then, certainly, everyone who had knowledge of the arrangement should resign immediately. In any case, if only for the sake of optics, CBC News should refrain from entering into any kind of ‘co-production’ with any agency or organization unless it is another reputable news organization.

Here is Jesse Brown:

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