CBC Calgary regrets ‘manufactured’ article slamming Alberta MP

CBC reporter Bryan Labby’s snark-filled article accused Lethbridge MP Rachael Harder of spreading COVID misinformation for sharing a Nov. 2020 Toronto Sun column

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Bosses at CBC’s Calgary newsroom issued a mea culpa over a problematic article filed by one of their reporters.

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According to Blacklock’s Reporter,  the report entitled Lethbridge MP Under Fire For Spreading ‘Misinformation’ About Covid Deaths In Alberta — based on Conservative Lethbridge MP Rachael Harder’s sharing of a Toronto Sun column on Facebook — was “flawed” and didn’t live up to the CBC’s standards of good journalism, according to both Calgary’s news director and the corporation’s ombudsman.

“There were violations of policy and I hope fervently that programmers will learn from their mistakes here,” said Ombudsman Jack Nagler, who said the story appeared to be manufactured out of social media rage triggered by Harder’s post.

“This piece fell short of what we deem acceptable,” said CBC Calgary News Director Helen Henderson.

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“Let me reiterate that I regret we did not live up to our, and our audience’s, expectations of CBC News.”

Labby’s snark-filled article, published Nov. 25, 2020, is based around angry social media comments aimed at Harder after she shared a Nov. 17 2020 Toronto Sun column by Anthony Furey on Facebook, which correctly stated most COVID deaths occured in those with comorbidities such as diabetes, cancer, hypertension, or dementia.

Furey’s article, conceded the CBC, was truthful and supported by data from sources, including Alberta Health Services and Statistics Canada.

“Harder’s sharing of an article on Facebook that says only 10 ‘otherwise healthy’ people have died of COVID-19 in Alberta has triggered angry responses from people who say she is showing a lack of compassion and empathy for all who have died of the disease,” Labby wrote in his article, which remains online with an editor’s note.

Questions posed to Harder by Labby, via email, include such queries as “Do you believe people with underlying pre-existing medical conditions are less valued?” and “Do you think less of these people because they have pre-existing conditions?”

Harder, who was re-elected to her third term on Monday, described Labby’s story at the time as “bent,” “inaccurate” and “sensationalized.”


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