The following emails are my complaints to the CBC after Kevin O’Leary’s antics on the CBC program THE LANG & O*LEARY EXCHANGE on September 19th. I had to painfully listen to Kevin’s ranting to find the anti-union commentary began at the 9 minute mark of the program. I hope people appreciate my sacrifice for their viewing comfort.
In the following email there is also mention of his interview with Chris Hedges in October. That link can be viewed here:
To Kirk LaPointe,
I wish to make a complaint about the comments made by Kevin O’Leary on Sept. 19th 2011. His stated that unions are pure evil and must be destroyed with evil. Unions are comprised of people and Mr O’Leary’s statements can be interpreted as an attempt to incite violence or possible murder of union workers. Honestly is this what the CBC has become? Why on earth is it that every time I turn on CBC news I see this self aggrandizing conservative slander artist. What exactly is he supposed to be an expert in? It looks to me like he is just another propheteer who got rich off the backs of workers. Why is it that the CBC is dressing him up as a journalist and then letting him loose on unsuspecting interviewees? Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and certainly deserving of more respect than he was given. Hedges was right on point when he called the interview “Fox news”. So congratulations you have turned the CBC into Fox News. If I had anything to do with letting O’Leary on the CBC I would be embarrassed. The next time a Union worker is run over on the picket line and permanently disabled is it going to be by some picket line busting goon who decided that the workers must be “be destroyed with evil” after listening to O’Leary? Also why is it I have to get up every morning and watch this guy chit chat about nothing in his tennis outfit? Is there a point to this? Is he so special and rich that he has to be interviewed every morning in his tennis whites? Give me a break. Literally. This is not what I turn on CBC for in the morning. If I wanted to be talked down to I would watch CTV national news. Unfortunately that is what it has come down to if I want to avoid seeing Kevin O’Leary’s ubiquitous presence on CBC.
Nov 7, 2011
Dear Ms. Card
Thank you for your e-mail of November 7th addressed to Kirk LaPointe, CBC Ombudsman. As the Executive Producer of THE LANG & O*LEARY EXCHANGE, I would like to reply.
You wrote to draw our attention to a segment on the September 19th edition of the program in which our host Amanda Lang, and our business commentator Kevin O’Leary, discuss the federal government’s attempt to encourage a contract deal between Air Canada and the union representing flight attendants.
During the discussion, Mr. O’Leary said: “Unions themselves are borne of evil. They must be destroyed with evil. So you have to kill their contracts.”
You wrote that Mr. O’Leary’s comments “can be interpreted as an attempt to incite violence or possible murder of union workers.”
There’s no question that Mr. O’Leary is exaggerating what he says for effect. It’s a method he employs for most of the subjects he addresses, not just unions. But with all due respect, I cannot agree that a statement to “kill their contracts” in any way leads to or incites violence against union members.
Furthermore, Mr. O’Leary’s comments are never in isolation. In this case they came during a discussion with Amanda Lang about whether it is appropriate for the federal government to intervene in legal negotiations between unions and employers. It’s something the federal government has done three times this year, and we believe it’s an important issue for public debate.
I would draw your attention to an earlier part of the discussion between Ms. Lang and Mr. O’Leary.
Amanda Lang: “Do you at least agree that it’s evil*”
Kevin O’Leary: “It’s totally evil…”
Amanda Lang: “By the government… to intervene… we agree.”
Kevin O’Leary: “No, no. We don’t agree on that.”
Mr. O*Leary*s role on THE LANG & O*LEARY EXCHANGE is clearly covered by the section *Expression of Opinion* in the CBC*s Journalistic Standards and Practices which states:
“Our programs and platforms allow for the expression of a particular perspective or point of view. This content adds public understanding and debate on the issues of the day. When presenting content (programs, program segments, or digital content) where a single opinion or point of view is featured, we ensure that a diversity of perspective is provided across a network or platform and in an appropriate time frame.”
As a program, we take our responsibility to present a diversity of perspective seriously. With respect to Kevin O’Leary’s extreme view on unions, we do so directly through our host Amanda Lang, and also through interviews with union leaders who we regularly feature on our program.
Thank you again for your e-mail. I hope my reply has reassured you of the continuing integrity of our program and CBC News.
It is also my responsibility to tell you that if you are not satisfied with this response, you may wish to submit the matter for review by the CBC Ombudsman. The Office of the Ombudsman, an independent and impartial body reporting directly to the President, is responsible for evaluating program compliance with the CBC’s journalistic policies. The Ombudsman may be reached by mail at Box 500, Terminal A, Toronto, Ontario M5W 1E6, or by telephone at 416-205-2978, or by fax at 416-205-2825, or by e-mail at email@example.com
THE LANG & O*LEARY EXCHANGE
cc. Kirk LaPointe, CBC Ombudsman
Dear Mr Lack,
I am afraid that we disagree on this issue. I never referenced the quote “kill their contracts”. I referenced the quote “Unions themselves are borne of evil. They must be destroyed with evil.” He is evoking religious imagery and I really can’t understand why you cannot see that the quote “They must be destroyed with evil” could not be an attempt to incite violence against union workers. It was a dangerous comment that went well beyond “exaggerating for effect”.
I have seen workers run over on the picket line by people not even involved in the labour dispute. These overzealous members of the public can be just as dangerous as the hired goons who are also responsible for these incidents. I have also watched these injuries never make it into the papers or on TV. Some of these men and women are permanently injured as a result of defending their rights. These rights are being chipped away at every corner these days. Perhaps Mr O’Leary’s comments are an attempt by the CBC to secure funding from the Conservative government. As we all know if you want a friend in Harper all you have to do is attack the unions.
O’Leary’s comments were inflammatory and extremely irresponsible. I am sure he would applaud a few union members being killed on the lines but for the CBC to support those statements is really disheartening. You mentioned offering viewers an opposing point of view. The difference is that if you had any Labour leaders on the CBC they would not be trying to use inflammatory language to incite violence against Harper or the corporations who show so little regard for their workers. O’Leary never offers any intelligent argument. He makes an aggressively worded statement and personal attacks to make his point. It is sad that the CBC is using “Fox News” tactics to increase ratings. Find a loud and abrasive personality who is conservative and let him loose on the air. I see no response to his interview with Chris Hedges either. I am completely unsatisfied and I would like it to be reviewed by the CBC Ombudsman.
Up next, the response from the CBC Ombudsman