There will be no bittersweet on-air goodbye for (now previous) CTV national news anchor Lisa LaFlamme, no ceremonial passing of the baton to the upcoming technology, no broadcast retrospectives lionizing a journalist with a storied and award-winning career. As LaFlamme announced yesterday, CTV’s parent business, Bell Media, has made the decision to unilaterally stop her agreement. (See also the CBC’s reporting of the story listed here.)
Although LaFlamme herself doesn’t make this declare, there was of program immediate speculation that the network’s conclusion has some thing to do with the point that LaFlamme is a lady of a sure age. LaFlamme is 58, which by Television set specifications is not specifically younger — apart from when you look at it to the age at which well known gentlemen who proceeded her have remaining their respective anchor’s chairs: look at Peter Mansbridge (who was 69), and Lloyd Robertson (who was 77).
But an even much more sinister theory is now afoot: fairly than mere, shallow misogyny, evidence has arisen of not just sexism, but sexism conjoined with company interference in newscasting. Two evils for the cost of one! LaFlamme was fired, says journalist Jesse Brown, “because she pushed back against a person Bell Media govt.” Brown reports insiders as proclaiming that Michael Melling, vice president of information at Bell Media, has bumped heads with LaFlamme a variety of moments, and has a heritage of interfering with information coverage. Brown additional studies that “Melling has consistently shown a absence of respect for women in senior roles in the newsroom.”
Useless to say, even if a personalized grudge in addition sexism reveal what’s heading on, below, it even now will seem to be to most as a “foolish decision,” a person guaranteed to cause the business head aches. Now, I make it a policy not to question the enterprise savvy of skilled executives in industries I really don’t know very well. And I recommend my college students not to leap to the conclusion that “that was a dumb decision” just because it is one particular they do not realize. But however, in 2022, it is challenging to picture that the firm (or Melling extra precisely) did not see that there would be blowback in this case. It’s just one thing to have disagreements, but it is one more to unceremoniously dump a beloved and award-successful lady anchor. And it is strange that a senior government at a news corporation would imagine that the truth would not occur out, specified that, following all, he’s surrounded by people whose job, and personal motivation, is to report the news.
And it’s challenging not to suspect that this a much less than joyful transition for LaFlamme’s replacement, Omar Sachedina. Of study course, I’m sure he’s delighted to get the position. But whilst Bell Media’s press release rates Sachedina saying graceful things about LaFlamme, certainly he did not want to presume the anchor chair amidst popular criticism of the changeover. He’s taking on the job beneath a shadow. Most likely the prize is truly worth the selling price, but it’s also hard not to picture that Sachedina experienced (or now has) some pull, some capability to influence that manner of the changeover. I’m not declaring (as some certainly will) that — as an insider who understands the real tale — he must have declined the work as unwell-gotten gains. But at the really the very least, it would seem reasonable to argue that he really should have utilised his impact to form the changeover. And if the now-senior anchor does not have that variety of affect, we must be worried certainly about the independence of that function, and of that newsroom.
A closing, similar note about authority and governance in intricate businesses. In any reasonably perfectly-ruled group, the selection to axe a significant, community-struggling with expertise like LaFlamme would involve indicator-off — or at the very least tacit approval — from much more than one senior government. This implies that 1 of two issues is accurate. Either Bell Media is not that type of perfectly-ruled business, or a big range of folks were being concerned in, and culpable of, unceremoniously dumping an award-successful journalist. Which is even worse?