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 future technology, no broadcast retrospectives lionizing a journalist with a storied and award-successful career. As LaFlamme declared yesterday, CTV’s parent firm, Bell Media, has decided to unilaterally close her deal. (See also the CBC’s reporting of the story listed here.)
Even though LaFlamme herself doesn’t make this claim, there was of class instant speculation that the network’s final decision has one thing to do with the point that LaFlamme is a female of a particular age. LaFlamme is 58, which by Television set specifications is not just younger — besides when you review it to the age at which well known guys who proceeded her have left their respective anchor’s chairs: take into consideration Peter Mansbridge (who was 69), and Lloyd Robertson (who was 77).
But an even additional sinister idea is now afoot: instead than mere, shallow misogyny, proof has arisen of not just sexism, but sexism conjoined with company interference in newscasting. Two evils for the rate of 1! LaFlamme was fired, claims journalist Jesse Brown, “because she pushed again against just one Bell Media government.” Brown studies insiders as declaring that Michael Melling, vice president of information at Bell Media, has bumped heads with LaFlamme a quantity of situations, and has a history of interfering with information coverage. Brown additional reports that “Melling has constantly shown a absence of respect for gals in senior roles in the newsroom.”
Needless to say, even if a individual grudge as well as sexism describe what is likely on, listed here, it however will look to most as a “foolish selection,” one guaranteed to cause the company problems. Now, I make it a policy not to dilemma the business savvy of skilled executives in industries I really do not know nicely. And I advise my learners not to leap to the conclusion that “that was a dumb decision” just due to the fact it is one they do not understand. But continue to, in 2022, it is tough to picture that the business (or Melling far more specifically) didn’t see that there would be blowback in this case. It is just one matter to have disagreements, but it is an additional to unceremoniously dump a beloved and award-winning female anchor. And it’s strange that a senior govt at a information firm would believe that the reality would not come out, supplied that, immediately after all, he’s surrounded by people whose occupation, and personal dedication, is to report the news.
And it’s challenging not to suspect that this a much less than content changeover for LaFlamme’s replacement, Omar Sachedina. Of course, I’m sure he’s pleased to get the job. But while Bell Media’s push release estimates Sachedina saying swish things about LaFlamme, definitely he did not want to assume the anchor chair amidst common criticism of the changeover. He’s taking on the position underneath a shadow. Potentially the prize is value the rate, but it’s also tough not to visualize that Sachedina experienced (or now has) some pull, some capacity to affect that way of the changeover. I’m not saying (as some undoubtedly will) that — as an insider who knows the serious story — he should really have declined the task as ill-gotten gains. But at the extremely minimum, it would seem honest to argue that he ought to have used his impact to shape the changeover. And if the now-senior anchor does not have that sort of influence, we should be anxious indeed about the independence of that part, and of that newsroom.
A final, associated observe about authority and governance in complex companies. In any moderately properly-governed organization, the selection to axe a main, community-experiencing expertise like LaFlamme would need indication-off — or at minimum tacit approval — from extra than just one senior government. This suggests that one of two things is accurate. Either Bell Media is not that variety of very well-governed business, or a big amount of men and women have been associated in, and culpable of, unceremoniously dumping an award-winning journalist. Which is even worse?