I was curious to see what would happen to CBC reporter Belle Puri who was hired as press secretary by Liberal premier Gordon Campbell before his “surprise” resignation.
Not to worry about her though as the CBC welcomed her back (see here) with open arms. Conflict of interest you might wonder? How is it possible for a journalist who sought work with a political party go back to being a non-biased, credible reporter?
I’m more than a little sensitive to this media insiders game from a personal experience last provincial election.
Betty Selin, a Vernon radio news director ran and lost for the Liberal MLA nomination but then returned to her position at 105.7 Sun FM. Fast forward a couple of months to the election and I was called to come down to the radio station for what was described as a get-to-know-you” type of interview which turned into an ambush.
After a few basic questions, the reporter asked (on tape) about a very nasty accusation being spread by my enemies about me. It caught me completely off-guard as I had received the attack email just prior to the interview and stupid me, wasn’t prepared for it.
Anyway, after stumbling a bit, I mumbled about it being untrue blah, blah, blah… but on my way out I saw Betty Selin in her office looking at me as I was leaving. Turning back to the reporter, I asked if Selin knew about what this “interview” was really all about and was told that she had approved it. After a few choice words to the reporter about ethics (which I’m sure everyone within earshot heard), I stormed out.
After calming down, I called the stations general manager to formally complain about the gotcha interview and the conflict that Selin involved herself in. The manager (I can laugh now) said that I was wrong to say it was a conflict or unethical and that if anything, Selin was being even more sensitive and fair.
Think about that bit of twisted logic…not only the manager was OK with a reporter seeking a party political position, he had the nerve to say that it made her a better reporter.