Below is the response to my complaint (see here) regarding CBC’s Rosemary Barton taking a selfie with Justin Trudeau
Dear Mr Skoreyko,
Thank you for your email addressed to CBC Ombudsman, Esther Enkin regarding Power & Politics. Since Power & Politics is my responsibility, Jennifer McGuire, General Manager and Editor in Chief of CBC News, asked me to reply.
You wrote with concerns over a photo posted on social media, showing host Rosemary Barton taking a “selfie” with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. You said you believe the photo “creates an appearance of affection between the two that is unprofessional, and calls into question Barton’s ability to provide impartial coverage of the prime minister.
On March 10 and 11, Power & Politics broadcast two programs from Washington D.C. to cover the Prime Minister’s official visit to the United States. This was the first official visit and state dinner for a Canadian Prime Minister in 19 years. It presented an important opportunity to explore the complex relationship between the two nations, and to speak with decision-makers on both sides of the border about the relationship going forward.
Host Rosemary Barton interviewed many people in Washington as part of the show’s coverage of the visit. Guests on the show included U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, former U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, U.S. Ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. In all of these cases Ms Barton tweeted photos of herself with her interview subjects as a way of promoting the upcoming interviews.
Social media is an important tool that we use daily at Power & Politics. We use websites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to share our journalism to a wider audience, to track political developments, and also to promote upcoming editions of the show
All of the photos Ms Barton posted from Washington with interview subjects were taken after the interviews were conducted, and in no way compromised the integrity of her interviews. In her 10-minute interview with the Prime Minister, Ms Barton asked challenging questions surrounding the government’s agreements on climate change and border security, and pushed the Prime Minister on his views about the U.S. presidential race.
Whenever Ms Barton interviews decision-makers, she asks tough questions with an aim of holding people to account for decisions they have made and actions they have taken. That is what she did in this instance, and it is what she will continue to do
Finally, it is 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 fax at 416-205-2825, or by email at email@example.com
Amy Castle Executive Producer Power & Politics CBC News
cc. Esther Enkin, CBC Ombudsman