Thursday, March 26, 2015

Trying to Manipulate News People Need

My, my, my. It didn’t take Kevin Crull long to become Canadianized. Got his Canadian citizenship just a couple of years ago and already has adopted the great Canadian trait: trying to suppress information he doesn’t think others should have.

Crull is an America salesman who took Canadian citizenship after becoming the big cheese at Bell Media, which owns CTV, Canada’s largest broadcaster. He and his associates have been in battle with the Canadian Radio-Television Commission (CRTC) for months.

Kevin Crull
The Commission finally has ordered cable and satellite TV companies to offer a basic $25  month package, then allow customers to pick and pay for whatever other channels might interest them. Folks in the TV business don’t like this because it will allow subscribers more choice and likely will hurt the bottom lines of companies like Bell Media.

After the CRTC decision was announced, Crull called CTV News president Wendy Freeman and told her that CRTC Chair Jean-Pierre Blais was not to appear on CTV again that day. Ms. Freeman, according the sources, called CTV staff and told them of the directive and her fear that she could be fired if it was not followed.

Mr. Blais was booked to be on the CTV show Power Play that day, but his appearance was cancelled. Later, CTV anchor Lisa LaFlamme and Ottawa bureau chief Bob Fife  felt they could not air a major CRTC decision without showing Mr. Blais, and defied the order.

Then things got really interesting. The Toronto Globe and Mail, which is partly owned by Bell, broke a story telling how Crull had tried to bully the CTV journalistic group. Crull sits on the Globe’s board of directors.

Blais, seeing that story, then issued a statement warning Bell Media, and of course Crull, that it has a statutory duty not to interfere with the work of CTV journalists.

The punch of the Blais statement forced Crull to apologize to CTV for trying to influence their decisions.

Thank you Lisa LaFlamme, Bob Fife, and the Globe journalists and others who did the right things to ensure that the sales and marketing mentality did not dictate, in this case, what Canadians get to see and hear.

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