There will be no bittersweet on-air goodbye for (now former) CTV countrywide news anchor Lisa LaFlamme, no ceremonial passing of the baton to the following technology, no broadcast retrospectives lionizing a journalist with a storied and award-profitable profession. As LaFlamme announced yesterday, CTV’s father or mother business, Bell Media, has made a decision to unilaterally stop her deal. (See also the CBC’s reporting of the story here.)
When LaFlamme herself doesn’t make this assert, there was of study course immediate speculation that the network’s final decision has some thing to do with the actuality that LaFlamme is a lady of a certain age. LaFlamme is 58, which by Television specifications is not specifically young — apart from when you examine it to the age at which well-known men who proceeded her have remaining their respective anchor’s chairs: think about Peter Mansbridge (who was 69), and Lloyd Robertson (who was 77).
But an even much more sinister theory is now afoot: somewhat than mere, shallow misogyny, proof has arisen of not just sexism, but sexism conjoined with corporate interference in newscasting. Two evils for the rate of just one! LaFlamme was fired, states journalist Jesse Brown, “because she pushed again in opposition to just one Bell Media executive.” Brown studies insiders as proclaiming that Michael Melling, vice president of news at Bell Media, has bumped heads with LaFlamme a amount of instances, and has a historical past of interfering with information protection. Brown even more reports that “Melling has consistently shown a deficiency of regard for girls in senior roles in the newsroom.”
Pointless to say, even if a own grudge plus sexism make clear what’s going on, here, it continue to will appear to most as a “foolish conclusion,” a single confident to induce the enterprise complications. Now, I make it a policy not to question the company savvy of knowledgeable executives in industries I never know perfectly. And I recommend my college students not to leap to the summary that “that was a dumb decision” just mainly because it’s one they don’t understand. But however, in 2022, it’s tricky to envision that the corporation (or Melling extra specially) did not see that there would be blowback in this situation. It is a single thing to have disagreements, but it is yet another to unceremoniously dump a beloved and award-profitable woman anchor. And it is strange that a senior government at a information organization would think that the fact would not appear out, provided that, immediately after all, he’s surrounded by people today whose work, and particular motivation, is to report the news.
And it’s tricky not to suspect that this a much less than happy transition for LaFlamme’s alternative, Omar Sachedina. Of program, I’m sure he’s happy to get the work. But when Bell Media’s push launch quotes Sachedina expressing graceful points about LaFlamme, certainly he didn’t want to believe the anchor chair amidst common criticism of the changeover. He’s taking on the role less than a shadow. Possibly the prize is really worth the price, but it’s also really hard not to imagine that Sachedina had (or now has) some pull, some means to impact that method of the changeover. I’m not declaring (as some undoubtedly will) that — as an insider who knows the authentic tale — he should have declined the occupation as unwell-gotten gains. But at the very minimum, it appears to be fair to argue that he really should have employed his affect to shape the transition. And if the now-senior anchor doesn’t have that type of affect, we should be nervous in truth about the independence of that part, and of that newsroom.
A closing, associated notice about authority and governance in complicated companies. In any fairly effectively-ruled corporation, the choice to axe a main, general public-experiencing expertise like LaFlamme would need sign-off — or at the very least tacit approval — from more than a person senior executive. This indicates that just one of two things is correct. Possibly Bell Media isn’t that form of effectively-governed firm, or a big number of men and women were associated in, and culpable of, unceremoniously dumping an award-successful journalist. Which is even worse?