Wednesday, November 30, 2016

CBC - big abortion's mouthpiece - Part 1

I complained (again) to the CBC Ombudsman that their coverage of the abortion drug RU-486 was biased. After waiting three months for a response; after three follow up emails; after a telephone call; I finally received a response this week.

Here is the result of that complaint to the CBC Ombudsman Esther Enkin:

As expected, the decision was that the CBC is not biased.

(NOTE: the CBC Ombudsman's role is supposed to be independent ("The ombudsman acts as an appeal authority for complaints about journalistic standards and is independent of CBC program staff and management.) But the position is as a CBC employee, who also happens to be a career CBC employee. Why isn't this role given to someone who is at arm's length from outside of the CBC?)

Let's discuss the Ombudsman's conclusions.

"The Managing Editor for CBC News Network, Jennifer Harwood, replied to your complaint. She stated that the interview was not a debate about the safety of the drug. Rather it was about the issue of accessibility. She said that in “that context, it is my view that the coverage was fair and balanced.”"
Jennifer Harwood said the interview was not about the safety of the drug, but accessibility. My point was that it is precisely because the safety of the drug is dangerous, is exactly why accessibility should be more difficult. This point is ignored by the Ombudsman. And since there are issues about the drug's safety, which was the whole basis of my complaint--that is why doctor's must dispense it and not pharmacists. I contend that this is the exact reason the US insists that doctors dispense it and not pharmacies. So my whole point is ignored, so how can the coverage be fair and balanced?

Ombudsman: Regarding Dr. Norman's "strange and bizarre" comment that I took issue with:
You’ve used a couple of interesting words – you called this very unusual regime around this, you said “have bizarrely put in place”. Why do you think they’ve put this extra layer or these extra additional requirements around this particular drug?
Dr. Wendy Norman 
"Well, this is a gray question, Heather, and I think it is a little bit inexplicable, a little bit hard to explain. In Canada, for many years, the safety mechanisms for drugs have required pharmacists to dispense them and even some of our most concerning drugs, for example, methadone, pharmacists are able to dispense this drug, so for all of a sudden out of the blue to have a normal woman’s health medication such as Mifepristone, the RU-486, requiring this very unusual mechanism, is strange."
"all of a sudden, out of the blue"? I don't think so. After much evidence that the drug is dangerous, this was decided by Canada, and the US did the same. And RU-486 isn't really like Methadone though is it? I contend that allowing doctors only to dispense RU-486 is not "bizarre and strange" at all. If a first world country (like the US) that is ten times the size of Canada does it this way (for safety reasons), that is something to heed, and Canada followed suit. Sounds prudent to me and not "bizarre and strange". 

"The host of CBC News Morning Live introduced the interview with Wendy Norman in this way:
Canadian doctors say Health Canada’s strict guidelines will limit access to the abortion drug RU-486... "The host says that Canadian doctors say..." 
This statement implies that "[ALL] Canadian doctors say..". Bias again. Not all doctors say this, only some doctors. More precisely, some abortion doctors. Did the the interviewer try and find any doctors who disagreed with this statement? Apparently not. 

Dr. Norman calls Mifepristone a "Normal woman’s health medication". I fail to see what is normal about a drug that has killed women, causes excessive hemorrhaging, and the multitude of serious side effects "normal". Again, my whole point is about the danger of the drug, a point the Ombudsman has neglected to address. In fact these side effects are mentioned in only two of the CBC writings on the subject. There truly is nothing "normal" about RU-486. This is why Health Canada felt it important to have doctor's dispense it, just like it is done in the US (my US point was also not addressed by the Ombudsman).

"On issues of controversy, we ensure that divergent views are reflected respectfully, taking into account their relevance to the debate and how widely held these views are. We also ensure that they are represented over a reasonable period of time."
So the CBC represents a "widely held views...over a reasonable period of time"? I beg to differ. I googled "RU486 and CBC" and "abortion pill and CBC".

Below are all the links that came up. I found 20 CBC links related to RU-486 (there could be more). The first four might be said to be somewhat neutral, so let's ignore those articles. 

The remainder 16 CBC articles on RU-486 all quote only pro-abortion advocates, and no alternate pro-life viewpoints, with Dr. Wendy Norman a seemingly favourite of CBC journalists. Dr. Norman is quoted six times. 

The CBC gets millions and millions of dollars a year from the taxpayer. It should be impartial on such controversial subjects like abortion. But is the CBC biased for abortion or not? You be the judge.

Part 2 here


3) Vicky Sapporta (National Abortion Federation) and Mary Ellen Douglas (Campaign Life Coalition)

4) Dr. Laura Lewis (Ontario family physician and a Canadian Physicians for Life board member)
5) Joan Dawkins (executive director of Women's Health Clinic)

6) Dr. Wendy Norman and Dr. Ellen Wiebe (abortion doctors)

7) Dr. Kelly Monaghan (of abortion Clinic 215 in St. John)

8) Dr. Wendy Norman (abortion doctor)

9) NDP MLA Nahanni Fontaine (NDP is officially pro-choice)

10) Leigh Anne Caron, (team manager of health services at Women's Health Clinic in Winnipeg)

11) Dr. Wendy Norman (abortion doctor)

12) Dr. Wendy Norman (abortion doctor)

13) Lyndsey Butcher (executive director at Planned Parenthood Waterloo Region)

14) Dr. Wendy Norman (abortion doctor) and Judith Soon (assistant professor in the faculty of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of British Columbia)

15) Vicki Saporta (president and CEO of the National Abortion Federation and its Canadian offshoot, NAF Canada), Dr. Erika Feuerstein, family physician at Women's College Hospital and Bay Centre for Birth Control in Toronto and Rebecca Cook, a law professor in the International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program at the University of Toronto

17) Dr. Wendy Norman (abortion doctor)

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