Despite its public commitment to transparency, the CBC does not track the number of corrections it issues to its news stories. In a statement, the network said that only “notable” corrections are acknowledged to keep in line with a 2021 policy, according to Blacklock’s Reporter.
In 2021, the state-funded media corporation said it would start publishing “significant corrections or clarifications” as part of a commitment to transparency. But when asked through an access to information request how many requests for corrections the CBC receives monthly, and how many times its stories were rewritten, the company replied, “No records were found.”
“CBC News is committed to transparency and accountability to our audience whenever we make an error or need to clarify a story,” management said in a statement.
This year the network has acknowledged 19 corrections to date, with 35 in 2022 and 26 in 2021. One such “notable” recent correction involved a story the CBC reported alleging Alberta Premier Danielle Smith's office had put direct pressure in the form of email communications on the prosecutorial service dealing with COVID-19 infractions still before the courts.
Blacklock’s also listed other errors, including “‘a series of factual errors’ about a natural gas plant, misleading video of a crocodile purportedly eating an illegal immigrant, misstatements on the inflation rate and misleading data on the number of pandemic deaths and hospitalizations.”
The network’s own ombudsman, Jack Nadler, said earlier this month that the CBC’s coverage of the campaign of Glen Murray, who was running for mayor of Calgary, “crossed the line.”
The network was also recently named in a $10.5 million lawsuit by an Alberta woman against the mainstream media and government officials who touted the “safe and effective” marketing campaign of COVID-19 injections that left her permanently disabled.
The Crown corporation operates 27 television stations and 88 radio stations across Canada, receiving an annual parliamentary grant of $1.3 billion.
“If there is one thing we have learned in the last year it’s that independent and trustworthy news and information are vital to a healthy democracy,” wrote Michael Goldbloom, chair of the CBC board. “Around the world, public media helps blunt the edge of false and misleading information.”
CEO Catherine Tait stated in a parliamentary hearing that CBC is a “beacon of truth” in an environment of bad reporting. “How do we protect and defend our citizenry from this unbelievable tsunami of disinformation?” Tait asked at a 2019 hearing of the Commons heritage committee. “In a sense we become a beacon for truth.”
“We need the public to feel safe, that we are a beacon for that truth,” said Tait. “We may make mistakes,” she added. “Everybody makes mistakes. But the journalistic standards and practices state very clearly, we measure. We research. We’re transparent.”