Previous CTV national anchor
Lisa LaFlamme

There will be no bittersweet on-air goodbye for (now previous) CTV national information anchor Lisa LaFlamme, no ceremonial passing of the baton to the next generation, no broadcast retrospectives lionizing a journalist with a storied and award-successful vocation. As LaFlamme introduced yesterday, CTV’s father or mother corporation, Bell Media, has resolved to unilaterally stop her contract. (See also the CBC’s reporting of the story listed here.)

While LaFlamme herself does not make this declare, there was of class speedy speculation that the network’s selection has something to do with the simple fact that LaFlamme is a girl of a selected age. LaFlamme is 58, which by Television benchmarks is not just younger — apart from when you evaluate it to the age at which well-liked men who proceeded her have left their respective anchor’s chairs: contemplate Peter Mansbridge (who was 69), and Lloyd Robertson (who was 77).

But an even extra sinister theory is now afoot: rather than mere, shallow misogyny, proof has arisen of not just sexism, but sexism conjoined with corporate interference in newscasting. Two evils for the selling price of a person! LaFlamme was fired, states journalist Jesse Brown, “because she pushed back again in opposition to one Bell Media govt.” Brown stories insiders as boasting that Michael Melling, vice president of news at Bell Media, has bumped heads with LaFlamme a range of moments, and has a background of interfering with information protection. Brown even more experiences that “Melling has continually shown a absence of respect for ladies in senior roles in the newsroom.”

Useless to say, even if a individual grudge furthermore sexism demonstrate what’s likely on, below, it even now will feel to most as a “foolish determination,” one sure to cause the corporation head aches. Now, I make it a plan not to dilemma the organization savvy of expert executives in industries I never know well. And I advise my students not to leap to the summary that “that was a dumb decision” just simply because it’s just one they really do not understand. But still, in 2022, it is hard to think about that the organization (or Melling additional precisely) did not see that there would be blowback in this case. It is a single detail to have disagreements, but it’s a different to unceremoniously dump a beloved and award-winning girl anchor. And it’s weird that a senior government at a information group would assume that the truth would not appear out, presented that, just after all, he’s surrounded by people today whose occupation, and particular commitment, is to report the information.

And it’s really hard not to suspect that this a considerably less than content transition for LaFlamme’s replacement, Omar Sachedina. Of course, I’m sure he’s pleased to get the task. But although Bell Media’s push release offers Sachedina stating graceful things about LaFlamme, surely he didn’t want to suppose the anchor chair amidst widespread criticism of the transition. He’s using on the position below a shadow. Maybe the prize is worth the cost, but it is also difficult not to visualize that Sachedina experienced (or now has) some pull, some capacity to influence that way of the transition. I’m not saying (as some definitely will) that — as an insider who understands the genuine tale — he ought to have declined the job as sick-gotten gains. But at the really least, it seems fair to argue that he must have employed his affect to condition the changeover. And if the now-senior anchor does not have that variety of influence, we should be apprehensive indeed about the independence of that job, and of that newsroom.

A ultimate, linked take note about authority and governance in advanced corporations. In any fairly nicely-ruled business, the decision to axe a major, community-going through expertise like LaFlamme would involve sign-off — or at least tacit approval — from extra than 1 senior govt. This implies that just one of two factors is genuine. Possibly Bell Media is not that kind of well-ruled organization, or a substantial variety of people have been associated in, and culpable of, unceremoniously dumping an award-winning journalist. Which is worse?

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