As much as I like to rip into CBC, I normally expect better from veteran reporter David Common. He’s normally much more on the ball than his latest story on the Gerald Stanley/Coulten Boushie file that has sparked claims of a racist justice system and promises by the prime minister to change the justice system.
This story, which aired on CBC’s The National – Canada’s third most watched national newscast – and was aired on the much more listened to World at Six radio program was so riddled with holes that it had to be be corrected multiple times on the web and now the state broadcaster will air brief corrections. The full excuse, including blaming the Mounties for shoddy journalism, is down at the bottom of this article.
But the damage from CBC’s original reporting is done. It pushed a completely false narrative and helped inflame race relations in an already tense situation.
If you haven’t heard by now, Gerald Stanley was acquitted of second degree murder charges in the death of Coulten Boushie. You may have heard the story described as “White farmer” not guilty in killing of “indigenous man.” Normally in the media we are told not to include race in the story unless it is central to the case.
I would argue that a dispassionate look at what happened that lead to Boushie’s death would see the media leave race out of this story. But to most of the mainstream media this case has only ever been about race and the injustice done to a native man. It’s as if they believe that if this one case would just go their way, reconciliation would be complete.
So back to David Common and fellow journalist and investigative producer Chelsea Gomez.
Their story, which was first posted March 6 and then updated several times – as of this time the last update is March 11 – claimed the RCMP did a sloppy job investigating Gerald Stanley as a murder suspect.
And if you listen to their telling of the story it would be a sloppy job, except it isn’t true.
“RCMP ‘sloppy’ and ‘negligent’ in investigating Colten Boushie’s death, say independent experts,” is the screaming headline at CBC.
The original story claimed two things that have been proven false, not that CBC will admit it. They claimed in their original story that…
“After being taken into custody on Aug. 9, 2016, Gerald Stanley was photographed at the nearest RCMP detachment, but was released shortly after and allowed to return the following day to file his statement.”
The report also initially claimed that,”…the RCMP never seized Stanley’s clothes.”
Why should they have seized Stanley’s clothes? As evidence for gun powder residue and blood splatter. We’ve all watched CSI, we all know this is standard procedure. So why would the RCMP not do this?
Well it turns out they did.
CBC made up two fake news claims and then found “experts” to comment on them, denounce the RCMP as being sloppy and then get Boushie’s family to denounce the system for failing an indigenous man.
These two claims are proven false by a document that was agreed to by the judge hearing the case, the crown prosecutor assigned to it and defence counsel.
These facts were adjudicated in court as all sides wrestled with what portions of Gerald Stanley’s statements made to police could be deemed admissible in court. The facts clearly state that Stanley was held in a cell overnight after his arrest, that his clothing was seized from him during that stay, that he wasn’t released and allowed to come back and make a statement but rather held and then interrogated for four hours.
And yet CBC, our state broadcaster, the one our prime minister holds up as a glowing example, publishes what is literally fake news and then adjusts their story twice and keeps it going.
The comments made by their experts were comments made when those experts were told lies, like Stanley leaving and coming back or the Mounties not seizing his clothing as evidence. So the story has been adjusted but those comments about how “sloppy” the RCMP was stand.
Now I can’t take credit for any of this, that all goes to John Gormley, radio talk show host in Saskatoon and Regina who laid the facts bare on his show earlier today and on his Twitter feed.
It’s too bad that CBC won’t be upfront about their mistakes and our mainstream media, obsessed with any potential false statement by Trump south of the border, won’t take up this story and demand CBC be held accountable for pushing fake news.
The worst part is, these aren’t simple mistakes, these are huge mistakes aided and abetted by CBC chasing a story that fits their existing narrative.
Listen to John Gormley here as he lays this all out in greater detail and a more entertaining fashion. CBC’s excuse, is below John’s podcast. A correction will be broadcast on The World at Six and The National but unlike the original story it won’t be played up and it won’t lead to follow on stories by CBC or other media.
UPDATE: John Gormley will join me at 8:05 ET tonight to discuss this evolving story. Listen at CFRA.com or on the iHeart Radio app.
FURTHER: A new story detailing CBC’s weak apology for getting the story wrong can be found here.
CBC’s new excuse:
A previous version of this story stated Gerald Stanley was released after his arrest — and a statement was not taken until the following day. We have since obtained new information showing that, while his statement was not taken until the day following his arrest, he was not released. We had also previously reported there was no indication his clothing was seized. The new information shows that it was. We contacted the RCMP prior to our reporting, but they declined to comment on these specific issues. We stand by the remainder of our reporting.