YouTube: Fox News: CBC's Heather Mallick: (actual column has been removed, so transcript from this blog, one of many that saw the original): Palin was not a sure choice, not even for the stolidly Republican ladies branch of Citizens for a Tackier America. No, she isn't even female really. She's a type, and she comes in male form too.
Turns out the reason I couldn't find the article is that the CBC was too embarrassed to leave it up:
More than 300 people have taken the trouble this month to complain to the CBC ombudsman about a column we ran on CBCNews.ca about Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin on Sept. 5.
The column, by award-winning freelance writer Heather Mallick, was also pilloried by The National Post in Canada and by Fox News in the U.S. Despite its age — it is three weeks old, several lifetimes in web years — this posting remains a subject of fascination in the blogosphere.
CBC Publisher John Cruickshank. (Rich Hein/Associated Press)
Vince Carlin, the CBC ombudsman, has now issued his assessment of the Mallick column. He doesn't fault her for riling readers by either the caustic nature of her tone or the polarizing nature of her opinion.
But he objects that many of her most savage assertions lack a basis in fact. And he is certainly correct.
Mallick's column is a classic piece of political invective. It is viciously personal, grossly hyperbolic and intensely partisan.
And because it is all those things, this column should not have appeared on the CBCNews.ca site.
On the whole, the CBC News policy handbook takes a very anxious view of any mixing of opinion in with the news business. It sees the two as nitro and glycerin, innocuous on their own but explosive together. This is a very healthy restraint for a public broadcaster.
But every news organization needs to have an opinion dimension. Access to different viewpoints helps readers, listeners and viewers make reasoned choices, especially during an election campaign.
As a public broadcaster we have an added responsibility to provide an array of opinions and voices to complement our journalism. But we must do so carefully. And you should be able to trust us to provide you with work that's based on solid reporting and free from the passionate excesses of partisanship.
We failed you in this case. And as a result we have put new editing procedures in place to insure that in the future, work that is not appropriate for our platforms, will not appear. We are open to contentious reasoned argument but not to partisan attack. It's a fine line.
Ombudsman Carlin makes another significant observation in his response to complainants: when it does choose to print opinion, CBCNews.ca displays a very narrow range on its pages.
In this, Carlin is also correct.
This, too, is being immediately addressed. CBCNews.ca will soon expand the diversity of voices and opinions and be home to a diverse group of writers with many perspectives. In this, we will better reflect the depth and texture of this country.
We erred in our editorial judgment. You told us in no uncertain terms. And we have learned from it.
My sincere appreciation to them for recognizing that they, like so much of the media right now, had slipped into a disreputable sewer, and I truly respect that they, unlike the others, decided they don't want to be there, and even more so that they publicly acknowledged the situation.
I have no problem with a paper printing ugly and even untrue things about politicians, and I see no reason a paper has to have diversity of thought -- if they want to flat out say "This is what we believe and how we approach things", that's legitimate (many papers in Britain are this way, I understand).
However it's not acceptable to pretend to be a neutral journal and to then engage in this sort of behavior.
My only quibble is that I don't believe they should have removed the offending article -- that's trying to change history. It should be left in place for archival and historical purposes (with an appropriate note attached).