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CBC’s Rosemary Barton taken to task for biased article labelled analysis

CBC journalist Rosemary Barton has been criticized by experts for writing an ‘analysis’ piece that was based on opinion, not facts.
Nico Johnson Montreal, QC

Controversial CBC journalist Rosemary Barton has been criticized for writing an opinion piece when the former host is mandated to remain impartial and maintains she is above reproach in giving fair political coverage.

The article’s headline read, “Yes, prime ministers should be fluently bilingual”—which is quite clearly a statement of political opinion. Barton, however, defended her position, stating, “It’s not an opinion piece. It’s an analysis piece based on facts. There’s a difference.”

Despite this pronouncement, Barton did accept that the original headline was a statement of opinion: “The headline has been changed because it declared an opinion.”

A question to consider would be whether Barton originally wrote that headline herself, thereby declaring to Canada her thoughts on the necessity of bilingualism in the PMO. If this is indeed the case, then Barton has made clear her preference for Justin Trudeau over other Conservative leaders— who, according to Barton “are all able to speak French … but we’d be hard-pressed to call any of them fluent.”

Rosemary’s op-ed received immediate criticism from journalism experts. Carleton University professor Paul Adams, for instance, stated “the CBC’s Chief Political Correspondent writing an opinion piece … I wonder what the thinking is behind that.”

After Barton defended her article as cold-hard analysis, Adams again pointed out that “the piece did not note any views to the contrary: e.g., the exclusion of most Canadians and many federal politicians from eligibility, and the loss of potential talent that entails.”

Publisher and former chief editor of the National Post and Maclean’s Ken Whyte also took Barton to task for claiming her opinion was not fact-based but her own tautological, circular reasoning.

Whyte recently wrote an opinion piece–correctly labeled such–in The Globe and Mail that referenced history, pointing out that both Stephen Harper and John Diefenbaker won power without needing Quebec, proving Barton’s “analysis” completely faulty.

Barton was recently dropped from CBC’s flagship show The National after the four-anchor program consistently lost viewership. She was instead given the position as CBC’s chief political correspondent.

Barton has a long pattern of anti-Conservative partisanship, including being named as a plaintiff on a lawsuit against the Conservative Party of Canada during the last election. Barton’s name would eventually be removed.

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Nico Johnson
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