From a reader…
I was at the March for Life this year, as I have been for many years. For the first time ever, I saw the official CBC trailer on Parliament Hill. It was an impressive sight. However, I was genuinely shocked when I heard the CBC radio report of “five thousand participants” that night. I later listened to The National online, and heard the same number of participants repeated by CBC television. This is not acceptable journalistic practices.
Underestimating the crowd by 10,000 is a far cry from “fair and balanced journalism.” To say that this was a “police estimate” is buck-passing, at its finest. CBC reporters were there. They saw the massive crowd themselves. It really was a human tsunami, Esther. By the time the last of the crowd was leaving the Hill, the first of the Marchers were just getting back. People walked for two hours along the route.
I am asking that the CBC correct this error. There are dozens of photos of the crowds from the March that day. There is also the Parliament Hill web cam, Esther. But, as a news reporter, you are aware of all these tools.
I would like a correction to be made to the radio and the television reports on this event. If your margin of error is +/- 10,000, then how can Canadians ever put any trust in future reporting?
To that end, I am asking the the Ombudsman, Kirk LaPointe, to further investigate the erroneous reporting that occurred on May 12, 2011 by both CBC TV and CBC Radio.
It would seem from the ever-increasing participation numbers at the March for Life, from proposed legislation in the House of Commons, from the proliferation of pro-life blogs, conferences and newsletters that Canadians are becoming more concerned about pro-life issues. Perhaps it is time that the CBC did some genuine investigation into the deeply held beliefs of Canadian pro-lifers. A good start to this relationship would be to correct the 2011 numbers at the March for Life, and ensure fair reporting in the future.
I will forward a copy of our correspondence to my Member of Parliament.
Mrs. Kathie H
CC Hon. Tony Clement, President, Treasury Board of Canada