Lisa LaFlamme’s firing by CTV News a disgrace
by Greg Frankson
16 August 2022
The ham-handed firing of Lisa LaFlamme is an abject disgrace, an affront to fair-mindedness, and a stain that CTV will have extreme trouble trying to wash away. It is also a warning to the rest of us. I’m sure that her soon-to-be-installed replacement, Omar Sachedina, is a fine journalist. However, I fear his elevation from national affairs correspondent to newsroom anchor will never be forgotten and could potentially taint him in the minds of the people who watch, who are apparently at the vanguard of what CTV calls “changing viewer habits. “Removing a long-tenured, deeply respected, and still excellent LaFlamme for the younger, millennial-aged Sachedina stinks to high heaven for all the expected reasons: For me, it’s clearly based on sexism, ageism, male executive privilege/ego/hubris, and wrong-headed youth-oriented pseudo-wokeness. It is exactly the kind of “let’s sacrifice a person from one equity-deserving group in favour of someone else from a different equity-deserving group that will make us look more ‘with it’ and up-to-date” that makes real advancement in the world of EDI/DEI/IDEA so difficult to achieve. This is especially true when people in the affected industry somehow think this will *help* CTV News in the long run. To wit, Jeffrey Dvorkin, former head of the University of Toronto’s journalism program, had this to say: “This was a quick hit — and it was a hit. It makes the company look bad in the short-term, but in the long-term, they may come out of this looking better, like they’re all geniuses and have made the right decision. “How on earth does blatant, explicit, mind-numbingly obvious ageism and sexism, goaded by an obvious and apparently corroborated abuse of power by an executive who brags about destroying the careers of any who challenges him, lead to these people being called “geniuses”? If this is what people who have held positions of influence and power within the profession think, then how deeply does the rot run in journalism? In the rest of our society?
I shudder for LaFlamme, who clearly deserved better for a career replete with excellence, dignity, and distinction. I shudder for CTV, filled with dedicated and passionate people who work in what now appears to be an environment of toxicity, oblivious emotional incompetence, and fear. I shudder for Sachedina, who assumes the chair at least about five years too soon under unenviable circumstances, and in a position where I worry that slings and arrows poison-tipped with racial animus await his formal assumption of the anchor’s chair.
If you’re a company that claims EDI/DEI/IDEA as a corporate priority, take heed. In September 2019, Bell Media published their Women in Production Gender Parity Action Plan, a roadmap to achieving gender parity in key creative roles for their Canadian independent productions by 2025: how is this move consistent with such boasting on their own corporate website?
Actions ALWAYS speak louder than words.
Former Ottawa resident, Greg Frankson a.k.a. Ritalin, is a renowned spoken word artist and community activist.
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