Cruikshank apologizes for Mallick column, recognizes CBC’s left-wing editorial bias

A mea culpa from CBC News publisher John Cruikshank concerning this column by Heather Mallick published on the CBC website.

In the column, Mallick calls American voters “white trash”, Republican men “sexual inadequates” and Sarah Palin a “hillbilly” among other slurs.

Here is Cruikshank’s letter (emphasis mine):

More than 300 people have taken the trouble this month to complain to the CBC ombudsman about a column we ran on 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.

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 site.

Healthy restraint
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 ensure 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, displays a very narrow range on its pages.

In this, Carlin is also correct.

This, too, is being immediately addressed. 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.

Here was CBC ombudsman Vince Carlin’s assessment of the complaints that followed Mallick’s column,



  • Liz J

    What's an apology worth coming from someone else? It has to come from the person who wrote the offensive, malicious rant. It went international so Cruikshank can extend his apologies to the US if that's the best we can do.

  • Fred

    Her freelance career at the CBC should be over.

    In fact her career should be over.

  • Sean McAllister

    That was a mouthful. I probly need to read it over more carefully, and from a distance. But right now I still feel the way I have for years. The CBC as it is now doesn't deserve my tax dollars.

  • anon

    The CBC as it is now doesn't deserve my tax dollars.

    And churches don't deserve mine.

  • Roy Eappen

    You have the choice not to give churches money. I am forced to give the CBC money. heather Mallick should be fired.

  • i4i

    Since she is freelance there should be no problem with permanently dispensing with her services and reprimanding her enablers and those who gave her screed the ok to go live.

  • anti-anon

    Hey anon, churches don't get your tax dollars. They keep theirs.
    What leftwing nutters can't seem to figure out is that there is a difference.

  • G. Duncan Graham

    A deathbed repentance. Good-bye CBC. We will eliminate you. No way my taxes should be going to fund this pseudo-urban-intellectual tripe for so many years. Good-bye, so long, farewell. You will all no doubt get good severances. Then you will have to prove you are smart/have talent/are employable by people who have to answer to their customers, suppliers, advertisers and fellow employees. So long, it has been good to know you.

  • Lydia Piper

    Where is this posted? I can't find it, and as one of the 300 complainers I sure haven't recieved a personal copy. I want to frame the darn thing.

  • stephentaylor


  • stephentaylor

    post has been updated with a link to the letter

  • stephentaylor

    check the post again for a link

  • anon

    Wow, because you know THAT'S not a generalization. Since when does a political party affiliation have any relation to sexual ability? That is, of course, outside of the minds of liberal feministas.

  • anon

    And when you say churches of course, you mean Christian ones. Its not just Christian churches that get the tax break, but them all, Muslim, Hindu, Scientology, etc.

    So, here I ask the one question thats the silver bullet to a liberal: Are you anti muslim because you don't want their mosques to get a tax break?

    (Tounge in cheek….)

  • anon

    Practically, I don't think they should have tax exempt status if they breach the church/state barrier; i.e., restricting same-sex sex education in catholic schools, or restricting condom education in same. In the same vein, Emmanuel should not get tax exempt status preaching Conservative talking points from his pulpit. If Muslims do it, they shouldn't get it either.

    But I wasn't commenting on that, I was comparing them to the CBC in terms of taxpayer subsidy, and asking why we want to remove CBC funding for political bias, but we never bat an eyelash when it comes to churches, schools, or church groups.

  • Nicola Timmerman

    Little-known fact: Cruikshank is also a graduate of Richview High School in Etobicoke, but several years before Harper. He also had the same history teacher. I know – he was in my class. He went on to take English at Trinity College, Toronto.

  • janet

    Way to go Greta! Just think ,Mallick will have more time for shopping,maybe she could buy a book on manners,ethics , self improvement or a bible to share with annon!

  • Conservative Anon.

    Why not? For example, why doesn't the outstanding charitable work of the Salvation Army (which is a church in case you didn't know) deserve your money?

    Whereas the Salvation Army genuinely help the poor, people like Heather Mallick lowers the diversity, tone, and tenor, of public discourse.

  • East of Eden

    So, sir, how many Republican men have you known to be so well-versed on their sexual abilities? Do you have research results to back up your claim? Seriously, I'm interested in the results of your research. I would estimate, sir, that there are easily 20 million Republican men and perhaps 5 million Canadian Conservative men. Please provide some factual information to back up your claim.

    Respectfully, East of Eden

  • anon

    I'm a guy bonehead – but good on you for the implicit disrespect to women. I'd expect nothing less, I suppose. May have something to do with the problem we are discussing…

    I'm relaying information that I've gathered from women that are tired of dealing with boring sex partners. Typically they're loaded with money, but as boring as the bible when it comes to making things happen. I've heard the complaint time and time again, so I started an impromptu social study over the last 8 years.

    I suspect the reason is, simply, that conservatives are so reliant on tradition and so reflexively afraid of change and new experiences (facts that have been shown to be true in many studies of political personality) that – when combined with their typical religious fear of sex, or their undying worship of presumed social mores – results in an incapability or unwillingness to try anything slightly abnormal (i.e., fun).

    But, there is a saving grace, I guess. When conservatives finally let lose and commit themselves to wild sexual romps, they excel. The problem is that they are usually hidden affairs, and they are usually gay (e.g., Larry Craig, congressional pages, Ted Haggard). Looks like queer Conservatives know how to have fun – they just have to hide it out of shame. Heteros are doomed for life.

  • East of Eden

    Anon could very easily be a male of the species.

  • East of Eden

    You are not giving to churches or synagogues or mosques or any other house of worship. We, as over-taxed Canadians unwillingly give to the CBC. And, for me, it's doubly vexing because I do not watch TV. I cancelled my cable in 1996 and have never regretted that decision.

  • East of Eden

    Gasp. Anti-anything but Christian. Whoa, we have a bigot here. Can we make a hate case out of this? Calling HRC, calling HRC.

  • anon

    All of this presumes Sarah Palin is not an idiot on her way out of the VP run. Problem is, she's an abject moron and she's sure to take 'family time' soon.

    So Mallick's assessment is closer to the truth than you guys like.

  • East of Eden

    Okay, now that I've replied to a couple of commenters, here's my take on it. The article was downright vulgar and highly offensive. What have we become that we have a publicly funded organization publishing that sort of dirt. Good Lord – I am familiar with the words 'vagina' and 'sperm' but I sure don't want to read them on a public forum. Thank God that I don't have little children who could accidentally see this sort of trash. Sheesh – a death watch on Lisa Raitt and now this. I sure hope Harper wins a majority and deletes the CBC.

  • anon

    Problems with reading comprehension? Religions are all the variations on the same theme, and deserve the same amount of ridicule and derision.

  • anon

    So you think that we technically don't subsidize them? What are tax exemptions, then, if not subsidies? We don't give them the money directly, we just don't take it from them like we do to everyone else, and this is different how exactly?

  • anon

    Oh please. I just said I was making a personal observation based on what I've heard my ENTIRE life from women who've wanted more excitement in sex and haven't found it in vanilla-sex, conservative types. It's anecdotal evidence, but that kind of crap is good enough for people claiming the existence of a divine being, so it should be acceptable here, where the claim is far less outlandish, no?

    I also gave my reasons why I believe this to be so. Why do conservatives run away from their statistical association with attachment to tradition? Isn't this supposed to the be the backbone of their beliefs? I'm sorry if this affects their ability to push their sexual boundaries, in general.

    As an example of what I'm talking about: Are you seriously advocating that the proportion of conservative men that perform anal sex is greater than (or about the same as) the proportion of liberal men that do the same? How about threesomes?

    If you're looking for some research into this, the only indication that I've seen about this is in the NOW Toronto magazine's annual sex surveys. Look them up. Or don't, because you deem them to be liberally biased.

  • Conservative Anon.

    How does being critical of feministas translate into being disrespectful of women in general? There are many women who are not feminists – at least not in the modern understanding of the term.

    Also, if these loaded rich men are “as boring as the Bible”, then they must be incredibly interesting and revolutionary men.

    Just so you know… your sort of small-minded, anti-Christian bigotry, and how it permeates much of the Canadian left, is the principle reason why I'll be voting Conservative in this election.

    I had voted Liberal in the past, but it will likely be a long time until I do so again.

    Hateful bile such as yours is a discredit to a left-leaning movement in Canada that was once honorable and truly inclusive, and interestingly enough originate a great deal from Christian leaders (such as the man who founded our form of Health Care here in Canada).

  • anon

    If it has religious proselytizing attached to it, forget it.

    Isn't the Salvation Army just like any other charitable organization? Don't other charities get tax breaks? If so, fine, as long as they don't proselytize and they don't politicize. I'm talking about churches, not charitable organizations. Does the Salvation Army give sermons, hold church groups, etc?

  • PhantomObserver
  • Walter Funk

    Thanks anon; I think you've pointed the way to a solution that we can all agree on. It appears that the CBC is the closest thing to church in anon's world. CBC should no longer be funded by taxpayers, but by tax exempt donations from its adherents. Of course the CBC's adherents will maintain their assbackwards interpretation of “separation of church and state” and demand that their “church” not comment on anything in the spheres of politics and education.

  • anon

    Republican men (and conservative men in general) ARE sexually inadequate. Sorry, but that’s the truth. They are boring in bed, they lack the sexual confidence to take risks, and they are too afraid of offending sensibilities or violating taboos to do anything exciting.

  • anon

    Hey, Stephen, I’m just curious where you did your ‘science’ degree? Any particular specialization?

  • Conservative Anon.

    The Salvation Army is a Christian denomination that is also a charitable organization.

    Yes – the Salvation Army holds sermons, and holds 'church groups', as you put it.

    I can see that your closed-minded bigotry towards Christianity blinds you to holding any sort of reasonable view on these matters. If the Salvation Army provides outstanding charitable work, and doesn't promote views that endanger public safety (which it doesn't), then that should be enough to warrant it receiving tax breaks from the government.

  • simon


    I find your comments on conservative males both humourous and juvenile…does your so called founded hypothesis hold true with the sexual abilities of conservative minded women as well?

    Perhaps the women who reported their experiences to you were not instilling enough into the equation …or per haps all parties were lacking in creativity for whatever reason…perhaps you hang out with dull people…who knows and who really cares.

    According to you; its all the TRUTH…but whose truth I ask? and whose methodology approved by which group of experts …I believe Masters & Johnson to be dead for years…if not themselves then probably most of their conclusions from 50 years ago.
    anon…you're a bit of a lazy bas**rd aren't you…what with sweeping generalizations purported to be facts because you say so.
    Hah… in the words of that famous stud rooster Leghorn, “Go Away Son, Yuh Bother Me.

  • Beer and Popcorn

    It's an absolutely horrific station – nobody watches the Canadian shows and they have brought on Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy to try to make it look like someone watches.

    I say shut it down – let Anon watch Vison TV..

  • anon

    I'm anti-religion. Get it straight. They're all ridiculous, and are absolutely acceptable personal coping mechanisms for those who require them, but entirely unsuitable for secular society.

    Just because I'm personally anti-religion, doesn't mean that I would stamp out it's existence. As I said above, feel free to worship Russell's tea pot in space, if you wish, in your own private time. That is the essence of tolerance. But don't expect me not to think it's ridiculous, or not to make that fact known. Religion is laughable, and doesn't deserve a pass from criticism.

    Don't try to make me out to be on a par with, for example, the homophobic waste that religion produces. They wish to oppress that segment of society, and restrict them from having the same rights as others, even though it doesn't affect them in the least. Same with the anti-abortion crowd. All I'm arguing for is that they not be allowed to speak for everyone on matters that don't concern them, or that they don't receive FUNDING (i.e., tax exemption) to do the same.

    Sorry you feel like you have to hitch your wagons to fairy tales.

  • anon

    Let them provide charity work and have a tax deduction there as all charities do. How hard is that?

    Read above. I think all religions get a free pass and they shouldn't. Separate them into secular charities with tax breaks, and religious magic schools on their own dime.

    Or maybe we accept that we all fund things that we don't like, and shut up about it.

  • zig

    Why should Mallick apologize to anyone? Does freedom of expression, opinion, or of the press mean nothing to you? Mallick was writing her opinion and not a “reporting” piece. If she had written about Muslims in the same way, I bet you would have been among so many others who would have championed the freedoms our writers have. Shame on you and all the others who believe in freedom of expression only when when it suits you.

  • Joanne TB

    Stephen, was this ‘apology’ by Cruikshank posted online anywhere? Thanks.

  • anon

    Wow, are you guys ever over confident dumbasses. You think that i don’t understand tax exempt status? My point is that they don’t pay taxes, so technically, I pay for them, and I don’t want to anymore. They are all at least mildly retarded, and they tend to vote Conservative too boot (although the two seem to go hand in hand). Thus: they are biased, and they do it on my dime.

    Not to mention that they sprout idiots like the corpulent Charles McVety, moral policeman, and that other anti-gay fundagelical, Tristan Emmanuel. what purpose do they serve, and why should I be funding them via tax exemption? Why should I listen to someone who can’t muster up enough rational thought to convince themselves that the Earth is older than 6000 years?

    I’m not surprised by Roy’s complete ignorance on this matter. Surprise, ‘doctor’… you can’t censor my comments here.

  • SeanMcAllister

    anon. I don't want my money going to churches either. So what. Like I have a choice.

  • Steve

    simon, you hit several nails on their heads, very quickly and accurately. As for the CBC, it has outlived it's purpose and has become an embarrassment to the country. I would love to see it sold to Fox News, but I doubt that they would take on the headache.

  • anon

    But she was writing about a political candidate. Is criticism of people off-limits now?

    Look, what she said was rude, but don't make it out to be more than that. She should try to not use rudely worded language, but there is nothing wrong with pointing out the hypocrisy of white privilege and the treatment of her by the right, the kookiness of her religion, the stupidity of her interview answers, the lack of experience and the moronic excuse she gives to counter that, or the intention of McCain in picking someone with an obvious look and targeted at an obvious demographic.

  • anon

    Hey, I'd trade the CBC subsidies for getting rid of tax exempt status for churches any day. Let's make a deal.

    One of my points was exactly that, though: we pay for crap all the time that we don't agree with or don't like. That's because we rely on society in order to function and live, and part of that reliance means that we have to suck it up when we pay for things that we don't really use and don't agree with.

  • Kris

    Let me guess, you must be 14-15? If you are any older than that you are quite frankly the most immature twit I have seen in quite some time.

    This is the most moronic juvenile attempt to manufacture a fight. “Oh conservative men suck in bed”……Wow. Can we say junior high school or what?

    Grow up.

    As to the actual content of the story, I am sorry but the writer who actually wrote this does not qualify as a journalist. This is not something written by someone who is trying to expand the debate by pushing the envelope, this is written by nothing more than a child displaying the true depth of their intellectual capacity. As for the editors that agreed to post this, I must question what they are thinking? I would hazard a guess that these are the same editors who are crying about the civility in politic or lack thereof when they are the guilty party who brings down the level of debate to complete absurdity.

  • anon

    Hey, I almost forgot CBC radio. To me, it's the best part of the package (Quirks and Quarks, Ideas, and Wiretap alone are worth whatever my donation works out to annually).

  • wallyj

    I'll believe it when I see it. Does this admission mean that the cbc will be publishing an apology to the Palins in the near future? And maybe even to the people of canada who have been paying for their “passionate expressions of partisanship' and it's 'narrow range of opinions'.


    I want Heather to have a forum to express her views. And I don't care if it's on the CBC.
    I want her views out there. I don't agree with them, but I expect we can all take in her comments without having our feelings hurt, or even if our fellings are hurt, that Heather doesn't become like Mark Steyn and attacked be section 13.1 of the CHRA.
    Just as we have the right to examine our support for the hosts, like MacLeans who hosted Mark Steyn, or the CBC who hosted Heather, we should be able to affect the hosts success, by either being willing or not willing to spend the money, in order to support the host.
    Or, are you willing to cut a cheque to MacLeans Magazize, in order to support them and contribute to their bootom line?
    Now, with the CBC, we have no choice but to send them 1 billion dollars of taxpayers money every year.
    This is the clear difference.
    I don't think it's fair for any Canadian to be put in the spot having to make this choice.
    It's crazy that there should even be such a choice.
    I would be happy to read Heather's postings anywhere. The Huffington Post, The Dailey Kos,, NBC, ABC, whatever, but we have to cancel the CBC.
    If not cancel totally, reduce the role they play in news and political comment.
    No more Peter Mansbridge and his gang of At Issues panel.
    As much as I enjoy it, it's got to go.