Jesse Brown’s Canadaland podcast has given the CBC no end of grief over the past several months, helping to break open the Jian Ghomeshi scandal and embarrassing CBC hosts Peter Mansbridge and Amanda Lang over potential conflicts of interest in their speaking engagements.
Well some folks at CBC seem to have had it with the fledgling news source.
In what was likely a joke gone too far but maybe not, a threatening message to Brown appeared in fridge-magnet form in the kitchenette of CBC’s Toronto headquarters last week.
“Jesse Brown snitches get STITCHES,” the message read.
Canadaland itself obtained a photo of the anonymous fridge-magnet manifesto.
— CANADALAND (@CNDLND) January 19, 2015
The CBC told HuffPost Canada it would not comment on the incident as it’s “an internal matter."
Canadaland reported that an executive producer at CBC ordered staffers to destroy photos they took of the message "before Jesse Brown finds out about this."
"Extraordinary precautions were taken by a CBC employee who wanted the threat reported: the image was re-photographed from a computer screen, printed, and then hand-delivered to Canadaland by an intermediary," the site reported.
In an email to HuffPost Canada, Brown said two CBC employees “are genuinely fearful” that they could lose their jobs for making the threat public. He suggested the recent spate of stories about CBC had led to a climate of fear at the corporation.
“Some at the CBC are anxious because they feel they are suspected [by their managers and colleagues] of leaking us information. Others at the CBC are anxious because they are afraid they may lose their jobs as a result of our journalism,” he said.
But he rejected the notion his site is on a vendetta against the publicly-funded broadcaster.
“The Lang story was about CBC journalists vs. a CBC celebrity. The Ghomeshi story was about a series of women vs. a CBC celebrity. We're not at war with anyone,” he said.
The fridge message appeared on Jan. 14, two days after Canadaland alleged that Amanda Lang, host of CBC’s "The Exchange," tried to “sabotage” a CBC story on the Royal Bank of Canada’s use of temporary foreign workers.
The story alleged that Lang had taken money from RBC on at least six occasions and noted in a follow-up story that the host was involved in a relationship with RBC board member W. Geoffrey Beattie at the time of the attempted “sabotage.”
The CBC has strongly defended Lang, arguing that the claim she tried to kill the story was “categorically untrue.”
“There was rigorous debate but there was no ‘sabotage,’ and the notion that ‘Lang's efforts to scuttle the story were successful, at first’ is categorically untrue. The story rolled out on all platforms,” CBC said in a memo.
The memo stressed that once the CBC learned of Lang’s relationship with Beattie, “her executive producer put in place appropriate protocols.”