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TORONTO, October 10, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Anyone relying on Canada’s state broadcaster for news would have missed one of last week’s most explosive stories.
The Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) has not gone near a video of a Toronto man roundhouse-kicking a pro-life woman that has gone viral and received intense social and international media attention.
Filmed by Campaign Life Coalition youth coordinator Marie-Claire Bissonnette, the riveting 46-second clip depicts Jordan Hunt abruptly assaulting her during Life Chain on September 30.
It has been viewed more than four million times since LifeSiteNews posted it online last Tuesday, along with Bissonnette’s account of the incident.
Moreover, the video provoked fierce discussion across social media, trending within 24 hours on Toronto Reddit.
Where was CBC?
It did cover the story Sunday: a 226-word account that doesn’t mention the video, or name Hunt, identified in a police media release Saturday.
But before CBC media relations sent LifeSiteNews a link to this story, LifeSiteNews contacted CBC News Toronto on Tuesday to ask why the publicly funded broadcaster had not yet covered the now-massive story.
A top producer said they had checked into the story’s legitimacy but decided against covering it.
CBC has “journalistic practices and standards. Not every news organization in Toronto has that, but as the public broadcaster, we do. So I would have had to have seen the video to verify it as well,” she said.
“We have a bar to meet. Just because a video goes viral doesn’t mean it becomes news and that we cover it,” added the producer.
However, CBC has run stories about viral videos, as this sampling shows: Halifax cartoonist's searing take on the Kavanaugh hearings goes viral; University of Guelph prof faces assault charges after video surfaces; Canadian video debunking fake online health claims becomes viral hit; 'Guy on a Buffalo' saddles up for viral video fame on Kananaskis ranch.
Moreover, the producer suggested the video going viral was orchestrated.
“It went viral because they were making it go viral. They were sending it to everybody, and trying to get coverage for it,” she told LifeSiteNews.
She also had doubts about Hunt’s legitimacy as a bona fide assailant.
“And this man, I’m not really sure the man who assaulted her, he did not seem very stable. I’m not really clear that he was just some random person on the street. He seemed a little unstable to me; I don’t have proof of that,” she added.
The producer also said CBC was pressured to cover the story.
“I know there was Twitter outrage, where the woman who was assaulted was demanding we cover it because we are the public broadcaster,” she told LifeSiteNews.
“And we don’t do stories just because someone demands we cover something.”
However, Bissonnette doesn’t have a Twitter account, nor did CLC Youth or Campaign Life Coalition tweet out “demands” that CBC cover the story.
There was one tweet from CBC opinion writer Robyn Urback that appeared to support Bissonnette:
Roundhouse kicking a woman to protect women's rights https://t.co/7uLvSXsGqD
— Robyn Urback (@RobynUrback) October 4, 2018
When LifeSiteNews asked the producer for her name, she gave it, but then stated she was not speaking on the record.
“This is not official,” she said. “You can’t call up a media and ask me to go on record, without telling me you have me on record. That’s completely unprofessional.”
“So when I say I’m a reporter, you obviously don’t think … ,” responded LifeSiteNews.
“I’m trying to help you to understand and give you a reason why the story wasn’t covered by us. We looked into the story, we looked into the legitimacy of the story … ,” she said.
“OK, wait, stop, stop,” broke in LifeSiteNews. “Can we go on record now? Can you go on record?”
“No, I’m hanging up, ma’am. Sorry,” she said.
LifeSiteNews then contacted CBC public affairs.
Chuck Thompson, head of CBC public affairs, sent LifeSiteNews the link to the story CBC has done.
“CBC News (Toronto) discussed whether to add the video but, in the end, decided against including it because they weren’t sure whether they would follow this case to resolution,” he told LifeSiteNews in an email.
“By way of background, CBC News doesn’t typically name the accused if they aren’t going to follow a trial to its completion. In this case, they felt that the video would have identified the individual and didn’t name him in the copy,” Thompson wrote.
“I should also note that only about 10 percent of our stories have video added to the file,” he added.
“With every story we do, CBC News always strives for fairness and balance and this story was no exception,” Thompson wrote.
Campaign Life Coalition will publish its view of CBC’s performance in the days ahead.