The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. apologized Sunday for a column posted on its Web site that likened Sarah Palin to a porn star, described her husband as a roughneck and suggested her oldest son was terrified about serving in Iraq.
The column by Heather Mallick, a left-wing journalist who has said the United States will one day invade Canada for its resources, was “viciously personal, grossly hyperbolic and intensely partisan,” CBC News Publisher John Cruickshank said.
He said it should have never appeared on the Web site and because of the lapse in editorial judgment; CBC was developing new policies for handling opinion pieces.
The apology came only after an internal CBC investigation triggered by the uproar over the piece, which heated up political blogs and was denounced on Fox News by personalities like Greta Van Susteren, who called “Mallick” a pig.
“As a public broadcaster we have an added responsibility to provide an array of opinions and voices to complement our journalism,” Cruickshank wrote in a letter to readers. “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.”
That line was crossed by the Mallick piece, according to Cruickshank, with passages like this:
“Palin has a toned-down version of the porn actress look favored by this decade’s woman, the overtreated hair, puffy lips and permanently alarmed expression,” Mallick wrote. “Bristol has what is known in Britain as the look of the teen mum, the “pramface.” Husband Todd looks like a roughneck; Track, heading off to Iraq, appears terrified. They claim to be family obsessed while being studiously terrible at parenting. What normal father would want Levi “I'm a f----n’ redneck” Johnson prodding his daughter?”
CBC News said it will soon expand the diversity of voices and opinions expressed online "to better reflect the depth and texture of this country.”
Mallick is an author of two books and a prolific columnist well known in Canada and Britain. She writes on a variety of issues, including politics, culture, and Canadian life. She has written about growing up in a cold northern town even smaller than Palin’s hometown of Wasilla, Alaska.
She also has repeatedly warned of the threats that the United States poses to Canada. In a speech she gave last year called “Pox Americana,” Mallick said that “since George Bush was elected, I have talked about little else. The man has been a disaster to humanity, and I can’t shut up about it.”
Mallick predicted that once Americans start feeling the effects of global warming—around 2030—they will invade Canada for water. She said Canada will remain livable if it prepares for global warming, but she presumed the US wouldn’t prepare and, as a result, will suffer.
Americans "pursuit of happiness doesn’t encompass lowered expectations,” she said. “They will have our water, and if we do not want to give it to them, then at that point, I believe we will be attacked.”
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