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Andrew Mitrovica Fails the Ethical Test

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I've been writing about Andrew Mitrovica's politically-motivated attacks on Rex Murphy for a few days now, and I'm almost done with it.

I've been in touch with Mr Mitrovica, and what I can say for certain is that he doesn't seem to have much of an appetite for explaining himself. Which is ironic coming from someone who demands that Murphy and the CBC explain themselves.

Another thing I can say from my interactions with Mr Mitrovica is that he's quite preoccupied with ensuring that his words are presented in a fair and balanced manner. Fair and balanced. Remember that.

Because Mr Mitrovica's move to single out Murphy -- and single Murphy out he has -- does not pass the test of fairness or balance. Mitrovica treats Murphy's alleged violation of this alleged obligation to disclose any speeches he's given to oil-friendly groups -- an obligation that he has yet to adequately support, by the way -- as an intolerable offense. Yet when it comes to other individuals and organizations, he remains silent. And he is very clearly remains silent by choice.

I've already been over the obvious conflict of interest of David Suzuki. Yesterday I noted the failure of Press Progress to disclose not only any of its donors, but also its direct organizational links to the NDP. Neither are alone.

Perhaps one of the most blatant violators of this ethical standard would be The Tyee. A yeaer ago, Tyee editor David Beers was forced to admit that his publication took funding directly from the anti-oilsands Tides Foundation. In its own tax documents, the Tides Foundation categorized the donation as part of its "tarsands campaign." Their words, no one elses.

Beers attempted to tip-toe around this ethical quandary by attributing the "reporting" in question to the Tides Solutions Society, which just happens to be affiliated with The Tyee. The Tyee routinely publishes work produced by the TSS. Which articles were funded by the Tides Foundation as part of their anti-oilsands campaign? Well, we don't know. The Tyee has never disclosed that.

Mitrovica certainly isn't chasing Beers around to push him into disclosing this funding. He isn't chasing David Suzuki. He isn't chasing Press Progress, either. He's picking favourites, and treating Murphy as if his failure to disclose is unique. Here's why this matters. It's a line directly out of the Canadian Associationo f Journalists' ethical code:

"We do not allow our own biases to impede fair and accurate reporting."

It's not accurate to treat Murphy as a unique violator of this obligation to disclose, if indeed he is actually under any such obligation -- the CAJ code and the CBC's own code of Journalistic Standards and Practices are both nebulous in regards to this. It's not fair to treat Murphy as a unique violator of such an obligation.

With this in mind, it's quite clear that Andrew Mitrovica's own reporting on l'affaire Rex Murphy is itself quite unethical.

This is something that he could rectify quite easily. Unfortunately, doing so wouldn't be quite so flattering to his own biases.

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