CBC ombudsman’s review of reporter who fed questions to MP now public

CBC Ombudsman Vince Carlin released his report on Krista Erickson, the television reporter who was accused of feeding questions to a Liberal MP during the Mulroney-Schreiber hearings.

Carlin’s conclusion? Erickson acted out of inexperience, not bias.

While CBC rules forbid reporters from giving questions to politicians to be asked at committee hearings or in the Commons, Carlin concluded that Erickson did not know the rules. Carlin wrote:

“Ms. Erickson clearly did go ‘over the line’ in allowing the appearance that she was providing ‘script’ for certain sources to use. However, it appears to me that she lacked the experience and sensitivity to realize where the line was.”

She should not have been placed ‘in harm’s way’ without a better understanding of CBC policy and proper background or training in the difficult business of Parliamentary reporting.”

Carlin said the CBC needs to provide sufficiently clear guidelines and must make sure its reporters are aware of all job requirements when they are promoted.

Erickson was shipped out of Toronto last year as a result of the accusations, but now she is scheduled to be back on air from Ottawa in January, 2009.

The National Post‘s Jonathan Kay calls the report a “quasi-exoneration.” He writes:

“Given the passage of time since the original incident a year ago — and the current maelstrom in Ottawa — I doubt many people are paying close attention to Carlin’s report. But in the interest of fairness, it is worth taking note of Erickson’s quasi-exoneration nonetheless.”