Former conservative leader Erin O’Toole fielded questions by “guest participants” that were coached by CBC producers in a broadcast aired in September during the federal election

According to Blacklock’s Reporter, the broadcaster’s ombudsman Jack Nagler said producers with CBC’s Face to Face program “worked with” the participants to frame their questions to O’Toole. 

“Producers were conscious that Face To Face was intended to be a public service program aimed at helping viewers understand what the party leaders stood for,” wrote Nagler. 

“Given their experience they know that questions to politicians need to be carefully crafted to elicit substantive answers so they worked with each of the four participants to make sure their questions were focused.”

Nagler’s report was in response to Taylor Lakhryst, who was a guest on the program. In a YouTube video describing the appearance, Lakhryst claimed that producers rewrote the questions to O’Toole.

“I said i’m super grateful to have the opportunity to use my voice on a platform of that nature and get some eyes and ears on things. That said, now I feel is a good time to share how negotiated and edited that experience was,” said Lakhryst.

“I got essentially put into a – please say this because it’s watered down and easy to swallow so I can get a non-answer back.”

In his ruling, Nagler brushed off Lakhryst’s claims and did not find that the network violated any journalistic principles by editing Lakhryst’s statements. 

“I cannot begrudge you at all for finding those discussions frustrating but nor can I chastise CBC for taking these actions,” wrote Nagler. 

“You agreed to this in order to take part of the program. There was no violation of journalistic standards on the part of the program.”

CBC’s journalistic practices when it comes to radio and television broadcasts have come under scrutiny in recent months. Internal documents revealed that the network vetted the races of proposed guests before inviting them to appear on a program. 

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