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Former Global TV reporter giving regular spankings to BC media

Harvey Oberfeld is becoming the scourge of his former colleagues in television news, via the blog he launched a few months back. The latest target of his outrage: Global TV, his former employer, which comes in for a whacking because it paid $5,000 to the Vancouver police charity in order to secure an interview with rescued kidnap victim Graham McMynn.

"It is my own sad view that the news standards at Global TV (and some other current major media as well) are not what they used to be. But payment for an interview surprised even me! I hope other news stations do not follow Global's precedent. I hear CTV was approached but refused to pay. I applaud that decision," blogs the award-winning, 38-year veteran political news reporter, now retired.

In the same item, he wickedly suggests a fees-to-charity rate scale for further interview buys. "Candidate for any public office $500 (20-second clip)... and no questions asked." Talking to a convicted criminal? That's should fetch $5000.

Oberfeld was early to assail local television stations CTV, Global and CHEK for giving Premier Campbell, who refused to open the legislature, free air time to give his speech last week.

Oberfeld then scolded radio station CKNW for "hyping" the premier's message in six hours of special coverage the next day, and in a third post he slammed the same outlets for "adding insult to injury" by giving Opposition leader Carole James' address short shrift a few nights later.

Oberfeld's "Keeping it Real" blog is hardly the home of delicate nuance. A sample: "By carrying the whole speech inside their 'news' programs, I would call CTV, Global, and CHEK the premier's private 'whores' … but I would in fact, be wrong. Because apparently they didn't even get paid for their air time. Did they just give it away? That just makes it all worse.... and makes them political sluts, not whores."

But in a province whose corporate media players are shy about keeping each other honest on ethics and bias, Oberfeld is emerging as a credible voice of conscience.

David Beers is editor of The Tyee.

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