rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Linden MacIntyre is right to link Mansbridge and Gzowski to the Ghomeshi scandal

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca for as little as $5 per month!

Image: cbc.ca

Though the directive that sought to ban soon-to-be-retired Fifth Estate host, Linden MacIntyre, from the airwaves was reversed, the point remains that executives at the CBC seem unwilling to connect the dots surrounding a longstanding culture of sexism in their ranks.

MacIntyre, who gave a lecture at the University of Toronto's Victoria College on "Toxic Stardom" Wednesday afternoon, pointed to a larger culture at the CBC which supports, rather than challenges, the narcissistic and bullying behaviour of egotistical men.

"CBC is now sustained in the trenches by a whole lot of new recruits who are enthusiastic and ambitious and gifted, and who desperately want to get a foothold in media. And desperation and vulnerability will go together, and then if you put that in a place where there is an influence driven by ego, narcissism, a kind of abusive personality, you start moving along a continuum. It starts with just a sort of obnoxious, 'Run down and get me a coffee.' It moves into a sense of entitlement that allows you to make greater demands and be a bigger bully." (via the Globe and Mail)

Because MacIntyre pointed specifically to CBC News anchor Peter Mansbridge and now-deceased host of Morningside, Peter Gzowski, the managing editor of CBC News Network, Jennifer Harwood, sent out a memo late Wednesday "announcing interviews that had been previously scheduled with Mr. MacIntyre in advance of his final report for The Fifth Estate had been cancelled."

It appears that the CBC is still invested in protecting their stars...which is exactly what MacIntyre was criticizing:

"The problem with the culture is that it nurtures that kind of celebrity, and it nurtures that kind of entitlement, because stardom tends to put a rosy glow over the whole institution, and makes the managers who cultivate the stardom look competent, and effective. And it makes them a little bit starry, too."

MacIntyre went on to say that "the Ghomeshi thing was always a problem."

In Harwood's memo, titled "Standing up for Peter Mansbridge," she writes, "[MacIntyre made] a disgraceful comment that is unfair and untrue. It's time to stand up for Peter. And stand up for what's good and right at the CBC." Harwood went on to say that, as such, "The NN Execs and The Fifth Estate are aware that we are cancelling all Linden MacIntyre interviews on NN."

But how did Ghomeshi become Ghomeshi? How was he able to get away with what he did for decades? Is the CBC culpable at all?

I will admit that I'm loath to criticize our public broadcaster publicly. The CBC has been the soundtrack to my life since I was a child. My father listened every morning and now so do I. The funding cuts that are ongoing are appalling and disheartening. The work the CBC has done over the years is incredibly important and continues to be. We need them. But that doesn't mean I won't -- and that others should not -- be critical when it comes to what sounds like an ongoing problem.

Journalism is an industry rife with misogyny. Its history is one of a boys club -- and those boys got away with a lot as result.

Even Mansbridge and Gzowski.

Both men are surrounded by rumours of womanizing and narcissistic behaviour which, no, is not the same as beating, choking, and sexually assaulting women, but it does exist on a continuum of sorts. As does the CBC's still-vested interest in protecting its stars.

MacIntyre was not accusing Mansbridge and Gzowksi of abuse -- he was pointing towards that continuum, that tradition:

Because Ghomeshi has always been arrogant, he's always been obnoxious -- in the sort of the passive way, where he's always been so vulnerable: 'You can't hurt Jian,' even though he hurts other people. And his tantrums and his workplace relationships: 'Well, he's very rigorous, he's a perfectionist, you know?' So he is allowed to bully and abuse people. You know, that's the way it works, that’s what you put up with, whether it's Mansbridge, Gzowski, whatever. They were not like shrinking violets, either. So along comes Ghomeshi: 'Oh, yeah, he's in the tradition of that.' But somewhere along the way, it crosses a line. It does cross a line.

I would imagine that, as far as workplace-equality goes, the CBC is actually more accountable than many other news organizations. They are unionized, for one, and they are publicly funded. But look at what's happened and imagine, then, what could have -- and likely -- has gone on in other news rooms and media institutions for years.

The "boys club" tradition that has existed in journalism since its birth is slowly being hacked away at, but unless we are willing to look at the culture of sexism and misogyny as part of a continuum that has been supported by bosses and executives -- as well as other journalists and producers -- we will never be able to fully confront the culture that allowed for Ghomeshi’s abuse and the ongoing issues in the industry.

Image: cbc.ca

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.