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Firing Lisa LaFlamme was a Breach of Trust

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“Trust is like a vase…once it’s broken, though you can fix it, it will never be the same.” -Walter Inglis Anderson (American painter and writer)

Below, is an excerpt from The Brady Bunch episode ConfessionsWhile Peter is playing with a basketball in the house, it smashes a vase. All the siblings cover up for Peter. Each one confesses they did it. They do this because they don’t want Peter to miss out on a camping trip.

Their mother, Carol, makes the point with her children that trust is like a vase… you can fix it, but it will never be the same again.

There has been a lot of noise, he said, she said, that has obscured the most important message of all. There has been a violation of trust. It’s like that smashed vase. The Brady kids couldn’t get it back to what it was like before when it could hold water.

Last Thursday there was a town hall meeting of CTV journalists with Karine Moses and Michael Melling, Bell Media executives. Management avoided answering these questions: what is the vision for CTV news going forward and how is that different from the current vision?

Michael Melling said that they could build on the 60 years of trust they had built.

Staff Question: The elephant in the room is all the negative press that’s out there. (The public) has been saying things like, ‘We won’t watch this newscast anymore. We don’t trust Bell Media, it’s not a good place to work.’ How do you begin to explain to them and bring them back? To rebuild that trust?

Michael Melling: I think it’s a great question, and I hear where you’re coming from. I think we have built that trust over 60 years and there is currency there. It’s definitely been difficult, but I do feel that if we focus on moving forward, as a team from this, and on what we do as journalists, we will be able to rebuild and push forward on that 60 years of trust we’ve worked so hard to build over the years.” 1

Bell Media, do you understand that the way you terminated Lisa LaFlamme broke the trust that you worked so hard for 60 years to build? Canadians try to be fair in their relationships with others. We all get it wrong, but when we do, we admit it.

You are responsible for this public relations nightmare. You let the story of the termination of Lisa LaFlamme go on for days before you responded.

You claim in an internal memo that Lisa LaFlamme declined the opportunity for an on-air send off. This seems untruthful in an emotional sense. Wouldn’t you want to say good-bye on-air after your contract was abruptly and unilaterally ended? She described it to her Twitter followers as a “business decision” that “shocked, saddened and blindsided” her. She was required to make the details of her exit private, even though she was let go on June 29th.

“A trust she never took for granted” – that’s one of the things Lisa LaFlamme said to her Twitter followers. She understands that trust is not a “currency”. It is part of a relationship. It is between people. It is not a commodity.

Michael Melling wanted to know who had approved Lisa going grey. 2 That is outrageous. Lisa, it is just one part of the confident professional you are. Don’t change it for anyone.

Michael Melling, you are expecting Canadians will not lose trust in Bell Media and CTV news. That ship has sailed.

Will you own what you did wrong, and try to mend the wounds you have caused?

Trust takes a long time to build, but a moment to destroy. Even so, once it’s broken it will never be the same.

This editorial was composed with help from my wife, Karen. Yesterday, as we bounced ideas off ideas with one another, there was this union of minds and hearts as we did it. It reminded us of how well we work together as co-partners in doing the work our Father has called us to do. Karen, you are and always will be the love of my life next to God.