CHOG-AM re The Shelley Klinck Show

ONTARIO REGIONAL COUNCIL
(CBSC Decision 95/96-0063)
A. MacKay (Chair), R. Stanbury (Vice-Chair), R. Cohen (ad hoc), P. Fockler, M. Hogarth, M. Ziniak

The Facts

Shelley Klinck hosts a radio talk show on CHOG-AM (popularly known as TALK640) in
Toronto, which runs from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. Klinck's show of October 23, 1995 had, as
its first principal topic for discussion a segment entitled “Women Who Falsely Accuse Men
of Rape”. For this discussion, Ms. Klinck was accompanied in studio by Ross Virgin, a
representative from a men's rights advocacy group known as “In Search of Justice”.

Ms. Klinck introduced the evening's topic in the following way:

Tonight, well, is it even an issue at all, women? Do you believe it? When we hear about
things like OJ and Nicole, we know that he was a wife batterer. We know that. That is a
fact. Whether he was found guilty or not of murdering her, well, that seems to be a whole
other issue.

But this is what we're talking about tonight. Men that are falsely accused, falsely accused
of rape or sexual assault. Is it even an issue today? Do we believe everybody that tells us
that they've been raped or sexually assaulted? There's so many things going through my
mind, and it's simply this. A lot of men say today that there are a lot of psycho chicks, that
women are vindictive, that if we can find a way to strip a man of all his power, if he dumped
us and we didn't like it, if he treated us like crap, then we have the right to say you sexually
assaulted me and I'm going to take you to court.

Women, is it true? I mean, are we actually that vindictive? I would like to know. 870-6400.
Bell *640. Long distance, 310-TALK, 310-8255.

But for the guys as well, many of you have said to me on other shows, you have said you
are afraid of women, you think that most women are like this and that the women have the
power over the men and it doesn't matter what the papers say. In court, the court favours
the woman because if a woman says, “You know what? We had sex and I didn't really want
it,” the court's going to believe the woman over the man every single time.

So tonight, this is our issue, men falsely accused.

Throughout the segment in question, Ms. Klinck stimulated female audience response in
similar ways. (A complete transcript is provided as an appendix to this decision.)

As the title suggests, the discussion focused on false accusations of sexual assault, rather
than on legitimate charges. Ms. Klinck's studio guest, Ross Virgin, often referred to a
single statistic to the effect that 92% of allegations of sexual assault do not result in
convictions. His interpretation of this statistic was that false accusations occur far more
frequently than is popularly believed. His position, shared by many, although not all, of
the callers, led to the following exchange with the host.

Shelley Klinck: Why are you saying that, though? I mean, because when you say that it
sounds like a lot of women are just liars, we're just going to get something on you and we're
going to lie because that's just our nature. It makes us sound like a bunch of bitches or
something.

Ross Virgin: Let me put it to you this way, Shelley, and I'm somewhat reiterating my
previous comment there that I said at the outset. While the stats are a staggering 92%, I'm
not suggesting at all that all 92% were maliciously conning, conniving. A lot of these
situations are. Well, first of all, the overwhelming bulk of sexual assault cases are not dirty
old men dragging an innocent science school teacher behind the bushes at night and rape
[sic] her. It doesn't happen that way. The overwhelming majority are people who have
known each other well for a long time. They've probably been having sex for a long time.
Girlfriend, boyfriend, all this kind of stuff.

Shelley Klinck: Right.

Ross Virgin: So that does not mean, though, that if the woman later alleges that she was
sexually assaulted, it doesn't mean that she was planning to get this guy for five years.
There are some like that. In the case we're going to talk about tonight, the evidence is very,
very clear that this was conniving. It was witnessed back in the bar. One of the waiters
heard her [say?], “I got the guy”. So this was a blatant case, but…

Shelley Klinck: But I've had men say to me that is very common that we, as women —
and women, tell me how you feel about this — as far as us wanting to falsely accuse a guy
of sexual assault. 870-6400, Bell *640 and 310-TALK. We plan it. We think about it all in
advance and if we're having PMS or a bad day, that is exactly what we're going to do. And
not just that. That is our nature and that women today can get away with this because we're
in that kind of political correctness kind of thing where the woman is seen as a victim and
whatever she says is going to be believed in court.

Ross Virgin: Shelley, let me say that I do believe, as the last caller suggested, that I think
there's a very disturbing and disgusting volume of women like that out there, but not the
majority.

While the majority of callers supported the views put forward by Ross Virgin, at least one
caller disagreed with him and was given an opportunity to voice her point of view, as
evidenced by the following lengthy exchange:

Anna Mae: …basically, the overall majority of women who say that they've been sexually
assaulted have been sexually assaulted. I mean, it's a really hard process to go through,
for you and your family and friends, to go to court and discuss the details of a man
assaulting you and I don't believe that most women would do that unless it was true.

Shelley Klinck: Have you actually gone through something like that?

Anna Mae: No, I haven't, but I'm a law student and we talked about this a lot in school and
the reality is that most men get off, whether they're innocent or guilty, because it's the word
of the accuser against the word of the person who is possibly being victimized.

Shelley Klinck: So are you saying, Anna Mae, that in most cases, you believe, that the
man accused of rape is guilty and he walks?

Anna Mae: Yes, I do just because it's just… I mean, it's the same thing with kids who say
that they've been molested. It's just one of those things that most people will not lie about
and I think it's really dangerous to start focussing on the few people who need help, as you
said before, psychological help that actually cry wolf when nothing actually happened. The
reality is for men, if they do not want to be accused of these kinds of things just like they
have to go through the extra inconvenience of putting on a condom in the middle of sex, I
mean, they should take the time out to say, is this what you want to do? And if the woman
says no, then they've got to stop. It may be an added inconvenience of modern life, but it
sounds like it would save them a lot of trouble down the road.

Shelley Klinck: I'm going to let Ross challenge you on this.

Ross Virgin: Yes, I love your nonsense there about saying that…

Shelley Klinck: It is not nonsense!

Ross Virgin: Your nonsense about saying… hey, she made her comment. I'm making
mine now, so let me respond.

Shelley Klinck: Fine, sure, fine.

Ross Virgin: I love your nonsense about drawing a parallel here and suggesting that kids
never lie. That is absolutely outrageous. There are tons of cases in which the kids have
made it very, very clear that, after the allegations have been made, especially, I go back
to school and teacher situations where the child got a bad mark, didn't like the way the exam
was marked, and later on admits that that was the motivation behind it. Let me go to the
Gary Dodson case, well known case — and everybody's seen it in the media — in which he
served six years in jail for a rape that now Kathleen Webb says, “No, it never happened.
I made the whole thing up”. And after you hear the woman explain why she made the whole
story up, you can understand that women do lie about it. And she said, “I had sex with my
boyfriend. I thought I'd get pregnant. I couldn't explain that to my parents, so I lied”. And
she [went?] through, I think it was two weeks of testimony. I read almost all the transcript.
She described how she was dragged in the back seat of this car. She described the parking
lot and convinced a jury of all this crap and she now…

Shelley Klinck: Why did she convince them? Because she was a woman or because she
was just a good liar?

Ross Virgin: She's a good liar.

Anna Mae: Yes, but that's… the thing is, that's not the majority. I mean, there will always
be the few people who use the criminal system to achieve some other ends, but the thing
is most women do not lie about this.

Ross Virgin: Nonsense.

Anna Mae: If men are scared about this, all they have to do is ask the woman. You know,
I mean, I just don't buy this whole I'm in the middle of it, and she says no, so she must not
really mean it.

Ross Virgin: You're saying the majority, and I'm saying that the Gary Dodson-Kathleen
Webb is probably the majority and the justice system is nowhere near as biased against
women as you are saying it is.

Anna Mae: As you just said, as you've been saying during the whole show, 92 per cent of
these men get off. Whether they were guilty or innocent, 92 per cent of them get off.

Ross Virgin: Your position is guilty until proven innocent. I'm innocent until proven guilty.
Thank you.

Shelley Klinck: But really, Anna Mae, I mean, isn't the other thing though too that…

Ross Virgin: And you're a law student? Wow!

Shelley Klinck: Wait! What does that mean?

Ross Virgin: It means a lot because she's saying that you should be guilty until proven
innocent and I'm saying innocent until proven guilty.

Anna Mae: No, that's not necessarily what I'm saying.

Shelley Klinck: But wait a minute. Hang on. A part of that is the fact, though, that how
many women have heard about this? Even Nicole Brown, and we talked about this, she had
called the cops. They knew it was going on. Repeated attempts. There has to be a good
reason. Don't you think this, Anna Mae, generally speaking?

Anna Mae: Exactly.

Shelley Klinck: And maybe it was just out of retaliation? I mean, maybe the woman puts
up with the sexual assault for so long, and then that's it. She does make this complaint, and
now all the women that are making legitimate complaints look like complete fools because
we're talking about men that are falsely accused.

Anna Mae: All I want to say is that, I mean, most… over 90 per cent of these guys get off
and the reason the system was changed was because for years and years a man could say
what you're suggesting. … “I just didn't know. I honestly, I swear to God I thought that this
woman wanted it. She really wanted it, even though she was saying no.” And I'm saying
that it puts out a guy a little bit now to just say, “Is this what you want?” Even though that
might spoil the mood a little bit, just like putting on a condom, that I think that that's the
effort that they need to make to make sure that women really want it when they're getting
it.

Shelley Klinck: Okay, Anna Mae, thank you for the call.

The segment in question, “Women Who Falsely Accuse Men of Rape”, lasted for the first
90 minutes of that evening's program. In the Council's view, the excerpts of the transcript
reproduced above, while not exhaustive, give a good sense of the tone of the discussion
as a whole. In any event, as noted above, the full transcript is provided as an appendix
to this decision.

The Complaint

A listener wrote to the CRTC on October 25, 1995 and this letter was in turn forwarded to
the CBSC. In her letter of October 25, the complainant stated:

On October 24th 1995 [sic, actually the show of October 23rd], from 7pm to 9 pm E.S.T. I
listened to Shelley Klinck's talk show on TALK 640…

Ms. Klinck had 2 guests; a convicted rapist and Ross Virgin, a spokesperson for the men's
rights group In Search of Justice. Mr. Virgin was presented as an advocate for men
victimized by charges of rape. He indicated that most women reporting rape are lying.

The portrayal of women on this show was very derogatory. They were referred to as
“psycho-chicks”, “liars”, “broads”, “vindictive”, etc.

Ross Virgin recited anti-woman rhetoric unchallenged. He attacked the “man-haters” at
Rape Crisis Centres for not supporting the accused rapists that are calling them. He
believes rape crisis centres should offer men the support that is offered to victims.

Of course, he speaks not of male victims, only male accused. On air he seemed to suggest
that rapists call these lines.

A woman called the show telling how she and her sister took care of (beat up) a girl/woman
that [sic] had accused her brother of rape. This solution to shutting up psycho-chicks was
met with laughter from the host and her guests. Ross said – she's my kind of woman.

This station was remiss in not requiring or providing any balance through opposing views.

TALK640 allowed itself to be used as a vehicle for a hostile misogynist message. By doing
so TALK640 participated in (through Shelley Klinck), if not endorsed, a skewed insulting
view of women.

The Broadcaster's Response

The Vice-President of Programming of CHOG-AM responded to the complaint by letter
dated November 14, 1995. In his letter, he wrote:

After hearing the entire program, I would agree that there were some statements made by
Mr. Virgin that could be considered controversial. It appears to me from your letter that you
are alarmed mostly with Mr. Virgin's views and those of his organization. We can't concur
with your claim that TALK640 was used as a vehicle by “In Search for Justice” for a hostile
and misogynist message, and that we endorsed a skewed, insulting view of women.
Certainly that was the furthest of our intentions.

The statement, “most women who report rape are lying” was not made. In fact, Mr. Virgin
said, “some women, not all of course, falsely report rape”. This fact was pointed out several
times during the show. I found no evidence to support such a widespread charge that “the
portrayal of women on this show was derogatory”.

The remarks that referred to women as “psycho chicks”, “liars”, “Broads”, “vindictive”, etc.,
were made by our female host and were delivered rhetorically during her set up's. The
context was, “women, are we really, psycho chicks, etc.? ……..call me now”

I did not hear Mr. Virgin attacking “man haters” at Rape Crisis Centres. He offered his
opinion that rape crisis centres should offer men the support that is offered to victims.

The women [sic] who called and claimed that she and her sister “took care of” (meaning
beat up) a woman who falsely accused their brother of rape, was a story from in the 1970s.
It was admitted on-air that things were different back then. It was not offered as a solution
to “shutting up Psycho Chicks”.

The response of laughter and commentary of, “my kind of woman” by the guest was his
reaction to the story. It was an inappropriate response to such a story, but our host
questioned whether or not violence was the best way to solve the problem.

In terms of your concern about balance, again, the topic focused on “WOMEN WHO
FALSELY ACCUSE MEN OF RAPE”. TALK640 did attempt to have other individuals as
guests on the program to offer an opposing view, but was unsuccessful for various reasons.
Some of our calls weren'treturned, others weren't available and still a few said that the
presence of Mr. Virgin was an issue. In fact, Susan MacraeVandervoort from the Metro
Action Committee on Public Violence Against Women and Children, declined our offer
saying she “doesn't debate Nazis and won't debate Mr. Virgin”.

I feel that our host provided adequate balance even without a representative from the
opposing side of the issue, but with that in mind, TALK640 would be happy to offer airtime
to any group or representative who feels their side of this story still needs to be addressed.
It need not include participation from any representative from “in search of justice”.
Although we've had no other complaints or concerns about this issue, we'd be prepared to
do another segment on the effects of rape or any other topic that may provide some
interestingor valuable information about this crime to our listeners. The offer is on the
table.

TALK640 has no agenda to produce one-sided perspectives on any story, but neither should
we choose to avoid an issue if it contains some controversial content.

The complainant was unsatisfied with this response and requested, on November 16,
1995, that the CBSC refer the matter to the appropriate Regional Council for adjudication.

The CBSCs Ontario Regional Council considered the complaint under the Code of Ethicsof the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB). Clauses 2, 6 and 7 of that Code read
as follows:

CAB Code of Ethics, Clause 2 (Human Rights)

Recognizing that every person has a right to full and equal recognition and to enjoy certain
fundamental rights and freedoms, broadcasters shall endeavour to ensure, to the best of
their ability, that their programming contains no abusive or discriminatory material or
comment which is based on matters of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age,
sex, marital status or physical or mental handicap.

CAB Code of Ethics, Clause 6 (News)

It shall be the responsibility of member stations to ensure that news shall be represented
with accuracy and without bias. The member station shall satisfy itself that the
arrangements made for obtaining news ensure this result. It shall also ensure that news
broadcasts are not editorial. News shall not be selected for the purpose of furthering or
hindering either side of any controversial public issue, nor shall it be designed by the beliefs
or opinions or desires of the station management, the editor or others engaged in its
preparation or delivery. The fundamental purpose of news dissemination in a democracy
is to enable people to know what is happening, and to understand events so that they may
form their own conclusions.

Therefore, nothing in the foregoing shall be understood as preventing news broadcasters
from analysing and elucidating news so long as such analysis or comment is clearly labelled
as such and kept distinct from regular news presentations. Member stations will, insofar as
practical, endeavour to provide editorial opinion which shall be clearly labelled as such and
kept entirely distinct from regular broadcasts of news or analysis and opinion.

It is recognized that the full, fair and proper presentation of news, opinion, comment and
editorial is the prime and fundamental responsibility of the broadcast publisher.

CAB Code of Ethics, Clause 7 (Controversial Public Issues)

Recognizing in a democracy the necessity of presenting all sides of a public issue, it shall
be the responsibility of member stations to treat fairly, all subjects of a controversial nature.
Time shall be allotted with due regard to all the other elements of balanced program
schedules, and to the degree of public interest in the questions presented. Recognizing that
healthy controversy is essential to the maintenance of democratic institutions, the broadcast
publisher will endeavour to encourage presentation of news and opinion on any controversy
which contains an element of the public interest.

The members of the Ontario Regional Council listened to a tape of the program in question
and reviewed all of the correspondence. For the reasons given below, the Council
considers that the program is not in violation of the CAB Code of Ethics.

The Issues

The letter of complaint raised two important and somewhat related issues. The first issue
raised by the complainant stems from her allegation that “the portrayal of women on this
show was very derogatory”; it is dealt with in the human rights clause of the CAB Code of
Ethics
, which prohibits abusive or discriminatory material based on matters of sex. The
second issue raised by the complainant is that the “station was remiss in not requiring or
providing any balance through opposing views”; it in turn is dealt with in Clause 6,
paragraph 3, and Clause 7 of the Code of Ethics.

There is an important distinction to be drawn between these two issues which relates to
the nature of the remedial action which may be taken by the broadcaster. Abusive
comments are, in and of themselves, a breach of the Code, if not also of the Radio
Regulations, 1986
. They, unlike an unbalanced or biased presentation of views, cannot
be remedied by an offer of “rebuttal time”, which is, in effect, a method of redressing
balance. The Council is mindful of the CRTC's pronouncement in Public Notice CRTC
1985-236 censuring CKNW of New Westminster, B.C. for racially abusive comments made
against the Nishga Tribal Council and the Musqueam Indian Band. In that Public Notice,
the Commission stated that

It is completely inappropriate to request the native groups to “balance” racially abusive
remarks. The Commission agrees with the complainants who stated that abusive comments
cannot be justified by offering equal time to the abused.

In light of the offer of “rebuttal time” made by the broadcaster and this distinction between
abusive comment and lack of balance, the Council considers that it is appropriate to
determine first whether the program in question contained any abusive comment before
looking at the overall treatment of the issue by the broadcaster.

Abusive and Discriminatory Comments

The Council appreciates that the line between abusive and discriminatory comment and
vehement expression of opinion and ideas is not always easily discernible. In this case,
however, the Council is of the view that the debate of this controversial issue was kept well
within the boundaries of acceptable comment, far from the nettles of abuse and
discrimination.

There is no doubt that the host of the program did use words such as “psycho chick”,
“broad” and “vindictive” to describe women, as was contended by the complainant. The
question is whether the use of these words in this case constitutes abusive or
discriminatory comment. The Council agrees that, in another context, these comments
might be considered in poor taste or, in their worst possible interpretation, derogatory
toward women; however, in this context, it appeared that the host used the words in
question rhetorically, not descriptively, and apparently to be provocative in order to draw
attention to the program and to attract women callers. Moreover, the Council notes that
the host was not describing women as a group; she was either noting that “A lot of men
say today that there are a lot of psycho chicks, that women are vindictive” or asking
questions, as in, “Women, is it true? I mean, are we actually that vindictive?” Moreover,
she generally used these words inclusively, that is to say, she included herself in the group
described, as in “And, women, are we really that bad?” This situation is readily
distinguishable from the Council's decision in CFRB re Ed Needham Show (OWD Publication) (CBSC Decision 92/93-0096, May 26, 1993) in which the Ontario Regional
Council decided that

the host used abusive, degrading and discriminatory language when referring to women, in
particular, when he claimed that, “A lot of women nowadays will vomit this one at you …
'why do you feel threatened?' … This is their favourite little way, because they can't think
and they can't argue properly — these radical feminist nutcakes …. Don't even respond to
that …. Don't talk to the dumb stupid idiots”, and “bug off, bimbo!” The host added, “That's
just how these crazed, unhappy, twisted creatures who turn out this kind of swill are. These
are unhappy people, hard to get along with in the world, can't find a real job, so they turn to
producing this kind of nonsense. You know, it's a shame. They need help. They really need
help.”

In that Ed Needham decision, the Council was of the view that the host had crossed the
line and breached clause 2 of the CAB Code of Ethics. In this case, the Council is of the
view that the tone and the context of the commentary are very different and does not find
that the comments of the host were in any way discriminatory or abusive.

The Council notes that the complainant also alleged that the studio guest “indicated that
most women reporting rape are lying.” Had such a statement actually been made, it might
well have been considered in breach of the human rights provision of the Code of Ethics;
however, a careful review of the logger tape indicates that no such comment was made.
While the guest made known his view that “there is a very disturbing and disgusting
volume of women like that out there”, the Council considers that that comment constitutes
an expression of opinion rather than an abusive nor discriminatory statement and is,
accordingly, protected by the guarantee of freedom of expression.

Finally, the complainant raised another matter which falls within the human rights provision
of the Code of Ethics, namely, advocating violence towards an identifiable group. In her
letter, the complainant expressed concern over the reaction of the host and in studio guest
to a call by a woman “telling how she and her sister took care of (beat up) a girl/woman
that [sic] had accused her brother of rape.” According to the complainant “this solution to
shutting up psycho-chicks was met with laughter from the host and her guests. Ross said –
she's my kind of woman.” Once again, the Council, benefiting from the availability of the
logger tape and a transcript of the program, finds that the complainant's recollection was
not entirely accurate. While the Council considers that the reaction of the host and the in
studio guest to the caller using the pseudonym “Mary” may have been inappropriate, it did
not violate Clause 2 of the Code of Ethics. The call and the reaction to it was as follows:

Mary: …I had a brother who was a very and still is a very fine gentleman, but he had a suitor
which just would not lay off him. And she actually did accost him and she ripped her
clothing and she told him straight, I'm going to plead rape.

Shelley Klinck: She told him… Now, wait a minute.

Mary: I'm not phoning you up in the night at 7:20 to tell you any kind of baloney. I'm telling
you how this happened.

Shelley Klinck: No, I believe you.

Ross Virgin: That's true.

Shelley Klinck: Mary, I believe you, but let me ask you. Do you really think that that's
common, that a woman is going to say I'm going to get you? I'm going to…

Mary: I think your key word is “common”. No, it's not common. It is incidental, but it does
happen.

Ross Virgin: It does happen, yes, absolutely.

Mary: Exactly, it's not common at all. There are women actually that do set out to really
harass men.

Ross Virgin: Yes, it's disturbingly common enough, though. Even if it's five or ten per cent
that's not common, but that's disgusting and there should be severe penalties for it. And I
like Terry's suggestion of jail term. I really do.

“Mary” then went on to explain how she and her sisters “took care” of the situation.

Mary: We looked after it ourselves. This happened in the 70s. My two sisters and I went
out and confronted this girl and we handled it ourselves.

Ross Virgin: Hum… Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah. I like it!

Shelley Klinck: Now, what did you do in the confrontation?

Mary: I don't want to tell you this, but she never lied again.

Ross Virgin: I like this. It's beautiful! Good, Mary, good stuff.

Shelley Klinck: Ah, ah, ah. The Lorena Bobbit technique. It works every time.

Ross Virgin: Excellent, Mary.

Shelley Klinck: Could he have gotten a restraining order against her?

Mary: Oh, come on! Back in the 70s? Forget it. We took things in our own hands.

Ross Virgin: No, not in the 70s.

Shelley Klinck: I had to ask. I mean, I think it's a bit of a joke even now. I mean, for a
woman to get a restraining order against a man is a joke. I can't imagine it the other way
around.

Mary: Yes, we just took her aside and showed her a couple of our rings.

Shelley Klinck: Ah, ah, ah, ah.

Ross Virgin: Ah, ah, ah. Tell me, Mary… I love it, I love it. Boy, I want to work with you.
Yours is a much faster than all of this legal, cumbersome legal battle.

Mary: Oh, baloney with legal.

Shelley Klinck: Vigilante justice.

Balanced Treatment of Controversial Public Issues

Having concluded that the program did not contain any abusive or discriminatory comment,
the Council must now determine whether the broadcaster was fair in its treatment of the
controversial issue, i.e. whether the requirements of clause 6, paragraph 3, and clause 7
of the CAB Code of Ethics have been met. While clause 6 of the Code is nominally
headed “News”, it has long been understood by the Council to have a much broader scope
of application. This flows from the CBSC's reading of the third paragraph which, in terms,
is of much broader extension, referring to the “full, fair and proper presentation of news,
opinion, comment and editorial [as] the prime and fundamental responsibility of the
broadcast publisher [emphasis added].”

Although the Council recognizes that Clause 6, paragraph 3 and Clause 7 of the Code of
Ethics
offer different nuances, it considers that their combined effect is to require balanced
programming when dealing with controversial issues. Accordingly, rather than considering
each provision individually, the Council is of the view that it may deal with the “balance
requirement” as a whole.

Generally, the format of open-line programs has the potential of offering an opportunity for
balance; however, the Council recognizes the important role of the host (and the producer)
in ensuring balance. They wield considerable power in terms both of the choice of callers
who get to air and the ability of the on-air host to cut off callers at will. The Council finds
that, in this case, Ms. Klinck made a valiant effort to achieve balance in the treatment of
the controversial issue chosen as a topic for the show. As in the case of CFRA-AM re Steve Madely (CBSC Decision 93/94-0295, November 11, 1994), her success may have
been limited but this may have been a matter beyond her control. In the Steve Madely
decision, the Ontario Regional Council interpreted the requirements of clause 7 in the
following way:

In terms of the requirements of that clause, the broadcast publisher, through its host, was,
as required, endeavouring to “Encourage presentation of news and opinion” on a
controversial subject. The host's problem was, in his view, that the audience was not
interacting, not that he was refusing access. Furthermore, he returned to the subject once
his dramatic stratagem pulled the listeners back into the dialogue.

In this case, the Council is of the view that the host encouraged a balanced presentation
and discussion of the issue of false accusations of sexual assault. The public had been
given the opportunity to call in and comment, and the host herself tried to balance the
viewpoint of her guest. As a result, the Council finds that the program did not violate
clauses 6 and 7 of the CAB Code of Ethics.

Broadcaster Responsiveness

In addition to assessing the relevance of the Codes to the complaint, the CBSC always
assesses the responsiveness of the broadcaster to the substance of the complaint. It is
a responsibility of membership in the CBSC to be responsive to audience complaints. In
this case, the Council notes that the broadcaster's response was especially conciliatory,
even offering to do another segment which would provide a different perspective on the
topic of sexual assault. In the Council's view, the broadcaster's response was exemplary.
Nothing more is required.

This decision is a public document upon its release by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council. It may
be reported, announced or read by the station against which the complaint had originally been made;
however, in the case of a favourable decision, the station is under no obligation to announce the result.

Appendix