This Article is part of the Tar Sands Reporting Project special report See the full report

Rex Murphy's pro-oil sands speech prompts CBC to review journalistic rules

Famous Newfoundlander under pressure to reveal if he receives oil sands speaking fees, and to reveal this each time he goes on CBC airwaves with his staunch defences of Alberta's oil patch.

CBC's Rex Murphy does not reveal his oil sands speaking fees
Rex Murphy gave a stinging critique of oil sands opponent Neil Young on Jan.17 (CBC News)

On Jan.17, on his weekly spot on CBC’s The National, Rex Murphy slammed Neil Young for what he called the rockstar’s “unfathomably irresponsible” comments against Alberta’s oil sands.

But what the famous Newfoundlander did not reveal on his “Point of View” TV segment was whether Murphy also receives payments for his work outside the CBC, giving pro-oil sands speeches. 

iPolitics columnist Andrew Mitrovica calls that a serious conflict of interest.

“His audiences have a right to know where he’s coming from, and that he’s being paid by powerful vested interests…” said Mitrovica on Monday from Toronto.

Rex Murphy did not respond to a request for comment Monday.

At issue, are a number of keynote speeches that he has made to oil-friendly conventions -- Murphy does not appear to disclose this when he talks on public air waves in defence of the oil sands.

In Mitrovica's research, such speeches from similar high profile personalities can earn anywhere from $2,000 - $30,000 per occasion.

Most notably, Murphy gave a stirring speech on Nov.29 to a black-tie Calgary business forum, attended by a who’s who of Canada’s oil sands: the CEOs of Kinder Morgan, Enbridge, and TransCanada for example.

After joking about Neil Young’s inadequacy at commenting on oil sands issues – “I wouldn’t take advice from Neil Young if he was talking about the Bare Naked Ladies” – Murphy said industry should stop being ashamed of the oil sands.

He said, “You are renewing confederation" – a reference, to the thousands of Newfoundlanders put out of work by the closure of the fisheries, and put back to work in Alberta's oil patch.

“Do you know how much social misery, how much dislocation of individual families, how many divorces were [all] postponed?”

“You should exult in what you’re doing.  This is a triumph of the spirit, not something anyone should have to apologize for,” Murphy extolled.

 

Andrew Mitrovica, iPolitics columnist, says Rex Murphy in conflict of interest

iPolitics columnist Andrew Mitrovica

Mitrovica says such "cheerleading" for the industry is "a little more than embarrassing.”

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Comments

The foulest smell comes not from the city dump,

but from the lips of two highly paid Canadian mouths, notably that of Rex Murphy and the coach's corner guy in the clown outfits; I can't remember his name but his last name is some kind of fruit one finds in fruitcakes.

Both of these men love the sound of their own voice. I am not inclined to agree with them on anything and the sooner they are no longer on public broadcasting the happier I will be.

 

what is good for the goose and the gander

So will anti-oil sand public/media speakers also reveal who pays them?

If he states he does not get paid, would you believe him?  

People can form opinions and speak them without being paid. David Suzuki makes a lot of money getting paid to say certain things. Should he state that he is getting paid to talk as well? 

rex murphy

Canada must be the only country on Earth that the majority of its citizens ignore scientific consensus, The rest of the world doesn't have a problem understanding that the Tar sands of Alberta produces the dirtiest oil on the planet, has the biggest carbon footprint, and saying it looks like Hiroshima is paying it a compliment, it can be seen from outer space, (very clearly) i didn't hear Murphy say so much about the communities that live down stream from that mess, with over ten times the cancer rate of the rest of the country, big deal, a bunch of newffies have jobs again, they fucked up the eastcaost fisheries now they're going to fuck up the planet, do you just not get "it" whats the use of jobs when your house is under water you ignorant moron, sorry that wasn't very Canadian.

Murphy is a journalist Suzuki isn't ...

As a journalist, Murphy needs to disclose who is paying him. Especially when speaking in favour of a project on national tv.

Suzuki bases everything he speaks about on science. His integrity is on the line when he speaks and I hope reporters hold him accountable if he is found to say something inaccurate.

Young compared the destruction of the tarsands to what Hiroshima looked like after being nuked. Hyperbolizing that statement is not going to draw in a critical thinker.

I hope the money's worth it Rex.

No

Colin wrote:

So will anti-oil sand public/media speakers also reveal who pays them?

If he states he does not get paid, would you believe him?  

People can form opinions and speak them without being paid. David Suzuki makes a lot of money getting paid to say certain things. Should he state that he is getting paid to talk as well? 


Well, Colin, the problem here is that Anti-tarsands people typically have always been anti-tarsands people: they get paid speaking fees because of views that they ACTUALLY HAD BEFORE THEY GOT PAID FOR THEM. They didn't suddenly adopt their views in return for MONEY after building their reputation as some kind of broadly appealing "straight shooter" at the PUBLIC BROADCASTER.

And my apologies for the caps, old chum! Sometimes these things are needed for clarity.

Every now and then you get a

Every now and then you get a glimpse of what vested interest is pulling Rex's strings.  On Sunday his Cross Country Check-up question was "Should public sector wages and benefits mirror those of the private sector?" with the unspoken subtext that the former were too generous and the latter represented the "real world".

When all the callers but one vehemently defended the public sector, Rex seemed thankful when someone finally called in to answer the question in the affirmative.  However, when the caller, a mental health worker in the public sector, said they indeed agreed that public sector wages should RISE to match those paid by the private sector in this field, he cut them off claiming a shortage of time.

The Canadian public is refusing to follow the script written for it by the Triumph of Ideology over Common Sense that passes for the name of Government in Ottawa.

 

Rex

Chris Peter wrote:

Every now and then you get a glimpse of what vested interest is pulling Rex's strings.  On Sunday his Cross Country Check-up question was "Should public sector wages and benefits mirror those of the private sector?" with the unspoken subtext that the former were too generous and the latter represented the "real world".

When all the callers but one vehemently defended the public sector, Rex seemed thankful when someone finally called in to answer the question in the affirmative.  However, when the caller, a mental health worker in the public sector, said they indeed agreed that public sector wages should RISE to match those paid by the private sector in this field, he cut them off claiming a shortage of time.

The Canadian public is refusing to follow the script written for it by the Triumph of Ideology over Common Sense that passes for the name of Government in Ottawa.

 

 

Rex is gradually destroying CC Checkup. I can hardly listen to it anymore.

Rex Murphy's pro-oil sands speech

What a joke! "The Tipping Point:Age of the Oil Sands" should be the first item to be investigated - this program had a trickle of TIDES running all the way through it. Tides funded Suzuki, his foundation, several on-camera spokespeople; Schindler/Kelly studies were funded by TIDES and curiously, despite the producers living Edmonton and being a couple of blocks away from Alberta Environment OR the toll-free 310-000 Service Alberta number, they failed to tell us anything about the existing monitoring systems on the Athabasca!  And they called it a documentary.  I tried to have CBC review this program vis a vis their Journalistic Ethics (i.e. wouldn't you think it a breach not to note all the TIDEES in the show up front? Or have host Suzuki step down?  Or have Schindler not flap fish in an unscientific way?) However, the Ombudsman certainly took his time and in the end, NOPE, I was wrong. It is okay for the CBC to produce an anti-oil sands show loaded with folks funded by an offshore anti-oil sands 'charity' .. a show made with taxpayer's money that condemns the source of most taxpayers' income in Canada. It's actually a violation of the Broadcasting Act in my opinion. So - go there first before you go after Rex.

Rex Murphy, CBC, dirty tarsands

Have barely tolerated Rex Murphy for years . . . now that he has his pension from CBC and is now "on contract" with CBC, no matter what crap comes out of his mouth, he is paid!

Not only has he given short shrift to female callers, but he panders to gov't guests, interrupts and/or wastes the time of callers he disagrees with and when someone with facts that don't support his ideology speaks, Rex gets rid of them quickly.

The President of CBC is in charge of all the changes that have degraded the standards of a publicly supported national Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

PUBLIC CBC, not corporate! Get rid of Rex, no buyout of his contract, either.

Comparing Suzuki to Murphy is

Comparing Suzuki to Murphy is wrong.  Suzuki may have a show on CBC but it is not the news and he is not a journalist.  Actually there is a stark contrast, as Suzuki is a scientist and Murphy is obviously just another pro oilsands Newfie.  He only sticks out because he can ramble off a long string of big words.

It's about more than just speaking fees to Murphy anyway.  He's a Newfie and half of Newfoundland works in the oilsands.   

Views

AM wrote:

Colin wrote:

So will anti-oil sand public/media speakers also reveal who pays them?

If he states he does not get paid, would you believe him?  

People can form opinions and speak them without being paid. David Suzuki makes a lot of money getting paid to say certain things. Should he state that he is getting paid to talk as well? 


Well, Colin, the problem here is that Anti-tarsands people typically have always been anti-tarsands people: they get paid speaking fees because of views that they ACTUALLY HAD BEFORE THEY GOT PAID FOR THEM. They didn't suddenly adopt their views in return for MONEY after building their reputation as some kind of broadly appealing "straight shooter" at the PUBLIC BROADCASTER.

And my apologies for the caps, old chum! Sometimes these things are needed for clarity.

Did Rex ever say he was against the oilsands? He is a straight shooter, but speakers like him get paid to do speeches. Time is money, if they want his time they have to pay for it. This does not mean they paid to have him change his opinion.

I can point out that when Trudeau makes a speech, he is paid in the thousands as well.

I also agree about Rex's comments about Neil Young. I think it hurts the green movement having him in their corner.

 

T-Rex(Murphy)

Tyrannosaurus Rex(Murphy) has finally been exposed-this reptilian mind which seems to have understood nothing of what has gone on in history since the fall of the European empire states or the cruelty inflicted by them on so much of the world's population is under scrutiny;this mouthfull of dictionaries with nothing to say about our time-he must have studied surviving texts and vids of Hitler's premier propagandist Goebells while on his Rhodes at Oxford-is on the dock.I am ashamed to say I attended the same university as this monstrousity-ashamed to say I come from the same province as this miniature edition of William S Buckley or his hero Conrad Black.T Rex we remember also did seek  a nomination for Gererralissimo Harper in a St. John's riding.One can also surmise that T Rex over the years has had an intimate relationship with another reptilian mind of Newfoundland origin-one Michael Walker who grew up in the same town as I did.Michael of course built BC's Fraser Institute funded by 500 of BC's largest corporations-a Right wing propaganda machine if ever there was one.We don't hear so much about the Fraser Institute anymore and why should we-it now has a seat at the coffee table in the PMO's office.There are some Newfoundlanders whom this world could have well done without

Rex and the tar sands

At least Rex has taken the time to educate himself on the subject unlike Neil , as far as comparing him to David why not ? David pushes pv solar does he have shares in this somewhere? And pv solar companies are going bankrupt all over the globe. If he gets paid to give his point of view so what!! David does it alll the time. But heres something i see neglected and over looked all the time, no pics by any of the protest groups on reclamation sites and the fact that 12% more energy to get tar sand oil is always put up as an arguement but, never is it posted that tar sand "synthetic " oil last five times longer between oil changes and can be recycled without losing its viscousity ! So it infact takes 5 barrels of oil to equal one barrel of tarsand oil and conventional oil cant be recycled as many times as synthetic as well as equiptment using synthetics show less wear after time     

Conflict of Interest?

Fact check: CBC is a publicly funded news source. They have that designation, so must remain objective, meaning not favour one opinion over another or appear biased.

We all know how privately owned news sources operate. This does not just happen in the U.S. but at home as well.

Ezra Levant is a clear example of this. The broadcaster who pays his salary would like nothing better but to be considered public, as they would get to feed from the public trough, while spouting their drivel they call news.

The major difference between public and private has always been integrity of news reporting and investigation.

If you notice, a finer and finer line has been drawn as to how things are reported on CBC as of late.

The broadcaster, when mentioning anything that doesn't follow the ideology of the government in power faces accusations of leftism and threats of revocation of public funds.

This is, indeed a battle of wills, make no mistake; the heads of the CBC have to walk a tightrope, in order to please the hand that feeds vs. the government of the day that feeds and has a majority, at the moment.

To think anything else is foolhardy and a waste of time.

If CBC wants to continue to place a right wing columnist in a regular programming role with an opinion that differs from the masses, they are going to be forced to either get rid of the bias - or go private because the public won't put up with bias - and since the government doesn't like public institutions, guess what the outcome is going to be?

Murphy

At one time I kind of enjoyed Murphy but no longer.  I will not listen to ccc - especially after a couple of his rants pro Tar Sands.

Ignore environmental catastrophe as long as there are jobs in it - especially jobs for Newfoundlanders.  He is a shill for the oil companies and I object to my broadcaster allowing him to do that

Murhpy.....and Suzuki

Really looking forward to this writer's expose of Suzuki's payments from so many big US Environmental groups to trash the oil sands in public and CBC engagements. Transparency is so wonderful. Just look at how Vancouver's mayor was elected - with enviro funds from the same exact US groups as Suzuki. Will that article appear as a followup to this one on Murphy?

Rex Murphy....

What's with the 'newfie' bit, up there???? Strike at Rex, but for cripes sakes, contain your ignorance and leave us NEWFOUNDLANDERS out of it!!

Rex's Calgary Speech

I was in the audience for this performance in Calgary and have to say it both embarrassed and cheered me.

Embarrassed: the strident self righteousness of Mr. Murphy, and the high pitched tone of his comments made me realize that however he perceives himself, and I think he thinks he's an intellectual....the reality is something quite other.  Hyperbolic praise for an industry that is blatantly dirty and an open sore on our environment, coupled with groundless vitriol for those of us more concerned for our boreal forest than we are for the bottom line of multinational oil companies...isn't intellectual analysis or debate.  It is fanatic partisanship.  Making the tar sands a savior for Newfoundlanders come on hard times, saving them in fact from alcoholism, family breakup and perhaps even suicide, is pure bathos....funny but not funny.......sentimental, but less authentic than simple emotionalism.

Cheered: If this is the best BIg Oil can do...if this is the extent of their defense, they're done.  An aging man with his nose in the air, hurling epithets at anyone who dares to question his beloved 'savior of the codfishermen...and by extension, of the Canadian working class???!!!!

Its time to bring out a giant sheephook, yank him off the stage, and then perhaps relax with a little vintage Young.  I knew money was the root of all evil.  It took Reg to convince me it could also bankroll farce....but farcical is the only word for Rex's Calgary defence of Alberta's dirty patch.  THat he got paid to do it, is small consolation for what it says about the decline in his intellect.

 

Rex Murphy - He calls himself Canadian?

There are not enough Neil Youngs in Canada. We need many more Canadians to speak out, contact their MP's to defend our futures....and fight to save our country from corporate/government sellouts! Just as Neil said....he's fighting for his children and grandchildren. It doesnt get more truthful than that!

Rex

Be thankful for your free speech Rex..... Neil is not writing a song about 4 dead in Alberta... Neil searches for a heart of gold. He doesn't proclaim that our resources are the heart of our power and rule. You suggest that oil is the reason families are healed... Rex your a nut...You are an opportunist that weasles words to get the crowds attention and applause. That is what makes you think your philosophy is right.

science isn't a democracy

mark wrote:

Canada must be the only country on Earth that the majority of its citizens ignore scientific consensus, The rest of the world doesn't have a problem understanding that the Tar sands of Alberta produces the dirtiest oil on the planet, has the biggest carbon footprint, and saying it looks like Hiroshima is paying it a compliment, it can be seen from outer space, (very clearly) i didn't hear Murphy say so much about the communities that live down stream from that mess, with over ten times the cancer rate of the rest of the country, big deal, a bunch of newffies have jobs again, they fucked up the eastcaost fisheries now they're going to fuck up the planet, do you just not get "it" whats the use of jobs when your house is under water you ignorant moron, sorry that wasn't very Canadian.

 That's because science isn't a democracy. Consensus is irrelevant. Being right about your theories, and having the evidence to back it up. Evidence. Not massaged data whose outcomes were designed to fit the theories so they can keep getting their government subsidies to keep massaging data to support their theories cause that justifies carbon taxes, fees and any other idea they can dream up to micro-manage our lives. The whole planet can vote on"climate change" (as if it hasn't always, and always WILL change) and say it's true, doesn't mean a shit if the evidence doesn't support it. Like oh.... 17 years of no warming and counting. Like their models they use to promote mass hysteria and acceptance of our lives being micro managed not coming close to the reality. You know.... picky little things like ACTUAL data. NOT models.

Canadian my ass

J_OD wrote:

There are not enough Neil Youngs in Canada. We need many more Canadians to speak out, contact their MP's to defend our futures....and fight to save our country from corporate/government sellouts! Just as Neil said....he's fighting for his children and grandchildren. It doesnt get more truthful than that!

 

Well. Considering that Neil Young hasn't bothered to live in Canada since the early 70's (my entire life) He's no less a Canadian of Convenience then all those Lebanese that suddenly found their passports during the last war with Israel and suddenly became Canadian for a couple of months. Before going back to being and living in Lebanon after the crisis was past. Only Canadian when they want our services or good name.

  He's an American. Funny how he's so proud of being Canadian he can't be bothered to live here, and pay our higher taxes on his millions that you'd condemn him for being a One Percenter over if he wasn't some singer, rather then a bizz tycoon. Oh wait. Big Music is Big Bizz. I guess he is a tycoon. Feel free to condemn him now for being a One Percenter.

Yes he should, and he does...

Colin wrote:

So will anti-oil sand public/media speakers also reveal who pays them?

If he states he does not get paid, would you believe him?  

People can form opinions and speak them without being paid. David Suzuki makes a lot of money getting paid to say certain things. Should he state that he is getting paid to talk as well? 

We all should disclose when there is a conflict of interest if we are presenting ourselves as an authoritative speaker on such subjects of importance. Had he said, "I believe in the oil sands and in fact offer my services as a speaker at many oil industry events and this is my opinion..."
Does Suzuki say that he is paid by The Suzuki foundation, no, but is that not assumed by all of us that his environmental work IS how he makes a living? What we did NOT know was Rex Murphy's involvement with the oil industry. 

 

Rex Murphy

Rex Murphy has shown his true colours by criticizing singer Neil Young who was genuinely trying to help local aboriginals in their protest over what they say is exploding development occurring on their traditional lands without adequate consultation. Murphy,  who is also vocal critic of climate change science, has obviously succumbed to the almighty dollar and received payment for his latest pro tar sands speech.

As for me, I have lost all respect for Rex Murphy. He is now a 'nothing" to me.

 

 

Rex is NOT a journalist, nor does he profess to be......

[quote=the Dude]

As a journalist, Murphy needs to disclose who is paying him. Especially when speaking in favour of a project on national tv.

Suzuki bases everything he speaks about on science. His integrity is on the line when he speaks and I hope reporters hold him accountable if he is found to say something inaccurate. First of all, Rex Murphy is NOT a journalist. The definition of "journalism" (from Merriam-Webster): the collection and editing of news for presentation through the media, characterized by a direct presentation of facts or description of events without an attempt at interpretation" Murphy is a broadcaster (as in one who speaks publicly by means of radio or television), a writer, an orator, a commentator, a rhetorician or a speaker. He is NOT a journalist, nor does he portray himself to be a journalist. Even his show on CBC is called "Point of View". What he does is "gives his opinion" or "point of view" on a wide array of subjects. So for a whole bunch of people to jump on the bandwagon when they discover that he actually speaks "his opinion" on the oil and energy industry in our country and, God forbid, it happens to not jive with your opinion, is just ludicrous. Furthermore, as you state in your opinion, "especially when speaking in favour of a project on national tv" - now we have all known for years that the CBC leans pretty far to the left, so it may have come as quite a shock to many of you that there could be an "opinion" shared so openly on the CBC that goes against the normal rhetoric. But the CBC happens to be funded by ALL taxpayers, not just those on the left. To hear a pro-oil sands and pro-energy industry voice on the CBC was a refreshing change to many of us. For those of you who want to hear only the FACTS, not an opinion, you best stay on a news channel.

Rex Murphy and Don Cherry

If you dislike Don and Rex the solution is simple, privatize the CBC and they won't be able to afford them without the Gov't bailing them out for 1.1 billion a year. That and they're the only 2 that speak the truth, politically incorrect or not.

Neil Young

J_OD wrote:

There are not enough Neil Youngs in Canada. We need many more Canadians to speak out, contact their MP's to defend our futures....and fight to save our country from corporate/government sellouts! Just as Neil said....he's fighting for his children and grandchildren. It doesnt get more truthful than that!

J_OD... you moron Neil Young doesn't live in Canada. Interesting that he says squat in the U.S. about all the coal burning power plants that have 100 times more carbon footprint than the oil-sands...guess he needs the money from U.S. interests. Oh and by the way the Indian Chief beside him in those video's and pics got 55,000 for pretending to be a poor Indian -Band that needs his help, when they are one of the richest bands in Canada.

mr young and suzuki

Mr Young needs to stick to what he knows best, leave the politics to politicians, he knows about as much about the oil sands as mr Mcartney knows about the seal problem in Newfoundland, mr Suzuki is a genetic expert, that's his training but after getting rich from being a narrator on cbc, he thinks he knows it all, do you really think that the people in the oil industry don't know what they are doing, that field is plum full of people with degrees and years of experience, nobody I mean nobody spends more money on reclamation than the oil patch.

 

to CraigC

"J_OD... you moron…"

Make your points without resorting to name calling.  It's beneath the VO readership, and you only make yourself look bad.  

Rex Murphy

I've never thought much of Rex Murphy as I've always found him to be opinionated and at times ill-informed... I also find his voice annoying to listen to. He says that the oil sands are saving the residents of Newfoundland. What will he say when the devastation caused by dirty oil impacts the environment to the point where future generations are having to pedal backwards to clean up all the mess. Sure it might save the poorer provinces in the short run but how short sighted can he be. At least Neil Young is speaking for those who have no power (the land, animals and those First Nations people who truly live off the land) ... good ole' Rex is in Big Oils' back pocket... shame on him for using his celebrity to advance his wealth and their cause. He makes me sick!!!