Veteran investigative reporter Bruce Livesey was fired by Global News shortly after talking to CANADALAND about the fact that management had pulled his documentary, The Koch Connection, from their broadcast schedule.
As CANADALAND reported in February, Livesey’s documentary about the billionaire Koch Brothers and their ties to Canada was set for broadcast on Global News’ 16×9 investigative newsmagazine, only to be pulled from the broadcast schedule and scrubbed from Global’s website shortly before it was set to air.
Global News manager Ron Waksman told CANADALAND at the time that the documentary was not “killed, cancelled or dropped” but was merely delayed as it was not yet ready for broadcast. Waksman told us it would likely air in the next season.
CANADALAND has since learned that this is not the case.
Global News fired Livesey, killing his Koch piece along with two other investigations they had commissioned from him.
In an interview on this week’s podcast, Livesey tells that the explicit reason given to him by Ron Waksman for his termination was the fact that he briefly spoke to CANADALAND, off-the-record, about the documentary’s removal from broadcast.
Ron Waksman did not respond to our requests for comment, but Global News’ communications department did issue a statement calling our questions “completely unfounded” and attributing their actions instead to “journalistic responsibility,” as Livesey’s work “didn’t meet our standards for balance”.
Bruce Livesey challenges this on two grounds:
1.At no point in the months he spent investigating and producing the documentary in close collaboration with Global’s team was the issue of balance ever raised with him. The Koch Connection was, he says, approved for broadcast by 16×9 Executive Producer Laurie Few and signed-off on by Global’s libel lawyer.
2. Global News claims that firing Livesey and cancelling his upcoming reports was what responsible journalists had to do when faced with his imbalanced journalism. Yet when they pulled The Koch Connection from broadcast, they re-ran a piece called The Man who Took on Putin, in its place. This documentary was also produced by Livesey.
Ultimately, this comes down to Livesey’s word and reputation. In terms of his word, he says Ron Waksman directly cited his conversation with CANADALAND as the reason why he was being fired. Global denies this on behalf of Waksman, who won’t comment.
As for his reputation, Bruce Livesey directs us to his bio, which describes his 30+ year career investigating corporations for dozens of major news orgs in print and television.