Portage la Prairie, MB –
New local TV station, CIPP-TV fired News Director, Pat Hiscock, after numerous complaints from politicians and business owners about her seemingly left-wing editorial perspective.
“We told Pat, when we brought her in from Lloydminster, her job was to be head cheerleader for the town and area,” CIPP-TV station owner Ryan Coke explained. “Our vision for news is to be a positive, business friendly voice for the rich and powerful.”
Hiscock faced constant criticism for asking politicians uncomfortable questions on subjects they did not wish to address. She disregarded her employers marching orders to pander to local officials and businesses and to avoid balanced perspectives and negative issues.
“I’ve worked in small media markets for years but I’ve never experienced so many thin-skinned people who couldn’t stand to be questioned,” Hiscock said. “This place pays crap so it won’t be hard to find another job.”
Station management teamed up with some local political and business leaders to try to curb Hiscock’s editorial stance with law suits and threats but their efforts failed.
“It started when I openly questioned a prominent political figure about her comments,” Hiscock explained. “She called me names and then had a lawyer send me a letter. I didn’t stop because I do know the difference between journalism and free speech versus libel and slander.”
The remaining staff at CIPP-TV stand behind Hiscock and have taken over editorial control of the station website www.cipptvportagelaprairie.com.
“We are the only ones with the passwords and the ability to update the site,” union president Richard Pashe said. “We’ll run the stories we want and management can’t do anything about it. If we want to point out the obvious problems in this town, we will.”
CIPP-TV ownership has a different goal for the newsroom.
“We shouldn’t talk about negative and divisive issues,” Coke offered. “Sure we have poverty and major social problems in Portage but we don’t need to be reminded of them. Most viewers would prefer to see stories about how great our town is and all the great things that are going on. It encourages people to spend more and that’s good for the economy.”
Hiscock offered some parting insights from her time in Portage la Prairie.
“When you move here, you see some glaring problems with the town that no one wants to talk about. With such a dominant right-wing conservative view-point the other perspectives get marginalized. People in power get freaked out when someone doesn’t share their opinion and can’t stand to be held accountable. The town would benefit from some varied perspectives. That’s what I tried to bring but I guess it was just too much,” Hiscock said.
“I wish Hiscock the best,” Coke offered. “She just didn’t understand Portage. We like what we know and know what we like. We have a strongly shared perspective in this community and now we must find a News Director who is part of us.”
A search for Hisock’s replacement is underway.