Conflicts of interest and fluff news / by Greg Gallinger

By now anyone from Winnipeg reading this has surely heard all about the local journalists and blogger receiving gifts and discounts from IKEA and the controversy that blew up on Twitter. Lindsey Wiebe questioned her peers who accepted the invitation and gifts.

Screen Shot 2012 11 28 at 1 51 08 AM Then CBC chimed in.

CBC declined the offer to shop because of a policy against employees accepting gifts. However, reporter Nelly Gonzalez went to the event to pose the ethics question to Ikea.

CBC were then criticized for being self-righteous, after all they were just as guilty for spending an inordinate amount of time covering the opening of a retail store. Just look at the CBC Manitoba homepage.

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Nevermind the fact that Winnipeg's Mayor is facing a potentially similar fate as Toronto's Rob Ford, or that First Nations groups are contesting treaty rights in order to acquire Kapyong Barracks. Why read about real news and issues that affect more than your lust for consumerism? WE HAVE AN IKEA!!!

Before the whole debate broke out, I had read one too many Rah! Rah! IKEA tweets by news organizations and took my frustrations out on CBC Manitoba's twitter account.

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To me the issue is deeper than a few journalists and bloggers filling their faces and going home with grab bags, it's about whether these are the type of events the press and serious bloggers should be covering. Given recent cutbacks at the local newspapers you'd think their priorities would be streamlined. What is and is not newsworthy should be held under a tighter standard. Muckraking takes time and effort whereas regurgitating press releases and corporate jargon is relatively easy (it's even easier when your stomach is full of meatballs and your desk is being perfectly lit with the free LED lightbulbs).

We all need to stop acting like spoiled children after watching a toy commercial.