McGill professor Bruce Case has vowed that the CBC will face “consequences” for how he was depicted in a documentary on the University’s ties to the asbestos industry broadcast last month.
Case, a professor in McGill’s Department of Pathology and a leading asbestos researcher, did not say whether he was considering legal action against the CBC.
Case was interviewed about his former colleague, J. Corbett McDonald, who received over a million dollars from an asbestos trade group to conduct research in the sixties and seventies. The documentary spurred McGill to launch a preliminary review of McDonald’s research last month.
In an interview with The Daily, Case accused the CBC of “deliberate misrepresentation and bias.”
“And, believe me, there will be consequences,” he said.
In the documentary, titled “Fatal Deception”, Case appears to give evasive answers in defending McDonald’s record, as well as his own.
Terence McKenna, the CBC reporter, asked Case, “Is it true that your studies have been funded in part by the asbestos industry?”
Case replies, “My personal studies have never been funded by the asbestos industry – not one penny.”
A screen-shot of an academic paper then appears on screen, bearing Case’s name, and a footnote acknowledging funding from the JM Asbestos Company.
Case maintains, however, that the CBC misrepresented his role in the study, saying the paper in question was not one of his “personal studies,” but a student’s work, to which he had contributed research.
In a written response, McKenna and Gil Scochat, the documentary’s producer, said, “There was no bias or misrepresentation…deliberate or otherwise.”
They added that Case claimed the study as his own in a May 2005 court deposition.
In an interview, Case also stated that the CBC had truncated his answer to a request by McKenna to see the raw data from a study Case and McDonald conducted together. The study suggested that certain asbestos mines in the Thetford-Mines area were less contaminated with “tremolite” asbestos, and thus less prone to giving workers mesothelioma, or cancer of the lining of the lung.
In the documentary, McKenna asks of the data, “Will you give it to us?”
Case replies, “No, I won’t give it to you.”
In an interview with The Daily, Case said his full answer was, “‘I love the CBC – I watch the National every night including Saturday and Sunday, but the CBC is not a scientific agency, and therefore I don’t share scientific data with the CBC.’”
Schochat declined to provide The Daily with an unedited tape of the original interview, citing a CBC policy against doing so.
But in their written statement, Schochat and McKenna wrote, “We did not include that portion of Dr. Case’s answer because his testimonial of love for the CBC was irrelevant to the matter under discussion.”
“They edited and distorted my response,” said Case. “And, again, there will be consequences.”
While he declined to say what kind of consequences, Case’s personal website – which features the tagline: “Nobody knows the trouble I seen…” – linked to a letter by the University of Toronto scientist Murray M. Finkelstein calling the CBC documentary “slanderous.”