When he worked in the legislature press gallery, Wayne Williams was one of the province's most respected political reporters.
He was considered tough, fair, and nonpartisan.
But nowadays as the news director of CBC's local TV newscast, William faces the unpleasant task of batting away perceptions that his station is too close to the B.C. Liberal government.
On October 28, 2010, one of CBC's reporters, Belle Puri, accepted a job as press secretary to then-premier Gordon Campbell. Five days later, Campbell announced his resignation.
Luckily for Puri, Williams took her back as a reporter. He told the Royal City Record that there were two conditions: she couldn't go on the air until after the B.C. Liberal leadership convention and "she won't be covering politics for a long, long time, if ever."
Puri never actually worked for Campbell. She was supposed to begin on November 12, 2010, but Williams allowed her to keep her job in the newsroom.
"The CBC is always very concerned about the perception of conflict and impartiality," Williams told the Royal City Record at the time. "We fiercely defend it."
This week, CBC revealed that it won't transfer legislature reporter Steven Smart, even though his wife Rebecca Scott is deputy press secretary to Premier Christy Clark.
CBC ombudsman Kirk LaPointe had ruled that this created a "pervasive appearance of a conflict of interest", even though there is no evidence that Smart has taken advantage of his wife's position.
In recent years, CBC has hired several former staff from CKNW, which used to employ Premier Clark as a talk-show host, including Puri and Smart. Others include Stephen Quinn, Steve Lus, and Mike Clarke.
Meanwhile, the managing director of CBC's B.C. operations, Johnny Michel, formerly worked at Global TV and BCTV. Under his leadership, CBC brought on former Global TV anchor Tony Parsons.
In the old days, Global TV and CKNW Radio were seen by some on the left as publicity arms of the B.C. Liberal government under Gordon Campbell.
Now with some of the same voices showing up on CBC—and after LaPointe's ruling—it makes it that much more difficult for the Mother Corp. to deal with similar perceptions.
Perhaps if CBC put an unabashed left-winger on the local airwaves in a prominent position, this would alleviate these types of concerns. But these days, genuine lefties are in short supply in the mainstream media.
Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter at twitter.com/csmithstraight.