Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Dion Question

To: CTV News
Subject: You call that an interview?

That was a pretty shabby tactic used in the interview with Stephane Dion today.

I am not a Liberal, but I recognize a hatchet job when I see one.

When someone asks you, "Can I start over," and you say "yes", it is an out-and-out lie if you then turn around and broadcast the false starts. It's just bad faith, and you should be ashamed of yourselves.

And what a stupid question - you are asking what Dion would do - but isn't important to know whether this is before or after the irresponsible tax cuts harper passed just before the crisis hit. It was a question that meant to be vague and misleading, and it is clear you were counting on a muddled response.

Shame on you. Irresponsible, yellow yellow journalism.




Dear Mr. Downes,

Thank you for your email. I would like to take a moment to respond to your concerns to give you a better understanding of why we aired the interview with Stephane Dion in its entirety.

The economic crisis is a central issue in the federal election campaign. We posed a question to Mr. Dion regarding the economy and while it was unfortunate that he struggled in answering the question, upon review and reflection it was decided that we had a responsibility to run the footage so that our viewers could decide for themselves.

We would like to emphasize that Steve Murphy is not personally responsible for this decision. CTV News has an editorial review process in place. There was a great deal of consideration and discussion that went into making this decision. This process also included numerous other people from various departments within CTV News, as decisions of this magnitude are never made in isolation. We assure you that we do not take these issues lightly.

Thank you for sharing your point-of-view, as feedback from our viewers is extremely important to us. We sincerely hope that you will continue to watch CTV News in the future.

Sincerely,
Jay Witherbee
News Director
CTV Atlantic




Hiya Jay,

The widespread condemnation your actions are receiving in other media (and, notably, not your own) is indication that you made the wrong call.

Dion's efforts to comprehend a confusing and poorly worded question were not news, and your airing of obvious outtakes normally left on the cutting room floor was not journalism.

In recent years, CTV News has increasingly begun to resemble Fox News in both tone and in balance. I will not be watching CTV News in the future if this trend continues.

-- Stephen

2 comments:

  1. Why do you even watch television or listen to the radio anymore? I know I have better things to do and I only hear about these events indirectly.

    I admit that this was bad journalism.

    However, Dion understood the question. He may have tried to blame English-as-a-second language, but the question was well worded and it was spoken clearly. There is no way he could possibly not have understood it.

    It was a hard question. But it was not unfair. What would you have done, had you been prime minister?

    Now. Listen carefully at the tone of his voice. It was not someone who did not understand. It was someone who was angry and felt like shouting back. He tried to keep his cool and could not.

    Broadcasting it was bad taste. I would not have done it had I been a journalist... but Radio-Canada did far worse to a journalist who became a PQ candidate: they broadcasted "off-the-air" talk between him and the PQ leader (or was it the BQ leader?).

    (Disclaimer: I did not vote for the PQ or the BQ in the latest elections.)

    So, what CTV did was not a first, not by a long shot. It was unfair, but it seems politics is sinking lower and lower all the time.

    BTW did you know that Obama is a muslim terrorist?

    Yes. That's were we are sinking. Next election, we will hear about this guy being a terrorist and this other guy being a mafia leader.

    We have to change politics by removing big media from the equation.

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  2. I don't agree the question was well worded. But in fact Dion ultimately answers both versions of the question in his interview (the question mixes both present and past tense and Dion ultimately answers both if he were PM now and if he had been PM in the past). I didn't see any anger displayed by Dion in that interview.

    So, CTV never addressed your point about the question being ambiguous in their answer.

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