11 October 2008

CTV/ATV hatchet job

ATV and CTV are getting ripped for their hatchet job of Stephane Dion, and rightly so.

Geoff Meeker's media blog at the Telegram is a case in point.

May we expect a retraction any time soon from ATV and CTV?

Don't bet on it.

CTV's Craig Oliver is not only unfazed by the whole business, he trumpets it as a supposed example of how the country supposedly won't tolerate a leader who is not comfortable in both official languages.

The veteran journalists who commented at Geoff's post would disagree with Oliver's contention that the question would be "indelibly clear" "[t]o anyone with any comfort zone in English...".

CTV biasThe one point from Oliver's excuse pile that most would agree with is that the episode damaged Dion, even if only for a short while.

The next question top raise is why the whole episode occurred in the first place.  A network that features a dubious piece of analysis by Conrad Winn on its website in to different areas - the election and "world" space - should not be surprised if people started questioning its partisan affiliation. 




Prairie Kid said...

Please tell me why this tape should have been hidden and the Cadman tape should be played?

AM said...

I defy any anglophone Canadian to answer the question, if you were PM today what would you have done that Harper has not, without clarification about WHEN THEY BECAME PM.

Edward G. Hollett said...

The video is available on youtube, AFAIK.

It was posted quite quickly.

Greg said...

Am, it's actually really simple.

I would have already built a time machine so that, as Prime Minister right now, I would have already prevented the economic crisis.

If you weren't able to understand that, you shouldn't have been Prime Minister.

MichaelCC said...

If Harper messed up an interview in French, i'm sure you guys would make a big deal about it.

I can undersatnd Dion needing clarification the first time, but come on...

Mike Duffy (and CTV) is more right leaning, but the CBC is really left leaning, I think we can all agree on that.

Maybe people on the centre-right (like myself) should organize a boycot of the CBC. But its kind of hard when taxpayers fund it.

Edward G. Hollett said...

Depends on what the point was Michael, and as for the "you guys" comment, I am not sure what you mean.

As a number of people have pointed out, people being interviewed get do overs all the time. In this context there is absolutely nothing to suggest that there was a good reason for ATV to portray this situation - as they seemed intent on doing - like it was something done by Sarah Palin.

For the record, I disagree with your comments on the CTV and CBC. They are convenient fiction invented by certain people, usually on the political right, to justify their own position. The CBC is many things, but ideologically biased is not word that comes to mind to describe either the organization or the people working for it.

This was a hatchet job, Michael. The bad reaction of so many reporters to it tells your take is way off.

Prairie Kid said...

Edward . . . There are no do overs in real life. Imagine Dion sitting at a G7 meeting and saying huh?

And what about the Cadman tape? Lets say Harper said what Liberals are accusing him of. Isn't he allowed a do over?

Edward G. Hollett said...

Imagine Dion at a G7 meeting, Kid. He's already functioned extremely successfully at an international level.

That's what makes your comment so preposterous.

Harper's behaviour in the entire Cadman affair (and the Grewhal fraud before that) is one of the many many reasons he shouldn't get a do-over as PM come Tuesday.

Aaron said...


Harper has messed up plenty of interviews in french. Pretty much all of them, but not because he speaks french poorly (and he does), but because his soundbite policies are poorly thought out.

Harper even messed up the english debate when he said he was not concerned about the economic situation and how it would affect Canadians.

This election is about issues and Harper wants to distract voters by talking about accents.

AM said...

Greg: Of course! Silly me, Harper stops time frequently when he's been caught red handed doing what he later tells us he didn't.

Jim said...

I felt sorry for Steve Murphy having to explain later on a news show.


Edward G. Hollett said...

AM, it isn't about Steve, as much as you want it to be.

The comment made there was about the strangely morphing time context of the question.

Jim: If Steve didn't want to wield the hatchet he could have laid it down.

Jim said...

Hypothetical questions are always a bit weird at the best of times...especially when the tenses are all mixed up as in Steve's question.

Why not just be straightforward and ask, "In your opinion, Mr. Dion, could Mr. Harper have done anything differently during his time as Prime Minister?"

If you really want to do a hypothetical, then be clear...
"Mr. Dion...if you were Prime Minister, instead of Mr. Harper, what would you have done in the lead-up to this present crisis?"

The question he asked was very awkward and ungrammatical and in the re-starts, it changed.

A more facile politician than Dion would have simply ignored the question and said that well...for one thing he would never have ditched the 3-billion dollar contingency fund...etc etc.

Steve agreed to the re-starts (which he should not have) and assured Dion they wouldn't be broadcast. My beef is with the subsequent decision by management to jump on the ratings wagon and make Steve air his dirty linen in public.