Thursday, October 16, 2008

CTV Decides to Defend Themselves on the Dion Interview NOW? SPARE ME!

Here is an example of rationalization after the fact. CTV News is apparently now offering a defence to the airing of the Dion interview where he had to repeatedly ask for a clarification of the question to the effect of what Dion would do differently than Harper "now" if he were Prime Minister.

The question was ambiguous in that "now" could mean if Dion was PM for the same time Harper had been like 2.5 years, or during the current election campaign or afterwards in how he would govern differently if Dion won the election. Dion was seeking a clarification as to which time frame the interview was referencing. The answer would be significantly different in each case.

CTV thought this was so critical to quality journalism that they has a "responsibility" to air it. They had a responsibility all right. Starting with a responsibility to clarify the question would have been a professional place to start, especially in a second language.

Harper spun the event in yet another direction, being the congenitally misleading politician that he is...but that is just the same old mean-spirited politics that seem to be standard in Canada these days.

CTV- this just doesn't cut it. At least CTV you didn't go as far as the RCMP did in the last election and announce a criminal investigation publicly on Income Trusts. The spirit of "being responsible" sure seems to be in the same vein. Later the RCMP found no wrong doing by any politician and only some bureaucrat benefited with insider information. But those facts and that story got little to no play after the "facts."


  1. Ken; Seems to me that CTV is reacting now because of the number of complaints they've received. I agree with you, it's too little, too late.

    Especially after today's episode with Mike Duffy and Joe Volpe. Duffy is digging a deep hole from which he won't be able to climb. His credibility isn't worth a plug nickel now.

    Maybe CTV needs to realize that their brand of hyper-partisan coverage only appeals to 30% of Canadians who vote conservative. I wonder how their advertisers would feel about that?

  2. Oh quite blaming the media. Your guy sucked ass.

  3. Sour grapes.

    Check out Andrew Coyne's analysis. You can argue that CTV should not have released the video. However, it is equally clear that anyone with any level of control of the English language understands the question. In fact, Dion's aide understood the question and tried to explain it to him (to no avail).

    Get over it Ken. Canadians rejected the liberals and the so-called progressive values. Your party is bankrupt and soon to be leaderless. Start figuring out which candidate you will support to be the next leader. Get someone who is not a radical environmentalist and you will regain some seats. Do it soon because we will be at the polls in less than 2 years.

  4. Anonymous8:45 pm

    Give it a rest Ken, Please.
    The question was a simple one though maybe it was asked a bit akward at first, it was something he should have been able to answer. But even after his aide explained to him what was being asked he was confused. One retake wouldn't have been newsworthy, nor would perhaps two, but three or more is. Especially from a man who would want to lead us.

  5. Anonymous9:10 pm

    Join the boycott of CTV. A Boycott banner should be added across the nice logo created by acreativerevolution dot ca

  6. They think we're too stupid to get it - the question didn't make any sense, and Dion's attempts to clarify it produced only the same question worded exactly the same way, which suggests that it was deliberately crafted to be unanswerable.

    'If you were PM today what would you have done that Mr. Harper has not?' Is a meaningless question without clarification about when he would have become PM - today, last week, last year.

  7. Anonymous11:11 pm

    funny spin for a lawyer to make

    question was clear. this is a question school kids get all the time, and they understand it. If he didn't understand the question, why didn't he say so?

    btw I am not on the conservative payroll. I simply don't understand why Dion couldn't/wouldn't say (in the interview) that he didn't understand; instead he tried to bluff his way through the question, and got caught.

  8. Anonymous9:45 am

    Wait a second, Ken.

    Some Liberals, including Warren Kinsella, felt the tape might actually help Dion.

    Now that he's lost, it's CTVs fault?

    As for your claim CTV had a "responsibility" to ask their question in French so Dion could understand it, how preposterious.

    For one thing, the segment was being aired in Nova Scotia, where 93% of the population speaks English.

    For another, if Dion can't understand a question in English, don't you think that's of interest to voters? We've seen anglophone leaders strung up for their inability to speak and understand French, why not the other way around?

    The reality is Canada is a predominantly English-speaking nation, and if a would-be Prime Minister requires translation to answer a straight-forward question, perhaps he shouldn't be leading it.

  9. When did Warren Kinsella all of a sudden become a friend of Stephane Dion?

    I think your language arguments sound like the old lines of the
    60's around official bilingualism. "French being shoved down our throats" stuff.

    I think a Prime Minister's understanding an offical language is a political issue, even an election issue...and it was. I think we just need to cut some slack for those who are speaking in their second official language in interview situations.

    BTW I never said the question to Dion needed to be asked in French. I said if you are dealing with a question "in a second language," as English is for Dion, it is reasonable to cut some slack and make accommodations to be sure the question and its context is clear.

    That is not the same as suggesting the question ought to have been asked in French. See how easy it is to misunderstand each other - even in writing! Thanks for letting me clarify the language and my meaning in this post.

    My post point is that the interviewer's question was unclear and subject to more than one interpretation. Dion was seeking clarity about the context of the question.

    We expect the PM of this country to speak both official languages but we don't demand that they be totally fluent in both. Otherwise Chretien could never have won three majority governments.

    Watching the clip and reading the transcript, I think Dion actually understood the question. He saw various possible contexts for the question and was asking for clarification about which specific context the interview was referencing.

    Dion was obviously aware of more depth and context around the question than the interviewer even seemed to appreciate. The interviewer did not seem to understand that nor did he ever answer Dion's questions around clarity of the context. Look at the clip again and you will see what I mean.

    In any event, that is all moot because Dion lost the election, and for more reasons than these questionabler actions of CTV News.

    CTV has finally provided its explanation of how it considered the public interest. It has reassured us it has reviewed the various issues around the "release" of this out-take notwithstanding its undertaking to the contrary.

    They are self-satisfied that they have met their version of their public duty of journalistic responsibility.

    So we now know much more about how CTV will exercise their journalistic judgment about the public interest, keeping its word and how to raise ratings with a sideshow fiasco masquearding as ethical journalism.

    We Canadians are now so much more reassured about the ethics and actions of CTV and about how they have justify themselves.

    We are all able to go back to sleep and become sanquine again about how CTV actually inserted themselves into the election campaign. We need not worry about how they intentionally and overtly became an issue in election.

    We all now able to have no lingering doubts about the ethics of CTV News about how, why, who and what they did under these questionable circumstances. It was the right thing to do. Right? Right!

  10. I was so 'outraged' over what CTV did, that I sent them a 'protest' email. Obviously, many others did as well. That is a good thing!

    I personally am sick and tired of the media (all types) using biased, heavy handed methods in their 'news reporting' (interviewing). Mike Duffy is a case in point.

    Canadian's should make how the media are used a political issue... 1% tax on advertising... subsidize the nonprofit media.

  11. Anonymous10:02 pm

    Ken, this whole thing about you supporting Dion makes me laugh. You've pulled off the largest joke of the election. Oh no wait sorry, that was the Liberals thinking they actually had a chance with Dion at the helm.

    Attention all Liberals, including the dysfunctional Alberta chapter another deep in debt ship without a rudder ...we Conservatives LOVE DION, Dion rocks...he's just misunderstood....really.

    Go Dion Go, Go Dion Go!

    Thank-you Mr. Kennedy - Dion king-maker from the last Lib leadership race. Mr. Kennedy please run for the leadership of the Libs, you're next goof-ball.

    By the way, can anyone spare a couple bucks for Dion, he's $300K in debt due to the election and about to walk the plank - political career officially OVER...