CTV News defends Dion broadcast

MARITIMES: CTV News broadcast a defence of its decision to air part of an embarrassing interview with Liberal leader Stephane Dion, during its 6pm broadcast in the Maritimes on Thursday, October 16.

MARITIMES: CTV News broadcast a defence of its decision to air part of an embarrassing interview with Liberal leader Stephane Dion, during its 6pm broadcast in the Maritimes on Thursday, October 16.

“We decided that it was important that CTV News not hide anything during an election campaign,” Robert Hurst, president of CTV News, told viewers.

In a pre-taped interview on October 9 in Halifax, Dion repeatedly had trouble answering a question from CTV anchor Steve Murphy about the economy. After three false starts, Murphy indicated the awkward exchange would not be aired. However, feeling the news value outweighed such a promise, CTV News went ahead and aired Dion's flubs in Atlantic Canada, as well as nationally.

That decision was almost universally panned by mainstream media, including in an opinion piece in The Toronto Star written by editor-in-chief J. Fred Kuntz who pointed out the question Murphy asked Dion was, in fact, confusing.

CTV only aired the defence in Atlantic Canada—where the Liberals won the most seats of any party and media have been critical of the broadcaster. In the Times & Transcript in Moncton, weekly columnist and business consultant Bill Belliveau, wrote “When an individual tapes an interview, there is an assumption that mistakes, interruptions or retakes remains in the studio…Who in their right mind will ever trust a CTV taped interview again?”

Similarly, a story in the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal featured quotes from two journalism instructors, including best-seller journalist Stevie Cameron, questioning CTV's judgement. CTV News could not be reached for comment.


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