Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Shameful Moment in Journalism - UPDATE

The Dion interview fiasco is very interesting to me. I showed the full 7 1/2 minute clip to my first-year reporting class today. My point was that journalists who make promises must keep them. It's important to see the entire clip, with the intro from the ATV news anchor, to see how they try to justify breaking their promise not to use the Dion out-takes.ATV promised Dion they would not show them. They broke their word. I can't believe a Canadian network has acted so unethically and in a way that so deeply undermines their credibility. Perhaps if Dion had said something as outrageous as May's quote about Canadians being stupid or Ronald Reagan's joke about launching a nuclear attack against the Soviets, ATV might have the slightest case. With the Dion interview, it has no case at all.
The question was confusing, as Toronto Star editor J. Fred Kuntz points out today. I'm still not quite sure what it was about. Nothing Dion did was so preposterous or outrageous that ATV had no choice but to screw Dion for the sake of the country.
I don't know how ATV will be able to maintain any journalistic credibility. I personally would never take their word for anything.
And I would say the same if ATV had done this to any party leader.

UPDATE: Turns out the decision to break the agreement and screw Dion was made at the very top of CTV's news organization. People who deal with CTV News should govern themselves accordingly.

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