The CTV News political show, Power Play, and Tom Clark, its host, got scooped embarrassingly yesterday afternoon. First Clark reported that Ian Davey was out as Michael Ignatieff’s chief of staff, then dutifully reported the denial by the opposition leader’s office. All the while CBC News was reporting the real story that Davey would be replaced by Peter Donolo, a former Jean Chrétien staffer.
During the show, instead of getting at and reporting the truth behind the real political story of the day, Tom Clark settled with speculating about rumours and denials by a Liberal communications officer and showing another of the annoying graphics alleging Tory wrongdoing fed to him by Liberal operatives—he referred to his source as the “Liberal war room.” He didn’t press the new “scandal” too hard this time because his three panelists unanimously agreed it was a silly non-starter.
Here’s a question I have though: how come CBC had the truth about the shake up in Ignatieff’s office from the start—Evan Solomon said his information came from very senior levels within the Liberal organization—while Tom Clark was left with a pathetic graphic and uninformed speculation?
One explanation may be that CTV has not been forgiven by the Grits for its dissing of the former leader, Stéphane Dion, when the network went back on a promise to not air embarrassing footage of an interview it did with Dion during the last federal election.
Yes, CTV has behaved itself since then. Liberal war room sends them stuff, and they report it on their Power Play and Question Period shows as though it was real news. But the Liberal party is renowned for its memory of its enemies. And, like the Mounties, they always get their man—usually with a knife in the back.
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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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