Sunday, November 16, 2008

Why doesn't this happen in America?

Darryl Choronzey (or Cronzy) hosts a Canadian fishing show called "Going Fishing."

In September 2007, approaching a national election, his guest was Conservative Party leader John Tory.

According to a Reuters report:

"'Toward the end of the program, Cronzy said, "Listen, I'm not telling you who to vote for" and then contradicted his verbal statement by pointing at John Tory in an obvious and exaggerated manner,' the council said in a formal ruling.

"Cronzy also said Tory would be 'hopefully, in a couple of months, the head honcho of Ontario.' The two men also joked that one particular fish 'went down, just like the Liberals.

'"The overly political overtones of the show prompted a viewer to complain to the council on the grounds 'that fishing programs are supposed to be about fishing'."

Here's the text of the ruling. It further states that "In his concluding remarks, Cronzy also urged viewers, 'When you go to the polls, whether you’re voting federally or provincially, think of your fish and your wildlife, okay? Get some of these clowns out of politics and get the good guys in.'"

The decision?

The broadcaster ought to have been entirely aware of the content of the episode. There was not a modicum of subtlety in host Cronzy’s approach, which the broadcaster made its own by running the episode of the program in the midst of an electoral contest. The policy exposure opportunities afforded to the leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party and the overtly partisan perspective of the program host combined to provide an inequitable advantage to that party. Nor was there any indication in the correspondence that a comparable opportunity was offered to the Conservative Party’s political rivals. Consequently, in the view of the National Conventional Television Panel, the broadcast of the September 29 episode halfway through the Ontario election campaign breached the fairness requirements of both Clauses 6 and 7 of the
CAB Code of Ethics."

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